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“You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.”- Gary Allan
“I’ve never admitted this to anyone, but I know my jealousy is pretty bad.”
Jonathan sat nervously in his chair. It was his second session with me-but now he was beginning to open up.
“It doesn’t even make sense when I think about it” Jonathan continued. “After all I cheated on my last partner with Tracey-not her. But now I can’t get the thoughts out of my mind-what if Tracey finds someone better than me. Someone better looking or richer. I couldn’t stand losing her, but I know I’m pushing her away. I know I need to stop-but I don’t know how.”
Of all the relationships issues I encounter, strong jealousy is one of the most difficult to help people change. While we may all feel jealous to some extent, when feelings of jealousy take a person over they can become all-consuming. For some people it is difficult to go even 10 minutes away from their partner with thinking where he or she is or what they are doing. But the extremely controlling nature of these thoughts can easily destroy relationships-creating in the jealous partner the exact scenario that they were most afraid of.
Jealousy is a very common feeling experienced by both men and women.
As with all feelings, jealousy can play both positive and negative roles. For example, jealousy can play a positive role by preserving social bonds and assisting to bond people together, especially in new relationships.
More commonly however, jealousy is a negative experience for people. It makes people possessive and suspicious. It can lead to mistrust in relationships, demanding your partner tell you where he or she is all the time. It can lead people to stop their partner going out or forcing them to break bonds with members of the opposite sex that they have been friends with for years. It can corrode otherwise good relationship quickly-and people often feel powerless to change its influence.
Even though jealousy is a natural feeling it should always be controlled-if it gets out of control it can easily put a huge barrier between you and your partner-putting your relationship in real danger.
At the root of jealousy is usually a fear of loss. For most people this is the fear of loss of a loved one or a relationship. But it could also be about fearing other losses-such as losing face, losing respect or losing self-esteem. Whatever it is we fear to lose, this fear makes us insecure. The insecurity, in turn, can easily lead to jealousy.
With Jonathan for example, he had seen how upset his ex-partner (Sandra) was when left her for Tracey. He had also experienced relationship losses in the past. And although he didn’t want to admit it, being in relationship with Tracey was scary for him. She was attractive, interesting and intelligent, and sometimes Jonathan wondered why Tracey was with him. What did he have that other men did not have? Jonathan wasn’t sure-but he was sure that he didn’t want to have to find out. He was petrified of Tracey telling him one day that it was over.
One key to addressing jealousy is to understand its roots. Whenever we feel the beginnings of jealousy it is essential that we contemplate the emotions behind these jealous feelings. These feelings may include:
By acknowledging these feelings jealousy often loses its power. We are beginning to take responsibility for our emotional self-something that men in particular can struggle with. And we can use the following techniques for dealing with the remaining jealousy we are feeling-always remembering that underneath the jealousy will be other feelings (such as the fear of loss) that we may need to get in touch with. Seeking help from a professional counsellor is often the best way to do this.
As mentioned above, a major key to conquering jealousy is coming to terms with the emotions that created it. Dedicate time to think about this. Think about what feelings may be “underneath’ your jealousy. Is it feelings of inadequacy? Do you need to improve your self-confidence? Are you scared of losing your partner because this has happened to you in the past? Do you need to address past issues (such as a past partner leaving you)?
One way to help you think through these emotions is to keep a journal. Try to really understand the feelings you are experiencing. Ask yourself: What am I feeling and why? Once you answer this question, ask yourself again, why am I feeling this way? Keep going until you run out of answers!
If you prefer, you can make drawings or charts to keep track of what you feel and when. Or you can measure your feelings of jealousy on a scale. What causes it to increase? Or decrease? Throughout this going process, monitor how your body responds and reacts.
The vast majority of people that I see who experience strong jealousy know in their rational mind that they partner is trustworthy. They know that their jealousy in their problem-and nothing to do with their partner’s behaviour.
In these cases, you may need to tell yourself over and over again that the jealousy you experience is to do with you-not your partner. The more you tell yourself this the more likely you are to believe it. And while it can take time for your brain to fully realise that your partner is fully trustworthy, over time this does really happen.
