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The 14 Rules of Long-Lasting Relationships

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Jealousy Is Your Stuff, Not Theirs

I'd just like to say before we get beyond the title of this Rule, that I'm not talking about instances where you know for a fact that your partner is cheating on you. In that case jealousy is understandable and justified. What this Rule is about is feeling jealous every time your partner is away from home, out on their own, late from work, and so on. Maybe you've even been tempted to go through their emails or sneak a look at the calls on their cell phone. (What? You've already done it? Tsk tsk.)

Jealousy is one of the most corrosive things in a relationship. I've seen it destroy otherwise excellent partnerships. When the partner who is the object of such suspicion is in fact innocent, they feel angry and resentful at not being trusted, and rightly so. Your partner is innocent until proven otherwise, and you must trust them.

There are all sorts of reasons why you may be jealous, most of which will have something to do with your own history. The thing to understand is that it's you who needs to address your jealousy. It's not your partner's job to tell you where they are all the time and keep handing over their cell phone for inspection.

Every problem is a shared one, and your partner will -- I hope --- want to help resolve this. No matter what they do, it won't satisfy you if you're inherently jealous. You'll suspect them of deleting texts before they hand over the phone, and you'll think of every 10-minute stretch you couldn't account for their whereabouts. Nope, the only thing that will sort this out is for you to deal with why you feel irrationally jealous. You might be able to do this for yourself or with friends, or you may want to talk to your doctor or a counselor. Choose whatever method works for you, but you must deal with it or you'll end up with no partner to be jealous of.

Next: Make Time for Romance

More on: Marriage and Divorce

From The Rules of Love Copyright © 2009, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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