4 Signs And 15 Ways To Deal With Jealousy In A Relationship

One of the biggest reasons behind breakups and problems is jealousy in a relationship. If you have trust issues and do not like seeing your partner mingle with someone else, you may be insecure. It is normal to feel jealous when you love someone, but possessiveness can lead to relationship woes. While a bit of envy and jealousy in a relationship is expected, it can become toxic and intense, resulting in arguments and issues. You might feel like controlling your partner, making them feel burdened and uncomfortable. However, mutual trust is essential to maintain the relationship when you love someone. So here we are to help you make the necessary adjustments to understand each other and avoid any trouble in paradise. Read on to learn about the causes of jealousy and the different measures you can take to deal with it.

In This Article

What Causes Jealousy In A Relationship?

Jealousy can lead to anger, hatred, and despair. But what causes it? Keep reading to know.

  1. Insecurity in your relationship or lack of self-confidence: Insecurity leads to jealousy. If you have self-doubt or you lack confidence in yourself, then you may get jealous quickly. Jealousy could be a reflection of your insecurities that lie in your subconscious.

    Lack of self-confidence can sprout jealousy in a relationship

    Image: IStock

  1. A way to deal with fears: The fear of your partner finding someone more attractive than you, the fear of your partner leaving you, or the fear of being cheated on can make you jealous.
  1. Competition with others: Competition to a certain extent is healthy, but when it becomes extreme, it rears its ugly head in the form of jealousy. Jealous partners try to outdo others instead of being their original self. They find rivalry everywhere and think of everyone as their competitor.

A little jealousy is alright and can charge your relationship and is also healthy for your relationship.

Helen Fisher, the author of Why We Love, says, “A certain amount of jealousy in a relationship is fine. It’s like waking up to a reminder that you are lucky for having an attractive partner, and that can motivate you to be loving and nice to your partner.

However, when jealousy is chronic, debilitating and overt – that’s when it becomes a problem.”

A writer, psychologist, and life coach, Patricia Marshall echoes the same opinion. She narrates her encounter with her husband on the topic of jealousy, which concluded on a positive, yet eye-opening note. She says, “As Nick Jonas sings…we will all ‘still get jealous’ from time to time in our relationships. But as my husband said, sometimes jealousy can be a good thing. It can lead to good and fruitful conversations. If handled well, those conversations will strengthen and deepen intimacy in your relationship. So, have conversations about your relationship, your feelings, your life, and keep having them in order to stay close! (i)”

You need to know how to control your jealousy, or else it can damage your relatihttps://patticmarshall.medium.com/jealousy-in-relationships-a2b6b89b72dbonship.

protip_icon Point to consider
Other causes of jealousy in relationships include having a false sense of ownership over a partner or having unreasonable expectations for relationships.

Signs Of Jealousy

How intense is your jealousy? Look for these signs to know.

  1. Excessive control: Jealousy triggers controlling behavior, which includes invading your private space, restricting your interactions with friends and colleagues, and probing into everything. Your every interaction is viewed with suspicion and distrust. Such behavior becomes an everyday affair, even under unwarranted circumstances.

    Jealousy triggers controlling behavior

    Image: Shutterstock

  1. Possessiveness: A jealous partner wants you to be only theirs, and no one else should even eye you. They also stalk you to find out what you are doing and with whom you are talking. This obsession can be highly uncomfortable, and sometimes extreme that it might seem illogical.
  1. Threatening: Jealous people threaten their partners to control them. They hurt themselves, destroy things, or become extremely violent. They also threaten their partners without resorting to violence, through bullying, manipulation, criticizing, and threatening to leave them. Usually, these threats show the jealous partner’s inadequacy.
  1. Anxiety: When you are jealous, you are constantly anxious as to what your partner is up to. You don’t want to involve in activities that you once enjoyed as you are preoccupied with your worries.

    Anxiety can be a sign of jealousy in a relationship

    Image: IStock

Rob, a blogger, shares his experience of being jealous in a previous relationship. The thought of anticipated loss caused so much anxiety in him, leading him to be a jealous boyfriend who wanted to be updated on his girlfriend’s whereabouts at all times. He says, “ I was so incredibly jealous that it affected almost every area of my life. Yup I was the crazy boyfriend calling at all hours of the night finding out what she was doing, who she was with, what she was wearing, where she was going etc…. you get the point. I made myself sick with jealousy ‘literally.’ I could not sleep, couldn’t eat, I always had a huge knot in my stomach, and my mind was just always running away from me thinking of all these potential things that may or may not happen. My mother used to tell me that I sounded psychotic on the phone and looking back she was right. Literally, everything that I was trying to do to prevent losing her was exactly the reason she did leave. I was stifling every part of who she was and totally suffocating her with my ‘what if mentality.’ (ii)”

If your relationship is plagued by jealousy, you need to work on it or get help to end it.

protip_icon Quick fact
In a relationship, a subtle indicator of jealousy could be your partner firmly demanding that you wear a specific outfit or haircut.

How To Overcome Jealousy

Jealousy is not a pleasant feeling. The stronger it gets, the more uncomfortable it makes you and your partner. More often than not, jealous partners won’t accept it and lie to cover it up.

That said, not everyone knows how to manage a strong emotion like jealousy, which could lead them to make mistakes and to damage the relationship. However, you can prevent that by following a few tips.

1. Figure out the cause

Jealousy is not a nice emotion to carry around. It is a negative feeling, but sometimes, it cannot be avoided. But if it is a recurring feeling that is damaging the relationship and causing resentment, you need to sit back and ask yourself ‘why?’

