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How to Deal With Envy in a Relationship


Envy is one of the most challenging emotions to navigate in a relationship. It sticks to you and if not handled in the right way, seems to grow larger as time goes on. The worst thing about this nagging feeling is that it will suck the life out of you if you let it. Perhaps your partner has a friend who seems to like her beyond the friendly parameters of a regular friendship. There are flirtatious winks and heavy gestures, lots of giggling when your partner is around, or maybe your partner has been busier with work than usual and you find yourself having catastrophic daydreams of somebody else the somebody else who lives in your head. There is always that “dream” version of somebody else - the superior fantasy person who can work their charm magic easier than you can, who is fitter than you, who is more educated or interesting or fun. The list goes on. They plant seeds of doubt in your head. And, to beat the fantasy, you need to learn how to kill or at least manage the envy it sparks.

Here are four ways to deal with envy in a healthy, beneficial, and productive manner.

Do not act upon impulse:

Envy is a red-hot emotion. It surges through us rapidly, makes us dizzy with anger and hurt. It has the potential to do massive, relationship destroying damage if you aren’t careful with taking care of yourself when it strikes. So, take a few moments to calm down and talk yourself down from the ledge. Take notice of the actuality of the situation as best as you can. Find the faith and trust what you have in your partner and cling onto it.

When experiencing strong feelings of jealousy or envy, the best thing to do is to practice self-control in your speech and actions. That can help you manage and make the negative emotions go away. Take deep breaths and reign in any impulse to lash out at your partner with harsh words. This could be detrimental to your relationship. If you feel like you really need to say something, remind yourself of these words from, you’d never guess it, the Book of Proverbs: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Ground yourself. Breathe.

Attempt to recognize where these feelings come from:

This is of course is easier said than done. It can be done in several ways, depending on what you feel would be most beneficial for you. You can reach out to friends or family. You can write out your feelings in a journal using a more stream of consciousness method rather than structured entries. After recognizing these feelings in a journal, see what you can pluck out from what you’ve written. What patterns do you see? Most of the time, envy is born out of insecurity and continues to thrive on it. It is true, misery loves company. Perhaps you can trace your insecurities to how you were raised, what relationships you witnessed growing up, or how you have been treated in past relationships. Do you feel worthy? Is the fantasy person lingering around every corner? It is just as important to be able to identify your feelings as it is to deal with them.

Treat yourself with care:

After you have identified the root, or cause of your envy, and feel as though you have a good understanding of how it works, you must do something to relieve yourself. Have fun. At this point, you have been wound and worked up. You have done the work and will continue to do the work in ridding yourself of your envy, but you must take a break from the emotional work and do something nice for yourself. This will not only alleviate any stress that has built up but will also make you feel more confident. Buy yourself a gift, something you’ve had your eye on. Take your partner out for an intimate, relaxing date, or go see a funny movie you love. Unwind yourself, you deserve it.

Talk about your feelings:

You are only human. As stated previously, envy is a difficult and monstrous emotion that can even feel overwhelming at times. If the envy continues despite your efforts at alleviating it on your own to eat at you, it might be beneficial to sit down with your partner and discuss what you’ve been feeling. You must be calm and respectful so as not to come across as accusatory, which would only worsen the situation. Nobody has done anything wrong, but you are hurting. Let it out. Choose your words carefully and lovingly. Let your partner know where you are coming from, what you have discovered about your emotions, and what you need from them.

Envy is powerful but you are stronger. You can overcome and defeat it through being emotionally open and aware. Listen to yourself and allow yourself to be heard.

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