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A lot of people confuse jealousy with love, protection, loyalty and a lot of other positive elements of a relationship. And it can feel like that, at times. If someone doesn’t want you spending time with other people, talking to the opposite sex, or even talking about the opposite sex, it can feel like, “Well they just love me so much they want me all to themselves.” But the truth is that to love someone means to want what’s best for them as an individual, separate from yourself. In other words, if someone really loves you, they would never ask you to stop speaking to one of your best male friends—a friend who has always been there for you and always made you happy. Control has no place in love and jealousy is deeply rooted in wanting to control someone. Here is why and when you should never forgive extreme jealousy.

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When he’s asking you to break a friendship

No partner should ever ask you to break a friendship with someone because of jealousy. He may think your male friend has a crush on you, or he may even just be uncomfortable with you having male friends entirely. But a man who really loves you wouldn’t ask you to burn a bridge of friendship that you’ve built for years, just to make him a little more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

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When it interferes with your family life

Maybe your partner is jealous when you spend time with a certain cousin or sister because he knows that person takes you out to a lot of singles bars or brings you around a lot of their attractive male friends. Too bad: your family has been there since long before you met this guy and will be there forever, regardless of what happens with this guy. For him to ask you to stop seeing a family member is one of the most selfish things he could ask.

 

 

 

 

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When it interferes with your career

Jealousy gets really out of hand when it is interfering with your career. Maybe you have a colleague of whom your partner is jealous. Maybe you even have a boss of whom your partner is jealous. But asking you to alter or minimize your interaction with any of those people is, in a way, like asking you to give up some of your independence. The moment your partner’s jealousy affects your career, it affects your livelihood and your ability to take care of yourself. Of course, many jealous (read: controlling) partners want just that, so you’re more dependent on them.

 

 

 

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When you have to deny your past

Many jealous partners hate the fact that you ever so much as kissed another person before meeting them. They want you to not only talk about your past but cut ties with it. This could mean no longer being friends with a common acquaintance you and an ex had, or no longer eating at the restaurant you and the ex used to go to, all because it could “stir up old feelings.” Your past is an important part of who you are today. It made you the person your partner (allegedly) loves now. You should own it, and cherish it, and so should he.

 

 

 

 

When it becomes mean

Often jealousy can come with such deep, painful feelings of insecurity that the jealous person cannot take it. So, instead, they project those feelings of insecurity outward and start to criticize you. Many jealous individuals believe that if they take you down a notch, and ruin your self-esteem, they can trust you’ll never leave them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it leads to an ultimatum

Jealousy is not something that should ever lead to an ultimatum. If your partner is jealous of a friend or a colleague, he should be willing to have a discussion with you or that person about it (it should be a non-threatening discussion). Requiring you to make an irreversible decision, just to alleviate his jealousy, is completely unfair.

 

 

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When he spies on you

Ironically, though a jealous partner spies on you because he doesn’t trust you, once he does that, you can no longer trust him. Don’t ever stay with somebody who looks at your phone or email, listens in on your phone calls, or sends somebody to watch you. That’s the beginning of more psychopathic behavior to come. Even so much as reading one text of yours is the top of a slippery slope.

 

 

 

 

 

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When it’s making you walk on eggshells

If you find yourself editing your words and behavior around everyone, even when you know you’re doing nothing wrong, just in case your partner might misinterpret something, his jealousy has gone too far. That means his jealousy has made you incapable of being in the moment and being your genuine self in interactions with other people.

 

 

 

 

 

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When he is inappropriate with your friends or family

If your partner thinks he has something to worry about between you and a friend or anyone else in your life, he should always come to you first. He should never threaten that person, or become passive aggressive and mean towards that person. Then he’s putting your friends and family in the very difficult position of having to still be nice to your partner, who is mean to them.

 

 

 

 

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When it’s all in his head

This should go without saying, but if you’re not doing anything wrong—if you’re not flirting with anyone else, or disrespecting your partner’s trust in any way—you shouldn’t tolerate jealousy. I don’t care if you feel sorry for your partner because he’s just insecure, and that’s why he’s jealous. Or he just “loves you so much” and that’s why he’s jealous. Everyone has the important job of solving their own personal issues before getting into a relationship or else their issues become a burden on their partners. And that’s exactly what happens when someone doesn’t handle their jealousy and paranoia issues.

 

 

 

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When he won’t seek professional help

Your partner may acknowledge that he has emotional issues that lead to jealousy and paranoia. If he is willing to seek therapy, that’s a great step. But if he admits jealousy stems from his own issues and not your behavior, and then refuses to seek professional help but rather just asks you to accommodate his behavior, you need to get out of there.

 

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When it means he isn’t there for you

Sometimes, people get a little jealous. But if your partner punishes you when he is jealous—let’s say by not being there by your side when a family member is in the hospital, or not being your plus one to a major event in your career where you need his support, it’s time to bail. Punishing you when he is jealous is a form of emotional abuse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When it’s left over from a past relationship

You should never have to pay for the mistakes of anyone’s previous partners. If your partner ever says anything like, “My ex cheated on me so if you could just be extra sensitive about that…” that should be a major red flag. Being “extra sensitive” is going to mean not talking to other men, not seeing other men, and not even talking about other men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When you know you did nothing wrong

If you are a loyal, stable and trustworthy person, you should be with somebody who sees that in you, admires that about you, and rewards you for it. When you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve earned the right in your relationships to hang out with male friends, to come home a little later than you said you would, and to not have to tell your partner where you are every 20 minutes. Why should you have to act like someone who has cheated, when you haven’t?

 

 

 

 

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When he asks you to change

If your partner ever asks you to dress differently, behave differently, or even do a different job, all to ease his jealousy, it’s time to go. I don’t care where his desire for you to change is coming from: it’s an enormous problem when a partner asks you to change.

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