Every time I see my boyfriend flirting with another girl, I get so mad. I know he loves me, but I still feel this way. How can I overcome this jealousy and not let it rule my life?

-“Hands off my man” in Hill Court

You are talking about one of the most biting and debilitating emotions in existence. I think Mrs. White, from the 1985 movie “Clue”, describes jealousy best with “flame, flames, FLAMES on the side of my face, breathing, breathless … heaving breaths, heaving …”

Jealousy does hurt worse than a dry socket without Percoset, but believe it or not, lots of people get through it.

A certain amount of jealousy is human nature. However, if you are perpetually plotting bloody chainsaw massacres at the sight of your boyfriend conversing with other females, you might consider delving into the underlying reasons for these maladaptive feelings that are dominating your psyche.

You need to start by asking yourself some questions. What are you scared of? Is there a genuine threat to your relationship? Are you afraid that your partner is sharing a part of himself with someone else, and you need to have all of him? It’s okay to feel these things. You just need to be honest with yourself.

Communicate these feelings to your partner. Mutual sharing of thoughts and emotions is the keystone to a healthy, satisfying relationship. If the flirting makes you uncomfortable, explain this to him. Perhaps, if he is aware that this is gnawing at you, he will attempt to tone down this behavior. If he will not alter his actions, you might want to reevaluate if this relationship is right for you.

There is a difference between controlling your partner and getting both of your needs met, though. You don’t want to constrain your partner’s personality.

If you conclude that you are an overly jealous person, but you find it difficult to understand why, you may be dealing with a self-esteem issue. Studies have shown that individuals whose self-esteem is heavily dependent upon their partner or the relationship are more often jealous than individuals who are healthily independent (Friday 1997, Pines 1998).

There are ways to improve your self-esteem and become more independent in your thinking. You might consider talking with a counselor to gain insight into these emotions and also to attempt to alleviate the toll that this jealousy is placing on your relationship.

If you have any love and relationship questions that are literally, ummm … burning, they can be sent to the love goddess herself, Joan Knihnicki.

She can be reached at love@campustimes.org.

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