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  • How to Deal with Your Jealous Italian Love
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    SEPTEMBER 25, 2005 - Since I started writing this column, hundreds of people have gotten in touch with me via email. The vast majority want advice about a relationship they're having - or would like to have - with an Italian. I've written about the allure of the Italian man and woman, Italian beliefs on marriage, and even Italian weddings. But there's one dirty little secret that almost all Italian couples face: jealousy is often one of the biggest challenges to the Italian romance. Here, you'll discover why this is a problem for Italian couples - and what you can do about it.

    As is the case with every group of people, Italians have their share of good and bad people. But, for the most part, Italians are fabulous at relationships. They're beautiful on the inside and outside, devoted to family and known for their ability to romance and make love. However, their friendly nature sometimes crosses the line into flirtation. That's when spouses and longtime girlfriends and boyfriends start to take things personally.

    Americans who date Italians often find jealousy to be the deal breaker because they're used to having friends of the opposite sex and thinking nothing of how that makes their partners feel. Many other ethnic groups also believe that members of the opposite sex can be friends with no sexual tension between them whatsoever. But many Italians still find that hard to accept even if they're starting to have similar experiences as more and more women and men work together. But you can still have a successful relationship - and break through the cultural barriers.

    If you have a jealous Italian mate, the most important thing you need to do is talk to him or her. Ask your partner how and why he or she feels a certain way and what you can do to make him or her be more comfortable. You have to really listen to what he or she says - and respond to it.

    If you really want to make the relationship work, you have to make your partner see and understand that there's nothing to be jealous about. There are simple things you can do to make that happen. It goes without saying that you should be faithful and that means no physical or emotional betrayals of your commitment to one another. Then, you must make him or her feel like the most important person in your life. Little things like saying, “I love you” or having a romantic evening at home are great starting points.

    The next thing you should do is be transparent. If you're chatting with an old friend of the opposite sex, then keep your partner in the loop. If you're planning a day out with your friends, invite him or her along. That brings me to the third thing you should do and that is to make sure your partner gets to know your friends well. If your man develops a bond with your guy friend, then he's not going to feel threatened. It's the unknown that makes people feel insecure.

    If your partner refuses to accept your friendships or takes the jealousy too far by striking out at you either physically or verbally or by trying to control your every move, then you have a real problem. At that point, you should consider professional counseling or ending the relationship. And you should also forget all the advice I outline here because I'm not a relationships expert. I just write about my observations based on my own personal experiences, none of which included any sort of abuse or extreme jealousy.

    I have a message for all of those women and men who have written to me about their Italian loves or crushes: Love unconditionally and you'll have a rich life. Then, jealousy won't have any affect at all.

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