What happens when you fall in love with someone who lives or works far away? How do you keep your relationship close, connected and passionate? How do you keep away the worries and doubts that love won’t survive if you can’t physically be together a lot (or at all)?
What tends to happen for many couples who are in a long distance relationship is jealousy.
You might call or text more than more than your partner–or the other way around. You or your partner might become bored with the limited means of interacting. Your partner might seem secretive about what he or she been doing and you’re increasingly suspicious and accusatory.
In some cases, the jealous person might use teasing or attempts at humor to cover over true feelings of worry and fear.
This is what happened with Thomas and Sonia….
When Thomas was offered his dream job, he was thrilled and nervous at the same time. His girlfriend Sonia of 5 years was just getting into a groove in her career. She’d struggled to start her own business and now had a healthy bottom line and strong pool of clients in the community.
Thomas and Sonia ultimately decided that he would take this job opportunity across the country while she would stay home and continue to grow her business.
They were determined to make a long distance relationship work– and it did, sort of.
When they talked on the phone or had a “Skype date,” Sonia would often mention how helpful her neighbor Jeremy was. She told Thomas about how Jeremy jumped her car battery, secured a loose board in her fence and sometimes joined her to walk the dog.
It seemed innocent enough to Thomas, but he also felt jealous. He worried that Jeremy would make a move on Sonia and she couldn’t see it.
Instead of letting her know how he was feeling, Thomas began making jokes. He referred to Jeremy as, “Your Handyman,” and often asked if she’d had the “Handyman” over that day. The more Thomas assured Sonia that he was “only kidding” and “wasn’t the least bit jealous,” the more jealous he was and seemed.
Sonia started to feel defensive about her friendship with Jeremy and sometimes even lied about him coming over to help her with a project.
If you’re in a long distance relationship and struggling with jealousy, here are 3 ways you can stop your jealousy and get closer…
1. Be honest.
If you feel jealous, don’t make jokes about it. Be honest with yourself. Is there something that you really should take a second look at? If you have reliable information that your partner is lying to you or possibly even cheating, see if there’s any proof to support or refute your fears.
It is vital that you get the facts before you make accusations.
Be honest with your partner too. It’s okay to admit that you feel jealous. Don’t ask your partner to stop talking with others or not to have friends– even if you’re heterosexual and they are friends of the opposite sex.
But, do admit to how you’re feeling. You can use words like, “I trust you and I feel jealous. I’m working on my jealousy and want to keep communication open with you about this.”
Keep reminding yourself of the facts as you work with your jealousy. Really listen and base your determination of what’s going on with your partner on what you can verify, not what you guess at or assume.
2. Practice techniques to stop your jealousy.
It’s up to you whether you continue to hold onto jealousy or you take steps to
stop your jealous thoughts and behaviors.
One effective way to stop your jealous thoughts is to question them before you say and do things that you later regret.
So before you text, email or phone about what’s rolling around in your head and driving you crazy, question whether that thought is true or not and then do something to break the “evil spell.”
Go out and take a walk or get involved in a project you love to switch your thoughts. If you calm yourself, even if you need to discuss whatever you’re thinking, you’ll be in a much better frame of mind to talk and listen than if you let jealousy rule your life.
3. Be creative.
When you have an opportunity to talk with or communicate with your partner, make the most of it. Come to the phone call, computer or face-to-face time with an attitude of openness and from a place of love.
(By the way, this means that you do whatever you can to deal with your jealousy when you’re alone.)
Use the time you have together to be as passionate, close and creative as you can. Be willing to mix things up and try new and different ways to have fun together and express your love to one another.
No doubt about it – Long distance relationships can be difficult to sustain over time. One way to “make them work” is to make sure jealousy doesn’t sabotage your desire for closeness and connection.
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins have been called the world’s leading experts on how to keep the spark alive forever in a relationship. Together they’re the authors of over a dozen books, audios and programs on relationships including Magic Relationship Words, No More Jealousy, Should you stay or should you go? and Stop Talking on Eggshells. To get their free e-book “7 Jealousy-Stopping Secrets,” go to http://www.NoMoreJealousy.com