We’ve probably all been jealous– or have been around someone else who is jealous– from time to time. The jealous person sees in the other person something that he or she feels is lacking.
It could be appearance, financial abundance, love, fame, or another attribute that seems to trigger the jealousy.
Jealousy is painful for the person who is feeling it. When it is directed at an acquaintance or a stranger it is certainly difficult. But when jealousy rears its head in a love relationship or marriage, it can surely drive a wedge between the two people.
Sometimes one partner feels jealous because his or her mate is a flirt or is perceived as very attractive and receives a lot of attention from others. This type of jealousy usually involves feelings of mistrust and fears that infidelity will occur.
When your spouse is jealous…
But a spouse can also become jealous and resentful because it seems that his or her partner has achieved a level of success that, for one reason or another, the jealous mate has not reached.
Jody cannot understand why her husband Paul is not proud of her. After several long years, she’s her first novel is finally finished and on the market. And, the best news of all, she’s got a publisher and the book is selling well all over the country!
It has been Jody’s dream to be an successful writer and now she is actually doing it.
As Jody and her novel get more and more positive press and the money begins to come in from book sales, Paul seems to be getting more and more brooding and difficult to be around.
It’s as if he’s jealous of her success. Paul’s apparent jealousy is upsetting and disappointing to Jody. This is a time when she wants to celebrate these wonderful changes with Paul, not feel disconnected from him.
Stay Aware and Open
When you notice that your spouse is possibly jealous or resentful of successes you might have in your personal or professional life, pay attention.
We don’t advise you to ignore the distance that is forming between the two of you or to hope that your partner will just “get over it.”
Be willing to have uncomfortable conversations with your mate and be willing to stay open and listen to how he or she is feeling. This great thing that is happening in your life might be impacting your
partner in ways you are unaware of.
This isn’t a time to discount your partner’s feelings. Listen and try to understand how he or she might be feeling.
You can also share with your mate how disappointed you feel about the distance between the two of you and how you’d like to come together to celebrate these achievements.
Both of you have valid feelings. Create space within your heart to acknowledge the different ways you might each be experiencing the same events or changes.
Continue to Follow Your Dreams
Jody decides that there has been enough tension in her marriage. She asks Paul to talk with her. Jody doesn’t blame Paul for the disconnection in their marriage and she doesn’t criticize him for being jealous.
She does tell him that she feels like there is distance between them and that she’d like to find a way that they can move closer together again.
Jody tells Paul that she believes the changes in their lives because of her novel are a source of their troubles. She asks Paul to be honest with her about how he’s feeling and why this might be.
As they talk, Jody knows that Paul’s jealousy will not go away if she stops writing novels– and then she would be miserable and resentful too!
She is aware that this is something he primarily needs to resolve within himself. She knows she cannot “fix” it for him.
At the same, Jody can try to understand where Paul is coming from and listen to requests he might have. Jody can support Paul as he addresses his jealousy. And if and when he decides to follow dreams of his own, she can be present and engaged encouraging him along the way.
The bottom line here is to listen and stay open when your spouse is jealous.
Whenever there is distance in your marriage, be available and remain open to what your partner is feeling and perceiving and also to what you are feeling and perceiving.
When jealousy and resentment are involved, be a supporter. Yes, you most likely play a role in these emotions your partner is feeling.
But you cannot erase them or solve these challenges for him or her.
Keep nurturing yourself and continue to talk with your partner about ways you each can feel fulfilled with your lives individually and as a couple.