Sometimes the paranoid partner will be her, not you. When that happens, you’ll need to defuse her jealousy before it explodes.

WHAT HAPPENED
She noticed that you noticed a beautiful woman.

DEFUSE IT
Don’t deny your wandering eye. Instead, say you were looking at something specific, such as the woman’s legs, but then add that her pins are even hotter. “By complimenting her you make it clear where your allegiance lies,” says Jana Morgan, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Northcliff, Johannesburg.

WHAT HAPPENED
You were hanging out with a female friend.

DEFUSE IT
Resist the urge to say, “Why don’t you trust me?” A better response: “It’s nice to know you care about me enough to be jealous.” Then, says Morgan, plan something unique with her that shows your relationship is unlike those you have with other women.

WHAT HAPPENED
She accuses you of being a flirt—all the time.

DEFUSE IT
Ask for a few recent examples and then ask her to share how they made her feel, says Cape Town couples therapist Mark Connelly. Listen and then, when she’s finished, assure her that you don’t want to hurt her. “Asking her about her feelings will help restore your bond,” he says.

WHAT HAPPENED
You mentioned an ex.

DEFUSE IT
Remind her there’s a reason your ex is your ex, says Morgan. Tell her the truth – and what she needs to hear: “My ex was part of my life, but I’ve moved on and I’m committed to you.”