Talk About Your Feelings

Typically, the best way to deal with jealousy or suspicion is to talk to your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, about the issue (see Guerrero & Anderson; Anderson, Eloy, Guerrero, & Spitzberg).

When people are suspicious or jealous, they often try to hide their true feelings from their partners, but ignoring our emotions hardly ever works. Our feelings get the best of us and influence our behavior whether we like it or not.

So when people experience jealousy, if they do not talk about it, it comes out through sudden mood changes, acting overly controlling, being overly sensitive and needy, causing unnecessary arguments and fights, pointing out a romantic rival’s every flaw, attacking a partner ("why did you do that?"), and so on.

In fact, jealousy sometimes leads people to flirt with others as a way of getting their partner’s attention or showing them just how awful it can feel (see Guerrero & Anderson).

On the other hand, a lot of research shows that talking to a partner about being jealous is the best way of dealing with it (see Guerrero & Anderson). As a general rule, when talking about jealousy, it helps to focus on your feelings and not necessarily your partner’s behavior.

In other words, do not blame or attack your spouse or partner because you feel jealous—rather explain how you feel ("Sometimes my jealousy gets the best of me, and I don’t like feeling this way...").

If you can talk directly to your spouse or partner about how you feel, you are less likely to act in ways that create more distance and distrust in your relationship or marriage. In fact, people often feel closer when they can talk to their partners about their problems in a constructive manner (also see talk about problems).

Also, you are most likely to get the reassurance that you need from a partner when you discuss your jealousy in a calm, cool manner. And if your partner gives you reassurances when you are feeling jealous, your feelings will fade over time (see how to deal with jealous partner).

However, you need to determine if talking about your problem is likely to be productive given your own relationship. Some people have a difficult time listening to their partners or spouses discuss their problems. Some people are just more uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness—so talking may not always work (see dismissing attachment).