Relationship Advice is a column in CLEO where we ask relationship coaches, psychologists and experts on problems that twenty-something women in Singapore might face in different stages of their relationship. If you have a question for an expert, drop us an email at cleo@sph.com.sg


This column is contributed by Jean Chen from Relationship Matters. Jean is a certified EFT therapist with the International Centre for Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (ICEEFT) and trained in Gottman Couples Therapy.

It’s normal to experience feelings of jealousy. But how do you know if it’s uncalled for, and how should you and your partner go about resolving it?

Is it healthy to be jealous in a relationship?

It is neither healthy nor unhealthy, but it is a natural reaction if you feel that your significant one prefers someone else over you.

How much jealousy is too much?

There isn’t a clear definition of what is too much jealously but if you or your partner feels controlled and suffocated, it may then be a sign that there is insecurity in your relationship that probably stems from a communication breakdown. 

How do I tell my partner that I’m uncomfortable with them hanging out with certain people?

You can try asking for reassurance instead of voicing discomfort.

For example, if you feel uncomfortable that your partner is hanging out with his female colleague, you can ask him the reason he chooses you as his partner over her. Otherwise, suggesting for him to not hang out with her may make him feel controlled and undesired by you. 

How do I manage my jealousy?

Jealousy can be addressed through good communication patterns such as using emotionally responsive words of reassurances that are not dismissive, backhanded or placating. These reassurances can also be requested by the one who feels jealous, not demanded.

Should my partner and I set boundaries for each other?

Jealousy is probably a symptom of a relationship with a communication breakdown and setting boundaries may not solve the communication problem though it may temporarily stabilise the conflict. If one needs reassurances and is instead asked to draw up boundaries, it may not help the situation in the long run. 

My partner wants me to stop hanging out with my friend but I do not want to stop. How do we resolve this? 

You can try to reassure your partner, such as repeatedly listing the reasons you choose to be with him, what you like about him, and appreciating the things that he does for you. If that still doesn’t resolve your issues, it may be helpful to see a professional counsellor together.

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