Not Trust My Spouse Spouses sometimes have a hard time coping when it's guys or girls night out. BY TERRI L. ORBUCH, PH.D.
My spouse tells me that they would like to spend time with their friends. I know this is important to them, but I get upset anyway. Why do I get jealous when my spouse goes out with friends?
Don’t despair, you’re not alone! Nearly everyone has suffered through a jealous twinge or two at some point in time. People experience jealousy when they think they are going to lose a relationship that is of value to them. What you need to remember is the search to finding out why you get jealous when your spouse goes out with their friends begins by looking inside yourself. Feelings of jealousy have little to do with your spouse and more to do with you and issues of confidence and self-worth.
Most people don’t know there are two types of jealousy: reactive and suspicious. Reactive jealousy is when you become aware of an actual threat to your relationship. This threat could have happened years go or it may be anticipated in the future, but the feeling always occurs in response to a realistic danger. Suspicious jealousy arises when your spouse hasn’t done anything wrong and your suspicions or feelings do not fit the facts at hand. Suspicious jealousy leads to anger or mistrustful behaviors to confirm your thoughts and suspicions. This distinction is important, because everybody feels reactive jealousy when they realize their spouse has been unfaithful or may be distancing themselves from the relationship. However, people vary in their tendencies to feel suspicious jealousy in the absence of any real danger.
To help manage feelings of jealousy take a second to read the tips below. It takes a bit of work on your part, but it will help you manage the anger you feel when your spouse goes out with friends.
Dependency: Become less dependent on the relationship to determine how you feel about yourself. The more dependent you are on the relationship, the more jealousy you feel in response to a real or perceived threat. Remember, your self-worth is not related to your partner’s desire to spend time with friends.
Self-Confidence: Build your own self-confidence and self-esteem. Feelings of inadequacy lead to more jealousy. Write down 10 positive things you like about yourself. Keep the list close to you during the day and use the list to affirm your self-worth.
Do not compare: Your spouse’s friends have qualities and interests that you may not have nor be able to offer your spouse. That is okay! Do not compare yourself to your spouse’s friends. Your spouse wants to be with you too! You have unique strengths and qualities, and you can never expect to satisfy all of the needs and interests of your spouse.
Sign of true love: Many people assume that jealousy is a sign of true love or how much they care about a spouse. This is wrong. Be sure not to view jealousy as a sign of true love or as a way to test the relationship.
Communicate: Try to express your concerns and feelings to your spouse. Direct communication is the best way to get your concerns or suspicions heard. The two of you probably differ in your relationship rules about leisure time. Your spouse may feel that in a happy relationship, it is important for each spouse to have their own hobbies, interests and friends. You assume that happy couples share leisure time together. This difference is not a problem, but communication with each other is the key.
Terri L. Orbuch, Ph.D., aka "The Love Doctor" (www.detroitlovedr.com) is a psychologist, sociologist, Oakland University professor and research scientist at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She recently released her 3-CD audio set, "Relationship CPR: How To Breathe Life Into Your Relationship."