By Nicole Seligman
Loveisrespect Peer Advocate
Jealousy in relationships is one of the most common issues we hear about at loveisrespect. Whether you’ve just started to date someone or have been going strong for a long time, jealousy is a feeling that comes up in most relationships.
What determines if your relationship behaviors are healthy, unhealthy, or abusive is how you deal with your jealous feelings. Since there are so many different ways to go about confronting your own jealousy, we want to break down some of the myths and help you learn to always handle jealousy in a healthy way.
Myth 1: My boyfriend/girlfriend shouldn’t talk to, text or hang out with other girls/guys.
False! In a healthy relationship, both partners should encourage each other to have friends of any gender outside of the relationship. It is important to set boundaries to make sure you’re both on the same page about what might constitute cheating, but you and your partner should have fulfilling friendships with other people.
Myth 2: Going through my boyfriend/girlfriend’s phone and social media is ok if I suspect they may be cheating.
False! Whether you heard a rumor or just got the feeling they may be cheating, it’s never ok to look through your partner’s phone or social media without their permission. In a healthy relationship, if you are worried your partner might be cheating, you communicate with them openly about your feelings. Remember, it’s more effective to approach this as a conversation, rather than an accusation. Here are some tips on how to communicate better.
Myth 3: Since my boyfriend/girlfriend has cheated or lied in the past, I shouldn’t trust them when they say they’re being faithful.
False! It’s natural for you to be hurt by their cheating or dishonesty, but it’s never ok to use the past against your partner. Trust is something we decide to give, rather than being something that can be earned back. Not trusting your partner isn’t fair to them or to you. If you’re unsure if you can trust your partner, think about what it would take for you to trust them again. If your answer has anything to do with checking up on them, then you aren’t really trusting them. If your answer has something to do with adjusting your own jealousy and behaviors, then you may be able to go on to have a healthy relationship.
Myth 4: If my boyfriend/girlfriend is jealous of other people talking to me, they’re just trying to protect me.
False! Just like in Myth 1, healthy relationships include healthy friendships. If your partner is telling you that you aren’t allowed to talk to other people because they might be interested in you, then your partner isn’t showing you that they trust you. When one partner tries to tell the other who to talk to, what to wear or where to go, they are asserting power and control, which is unhealthy and can even be abusive.