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We live in a culture where being jealous is decidedly uncool, and sometimes we forget that, even though controlling and obsessive behaviors are unacceptable, it’s normal to feel jealous from time to time. This is especially true when your significant other is getting attention from someone they might be attracted to. Much like all other feelings, it’s not necessarily about how you feel, rather it’s what you do about your feelings that really counts. Unfortunately, though feelings are great at alerting us that something may not be right, they’re generally terrible at telling us what to do about it. It’s normal to feel jealous from time to time in a marriage, but you owe it to your spouse to handle such jealousy in a responsible way.

Is It Ever Okay to Be Jealous?

Jealousy can tip us off that something isn’t quite right. It can give us some insight into how we really feel about a person, or a set of circumstances. This insight can be important, especially when the person who feels jealous understands that there may be a disconnect between their feelings about a situation and the reality of their situation. For example, a person may feel jealous when their significant other is very friendly with the cashier at the grocery store. A healthy person may recognize that their jealousy isn’t necessarily well founded, and that no real threat to their relationship exists. In other situations, a person may find that their significant other’s friendship crosses many pre-established and socially accepted boundaries. In that case, jealousy may be acceptable, assuming that the jealousy is appropriately handled. Jealousy doesn’t have to be a bad thing, or a sign that your significant other is obsessive and controlling. There are some instances where jealousy is a completely normal reaction to another party’s inappropriate behavior. Whether or not your jealousy is acceptable will likely depend on how easy it is to make you jealous, and how you handle your jealousy.

When Jealousy Is Unhealthy

Jealousy is a normal feeling when we feel as though something we care about—a relationship—may be threatened. After all, you shouldn’t necessarily be expected to be completely okay with your spouse going on a week-long vacation with their ex—especially if you’re expressly not invited. But there are times where jealousy isn’t necessarily healthy. 

Jealousy becomes unhealthy when it takes control: if jealousy gets in the driver’s seat and pushes you into the passenger seat, you may have a problem. Even the most emotionally intimate marriages have boundaries. If you’re continuously crossing these boundaries, that may be a sign that your jealousy has gotten out of control. For example, if you’re going through your significant other’s stuff, telling them how to dress, demanding detailed accounts of where they are, what they’re doing and who they’re with, or controlling what they do and who they talk to, these may be signs of a deeper issue.

Controlling Your Jealousy

It’s not necessarily how you’re feeling that matters, rather it’s how you react that really matters.

If jealousy is an issue in your marriage, having open and honest conversations with your spouse can help keep your relationship in a healthy place. If you realize that you are sensitive to feeling jealous, you can talk to your spouse about these feelings. Together, you and your spouse can set healthy boundaries that don’t encourage inappropriate behavior from people outside the marriage, but allow both parties to have freedom and independence. In some cases, counseling may help marriages that have been damaged by excessive jealousy.

How Much Jealousy Is Normal?

It’s normal to feel jealous when your spouse crosses pre-established boundaries or when someone else crosses the boundaries of your relationship. However, it is not normal for your jealousy to inspire you to take measures to control your spouse. Prohibiting actions that the vast majority of society sees as socially acceptable behavior within a monogamous relationship may be a sign that your jealousy is out of control. For example, if you tell your significant other that they’re not allowed to have a social media account, or go out with their friends, it may be time to consider what has caused this behavior. If you’re constantly going out of your way to ensure they aren’t cheating, it may be time to either re-evaluate your relationship, or re-evaluate the insecurities that are causing you to cross these boundaries. Though every relationship has boundaries for what is acceptable and what isn’t, your spouse shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells to avoid making you suspicious.

Filing for Divorce

If you’re considering filing for divorce, now is a great time to explore your legal options and get the information you need to make the most informed decisions regarding your divorce. At CoilLaw, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you get through the divorce process as smoothly as possible. Contact us to get started.



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