I get overly attached. Any advice?

souffle-etc asks:

Growing up, I had a father who was very devoted to my mother, and a mother who was insanely jealous and paranoid. I’ve inherited both traits but I know the jealousy and paranoia are completely unjustified and unhealthy. Since I’m aware of these issues I usually catch them quickly and work on talking myself out of that mentality, but I really want to get to a point where I don’t get caught up in those emotions so much.

It could be anything from thinking a long-time partner is cheating because they’re always on Snapchat, or getting jealous when they get tons of compliments on their looks (IRL or online), etc. In my heart I have very healthy viewpoints and know that everybody is entitled to live their life how they see fit, and that you can’t control anybody. I know that these possessive emotions are wrong, but I can’t stop the knee-jerk impulses from popping up, however briefly. Any advice?

Demetrius says:

I’m definitely the wrong person to go over the root of your attachment issues, but I am the right person to give you tips on how to not come off as overly attached. When anyone describes themselves as “insanely jealous or paranoid” I try to avoid being flippant and give them this advice: consider mental health treatment. I’m guessing that your mother, and by extension you, are not clinically insane, but if you are dealing with unjustified jealousy and paranoia, to the point where even you think it’s unhealthy, you should seek the help of a professional. I’d give you the same advice if you told me you’ve had a runny nose for 2 months and you think it’s unhealthy.

I can help with you with not coming off as overly attached. I’m pretty good at not coming off as overly attached, often times to my own detriment, so maybe between the two of us we can find the middle ground between “indifference” and “obsessive“. Let’s tackle the 3 things I think are the most feasible to try to fix. Here’s what I think we can work on:

  1. Jealousy over Snapchat (and by extension, cellphone) usage
  2. Feeling jealous when your partner is complimented by others
  3. Knee-jerk reactions to situations that make you jealous

When it comes to your partner using Snapchat, or texting and messaging other people on their phone while with you, the strategy you want to take is to make your problem less about jealousy, and more about spending time with you. I’m not a jealous person, but one of my biggest pet peeves is heavy usage of cellphones when I’m spending time with someone, whether it’s my girlfriend, friends or family. Take a page from my book and tell your partner that when you’re spending time with them that you’d like for them to focus on you. You aren’t telling them that you can’t be on their phone because you’re jealous, you’re telling them that you want to focus on them. Huge difference, with a less negative driver.

The only real way to combat jealousy is to confront the root of your jealousy, which as I said before, might require some professional help. What you can do to not appear jealous is use to body-language and contact that reasserts to the person that compliments your partner that they are with you. If you walk into a room and your partner is complimented, as subtly as possible, initiate contact with your partner. Here’s how: someone says “Your partner is so attractive” you then reply “I know, they are just so attractive” at which point you touch them, or at least draw their attention in an affectionate way. Where you touch them,  or how you touch them is entirely up to your discretion but it sends a signal that yes my partner is attractive, but they are my partner, you can tell that just by how cool they are with me touching them or flirting with them. Most people wont even notice the touch, and I know this because I do this whenever anyone compliments me on my girlfriend’s attractiveness. Of course, use your judgment when doing this. If they are within arms reach, feel free to touch. If someone says your partner is attractive and they are across the room, I’m not saying you need to run across the room, grab their butt, then run back to the conversation. That’d be a bit weird.

Knee jerk reactions are going to be the hardest to overcome because they don’t rely on conscious thought. The best advice I can give is to trust your partner. That’s too simple though. My next best piece of advice is when you become jealous, don’t react. Whatever your natural reaction is, suppress it, process it, then act on it. You can’t change your reaction, or the look you might have on your face when you react, but you can control when you speak and when you act.  If your partner asks what’s wrong, it’s okay to say, in whatever way you feel comfortable with, that you are processing a feeling, and will talk about it when you figure it out for yourself.

Ultimately, I do believe that you should seek some professional help to discuss your jealousy and paranoia, but if you follow my tips you will at least APPEAR to be less jealous and overly attached.

Good Luck Out There.

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