My Husband Tells Me What To Wear

Watch this video on de-escalating jealousy to restore harmony should the green-eyed monster attack your relationship.

Sometimes the issue centers around the fact that one partner is more sexually conservative than the other or, on the other hand, more flirtatious and extroverted than the other.

Regardless of the underlying issue, the last thing you want to do is react with judgment, criticism, or dismiss your lover’s feelings as silly—even if they are unfounded.

The green-eyed monster can corner both men and women when a third party is perceived as a threat to a treasured relationship. Jealousy is a complex emotion, a chemical cocktail that fires the danger circuits in the brain causing rage, fear of abandonment, and feelings of humiliation. A common response when a lover pays attention to another—especially an attractive, sexy other—is: How does that make me look?

Before you go dismissing your partner’s jealous reaction (or your own for that matter) pause to consider the possibility that jealousy has something important to say. Rather than ask, Why are you jealous? and try to talk your partner out of what they are feeling, instead ask, Is there something you need from me right now?

For example, consider the impasse between Lauren and her fiancée, Chuck. Lauren is in great shape, and she enjoys dressing up sexy. She has an enviable collection of lingerie she has accumulated over the years. Many of her favorite pieces were gifts from past lovers. As of late and for no obvious reason, Chuck has started getting weird when she puts on lingerie. One night when she pulled out a favorite black lace thong and matching bra, he started sulking. Lauren asked him what was up. He asked who gave her the set, and when she told him, he demanded, Did you have sex with him while wearing that?

Had Lauren dismissed his jealousy or made him wrong for feeling the way he did, the bra and panty issue could’ve escalated into a fight that would actually foster more jealous feelings and compound them with feelings of being misunderstood. Fortunately, Lauren remembered my advice about how to handle a jealous lover and applied it to her situation. She was able to address Chuck’s concern with compassion and understanding, rather than shame him for feeling insecure.

It’s not always easy to step back and get perspective when a lover is suddenly blinded by jealousy. Unresolved jealousy can erode trust in a relationship, so it’s helpful to know how to de-escalate those painful feelings. Like most people, you need expert advice on how to handle this head-on or, if someone is chronically and unreasonably jealous, how to set boundaries or know when it’s time to leave the relationship.

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