There are several things that can wreck a relationship:  finances, in-laws, friends, distance. However, the worst culprit of all is jealousy – that insidious green-eyed monster that surfaces at the worst of times and wrecks havoc every chance it gets.

We typically only hear about it in extreme cases, such as that of Leonard John Egland, a former soldier who killed his ex-wife, her boyfriend, the boyfriend's young son and even his ex-mother-in-law last month in Philadelphia during a apparent jealous rage. We hear about it when individuals have to file a restraining order to keep an old lover or spouse away.

But not all jealousy is bad.

Having a little jealousy in a relationship denotes caring and shows that you don’t want to lose a good thing.  It's when those feeling turn into obsession that the relationship suffers.  

Jealousy is often based on fear and insecurities: Fear that the person you care about is not going to love you anymore or will no longer accept your flaws and will look for another. These insecurities are mired in lack of confidence and self-esteem and lead to fears of loss and rejection.

At times, jealousy stems from a lack of trust. Often you become resentful of your partner’s interactions with others because he or she has been unfaithful in the past. In these cases, it’s your ability to forgive and move on with the relationship that will help your relationship move forward. If you can’t overcome your partner’s infidelity, it’s best to end the relationship and find someone who will honor the relation you have with them. Regaining trust after an infidelity is very hard and often unsuccessful because individuals tend to hold on to the pain and therefore tarnish any future connections they can build together. In cases where you can’t overcome the betrayal, it’s better to simply walk away than live in a toxic environment.

Here are a few tips to help you overcome the green-eyed monster and build a healthier relationship, or decide when it’s best to end one.  

When you’re dating or in a relationship with the “life of the party” whether they are a man or a woman, it’s important to realize that your attraction to them was partly based on that behavior.  Talk to your lover about how their behavior may seem a little offensive and even help set some boundaries for them. Often these individuals merely enjoy the affirmation they receive that they’re still desirable to others and they want no one but you. Set realistic boundaries for behavior, including dancing with others and talking in public or even how they introduce you to others.  Remember at the end of the night, they’re going home with you.  

If there have been problems with infidelity in the past and you’ve agreed to forgive him or overlook it this one time and move on with the relationship, then you have to rein in your insecurities and trust that the individual will honor his word.  If you find that you cannot or it’s too hurtful, end the relationship.

It’s inappropriate for you to yell at another woman or call her names if she engages with your partner.  She is not the one being disrespectful to you, it’s him! Place the blame where it belongs then take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself one question, “Do you really want to share your life with a frog?”  If the answer is no, break off the relationship and move on. Remember so long as there’s a frog in your bed, your Prince Charming can’t arrive.  

In the end, every relationship has one constant component—you.  You need to value yourself and the gifts you bring to any relationship, including your integrity and self worth.

Dr. Charley Ferrer is a world-renowned clinical sexologist and the only Latina Doctor of Human Sexuality in the United States. She is the award-winning author of The Latina Kama Sutra, The W.I.S.E. Journal for the Sensual Woman, and The Passionate Latina: In our own words. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Pleasure whose primary mission is to provide education on relationships, mental health services to women and men, and conduct research on sexuality. She can be reached at questions@doctorcharley.com.For more on Dr. Charley, go to www.instituteofpleasure.org.

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