How to Overcome Possessiveness and Jealousy when Dating
Jealousy is an emotion that spurred your ancient ancestors to guard their mates, suggests licensed clinical psychologist Nando Pelusi in the Psychology Today article, "Jealousy: A Voice of Possessiveness Past." In the modern world, however, too much jealousy and possessiveness in a relationship can drive couples apart. For example, your constant need to text your girlfriend and ask about her whereabouts could quickly make her feel untrusted or smothered by your clinginess. Rather than jeopardize your relationship when insecure feelings, learn a few strategies to control your emotions.
1 Notice the Physical Signs
Take note of your body's physical responses to jealousy, suggests holistic coach Janna Chin in her Your Tango article, "Stop Crazy Insecure Jealousy Woes & Save Your Relationship in Seven Easy Steps!" For example, perhaps when you feel possessive you also notice your heart rate increase or your muscles tense. Wear a rubber band on your arm and give it a snap when you notice oncoming jealousy, suggests Chin. Use this to remind yourself to take deep, slow breaths and relax your muscles until you feel calmer.
2 Question Your Concerns
Question each insecure thought that pops up in your head, suggests Chin. For example, if you feel possessive when your girlfriend is chatting with a male friend, ask yourself, "Is there really any cause for alarm here? Does she actually seem romantically interested in him, or am I overreacting?" Many times, you will catch yourself over exaggerating or making assumptions without the support of facts.
3 Write It Down
Keep a journal of your emotions, suggests Chin. Not only will this give you a chance to rationally question your fears, it also gives you a chance to rant until you feel calmer. Anytime you feel the urge to voice your jealousy to your partner, or make a possessive action, start writing it out on paper. In the event you feel you really must talk to your partner about your fears, writing them out first can also help you tailor the message and avoid possessive wording.
4 Remember Free Will
The belief that your partner is an object, rather than a decision-making person, is a common cause of jealousy, suggests licensed clinical professional counselor Kim Olver in the Your Tango article, "Is Jealousy Destroying Your Relationship?" Reassess your views. Acknowledge that your boyfriend doesn't actually "belong" to you, nor can you control his each and every thought and action. Trust him, but acknowledge that he has free will. Drop the possessiveness, or else his free will might steer him away from you.