In today’s video, I’m going to share a crucial message to set the tone for your relationship as early as possible to minimize the odds of chaos, drama, divorce, and especially irrational jealousy.

So: how to avoid irrational jealousy?

Zachary Stockill: If you are someone who is at all predisposed to irrationally jealous behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, if you’ve ever experienced retroactive jealousy in your relationship that is based on the present, it’s important to give yourself a fighting chance at peace.

One of the best methods regarding how to avoid irrational jealousy is to communicate boundaries very early on in your relationship.

A lot of people in relationships don’t communicate and that leads to all kinds of chaos, drama, and especially irrational jealousy. One thing that I’ve learned and practiced that I follow to this day, is: I want the overall tone of my intimate relationship to be one of mutual choice. I don’t want to be forcing anyone into doing anything and forcing someone to be someone they really aren’t.

You can’t force someone to adopt a certain attitude or behavior for long, especially when it comes to relationships. If you have mutual desires and goals, that’s great. But if those desires and goals are not aligned, you’re going to have all kinds of problems in terms of boundaries.

You should have a shared understanding of what exactly constitutes “monogamy.” In the 21st century, with Tinder, Bumble, and dating apps, relationship models are rapidly changing. Everyone’s idea about monogamy these days is a little different. So it’s a good idea early on in your relationship to have a practical talk about what exactly monogamy means to both you and your partner.

I don’t think it’s enough to merely have the conversation about boundaries. I think you also have to balance that out with a conversation about values.

Why are you together? What would you like out of a relationship? What does a good relationship look, sound, and feel to you? And what are your shared goals as a couple? Where do you want to go in the future? What are you aiming at? How are you going to avoid irrational jealousy?

Have a conversation about the values of your relationship, and compare and contrast them with your partner’s. Make sure to balance out the “heavier” boundaries discussion with a conversation about values.

But beyond the boundaries and values discussion, the overall tone of my relationship has to be based on mutual choice. I want to be here, and so does my partner. And as long as that remains true, great. But if that ever becomes not true, on a deep level, over an extended period of time, if one of us comes to the conclusion that this is not the right choice, that we’re holding each other back from something better, I want the tone of the relationship to be one of mutual trust that everything is going to be ok.

In other words, if it doesn’t work out, I’m going to be okay, and my partner is going to be okay.

The main point is just to communicate and be able to have that conversation as calm, mature, and grounded as possible. Rather than having all kinds of fights about it. Basically, I want my partner to know that if she wants to leave, I will be the first one to say, “I’m going to miss you. But Goodbye and God bless”.

And this is not me trying to be a cool guy who doesn’t care about my partner. Of course, I love and care about her deeply. But I only want to be with someone who wants to be with me.

Now when it comes to irrational jealousy, one of the ways you can reduce irrational jealousy in a relationship is when you make sure your partner knows: if at some point you want to be with other people, if you are attracted to someone else, and you genuinely want to be with that person, that’s okay. I will be the first to open the door and say, “God bless, you can be on your way and have a great life. There’s no animosity.”

Now, if my partner were to make that decision, of course, it would hurt. But at the end of the day, I only want to be with someone who wants to be with me.

The divorce rate is over 50%. People break up all the time. It’s a complicated world out there, and anything can happen in relationships. There are no guarantees. So: “If things change, let me know, rather than sneaking around behind my back and doing all kinds of shady things.”

If my partner wants to be with someone else, I’m not going to try to mate guard. I’m not going to smother and try to keep and beg her to stay. I’m quite okay with being alone. “I’m okay with saying goodbye if that’s what you need if that’s what you decide is best.”

Now, for some of you watching this video, you might not entirely feel that way yourself, deep in your bones. You might feel a little more clinging and possessiveness towards your partner. And sometimes that takes time to work through. I might be sharing a different message with you if I was recording this video 10 years ago. But it’s a peaceful feeling when you come to this point where you are genuinely okay being alone.

Breakups hurt, breakups suck. But at the end of the day, whatever happens, I know I will be okay.

I want to be with someone who wants to be with me. And if you tell your partner, “if you fall in love with someone else, just let me know. I’ll let you go and it’s all good.”

How will you avoid irrational jealousy?

If you communicate this message, it might catch your partner off guard. Because they might be more used to people doing the mate-guarding thing and begging them to stay, and all the rest.

But at the end of the day, I think it’s your only option: to make peace with the inherent instability and uncertainty of relationships. There’s no such thing as a sure thing. There’s no such thing as a guarantee. People change, feelings change. And part of the thrill of falling in love is the act of falling itself. The uncertainty, the risk, the danger, is embedded in the phraseology itself, “falling in love.”

We don’t say “securing in love.” We don’t say “certainty in love.” We say falling in love because it’s dangerous, risky.

Make sure that both of you understand that there is risk involved. I believe this is a recipe for avoiding so much drama, pain, heartache, and all the rest.

It’s not about trying to be cool. It’s about, “I genuinely want the best for you”. And this is another message that a lot of people have never really heard. We often say “I want the best for you,” but sometimes when we say that, we only mean “I want the best for you in so far as it doesn’t hurt me.” But of course, that isn’t really wanting the best for someone.

If I’m dating someone, and they find someone who’s a genuinely better match for them, then I want them to leave me. I don’t want to hold someone back, and I don’t want to be held back from someone who will love and cherish me the way that I deserve. Wanting the best for someone also involves possibly losing them.

So try to make peace with the inherent instability, the inherent uncertainty of relationships. This is a massive project and some of you will struggle with this, but it’s essential. Try to become okay with being alone, because I really don’t think you can be truly happy with someone else if your main motivation for being with them is fear of loss.

You need to cultivate that sense of being totally okay, totally content on your own. And that’s how to give yourself a chance to avoid irrational jealousy.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.