Jealous Again You see others as a potential threat to your marriage. Is there a way to not feel this way? BY DR. SCOTT HALTZMAN
You have to look at yourself to figure out where the jealousy comes from.
Why do I get so jealous when my spouse talks to other people?
When you stood at the altar and looked into the eyes of your beloved, it felt like he or she was the only person in the room. As you turned to walk down the aisle, for the first time as husband and wife, you notice the camera flashes and the tear-soaked faces of dozens of people around you. Where did they come from? Slowly, the realization hits you: you and your betrothed are not alone on this planet. There are others! Are they a threat?
When we marry, we assume the connection we have with each other will be strong enough to fend off outside threats. But bonding together in holy matrimony stimulates, in some people, an intense sense of possessiveness. In some ways, this you-belong-to-me-and-I-belong-to-you mentality is sweet; itís the stuff of pop songs and poetry. But sometimes the intensity of that connection is too strong. When one partner sees everyone whom his or her mate comes into contact with as a potential threat, it is a sign that jealousy has taken hold. Shakespeare called it "the green-eyed monster," and once it gets a hold of your relationship, it sinks its teeth in and can rip it apart.
If youíve got strong feelings of jealousy, itís probably a sign that you donít have enough trust in your partner that he or she is being faithful to you. That lack of trust may be prompted by one of four factors.
You may feel insecure about your self-worth. In these cases, either youíve been raised to believe, or some part of your inner-self feels, that you just donít measure up. Because you donít love yourself, you canít believe that others would love you, so you live in fear that your partnerís ďtrueĒ feelings will be revealed, and she will leave.
Youíre prone to cheating on your partnerómaybe even have done soóso, knowing what youíre capable of, you project that behavior onto your spouse.
You and your mate havenít yet figured out how to establish safe boundaries within the marriage. Having a tight relationship is about building walls around your love with windows that allow others to be part of itónot doors where competing lovers can walk right in and disrupt your home. Because you donít know whatís permissible within the marriage, and whatís not, youíre constantly on your toes.
Your mate is cheating on you. Infidelity doesnít have to include sex; it often has to do with making emotional connections to others outside the marriage. If your partner is sharing things about your private life with attractive members of the opposite sex, it robs a sense of intimacy from your relationship and leaves you feeling vulnerable.
Knowing the things that lead to jealousy is an important first step to getting things fixed. Put your focus on building trust. If youíve got some growing up to do, therapy may help. Both of you have to learn how to set boundaries in the marriage. That requires respecting your mates definition of limits of outside relationships from the start. Over time, as trust builds, you and your spouse can redefine what feels safe for the relationship. After all, when youíve got a great marriage, you want to share it with the world.
Dr. Haltzman is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown University. He is the author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wifeís Heart Forever." You can find Dr. Haltzman at www.DrScott.com