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22 tips for 2022: Jealous? Compersion can help tame the green-eyed monster

Illustration of a person sitting on an elevated platform jealously looking on as two people hug on an elevated platform across and open space. The three people are surrounded by stars.
Jennifer Qian for NPR

Jealousy in romantic relationships is completely normal — but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. Next time your inner jealousy monster needs taming, try summoning some compersion.

Compersion is about making space to be happy about our partner's happiness, even if the source of that joy lies outside of your partnership. It's a healthy practice regardless of your relationship model.

If that seems like a wild idea to you, jealousy expert Joli Hamilton says it might not be as far away as you think. "It's the sensation that we have when we are watching a little kid have an ice cream cone, but we are lactose intolerant," she says. "And we're like, I cannot enjoy that joy, but I am so glad you are happy right now."

Whether your partner has a big win at work, finally finds time for old friends, or masters a new skill, resisting possessiveness and practicing sympathetic joy instead can foster deeper connection and understanding in your relationship. It may not always be easy, but a little intentionality goes a long way.

"You don't have to suffer through jealousy. And you don't have to destroy it," says Hamilton. "You can really learn to relate to it differently."


Here's more on working through jealousy in romantic relationships.

This tip was adapted from a story originally written by Andee Tagle. 22 tips for 2022 is edited and curated by Dalia Mortada, Arielle Retting, Janet W. Lee, Beck Harlan, Beth Donovan and Meghan Keane. This tip comes from an episode of Life Kit hosted by Andee Tagle and produced by Clare Marie Schneider.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andee Tagle
Andee Tagle (she/her) is an associate producer and now-and-then host for NPR's Life Kit podcast.
Clare Marie Schneider
Clare Marie Schneider is an associate producer for Life Kit.