It usually starts out small—just a twinge of worry or insecurity—and then before you know it grows to such huge proportions it seems like it will never leave. We’re talking about jealousy here. And if you’ve been in the throes of jealous feelings, you probably know what we’re talking about. While full-blown jealousy can be quite painful to experience, it can be just as damaging to your love relationship.

The good news is that you can recognize and change your jealous habit before it takes over you and your relationship. We’ll give you suggestions for how to get started.

Have you ever taken a walk in a wooded area and breathed in the delicious smell of honeysuckle? Ahh, sweet little yellow and white flowers on a pretty green-leaved vine. It turns out that honeysuckle is an invasive plant in our part of the world so honeysuckle is probably the last thing you want growing in your backyard—unless that’s all you want there!

Jealousy is a little like the honeysuckle. It may start out small and even seem attractive or cute. After all, you might say, those first twinges of jealousy show you care. Some people even believe that jealousy adds spark to a relationship. Beware! What starts out seemingly cute or enticing can quite quickly become a major disconnector for you and your partner. In fact, we know that there are many other ways to spice up passion between you and your love that don’t involve jealousy.

Stop it when it’s small.
If you’ve ever weeded your backyard, you know all too well that it’s much easier to pull up and prevent further growth of an unwanted plant when it’s small. This just makes sense. It also makes sense to stay tuned in to yourself and notice when you are feeling jealous. Don’t allow those jealous feelings to grow. If more information from your partner will help with this, ask for it. But don’t make accusations or blame him or her for your emotions. This will not bring you two closer together!

You might start by recognizing how it feels in your body when you are jealous. Getting to know your body’s cues can help you address how you’re feeling before you realize that you’re jealous. And if you can soothe yourself before the jealousy becomes too big to handle, you are on your way to stopping this habit completely.

Find the roots.
Insecurity, fear, and mistrust are just some of the emotions that form the roots of jealousy. These may trace back to past relationships where affairs happened and you are on the lookout for future betrayals. Perhaps you’ve never been cheated on but you just don’t feel worthy of the love and connection you truly want and are starting to experience. In this way, jealousy begins to sabotage the happiness that is either in process or has already developed.

Recognizing the emotions and beliefs that your jealousy is rooted in is really important. You might try journal writing. Give yourself space and time to explore any unresolved feelings from the past or beliefs that have formed that just don’t serve you. After you see what’s active for you—and possibly contributing to your jealous habit—you can let these go. It’s a process that can take time so be easy with yourself and congratulate yourself for taking these initial steps.

Nurture what you want.
Any good gardener knows that you nurture the plants you want to thrive. The same is true for yourself and your relationship. When you realize you are feeling jealous about a person or situation, ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Perhaps you want to feel more connection and love in your life. Maybe you want a reminder that you are beautiful, valuable and worthy of passion. Whatever you sense that you need is valid.

The next step is NOT turning to your partner to immediately fill these needs. Sometimes jealousy surfaces because we are relying on our partner to make us feel good about ourselves. That is your job. Explore what makes you feel good, worthy and loved and give yourself that sustenance first. This step is almost totally inwardly focused. You might write yourself a love letter and glory in what you appreciate about yourself. Give yourself a bubble bath or whatever helps you feel special.

After nurturing and loving yourself, coming to your partner to share passion and love can flow easily. Jealousy will probably no longer be an issue as you two celebrate each other and your connection.

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Start today to heal your jealous behavior by signing up for Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins' free course on how to stop jealousy at