I want to take a month long trip by myself, but my partner is upset he can’t go with me. He’s acting concerned, but I think he’s jealous. What should I do?
Is it possible he’s feeling a mixture of emotions, and is there room in your relationship for all of them? One of the traps we can get stuck in is seeing feelings as black and white, when in reality the ability to experience them may be more akin to a pie chart, with slices of a variety of reactions. Your partner may well be feeling jealousy, envy, concern, and excitement for you, in addition to a myriad of other emotions. The issue is not that these feelings are showing up, but in how the two of you are handling them.
Is it okay with you that he might harbor some jealousy? That the thought of you going off by yourself, not wanting to have him go with you, hurts a bit, or arouses some level of insecurity? If the tables were turned might you share some similar emotions while still wanting him to go and have a great time? As long as his actions support your dreams can you allow him to have these less desirable, but normal, reactions? Watching his behavior, not just listening to his words, will give you clues as to where the greater truth lies.
But what if his actions indicate he really isn’t okay with you taking off alone? That although his words say yes his behavior is screaming no? Are you willing to call him on it and share your confusion? Using concrete examples of things he’s doing that are causing you to doubt his sincerity, then waiting for his response may help you sort out next steps. What if he really is jealous, and really doesn’t want you to go without him? What does that mean for your relationship and your desire to take time alone? That’s a question for another column.
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