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7 Times in a Relationship When Jealousy Is Totally Warranted

Women's Health logo Women's Health 2016-07-15 Jenn Sinrich

© Provided by Rodale Inc.

So how do you know if you’re flying off the handle for no good reason—or if your jealousy is a natural and deserved reaction to something totally not cool? Here are seven situations when you have every right to be ticked off.

1. He Values His Mom's Opinions Over Yours 

Instead of getting between the two (‘cause we all know how that worked out for Char), strike up a conversation with him about how it makes you feel when you’re out of the circle of trust. “Remind him that you, too, can provide him with thoughtful, constructive advice, and would like him to give you the opportunity to be there for him in that way,” says Michael.

2. He Plays Wingman Every Weekend

You’re fine with him enjoying a good time out with his buddies—just not when there’s a quest involved to pick up chicks. “It’s completely normal for you to feel jealous with the idea of knowing your guy is out in social situations trying to mingle with other girls—even just for the sake of helping his friends,” says Michael. While he's just trying to make his pal look great in front of potential hookups, it’s important to communicate to him what you feel comfortable with him doing, and not doing (e.g. "feel free to chat away, just no grinding to Usher"). “You both should have enough respect for one another to want to make sure you’re both comfortable with each other’s actions when you’re together and apart.”

3. He Used to Hook Up with One of His Friends 

If learning of this closer-than-close friendship set off the sounds of a fire alarm in your head, don’t freak out—just yet. Sure, no one wants to hear that their beau once wrestled tongues with someone they still talk to and hang out with all the time, but try as best as you can to remind yourself that he’s now with you, and for a reason. “If every time you’re around the two of them you feel uncomfortable, it could mean that maybe there is more to their chemistry than they’re leading on,” says Michael. “But if the only thing that’s igniting your jealousy is the knowledge that they were once a thing, give him the benefit of the doubt.” The more you’re around the two of them, the more you can see that their relationship is truly platonic (or not).

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4. He Always Seems to One-Up You

Being jealous of your partner’s accomplishments isn’t a bad thing. Like any friendship or relationship, a hint of competitiveness is useful for propelling you both forward. But if he won’t stop bragging about his new promotion and continues to mention it at every social gathering, it’s cool for you to ask him to stop. “If you’re not excelling the way he is—regardless of the scenario—he should be sensitive to your feelings and not throw anything in your face,” says Michael. “A relationship is a partnership, so anything he or you accomplish individually should feel like a win-win for you both.”

5. He's More into the Game

“This one might sound like a joke, but every fall I have at least one or two women in my office talk to me about how much time their man spends watching football instead of them,” says Michael. Before you dedicate your Monday to mastering the moonwalk as a means of distraction, consider how you can use this free time away from him to your benefit. “Find something else to do with your time while he’s glued to the big, bad TV set.” Just like you deserve the space and time to dig into your OITNB obsession, he deserves the space and time to enjoy the football season (even though it feels like it’s year-round). That said, couples who can do nothing together tend to be happier, so maybe try to get your guy to compromise on this one a little bit.

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6. You Found an Old Love Letter from His Ex

Whether this was a relationship from high school or a long-term ex from recent years, it’s natural to feel terribly uncomfortable when you’re faced with the fact that he’s loved someone before you. “Part of the natural process of learning to be intimate with someone is pushing aside any feelings we’ve had for anyone else in the past,” says Michael. “But the reality is, those feelings never disappear, they’re instead stored away in the attic of your mind along with all your other past experiences in life.”

If you came across this love note totally by accident, try not to read it (as hard as that may be). Remember that doing so will only wedge a fork in between you. Instead, remind yourself that his past is his past, just like your past is your past, and that your relationship is a new chapter. If it continues to bother you, bring it up politely with your partner, explaining that you came across the letter by accident. If he’s sensitive to your feelings, he can reassure you that you have nothing to worry about.

7. He's Cheated in the Past

If he's got a history of being unfaithful to you, it makes sense that you'd eagle-eye his interactions with other women. Still, if you've made a commitment to forgive him and try to make things work, it's probably not the best idea to scroll through his text messages every day and stalk his ex-mistress's Instagram feed. Here's when it might make sense for the two of you to talk your fears and resentments out with a counselor. And if he's not up for it, that's a whole other issue, and could possibly mean it's time to reevaluate the relationship.

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