Across the board, one of the most insidious elements to contaminate a relationship is jealousy. When you think of jealousy, you may instantly think of soap opera-type shenanigans and teenage love. However, for most people, jealousy is not a thing of the past. In fact, some degree of jealousy lurks in most romantic relationships – in dating, short- and long-term relationships, and marriage.
I am believer that you may have jealousy and not even be aware of it. A good judge of this is to ask yourself whether your partner has close friends of the sex to which they’re attracted. For a married woman, for example, it is not always common for her to have close male friends with whom she socializes outside of the home or work environment. Is this because she is always with her partner, or because she is busy with other duties? Certainly having children makes everything more complicated, but having children shouldn’t negate the ability to maintain close friendships.
In my clinical work, I have found that members of a couple often don’t have close friends of the same sex to which they’re attracted out of fear. Often, there is a fear that their partner would get upset or feel threatened. Other times, there is a fear that some romantic feelings might start to develop. I have found that the happiest and healthiest couples have relationships in which each allows the other a certain freedom – and neither feels claustrophobic.
Look at your friendships as well as your partner’s friendships. Have a discussion with your partner about them. There is nothing to fear as long as you confront things 1) gently, 2) openly, and 3) honestly.