Admit it: you get a bit of a thrill when you see a flare of jealousy in your significant other. It’s kind of attractive and a little bit of a compliment toward you when a romantic interest acts envious of your good looking co-worker or is covetous of your time. But jealousy can also be a slippery slope that can lead to controlling and possessive behavior. Make sure you know where the line is, and how to stay on the healthy side of that line.
Romance and possessiveness sometimes go hand in hand, and it’s perfectly healthy and normal to want your partner’s love and affection geared towards you. But sometimes, this possessiveness can get out of hand if you allow it to.
Awakening the Monster
There’s a reason that jealousy is called the green-eyed monster. When jealousy goes too far, it can lead to a controlling, life restrictive type of possessiveness that is unhealthy for any relationship. A jealous romantic partner may try to monopolize your time. They can become envious of time you spend with friends, suspicious of what you’re doing when the two of you aren’t together and resentful of things you do outside the relationship.
A possessive partner may be insecure or have a history of not being trustworthy, or that someone was not trustworthy with them. A partner who can’t trust may have a more difficult time in a relationship. That lack of trust can blossom into much bigger problems. Jealousy can truly become monstrous, and too much of it can destroy any relationship.
The Dark Side
Possessiveness has a dark side. Say, for example, that you assert your independence with a possessive partner. You have every right to do this, but a possessive partner won’t see it that way. When they feel that they are threatened or they feel you are attempting to put distance between the two of you, it can lead to them feeling hurt, or attempt to hurt you emotionally or physically.
The dark side of possessiveness can lead to stalking and controlling behavior. A possessive partner will check your phone, your email, your internet history and your social media accounts. They may follow you, manipulate you and attempt to cut you off from your friends and family. They can become dangerous and frightening.
Possessiveness is romance with no boundaries, and everyone needs boundaries. Everyone needs their own space to be themselves, to grow and meet their personal and relationship goals.
How To Gain Trust
Don’t allow jealousy to grow and turn into a possessiveness that poisons your relationship in the first place. Trust is something that happens gradually. Both partners have to trust and be trustworthy in order to have a truly healthy relationship. Be consistent with growing your trust with each other. Open up and be vulnerable with each other. Communicate your wants and needs, and what makes you comfortable vs uncomfortable with their lifestyle. Do not expect them to give up their friends or activities that they enjoy doing, but you can let them know what bothers you and why. Your romantic partner, (provided they desire a healthy relationship as well), should show compassion for you and genuinely care about you. And if they do, you will see that discussing your concerns and what you will both do to create more trust in the relationship will help you both stay on the safe side of jealousy.