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Jealousy Junkies

How many of you experience jealousy in your marriage?  Do you think men or women are more secure in their marriages?  A survey of 2,000 women done by Woman’s Day and AOL Living found that 44 percent of the women surveyed have trust issues in their marriage, 53 percent secretly check emails and phone messages and 77 percent said they’d be jealous if their husband had a platonic female friend.  It seems that men are more secure with marriage than women since only 13 percent of the women’s husbands reportedly get jealous if they talk with a guy friend.  In addition, they found that 53 percent of the women in the survey indicated that they flirt to make their husband jealous.  What causes someone to be jealous?  In some cases it has to do with insecurity, mistrust, past experiences, or past behaviors of their spouse.  Jealousy can consume a lot of time, energy, thoughts, and emotions.  Some feel justified in their jealousy, but they end up suffering.  Fears of rejection, abandonment and perceived hurt can also contribute to jealousy.  It is helpful to understand  the cause and develop a game plan for change.  Some of my patients get obsessed with jealousy and find themselves checking cell phones, computers, prior bills/records, and even using GPS devices.  In some cases there is good reason for the jealousy (i.e. infidelity), but in other cases the behaviors are difficult to justify.  When do you stop checking, even if infidelity occurred?  My role as a therapist is to help people work through their individual issues related to jealousy, which is often by increasing their self-esteem.  For those individuals who have good reason to feel jealous, I help them come up with a reduced checking schedule and work towards weaning them off the need to check as they build trust and communication in the marriage.  If jealousy is a problem for you, figure out the cause and take action to change it.  Jealousy drains, confidence reigns!

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