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About Susie and Otto
How to Talk with Your Partner about
Jealousy...and Not Make it Worse!
By Susie and Otto Collins
If you are in a relationship with a person who tends to get
jealous easily and often, it might appear difficult to
communicate with him or her.
It can seem tricky and treacherous to talk about matters
that trigger jealousy with your partner-- and sometimes it
can seem tricky and treacherous to talk about much of
anything at all.
Perhaps you just don't know what will set off a jealous
reaction in your mate.
The fact of the matter probably is, you want to be in this
relationship and you want to move closer to your love.
But you don't want jealousy to continue to come between the
two of you.
You might be searching for ways to talk about how you are
feeling regarding your partner's jealousy and your
relationship overall but you don't want to make it worse.
Anthony feels like there are land mines set in all areas of
He know this is a dramatic way of looking at things, but
it's how it seems to him at the moment.
It's as if whatever Anthony does or says-- no matter how
benign or innocent it appears to be from his point of view--
it sets off an explosive jealous reaction in his girlfriend
While Anthony tries very hard to watch what he
says, quite regularly, arguments and tears dominate their
Anthony is not ready to give up on Angela or their
relationship, but he also is very unhappy with the
direction they seem to be headed.
Instead, he'd like to have fun with her and share passionate
connecting, like they did when they first started dating--
and when Angela's jealousy was not yet apparent to him.
Choose connecting words.
If you are ready to make a shift in your relationship,
changing the way you communicate can help immensely.
You cannot force or erase the jealousy that your partner
feels. As much as you'd like to be able to do this, it is
not going to happen.
Stopping jealousy is ultimately up to the person who is
What you can do is choose words that communicate your desire
to connect, build trust and be open when talking with your
You can also act in accordance with what you are speaking
about-- genuinely and with integrity.
One phrase you might try is this: "Because our
relationship is so important to me...."
This phrase is potentially relationship-transforming
in the way that it sets up whatever you are saying next.
When you start a sentence with this phrase, you are clearly
letting your partner know that your intentions are to move
closer together and that he or she and what you share
together are important to you.
Anthony sets aside his fear of "land mines" and decides that
he has to talk with Angela about her jealousy.
He says to her, "Because our relationship is so important to
me, I'd like to talk about the jealousy that I believe is
driving us apart."
Anthony stays as relaxed as possible and open as he speaks
He listens as Angela talks about her fears and worries.
Then he shares how much he loves her and how hurt he feels
when she mistrusts him.
It is a difficult conversation and it is also one that
both Angela and Anthony feel relieved and grateful to have
Make communication agreements.
Once you start experiencing the magic that choosing
connecting words can bring to your relationship, you'll
probably want to continue this practice.
Create some communication agreements with your partner.
These don't have to be a list of "don'ts" that feels
restrictive or forced.
Instead, your communication agreements can be a declaration
of your new intention to stay open, be honest and remain
present and attentive with one another.
You can also get specific with communication agreements.
For example, Anthony and Angela decide that when Angela
feels jealous, she will take some time to look within and
get clear about what is triggering her jealousy before
talking with him about it.
Anthony agrees to listen to Angela without condemning her
and that he will notice her improvements as she releases
They promise to be honest and open with one
another including such things as what and who they've been
with as well as how they are each feeling and what they
No matter how jealous your partner has been in the past, you
can set a new tone and mood in your relationship.
You can tune in to yourself and look honestly at what you
want and how you want to be in this relationship.
From a place of clarity, you can speak about jealousy and
any other topic that might have seemed off-limits or too
You can potentially end up closer than before as a result of
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