Most of us feel pangs of self doubt every now and then, which is totally normal. But, when it comes to jealousy in relationships, personal insecurities and comparison, it can actually drive a wedge between you and your partner.
Insecurity is good to some extent because it makes you work harder in the relationship and value your partner more. If there's too much insecurity though, it can create a toxic atmosphere in the relationship and can wreak havoc on your confidence. It can even separate partners who love and care for each other.
When insecurity or jealous begins to surface, it can often appear harmless and somewhat adorable. But if it sinks its teeth too deep into the relationship, it can make you act out of character and harm the relationship. If that's the case and it's taking a toll on you and your partner, here's what you need to do.
Build your self-esteem.
Insecurities are tough suckers to get rid of. They are the lice of your emotional stability—annoying and really hard to banish. Building your self-esteem is the only way to get rid of your insecurities (or at least, keep them at bay.)
How can you do this? Practice self care by booking yourself a luxury spa day, start exercising, or doing something you really love. It's best to work on one habit you’d like to get rid of, and one you’d like to create.
Find out the root cause of your insecurity.
You can't banish something if you don't acknowledge it exists. Dig deep and think back to what is causing you so much grief in your current relationship. Was it something your mum said when you were five-years-old that's stuck with you? Could it be something your partner is doing that's making you question their motives? Or even that underhanded comment some random person said to you one time
Whatever it is, your romantic relationship will benefit if you know what the source of your insecurities are—then you'll be ready to tackle it head on.
Trust yourself and your partner.
It will come as a shock to no one when I say that trust is the key to happy, healthy relationships. Trust not only means sharing your deepest secrets with your partner without worrying that they're going to blab them to anyone who will listen, but it also brings you comfort in knowing that they mean what they say... that they're not going to betray or hurt you.
Both partners can practice trust by living up to their word, being emotionally and physically present in the relationship, and by being accountable to each other. It's also important to trust your own instincts. If your partner has never given you a reason to distrust them, then don't. However, if you feel a deep needling at your core telling you something just isn't right, trust your gut!
If your partner says they want to hang out just with their friends one night and without you, don't take this as a personal slight. Not everything your partner does is meant to hurt you in some way. Just like them falling asleep before you have the chance to have sex doesn't mean they're cheating or uninterested—it probably means they're tired.
For your sanity, take your partner at their word. Not everything action has a menacing thought behind it.
Give your partner space.
For a healthy relationship, you need to be willing to give your partner space. I know if you're feeling insecure or jealous, space is not what you need. But giving your partner space can help prevent them from feeling smothered or attacked. It can also give you a great opportunity to pursue your own interests and work on maintaining your own social life. Doing things on your own can help boost your confidence and remind yourself that you still have a life outside of your romantic relationship.
Let go of the negative relationship experiences of the past.
Past experiences can mess up your love life. Remembering how a shady ex made you feel undesired and unappreciated can transfer over to your new relationship and make your insecurities snowball out of control. The only way you can move on is by letting go of your negative experiences.
Talk to a therapist, friends, family, or your current partner about your past experiences. Talking openly about hurtful situations you've been in during past relationships can help your current partner understand you better. And let's face it, sometimes it's just cathartic to let it all out.
Don't avoid conversations because they make you feel uncomfortable.
One of the most common pieces of relationship advice you'll see everywhere is the importance of communication in relationships. And yes, this if for a good reason.
Part of being in a healthy relationship means having the ability to talk to each other about anything under the sun. We mean it. Periods, exes, that unsettling dream you keep having that you're too grossed out to tell anyone about. Feeling jealous or insecure sometimes means having kind of awkward conversations with your partner—but it's 100 percent worth it.
Don't spend too much time on social media.
They say comparison is the thief of joy. Nowhere can this be truer than on social media. Beach babes with their rock-hard abs, flawless skin and enviable social lives abound, leaving the rest of us mere mortals wondering what the hell are lives are.
Not to mention, social media is the main way of stalking your partner's exes, if you're that way inclined. This is not healthy behaviour and certainly won’t help you get over your insecurities.
Talk about your feelings with a friend.
Nobody likes to feel alone, and why should you when you have a group of amazing friends to talk through your feelings with? Get your most trusted pals together and share your innermost thoughts and feelings.
Not only will getting your woes off your chest relieve some of the worry you're feeling, but your friends will be able to share their own personal experiences in overcoming insecurity or jealousy in relationships.
Channel your anxieties into something productive instead.
If you're looking to banish jealousy in relationships, start exercising or doing something active if you can. It may sound a bit bizarre, but the truth is getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes each day can help boost your self esteem and promote positive mental health.
Studies show regular exercise can help reduce anxiety, depression, and boost your mood. It can also clear your headspace, giving you time to meditate or just hang back and enjoy the high from your workout.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.