For some people, jealousy can be used as a powerful trigger to help them think about their relationship and identify areas of the relationship that can be improved. For example, after talking more with Jonathan, we identified that despite being scared to death of losing Tracey, he was not actually doing much to build their relationship together.
To help him change this, we used jealousy as a signal. Each time he started to feel jealous, I asked him to think of one thing he could do to start to improve his relationship with Tracey. For example, he started to use his jealousy to remind him plan date nights out with Tracey. Each time he started to feel jealous, instead of harassing Tracey about where she was or what she was doing, he would think about his date night plans. This significantly reduced the amount of jealousy he was feeling-and also made the experience of jealousy much more pleasant!
Although it can be difficult, here’s where you cut yourself a break. As with all emotions, there’s a huge difference between experiencing jealousy and acting on it. Learn to realise that just because you are feeling jealous-you don’t need to act on it. Ideally you can even use jealousy to motivate you to perform a positive action, such as in item 3 above.
You can also consult your journal to understand and predict triggers. Learn to cultivate relaxation techniques. Embrace mantras such as: “I recognize these feelings of jealousy but I feel no need to act on them.” or “I don’t need to act on jealousy-I can think of something else!”. Remember to take credit for the progress you’re making!
Jealousy already has your imagination working overtime. Everywhere you look, you see reasons to feel fear. What if you really gave your imagination a workout? What if you contemplated the worst-case scenario? Although it may be difficult, consider the thought that your loved one really is planning to break up with you. Think about what your life be like if you were without the person you think you couldn’t live without? If you think that there would be a massive hole in your life, work on fixing that hole while your partner is in your life. Realize that your happiness cannot depend upon another person-it is always up to you to feel happy in yourself!
Why do you fear your loved one will leave you for someone else? The answer may involve a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence. Therefore, the fear-based jealousy that threatens to poison your relationship may be best challenged by a self-assessment. Get out that journal again and start making lists. For example, things you like about yourself, things you want to work on, what you bring to your relationship, compliments your partner regularly gives you, and so on.
For some people this may be difficult and I have certainly worked with people who have struggled to think of almost anything positive about themselves. If this is the case, then this is the real problem-not the jealousy. Remember again that it is not up to anyone else to make you happy (or even to feel good about yourself). It is up to you to learn to feel this way. You may even want to open up to your partner to let him or her know this is how you feel and you could work on this together.
Seeing a professional counsellor may also be a great option to help with issues of self-esteem or confidence!
Feelings of jealousy can be all-consuming and very hard for people to change by themselves. Working with a professional counsellor can help guide you through the rough waters of jealousy. Consider asking for help and take the steps you need to take to understand your jealousy and rescue your relationship. This particularly applies to men, for whom asking for help can be challenging.
If you would like to conquer jealousy and rescue your relationship, please contact me.
All relationships go through hard times.
No matter how long you have been together problems will arise. Work pressure may mean that you spend less time with your partner. Your children may be taking all your time and energy. You and your partner may not be talking as much as you used to. Maybe you don’t talk at all.
It is important to realize that relationship problems don’t always fix themselves. You can’t always just hope for the best. Maybe you know that your relationship is struggling. Maybe anger, resentment, trust issues or communication problems are building up in your relationship. Maybe you know that without professional help your relationship is in serious trouble.
The decision to get relationship counselling is a brave one. It is a decision that many couples benefit from. Some of these couples had little hope for their relationship. Some had even given up on their relationship-biding their time before choosing to separate.
I have written this article to help you choose a relationship counsellor in Auckland. If you are struggling in your relationship I urge you to give relationship counselling a try. Most couples have little to lose-except the endless arguments or constant distance that keeps them unhappy. And they have the world to gain-including finding the happiness and connection that they used to feel together.
My name is Alastair Duhs. I am a relationship counsellor based in Takapuna, Auckland.
For the last 17 years I have seen hundreds of couples who have been facing a wide variety of relationship issues. These include:
It is my belief that many of the skills for creating a happy, healthy and loving relationship are easy to learn. However many of us have not had this training. We may have been bought up by parents who constantly argued with each other. Or maybe our parents didn’t argue to all. As a result we may fear conflict-leading to other relationship issues.
