In Bed With Gigi Engle

In Bed With Gigi Engle: Is It Ever OK to Be Jealous in a Relationship?

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Welcome to In Bed with Gigi Engle, a weekly column in which sex and relationships writer Gigi Engle answers your most intimate questions. Nothing is off-limits! From threesomes to anal, unrequited love to cheating: We want to hear it all.

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Hey Gigi,

I happen to be a crazy, jealous girlfriend. I'm aware of the "overreacting and making something bigger than it really is" situation -- I know I'm pretty ridiculous at times. I'm working on it!

Recently, I saw a text on my boyfriend’s phone from a female co-worker that read, "Sandwich is on your desk bud ;)." Yes, co-workers do that kind of stuff. But I couldn't help it that my blood boiled. I trust my man, but I also feel uncomfortable with him being chummy with female co-workers. I know some honestly are just being nice! But we all know the other kind; where sandwich is code for "I want you." Am I being ridiculous here?!

How do I keep my cool and not let shit bother me?

-- C

Hey C,

First things first: No one should EVER use a winky face in a platonic text. The winky face is like the creepy, unwanted, way-too-long hug your weird step-uncle gives you at the family holiday party. Ick and no thank you. It's like when a guy says, "Just the tip."

ANYWAY, jealousy is a major bitch. It's super toxic, all-consuming, and can ruin your relationship. Unchecked, it will creep up on you right when you think you have it under control. Something small can set it off and suddenly, you're on a roll and there ain't no comin' down.

I know the feeling all too well.

This is something I've been dealing with myself for a very long time. Your story reminds me of a time when my boyfriend's female co-worker commented "Nice beard!" on a photo of the two of us together on Facebook. Oh, I was NOT pleased. I passive-aggressively liked her comment -- and it still irks me, months later. I think the fact that it bothers me is what really bothers me, you know?

I know my partner loves me. I know that comment wasn't meant to be inappropriate or weird, but it made me feel weird. I'm not supposed to get mad at other women, but here I am getting annoyed with this girl I've never met. The only person I should be mad at is myself, which I am, because I'm insane.

So, are you being ridiculous and are you crazy? Yeah, obviously. But you're also not alone in your neurosis.

So, are you being ridiculous and are you crazy? Yeah, obviously.

You think you really know yourself and what you're capable of; you've been successful in certain things; you've got a boyfriend who adores you; but you still worry, right? I'’s difficult for a (mostly) confident woman who knows she can trust her man to occasionally suffer through bouts of jealousy.

When these feelings flare up, it's important to recognize that jealousy is actually internalized self-doubt, manifesting as outside blame.

Jealousy is mostly anxiety-based and fueled by our own overthinking. Whenever something really great is happening, or we think we have our lives right where we want them, we try to self-sabotage. It's a delightfully depressing art, ruining your own life. I'm glad you recognize that the behavior is fucked up. That, my dear, is step one.

The way to handle jealousy is by being honest about it with your partner in a way that isn't accusatory or overly aggressive. You have to be honest about your vulnerabilities; not be passive-aggressive about them (like, say, liking a Facebook pic comment).

Start with that goddamn winky-faced emoji. Tell your boyfriend that weirded you out and admit how irrational it is for you to latch onto something so petty. Bring him into the conversation. And say that of course you trust that if something was up, he would obviously have already told this girl it's not going to happen and that her behavior isn't girlfriend-approved. See how that conversation with him plays out. If he's a stand-up guy, he'll be open to listening -- and to sharing his own thoughts on the matter.

It's difficult for a (mostly) confident woman who knows she can trust her man to occasionally suffer through bouts of jealousy.

Honestly, it sounds like they’re just work friends and I wouldn’t worry about it. Work marriage only crosses the line when they start hanging out a lot outside of work. If you're in a relationship, you shouldn't be spending a ton of outside time with your single work spouse. That's just not appropriate, you know? It leads to gray areas and no one has time for that.

Ultimately, we can't control how we feel -- but we can control what we do about it. It's OK to be a little jealous, as long as you don't murder (or threaten to murder) anyone. Or get your ass dumped for acting insane when there's nothing going on.

I've told my boyfriend about my jealous tendencies on multiple occasions. He doesn't love that I get that way; but he loves ME and that's what is important. Having an open dialogue and knowing you can talk to your partner will allow you to work through the insecurities you've got that are causing this to boil up in the first place.

Love your favorite internet auntie,

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