Understanding Jealousy, Preserving Trust: Keeping Your Relationship Strong

Trust is an important part of a fulfilling and safe relationship. When you trust your partner, you feel confident that he or she will respect and care for you, honor commitments and be truthful. While trust often builds throughout the course of a relationship, trust between two people can also suffer, especially if there are unresolved feelings of jealousy.

It is completely normal to feel a little jealous from time to time even in the healthiest of relationships. Sometimes you may feel jealous about things that seem to take up a lot of your partner's time, like relationships with other people, job demands or time spent online. When you feel neglected by your partner due to his or her interest in something - or someone - else, you may worry that other interests are a threat to your relationship and wonder if you can trust your partner. The way that you and your partner deal with jealousy is critical to maintaining trust and avoiding more serious problems. Sharing your feelings with your partner and taking the time to talk about your relationship may make you feel better and make it easier for you to move past the jealousy. Honest communication - while sometimes painful and scary - can help you address your feelings before they become more intense.

Jealousy is unhealthy when it starts to define a relationship. This kind of jealousy may cause you to be suspicious of your partner and of his or her motives. Partners may become totally preoccupied by jealous thoughts, and constantly worry about losing the relationship. This kind of intense jealousy can lead to controlling or violent behavior. In an effort to gain control of these feelings and confidence in the relationship, you might try to limit your partner's time with others, spy on your partner, look through your partner's belongings or insist on knowing every detail of your partner's activities. You may find yourself constantly asking questions about past relationships. Some people try to control their partner's behavior through threats or intimidation, and in their desperation, may resort to physical violence. If you feel overcome by jealousy or are in a relationship with a jealous partner who demonstrates unhealthy feelings or actions that make you uncomfortable, you do not have to manage the situation on your own. Help is available for you and your partner.

A professional counselor can provide individual counseling to help you sort through your feelings or work with you as a couple to rebuild trust. Find out more about available confidential non-medical counseling resources at Military OneSource or contact your installation Family Advocacy Program. Contact information can be found on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS. If you are fearful for your safety or if your relationship has become abusive, there are people who can help you get and stay safe. You can find a Department of Defense victim advocate by contacting Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) for help with safety planning and finding resources and services in your community. Reach out for the support you need to keep your relationship healthy and safe.


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