Whatever issue couples are facing relationship counselling can help. I personally have seen hundreds of my clients completely transform their relationship. These couples have learned to:
Over the years, I believe that I have seen a total of 7-8 counsellors. Without any shred of exaggeration, my experience with Alastair was by far the best. He was extremely helpful and he really truly did change my situation at the time completely into a positive direction. I have recommended him to many people since. I will never forget what he did for me, and all I need to do is think about him and it renews my faith in people and that they can care and make a difference and things can change.
Past Client, 2015
(Note: Click on the links below to go to the section that is most relevant to you).
Relationship counselling can mean many things. Churches, charities, private counsellors and even government departments all carry out relationship counselling. According to Wikipedia, relationship counselling is:
“the process of counselling the parties of a human relationship in an effort to recognize, and to better manage or reconcile, troublesome differences and repeating patterns of stress upon the relationship. The relationship involved may be between members of a family or a couple (see also family therapy), employees or employers in a workplace, or between a professional and a client.
In other words, relationship counselling is the process of helping two people in a relationship build a better relationship with each other.
Relationship counselling can be conducted in many ways. The following however is a typical description of most relationship counselling processes.
Most relationship counsellors start the first counselling session by asking each person what bought them to counselling (or a similar question). However even simple questions such as “What bought you here today?” or “How can I help you?” may not bring simple answers-as many couples are unhappy for years before coming to relationship counselling. It can be hard to summarize these years in a few simple sentences!
Once the counsellor has an understanding of the problems the couple are facing he or she will start to help the couple overcome these problems. This can be done in many ways, including:
Some of these discussions can be difficult for the couple to have. It is the role of the relationship counsellor to keep these discussions productive and to make sure both partners are fully heard. By talking together in deep and powerful ways the couple can heal wounds from the past and create a happy, healthy and more loving relationship.
Many couples wait years before addressing important relationship problems. By this time the problem has become complex-often affecting every part of the couples life. Couples who seek relationship counselling early are usually able to resolve relationship issues far more quickly than couples who have waited months or years to seek help.
Every relationship has specific areas that relationship counselling will help. Some common signs that a couple would benefit from relationship counselling include:
Couples usually attend relationship counselling together. This ensures that both partners are able to speak and listen to their partner directly. They are also able to work together to improve their relationship.
At times a relationship counsellor may decide it is best to see couples individually. Some counsellors do this on the first relationship counselling session. Individual sessions allow each person to speak about their relationship without judgment or response from the other partner. These sessions also help the counsellor assess if there are other issues (such as alcohol or drug addictions, domestic violence or mental health issues) that may make relationship counselling unsuitable.
Other times issues a person may raise issues in relationship counselling that are more suitable to address individually. This may include situations where one person has anger management issues or the need to address childhood abuse or trauma.
There are many highly skilled and qualified relationship counsellors practicing throughout Auckland. Below is a list of some of them-arranged by geography. If you would like further details about any of these counsellors or a recommendation of which counsellor may suit you, please contact me.
RelationshipExpert.co.nz is a relationship counselling practice based in Takapuna, Auckland-run by myself. I specialise in helping couples create happy, healthy and loving relationships. In addition to providing relationship counselling I have had over 20 years experience running anger management programmes and can help couples resolve issue of anger, abuse or violence extremely rapidly.
Shore Therapy is a psychotherapy and counselling practice based in Browns Bay, Auckland. Shore Therapy offers individual and couples counselling and offers a choice of three counsellors, psychotherapists or psychologists to see.
To find out more about Shore Therapy visit their website or phone (09) 478 9223.
Relate Counselling is a specialist marriage and relationship counselling practice based in Ponsonby, Auckland. They offer a range of services for couples including communication coaching, new relationship coaching and sex and intimacy coaching.
Suzi Wallis is a counsellor and family therapist located in Ellerslie, Auckland. She offers a range of services for couples, including generalised couple and marriage counselling as well as divorce and separation coaching.
To find out more about Suzi Wallis visit her website or phone 021 870 576.
