You love your partner, and you’ve done nothing to deserve mistrust, but you constantly face jealousy and accusations. Both of you are frustrated and upset, and you don’t know how to break the cycle. If you respond defensively, it only adds fuel to the accusations, but if you say nothing, it’s interpreted as guilt. Here are some ideas on how to break the cycle.
- Take a closer look through your partner’s eyes
When your partner starts accusing you, don’t get triggered into reacting. Take a step back and listen to what is being said without being defensive. Try to understand what it was about your behavior that could have been misinterpreted.
Perhaps you’re more of an extrovert than your partner, and you love to joke and tease other people, even those of the opposite sex. Your partner could be misconstruing your actions.
Maybe you work with people of the opposite gender, and it’s difficult for your partner to accept that you spend so much time with them. It’s not uncommon for a partner to feel threatened because you spend more time with your colleagues than at home.
Perhaps it’s your friendship with an ex that is a trigger. Take a look through your partner’s eyes at the friendship, even though you know you’re innocent of any wrongdoing. Try to understand what it is about the friendship that feels threatening to your partner.
- Find out what your partner really wants
Do not dismiss the way your partner feels but try to go a little deeper. If you can hear the need that lies behind the accusations, you will be less defensive. If your partner accuses you, calmly state the truth and let the person know that you’d like to talk about the feelings being experienced so that emotions rather than accusations can be shared.
Your partner may have had negative past experiences that created trust issues. You may feel as though you have to expend a great deal of time and energy on reassurance, but it still doesn’t seem to help. If your relationship is important to you, you have to be sensitive to your partner’s wounded places. Sometimes trust issues have very deep roots.
Maybe you could say something like “I know you’ve been deeply hurt in the past but I love you, and I don’t want to hurt you. When you accuse me, it makes me feel hurt” All your partner may be looking for is some signs of affection and more closeness, rather than verbal defensiveness.
- Be completely honest
Just telling your partner to stop being so jealous is never going to sort out the problem. You can’t just give up all your other relationships to sort out the problem either. Both of you have to be completely honest with one another.
You have to convey how you would like the two of you to be closer but that the mistrust and jealousy is causing a wedge between you. At the same time, you can make it clear to your partner what you are willing and unwilling to accept in a gentle, loving and yet firm way.
When you’re falsely accused, you have to realize that it’s more about what is going on with your partner than it is about you. When you know you haven’t done anything wrong, you should not be trapped into trying to defend yourself. Instead, you are in a position to really hear what your loved one is trying to convey to you, even if it is coming across in an accusatory way. Being empathetic and gently attentive can help to heal old wounds and deepen intimacy.
Even if your partner is totally misconstruing your actions, there are obviously needs that aren’t being met. When you have a clear idea of what those needs are, you can work towards meeting them.