How to Deal with Jealousy after Divorce
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a jealous person, the sight of your ex-spouse with a new partner can be a challenging pill to swallow. You may question why they seem to have moved on so effortlessly while you grapple with feelings of loss and loneliness.
It's also common to feel pangs of jealousy when observing other peoples' marriages. Watching them share happiness, companionship, and mutual support can make your loss feel more acute.
Jealousy can also stem from comparing your financial situation to others. Divorce can bring on significant financial changes, and seeing others enjoy a level of security or wealth you once had can be tough.
We’re here to tell you that appearances can be deceiving. Every relationship has its unique set of challenges. When you look around (and especially when you look at social media), you are only seeing the tip of every “iceberg” out there. So although you may be tempted to compare your situation to others, your assessment likely doesn’t account for the full picture. Furthermore, it’s a hindrance to you to allow yourself to feel bad over things you can’t control.
What if you feel envious of those who seem to have healthy relationships and robust support systems? Remember this: It's never too late to build your network of support. You might join a meetup group, join a support group, or meet people in other ways.
8 tips for dealing with feelings of jealousy
Don’t get us wrong: We understand that jealousy can be real and painful after divorce, and dealing with it is no easy feat.
But it's not an insurmountable challenge. Here are some practical steps you can take to navigate your feelings of jealousy and foster healing.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
The first step in dealing with jealousy is acknowledging its presence. It's okay to admit you feel jealous. It doesn't make you weak or petty; it makes you human.
By recognizing these feelings, you're already on the path toward healing.
2. Practice self-compassion
Divorce can be an emotional roller coaster. It’s one of the most stressful life events a person can go through. So, it's crucial to be kind to yourself during this time. Don't berate yourself for feeling jealous. Instead, treat yourself with the same compassion you'd extend to a friend in this situation.
3. Seek support
You don't have to navigate your feelings of jealousy alone. Reach out to trusted friends or family members. Consider joining a support group or seeking help from a professional counselor or therapist.
Find a psychologist through the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator.
4. Focus on your own journey
It's easy to look at others and feel a pang of envy. But now is the time to focus on yourself. Everyone is on their own unique journey, so why waste your precious time focusing on someone else’s life? Concentrate on your own growth and happiness right now.
5. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool in managing jealousy. By focusing on the present moment, you can learn to let go of past resentments and future anxieties.
6. Set personal goals
Setting personal goals can provide a sense of purpose and direction. Can you identify some goals in your personal or professional life? Your goal may be to learn a new hobby, advance in your career, or focus more on your health.
The goal mindset is, in this case, just as important as the goal itself, if not more so. Setting goals gives you something positive about yourself to focus on. This helps distract you from your jealousy and reminds you that you are of utmost importance.
7. Limit contact with your ex
If seeing your former spouse triggers feelings of jealousy, consider limiting contact with them, at least for a while. This can provide some much-needed space to heal.
If you’re co-parenting and must stay in contact with them, it can be a little harder to limit your interactions. Still, there are things you can do to keep your relationship focused solely on the kids right now.
8. Reflect on what you've learned
Divorce, as painful as it is, can also be a great teacher. Reflect on what you've learned from this experience and how it has shaped you. Use these lessons to grow and become a better version of yourself.
Dealing with jealousy post-divorce is a process you will be spending time on; it’s not a once-and-done action you can take in a day. It's okay to have good days and bad days. Instead of focusing on how quickly you move on, take note of the steps you take toward your new life. Celebrate each one, and keep moving forward.
ResourcesLife Change Index Scale (The Stress Test). Dartmouth.edu.
Psychologist Locator. American Psychological Association.
What Is Mindfulness? (July 2020). Mindful.org.