Marriage Advice: "Help! My Spouse is
Jealous and Resentful of My Success!"
By Susie and Otto Collins
We've probably all been jealous-- or have been
around someone else who is jealous-- from time to
time. The jealous person sees in the other person
something that he or she feels is lacking.
It could be appearance, financial abundance, love,
fame, or another attribute that seems to trigger the
Jealousy is painful for the person who is feeling
it. When it is directed at an acquaintance or a
stranger it is certainly difficult. But when
jealousy rears its head in a love relationship or
marriage, it can surely drive a wedge between the
Sometimes one partner feels jealous because his or
her mate is a flirt or is perceived as very
attractive and receives a lot of attention from
others. This type of jealousy usually involves
feelings of mistrust and fears that infidelity will
But a spouse can also become jealous and resentful
because it seems that his or her partner has
achieved a level of success that, for one reason or
another, the jealous mate has not reached.
Jody cannot understand why her husband Paul is not
proud of her. After several long years, she's her
first novel is finally finished and on the market.
And, the best news of all, she's got a publisher and
the book is selling well all over the country!
It has been Jody's dream to be an successful writer
and now she is actually doing it.
As Jody and her novel get more and more positive
press and the money begins to come in from book
sales, Paul seems to be getting more and more
brooding and difficult to be around.
It's as if he's jealous of her success. Paul's
apparent jealousy is upsetting and disappointing to
Jody. This is a time when she wants to celebrate
these wonderful changes with Paul, not feel
Stay Aware and Open
When you notice that your spouse is possibly jealous
or resentful of successes you might have in your
personal or professional life, pay attention.
We don't advise you to ignore the distance that is
forming between the two of you or to hope that your
partner will just "get over it."
Be willing to have uncomfortable conversations with
your mate and be willing to stay open and listen to
how he or she is feeling. This great thing that is
happening in your life might be impacting your
partner in ways you are unaware of.
This isn't a time to discount your partner's
feelings. Listen and try to understand how he or she
might be feeling.
You can also share with your mate how disappointed
you feel about the distance between the two of you
and how you'd like to come together to celebrate
Both of you have valid feelings. Create space within
your heart to acknowledge the different ways you
might each be experiencing the same events or
Continue to Follow Your Dreams
Jody decides that there has been enough tension in
her marriage. She asks Paul to talk with her.
Jody doesn't blame Paul for the disconnection in
their marriage and she doesn't criticize him for
She does tell him that she feels like there is
distance between them and that she'd like to find a
way that they can move closer together again.
Jody tells Paul that she believes the changes in
their lives because of her novel are a source of
their troubles. She asks Paul to be honest with her
about how he's feeling and why this might be.
As they talk, Jody knows that Paul's jealousy will
not go away if she stops writing novels-- and then
she would be miserable and resentful too!
She is aware that this is something he primarily
needs to resolve within himself. She knows she
cannot "fix" it for him.
At the same, Jody can try to understand where Paul
is coming from and listen to requests he might have.
Jody can support Paul as he addresses his jealousy.
And if and when he decides to follow dreams of his
own, she can be present and engaged encouraging him
along the way.
The bottom line here is to listen and stay open.
Whenever there is distance in your marriage, be
available and remain open to what your partner is
feeling and perceiving and also to what you are
feeling and perceiving.
When jealousy and resentment are involved, be a
supporter. Yes, you most likely play a role in these
emotions your partner is feeling.
But you cannot erase them or solve these challenges
for him or her.
Keep nurturing yourself and continue to talk with
your partner about ways you each can feel fulfilled
with your lives individually and as a couple.