Jealousy and insecurity
How do you know if your partner is being obsessively jealous? There are a few tell-tale signs. They might get angry when you talk to other people or do things on your own. They might stalk you, demand your computer passwords, check your text messages, listen to your phone conversations, or constantly complain that you’re not giving them enough attention.
Jealousy is a difficult trait to shake off, but it's possible if you try. The first step is to realise that being jealous makes life difficult – for you as well as for your partner. After you’ve acknowledged that, it might be a good idea to share your concerns with your partner. Learn more about how to deal with jealousy in our Jealousy: top five facts.
Insecurities may also crop up in unequal relationships where one partner feels he or she gives more than the other. If you're feeling uneasy or unhappy in a relationship, try to talk about it with your partner. Communication goes a long way towards solving insecurities.
How to talk to your partner if you get jealous
Jealousy can be a hard feeling to overcome. It’s even worse if a partner has cheated on you in the past, or left you for another person.
To make sure jealousy doesn’t ruin your relationship, it’s important to talk openly before something happens. Talk about how you feel about your partner talking with people of the opposite sex – but remember that it shouldn’t be any problem for either of you to have friends of any sex.
If you notice your partner talking closely with another person, don’t immediately accuse them of flirting or wanting to sleep around. Avoid saying things like:
‘I can’t believe you were flirting with that girl in front of me!’
‘I bet you wanted to sleep with that guy since you were talking so much with him!’
Instead, you both should agree on how far is too far, and understand what actions make the other person uncomfortable – such as touching or holding hands with friends. If you really felt that your partner was flirting with someone, explain the situation and how it made you feel.
‘When you were talking with that girl, I felt ignored and it upsets me.’
But your partner might feel they weren’t flirting at all. Be ready to accept that. After you have calmed down, suggest coming to a solution together. For example, if one of you is talking to another person you don’t know, you could agree to introduce each other as boyfriend or girlfriend early on, so the new person knows you’re a couple. Find what works for you and your partner.
Lack of attention
Most of us have a strong emotional desire to be in a relationship. We start feeling dissatisfied if we're not getting the attention we need. So if your partner goes on a business trip and doesn't call you the whole time, you might feel neglected – and annoyed!
If you feel that your partner isn't paying attention to your needs the way they used to, you might start worrying that something's gone wrong. There could be another explanation – perhaps they're just very busy with other things. But it could mean that they're starting to lose interest in the relationship.
Of course, this works both ways: if you've been feeling stressed and working more than usual, for example, your partner might be feeling neglected.
In either case, it might be good to have a talk. It always helps to discuss your needs and expectations of the relationship. A lack of communication often leads to misunderstandings. Letting your partner know both what you want from them and what you can offer could give your relationship a fresh start.
Sex is an important part of any intimate relationship. If sex gets worse or stops all together, it could affect your emotional bond too. You could be left feeling dissatisfied with your relationship if your partner doesn’t want to have sex as often as you do. Or the other way around – perhaps you just can't keep up with your partner’s high sex drive.
It’s completely normal for one person to want sex more often than the other in a relationship.
If your partner says they don’t feel like having sex, respect their feelings and don’t pressure them into it – it’s likely to put them off sex more and more. And if you’re the one who doesn’t feel like having sex – perhaps because you’re too tired or stressed – instead of just saying 'no', try suggesting a time in the not-too-distant future when you’ll definitely be up for sex and romance.
You might also find that you’re turned on by very different things. Maybe your partner wants oral sex, but you’re not keen on it. Or you like it rough, but they prefer gentle. Again, pressuring your partner into something they don’t fancy will never be good for your relationship. Talk about it, and see if you can find a compromise.
If you’re unhappy with your sex life, communication is key. Don’t blame your partner or make them feel inadequate – you don't want to damage their self-esteem, and sex is a very sensitive subject. Be open and approachable. Listen to what the other person has to say, and try to understand their point of view.
Long-term relationships sometimes phase out because both partners have outgrown each other – people change over time, and perhaps you've both been moving in different directions. You might realise that the two of you have different ideas about life and what you want from the relationship.
This could be because you haven't really talked to each other for a long time. Working on your communication could help bring you back together.