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Dealing with Jealousy in a Marriage

Jealousy Advice: "How Can I Tell If My Husband is Social Networking His Way to an Affair?"
By Susie and Otto Collins

Social networking sites abound on the internet these days.

These sites-- such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace-- provide wonderful ways to get in touch with old friends from high school or college and to keep a large group of people up-to-date on what's new in your life.

Troubles can arise, however, when people already in committed relationships have deeper, intimate or sexualized interactions with others through the social networking sites, e-mail communications or
online chats.

Where does the line get drawn?

Is it possible for a social networking relationship to go from fun and harmless to cheating?

Questions like these rattle through Jan's mind frequently throughout the day.

Every evening before going to bed, Jan's husband Stewart logs into his Facebook account and then spends hours chatting, posting updates and commenting on the posts of his online friends.

The majority of Stewart's Facebook friends are from his college days; they are people that Jan doesn't know.

Not only does Jan feel left out and ignored by Stewart, she is also worried that he will re-connect with a former girlfriend and have an online affair.

Jan believes that Stewart would never knowingly cheat on her; but she fears that he could stumble into some intimate online relationship and end up cheating in that way.

Jan has asked Stewart to spend less time on Facebook, but he brushed off her request and has continued.

She's even considered logging onto Stewart's account to check up on his activities, but she worries what might happen if she gets caught. She is also apprehensive about what she might find.

Keep returning to what you know to be true.
When jealousy is triggered in you, take time by yourself to get clear. Tune in to your feelings and try to pinpoint what is leading to your jealous emotions.

It can be extremely helpful to know if you are mostly upset because your partner is doing something that does not involve you or if you are mostly concerned about the time he or she is spending interacting
with particular people.

Once you have identified what is most centrally triggering your jealousy, ask yourself what you know to be true about this situation.

For the moment, try to set aside the assumptions you might have already made about what's going on. Instead, look at what you can see, hear and absolutely know for sure.

Jan takes some time to write in her journal about her feelings regarding Stewart's extensive Facebook time every day.

She realizes that, for her, the most important concern is that Stewart will be led into an affair by a woman from his past.

Through her journaling, Jan realizes how little trust she has for other women-- especially Stewart's former girlfriends.

She's heard stories about how wild Stewart was in college and Jan worries that he will be lured back into a life like that again through Facebook.

Jan also recognizes her own insecurities. She fears that she is too mild-mannered for Stewart and that he does not find her interesting or enticing anymore.

When Jan reads back through her journal writing, the information that she knows to be absolutely true pertains to her own feelings and needs.

Most of all, she needs to re-connect with Stewart and to know that he loves her and finds her attractive and exciting.

Create agreements together.
As you become clearer about why you are feeling jealous and you take steps to address your emotions and meet your needs, be sure to communicate with your mate.

You can own your jealousy and you can also request that you and your spouse create agreements that will help you address your fears and concerns.

These agreements can also allow you to set boundaries.

Avoid vilifying social networking in general or accusing a specific person of trying to lure your mate into an affair-- unless you have indisputable evidence to support your allegations.

Return to the priority needs that you discovered when you went within. Through a cooperative effort, come up with agreements about spending more time together as well as appropriate ways to interact
with others online that apply to both of you.

You can either write these agreements down or speak them aloud to one another so that you both are very clear about what you are agreeing to.

Jan opens up and is honest with Stewart about how she's feeling.  She tells him that she is jealous of his Facebook friends.

She shares with him her fears about his former girlfriends (and lifestyle) from college. She also admits to him that she feels uninteresting and
dull in his eyes.

Stewart is able to hear Jan's genuine words.

Together, they come up with a plan to add more spice to their relationship-- this includes
spending more time with one another exploring new ways to get closer.

Stewart assures Jan that his Facebook interactions never go beyond joking and hearing about the lives of old friends.

But he also agrees to spend less time online each week and to connect in with Jan before he logs onto the computer. He gives Jan permission to log onto his account if she really needs to check on what he's saying.

There is not a 100% guaranteed indicator to tell you that your partner's social networking activities are truly suspicious or could lead to an affair.

Online infidelity does happen and it can destroy
trust just as other forms of cheating do.

If you are feeling disconnected and distant from your spouse, it is time for you to pay attention to what's going on within you and between you and your mate and possibly make some changes in your relationship.

Keep the lines of communication open and honest and continue to check in with yourself to know your own needs and feelings.

For a free audio on overcoming jealousy, click here.


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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