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Jealous Tricks will Trip You (and Your Relationship) Up Every Time.

Updated on October 24, 2008

Don't Let Jealous Tricks Trip Up Your Relationship

By Susie and Otto Collins

We recently read a dating guide whose author suggested that purposely making your partner or ex jealous is a good idea. This is not the first time we've heard this advice. And it's not the first (or probably last) time we'll assert that this is actually a potentially damaging plan if a healthy, connected relationship is what you want.

If you desire a relationship built upon openness, closeness and trust, relying on jealous tricks will not get you there.

There are many reasons why people think jealousy can be helpful for love relationships. Some believe that a potential partner can be seduced if he or she believes that your affections have to be "won" over from another person. Others maintain that jealousy fuels romantic passion between two people. Sometimes folks think that jealous tricks will make ex-lovers fall for them again. Or the motivation could be a base sense of revenge to show someone who rejected you that you don't need him or her anymore.

None of these reasons are going to get you anything but mistrust, distance and even more emptiness and negative feelings.

Kelly desperately wants to get Tony's attention. They dated for awhile but then something happened and, just as Kelly thought things might get serious between them, Tony stopped calling, refused to return Kelly's text messages and e-mails and began avoiding the places they used to frequent together. This has made Kelly feel angry, hurt and confused. She can't figure out what she did wrong or what even happened.

But now one of Kelly's friends discovered a new bar where Tony has been hanging out. She plans to go there this weekend with a male co-worker named Pete who just asked her out for a date. Though Kelly has no romantic interest in Pete, she hopes Tony will be jealous and that will open the door for them to reunite.

What are your motivations?

If you are to a point where you think a jealous trick will save, resurrect, or spice up a current or past relationship, think again. Before taking another step forward in your plans to try to make your partner or ex jealous, look closely at your motivations. What needs do you want to have met? Perhaps you are lonely or want more attention from the one you care about. Maybe you feel fearful that you will lose (or have already lost) a partner's love. As difficult as it may be, get a clearer picture of what unmet needs are leading you to want to make a partner or ex jealous.

A few hours before her date with Pete and the start to her plan to try to win back Tony through jealousy, Kelly begins to feel doubtful. She realizes that this really isn't fair to Pete who is a nice guy and has no idea of Kelly's true motives in accepting his invitation. Kelly also acknowledges that her jealous trick could backfire. Tony may not even care that she is at the same bar with another man. He might even be angry that she found his new hang out spot and that she can't take a hint that he doesn't care about her anymore.

Not only does Kelly all too clearly know her true motivations in going on a date with Pete, she also begins to understand the drawbacks of this plan. She wonders if there is another way to get what she wants.

Decide what you want and find other ways to meet your needs.

Jealous tricks are not the only way to satisfy your unmet needs. In fact, if you are open, there are many many other options out there. If you want more spice in your relationship, get creative and, together with your partner, explore new ways to enjoy intimacy. Being unfettered by jealousy will allow you to take this even deeper. If, on the other hand, you feel taken for granted or even ignored in your relationship, talk with your mate about how you feel. Focus on how your emotions rather than blaming him or her.

Kelly realizes that what she most wants is to understand what happened with Tony. From her perspective, everything was going great between the two of them and then Tony just tried to disappear. She feels angry about his cowardly way to break up with her if that's what this is. She does miss Tony's company and part of her would like to date him again, but more than anything she wants to talk with him and know what happened.

With this deeper comprehension of what she wants, Kelly decides to go ahead and go to the new bar where Tony is hanging out. But she decides to cancel her date with Pete and to go alone. Her new intention is to approach Tony and tell him that she needs to know what's going on and why he cut her out of his life so abruptly. She knows that Tony might run away again, but she feels like she at least wants to try-- if nothing else, for a sense of closure.

When you get down to your needs and feelings beneath the desire to make a partner or ex jealous, you may be surprised. Trust this deeper knowledge of what you want and choose your next steps accordingly. You may also be surprised to find how many other paths there are leading you to where you want to go.

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