A Jealous Partner.. What Can You Do?



In the quest for love? Behavioral science can help. Send your question to MazeQuest@thelovemaze.com. Questions may be revised and edited.

Dear Maze,

"I have a very dedicated boyfriend. There's nothing in the world that he wouldn't do for me. I feel so blessed except for one thing. He is the jealous type. He doesn't like most of my guy friends. I happen to be a very social person. His attitude has created quite some tensions between us. I'm seriously thinking of spending the rest of my life with him, but not to be cut off from the outside world! I know that jealousy is not something easily fixable. I don't want to be constantly choose between him and the others. What can I do to mitigate the situation? –Jenny"

People who are high on the jealousy scale tend to have the anxious attachment style. Their anxiety is exacerbated by the Social Comparison Bias, where they have feelings of dislike and competitiveness with someone that is seen physically or mentally better than themselves. It's human nature to compare yourself to everyone else and evaluate where you are and how well you are doing. While the comparison can motivate people to improve, it also adds mental burdens to especially the sensitive type causing depression, jealousy, resentment, etc.

The good news is, the same Social Comparison Bias can help us to fend off some unpleasant feelings. Downward Comparison is when we compare ourselves to those who are less than us, making us feel better about our abilities or traits. Research has proven that Downward Comparison increases a person's relationship satisfaction. Nobody's life is perfect. You can share some of the difficulties that your friends are facing or have overcome, giving your boyfriend a fuller picture of your friends than what he had in mind thus taking the edge off his negativity. This might also trigger his empathy and draw him closer to your friends. Nobody is good at everything. Point out some aspects that your boyfriend is doing so much better than some of your friends. That will enhance his confidence in and satisfaction with your relationship.

Have a maze quest? Send your question to MazeQuest@thelovemaze.com. Questions may be revised and edited.

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