Mary Farrell is a psychotherapist and counsellor who has offices in Mt Eden and Titirangi. Mary has had over 25 years experience in relationship and couples counselling and specialises in helping partners communicate honestly and openly, understand each other fully and resolve conflict.
To find out more about Mary Farrell visit her website or phone (09) 817 4878.
Angelika Schuster a psychotherapist and counsellor who has offices in Henderson and Devonport. Angelika provides a range of services including couples counselling and seeks to walk alongside couples to assist them to face the challenges their lives present. This enables couples to feel more in control, have more satisfying relationships and lead a more fulfilling life.
Howick Counselling Services is a group practice consisting of 8 counsellors and psychotherapists. They provide a range of services, including couples counselling. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life of people by providing a range of professional counselling services in a supportive and caring environment.
To find out more about Howick Counselling Services visit their website or phone (09) 533 4453.
Caroline Williams is an experienced counsellor located in Howick, Auckland. Caroline provides a range of services to couples, including assisting them to create more connection and understanding in their current relationships or start intimate relationships without ‘baggage”.
South City Counselling is a counselling practice run by William Garden and located in Takanini, Auckland. William provides a range of services to clients, including relationship counselling and assists couples to work together to resolve their issues in the most efficient and effective manner.
Claire Thompson is a counsellor and mediator with offices in Howick, Takanini, Waiuku, Pukekohe and Auckland City. Claire provides a range of services to clients, including helping couples to get the communication and vitality flowing again. She also helps prepare couples for upcoming relationship commitments to ensure they start their relationship on a good footing.
In general relationship counselling is very effective in helping couples improve their relationships.
As an example of this, research conducted by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists found that:
These results are consistent with my experience. Almost all couples that I see improve how they relate to each other-including learning to listen to each other better, understanding each other more and reducing the number of arguments that they have.
Relationship counselling can help couples with a wide range of issues. These include:
Relationship counselling can take as little as one session-or many sessions that are spend over many years.
The final length of relationship counselling is determined by many factors, such as:
As an indication, most couples I see experience significant improvements in their relationship in 3-5 sessions. After these sessions some couples decide that they have addressed the main issue that they came to see me for.
Other couples choose to continue counselling after 3-5 sessions. These are generally the couples who are committed to creating a better relationship with each other. Some continue to see me for many months or years.
Regardless of the final length of time couples see me for, almost all couples I see experience significant improvements in their relationship in less than 8 sessions.
There are many very good books on how to build a good relationship. The top two books that I recommend to clients are:
The 5 Love Languages-The Secret to Love that Lasts (Gary Chapman)
This is a classic book that describes a simple, but powerful idea. We all experience love in different ways. In this book Gary Chapman describes these 5 ways (spending quality time with your partner, receiving words of encouragement, receiving gifts, receiving acts of service, and physical touch). Many of my clients have used this idea to powerfully transform their relationship.
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last (John Gottman)
John Gottman is one of the best known relationship counsellors in the world. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail is a book full of practical tips for how to create a better relationship-including not avoiding arguments and why more sex does not necessarily improve relationships. As with “The 5 Love Languages” many of my clients have used this book to improve their relationship.
Relationship counselling across Auckland can cost anything from $100 to $250 an hour.
In general there is little correlation between the cost of relationship counselling and its effectiveness. It is best to choose an experienced relationship counsellor that you relate to and think will be able to help you.
If your partner does not want to come to counselling there are still some good options for you to consider. For example, you can:
While the above options are good, relationship counselling is often the fastest way to achieve meaningful improvement in a relationship.
As discussed, there are many good relationship counsellors in Auckland.
However when choosing the right relationship counsellor for you it is useful to keep some of the following factors in mind:
If you would like help choosing a relationship counsellor based in Auckland then please contact me. I will try to recommend the relationship counsellor that I think will be the best match for you.
Alastair Duhs is a specialist relationship counsellor who has had almost twenty years experience helping couples create happier, healthier and more loving relationships. For any questions or enquiries please contact Alastair on 021 137 0228 or via www.relationshipexpert.co.nz.