How to Say "No" to Your Jealous Partner
By Susie and Otto Collins
Andy is sick and tired of coming home after a hard day at the office
to his wife, Caroline's, incessant questions. Almost as soon as he
enters their house, her probing inquiries begin.
"Who did you meet with today?"
"I don't know her. Is she someone you see often?"
"Where did you go for lunch this afternoon?"
"Did you eat alone?"
"When did you have lunch?"
"Why didn't you e-mail or text me to check in?"
After Andy attempts to answer Caroline's questions, he feels annoyed
and defensive. Andy knows that Caroline had a painful past before
they began dating. She has a lot from her childhood to deal with as
well as a couple of bad relationships before they met.
At the same time, Andy is worn out and, frankly, done being patient
with Caroline's daily interrogations that are fueled by her jealousy.
He doesn't know what to do other than give in and answer each
question or to abruptly demand space and walk away.
If you are with a jealous partner, you might relate to Andy's
You may love and care very much about your partner and your
relationship. You feel you have nothing to hide and have done
nothing wrong, which is why his or her jealous behavior toward you is
Most of all, what you might want to do is to tell your mate that
"No, I will not answer your jealous questions"...but you don't
because you're worried about really setting him or her off.
We urge you not to give up on your love relationship or marriage if
you truly want to be with your current partner. There are ways to
communicate and set boundaries with your jealousy partner that can
actually improve your relationship.
Do the advance work...
There may be a pattern to when your partner is most obviously
jealous. It could be when you two have been apart all day. Or, it
might be when you are out together (or separately) socially.
Begin to pay attention to the situations and even the words that you
use that seem to trigger a jealous reaction from your mate. Look for
ways that you might be inadvertently triggering the jealous reaction.
Let's be clear here-- we are NOT saying that your partner's jealousy
is your fault. We do want you to be aware of slight changes to your
own habits that could ease this situation, however.
Take the time to ask yourself what you could differently-- without
compromising what is important to you-- that might be less likely to
trigger your mate.
One thing might be to interrupt an interrogation or accusation in
progress and request that you two talk about this issue later, when
you are not feeling defensive and when your partner can calm down and
re-evaluate what he or she thinks is happening.
Allow your partner to own his or her jealousy...
As much as you'd like to "fix" or "solve" your mate's jealousy
problem, you can't.
If you apply labels to your partner or try to figure out his or her
jealousy habit and then expect your mate to be grateful to you for
this, you're probably going to be disappointed.
What you CAN do is to be honest when you feel wrongly accused or
that your privacy and space is being invaded. It's up to you how
much transparency you are willing to provide to your jealous partner.
(If you've had an affair or broken trust, even if your partner is
jealous it may be wise for you to be transparent.)
When your mate does take ownership for being jealous, be supportive
and ask how you can work with him or her to help improve your
Say "No" and set boundaries with love and an invitation to connect...
When you set a boundary with your jealous partner, do so with love
and be clear that it is your intention to connect, even though you
are essentially saying "No" to the jealous habit.
If you are tired of being asked to account for what you did and who
you were with every second of every day, think about how you could
say "No" to this request for information with kindness.
For example, you might say, "I am not going to answer your questions
right now. I love you and I will share with you about my day after I
have had a chance to relax and unwind."
You could also say something like, "I feel annoyed and accused when
you greet me at the door with questions like this. I would love to
hear how your day was and also let you know how my day was as a way
to connect with one another. Will you make a shift and talk with me
in this different way?"
Saying "No" to a jealous partner does not have to mean more distance
and disconnection between the two of you. In fact, when you
communicate your boundaries with a sense of honesty, openness and
love, you can help support your partner as he or she overcomes
Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are
Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books
on relationships, including their ebook
Words. Other popular books by Susie and Otto are:
Should You Stay or Should You Go?,
More Jealousy, Creating Relationship Trust,
Communication Magic and
Attracting Your Perfect Partner.
In addition to having a great
relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on
love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles
like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips
newsletter visit http://www.collinspartners.com