Buck Black is a licensed therapist (LCSW) in private practice who focuses on helping truckers and their families deal with the anger, stress, and relationship strains that often come with being away from home for extended periods of time. He does this both in his Lafayette, Indiana office and online at www.BuckBlack.com. Buck also specializes in working with truckers and their families over the phone and on Skype at www.TruckerTherapy.com.

Todays Topic: Jealousy

Jealousy is common in all types of relationships.  Long distance relationships (especially truckers who are out on the road for weeks on end) often give jealousy even more of a foothold.  There are several factors of being an over the road trucker which can breed jealousy.  For example, Not knowing where your partner is or what he or she is doing, having way too much time to think while you drive, and general miscommunications via text or phone can all hit that jealous bone.

Before we go any further, maybe we should define jealousy:
“Jealousy is triggered by the threat of separation from, or loss of, a romantic partner when that threat is attributed to the possibility of the partner’s romantic interest in another person.” (Sharpteen & Kirkpatrick, 1997, page 628)

Where is jealousy coming from?  It is important to realize that a person becomes jealous when he or she thinks their partner will cheat.  There can be a variety of reasons a person is jealous…but here are a few of the common ones:  Is there a history of your partner cheating?  Is your partner’s actions out of line or is your thinking out of line?  If you are worried that your partner will cheat on you because of someone else has cheated on you in the past, this worry is not fair to your current partner.  Just because someone else has cheated on you in the past, it does not mean your current partner will cheat on you.  

If your current partner has cheated on you in the past and you are worrying about that in the future, it makes sense that you will have concerns.  Your partner’s actions of being faithful and doing what is asked is the only way he or she can show changed behavior.  Relying only on words only goes so far.  If you become one of those people that feel you must check up on your partner or watch their every mood, this can be very draining and does not lead to a healthy relationship.  If you have to watch their every move, why are you still with them?

Take a jealousy test at Discovery Health

Here are some ideas on how to improve your relationship and minimize jealousy:

•    Make sure that at least once a day, you actually use the “phone part” of the phone.  This is not a typo—texting is great, but using your voice to communicate is more personal and makes it less likely there will be miscommunications.
•    Be sure to make your calls when you still have good energy.  If you call at the end of your day, this can really hurt enthusiasm and attention.
•    When you are feeling jealous, ask yourself what is making you feel that way.  Once you have figured that out, ask yourself if your thoughts are realistic, or if your imagination is getting carried away.
•    Don’t argue details.  If you are arguing about things that really do not matter, it will just lead to more arguing.  It is okay to tell your partner that you are dropping this topic.
•    Jealousy is a sign of another problem.  Ask your partner what is making him/her jealous.  Is it based on a previous trust problem in the past?  Is it related to a past relationship that does not apply?
•    Actions show that you are trustworthy!  Words help but focus on the actions.