Jealousy can occur when you fear that something important to you might be taken away. With that in mind, your jealousy of your girlfriend's male friends is a natural reaction. However, this doesn't mean it's a healthy reaction, especially in terms of your relationship. Your obsession with jealousy and your negative attitude toward your girlfriend's social network could actually push her away from you, according to licensed psychologist Clifford Lazarus in his "Psychology Today" article "Taming Jealousy." Rather than becoming the downfall of your own relationship, learn a few ways to handle your feelings.

Challenge Your Fears

Don't avoid your jealous feelings. Instead, challenge them, suggests Lazarus. Begin by being honest with yourself. Try to figure out why you feel threatened by her friends. Perhaps they are in better shape than you are or they have higher sources of income, and you are afraid your girlfriend will find these features attractive. Then, ask yourself if your fears are valid. Consider whether your girlfriend actually seems attracted to her friends. Chances are, things aren't quite as bad as you believe.

Befriend Your Fears

People often overexaggerate the positive points of others while downplaying their flaws, especially in the cases of jealousy and envy. Rather than assume people are perfect, get to know them, suggests Therese Borchard, associate editor of "PsychCentral," in her article "Eight Ways to Overcome Jealousy and Envy." In this case, take some time to befriend your girlfriend's friends. Perhaps you can even hang out with them when your girlfriend isn't around. Not only will you open the door to friendship, you will also learn they have their own flaws and issues.

Target Your Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem often underlies jealousy, and your low self-esteem might be caused by your habit of comparing yourself to your girlfriend's male friends. End these comparisons, says John Grohol, CEO and founder of "PsychCentral," in his article "Six Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem." Instead, compete against yourself, he suggests. Challenge yourself to learn new skills or improve old ones. For example, learn to cook new recipes or aim for more intense workouts.

Speak Up

Don't rule out the possibility that your jealousy could be based on legitimate fears. Perhaps your girlfriend is trying to make you jealous, or perhaps she's actually interested in one of her friends. Don't ignore warning signs, suggests dating coaches Susie and Otto Collins in their PsychCentral.com article "Jealous in Your Relationship? Stop Stalking and Start Talking." Have an open discussion with your girlfriend about your feelings if it seems necessary. You might uncover a change in her feelings toward your relationship, or you might find new reasons to trust her.