Jealously in relationships is a totally normal occurrence.
But when we can't figure out why it's happening or communicate in a healthy way, we often get in our own way.
I was talking to my client Karen recently who was experiencing jealousy in her relationship with her boyfriend Andy.
Karen and Andy have what I like to call Soul Level Love. He is emotionally available and they have the kind of open and honest communication that Karen has always wanted.
That doesn't mean these moments of jealousy don't come up.
Several weeks ago, Andy and Karen went out with his co-workers.
There was a woman there who Andy hangs out with a lot, let's say her name is Arielle. Karen knew who Arielle was and how well she and Andy get along, but she'd never seen them interacting in person.
Karen saw how flirty Arielle was with Andy, and even though Andy wasn't necessarily engaging in the same way, he was definitely giving her attention.
As they kept drinking and hanging out, there was about an hour where Andy was fully engrossed in a conversation with Arielle. Karen felt ignored and triggered by this experience.
When they got home, Karen couldn't keep it in anymore. She was mad and felt totally disrespected.
They argued about how Andy was acting and how his attention was on Arielle.
At one point he said, "I didn't realize that I was doing that. I thought I was trying to balance spending time with you and everyone else who was there."
Karen didn't see it that way. She asked him if he had feelings for Arielle and he immediately said, "Of course not, I'm in love with you."
After some more back and forth, Karen calmed down.
Instead of being mad, she began feeling guilty that she started this whole thing in the first place.
Feeling confused about her reaction, Karen sent me an email.
She asked, "What should I do? Should I apologize? Should I tell him I didn't mean the things I said? Or should I tell him that to ensure this doesn't happen again I don't want him being friends with Arielle anymore?"
This was my response:
It's totally okay that you had an argument about this. Jealousy happens.
I asked her what she was really afraid of.
After some digging she revealed, "I'm afraid that he's attracted to her, and if we're not connecting as well one day or we get into an argument and Arielle happens to be there - then something might happen."
I said, "Great. Have you asked him if he is attracted to her"?
She said, "No, what if he says YES?!"
Here's the thing.
To create a powerful relationship you have to grant each other freedom.
When you tell a man NOT to do something and create a rule, that means you're cutting off his freedom AND yours.
It takes away your freedom because then you can't have guys you're friends with or flirty with in your life (just because you're in a relationship doesn't mean you're dead inside).
It also has you start to check up on him to see if he's following the rules you created.
That is not the kind of relationship that allows you to feel expansive and connected.
You want him to stand for your freedom and you for his.
When you find yourself in a situation like this, have an honest conversation about your fears.
For Karen, even if he says he is attracted to her, when two people are honest from the deepest part of themselves - here is just another layer of trust that gets built in the relationship.
I told her to ask him if he feels he would he jeopardize their relationship in a moment of weakness.
I said, "Hear what he says and how he says it"
Karen got vulnerable and asked.
Andy said that he wasn't attracted to Arielle and Karen could feel he was being totally honest.
He said, "I just feel a friendship towards her and I've told you she has been going through a hard time. Part of me just wants to help her."
Relief. Karen got what she needed and CHOSE to trust him and herself.
So remember: Jealousy is normal.
Our brains are constantly comparing and when that happens, jealousy is inevitable.
This is what I want you to take away from reading this today:
Jealousy is a fear in disguise. When we unravel the fear and take action the jealousy dissolves.
Now I want to hear from you.
Have you been jealous before and how did you handle it? How did it affect your relationship and how did you resolve it?
Let me know in the comments below.