It could be due to various reasons, which vary from one couple to another. Some might have been through a bad past that they are unable to forget, and certain incidents in current life could trigger those bad memories. While some might be over-protective of the relationship. Or it could be the insecurity that is coming between you two.

If you cannot figure it out on your own, sit and sort the issue with your partner, not by fighting but by being logical and calm.

2. Express your feelings

Share feelings to avert undue conflict

Image: Shutterstock

You may think your partner is always jealous, or they may say that you are always controlling. Or, you both could be misunderstanding each other. Instead of getting into a conflict based on assumptions and flipping on your negative thoughts, you both should share your feelings.

For instance, if you think your partner is getting too friendly with someone, let them know how you feel about it. Only when you speak, will your partner know what you’re feeling or thinking. And talking about your emotions can help you get some clarity too. Never be afraid to show your vulnerability to the person you love. With proper communication, you can gain their trust and respect.

3. Don’t be too dependent on each other

Someone rightly said, “A little space, distance, and time in a relationship help it to bloom at its best.

Yes, you both love each other. But also remember that you are two individuals with your own lives. And you need to have space of your own. So try not to expect your partner to always be by your side. Let your partner live as he or she wants to, and don’t nag them about things they may not agree with. This will help you maintain the balance in your relationship.

4. Be honest and have faith

If your ex or your current partner has broken your trust in the past, trust issues are inevitable and might result in jealousy. So, you might start getting jealous even if you see them getting friendly with someone, no matter how insignificant the interaction may be.

Instead of getting insecure over trivial matters, you should give them the benefit of the doubt and have faith in your relationship. If you become uncomfortable when your partner is friendly with other people, let them know about it and sort it out by talking.

5. A different perspective

Sometimes, you should try thinking from another person’s perspective. It could be your partner’s or your friend’s.

If you find out that your partner met their ex at a social gathering but didn’t mention it to you, don’t assume that they were trying to hide it. They could’ve genuinely forgotten to mention that because the meeting meant nothing to them, or they didn’t want to tell you because they didn’t want to upset you. To you, it may seem like they were hiding the truth. But try to think about it from their perspective and ask yourself if you’d do the same had you been in their place. The answer could surprise you.

6. Try not to act immediately

Roy T. Bennett said, “Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.” So right, isn’t it?

If you think you are angry or getting jealous, don’t pick up a fight with your partner right away. Chances are your partner is right, and you could be wrong in assuming something that is not. So, don’t react. Take your time and let your emotions cool down. Pause and reflect at the situation and think about the best way to deal with it. Not thinking before saying or doing something can worsen the situation.

7. Control your insecurities

Jealousy could be a result of insecurities. Lack of self-confidence can give rise to jealousy when your partner tries to talk to or mingle with others. In reality, your partner could have no feelings of love for anyone else but you. But if you still feel insecure, it is time to work on those feelings of insecurity and deal with them to prevent any damage to your relationship.

8. Write down how you feel

Vent out emotions on paper

Image: IStock

This trick could help you deal with your feelings and stop you from acting on them immediately. Whenever you feel insecure and angry or mad at your partner, take a pen and paper and write how you feel. List down all the thoughts that come to your mind at the time. Writing can be a way to vent out your emotions and allows you to think about why you feel the way you do.

When you are done writing, read it, and you may not feel so angry afterward. For all you know, you may even think it is silly.

protip_icon Do remember
Develop healthy coping skills and look after your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These skills become the norm and can eventually take the place of jealousy when they are prioritized.

9. Be positive

Most of the times, jealousy tortures you from inside. Instead of letting that feeling win over your love, care, and affection, you should start thinking positive about your relationship. Think about all the good times you have had and can have through small gestures for your partner, spending quality time together. When you focus on the positives, the feelings of possessiveness and jealousy won’t be so predominant anymore.

10. Stay calm

When you have chosen to love your partner, you need to understand that there are risks involved and that you’re not going to be happy at all times. When you feel jealous, stay calm, take a deep breath, and let the feeling subside by focusing on the positive aspects of your relationship.

11. Don’t compare yourself with others

Jealousy springs up when comparison begins with others. The grass might seem greener on the other side, but it’s green only when you water it. Don’t breed jealousy. Instead, nurture your relationship – be nice, loving, and compassionate to your partner and be grateful for what you have instead of feeling bad for what you don’t have.

12. Don’t build up your feelings

It’s normal to have negative feelings on certain days but don’t let them build up. Your partner doesn’t belong to you alone. They might like interacting with various people out of your relationship. It doesn’t mean that they are having an affair or a casual fling with them. However, it doesn’t mean you should ignore their infidelity.

13. Heal yourself

If you have been in a hurtful relationship that involved betrayal or being cheated on in the past, you might have difficulty in trusting your present partner. But you need to heal yourself of your past relationship and move on so that you are happy in your current relationship.

14. Relationship journal

A relationship journal helps deal with jealousy, as it allows partners to open up. You can share your feelings, find out what makes you jealous, and build trust. Writing down your thoughts and feelings gives clarity and helps you understand each other better. This will eliminate jealousy and bring you closer together.

15. Don’t make rash decisions

Jealousy is an unpleasant feeling that may prompt you to make rash decisions. These impulsive decisions may harm your relationship. So, when you are triggered by jealousy, give yourself time to think and cool down. Instead of reacting instantly, hold yourself back, assess the situation calmly, and think about the potential consequences of your action. This approach helps avoid actions driven by intense emotions, fostering better communication and understanding in the relationship.

Is Jealousy A Sign Of Love?

While some believe that jealousy is a sign of love, it is not true as it brings restrictions in a relationship. Jealousy comes out of insecurity and fear. It might make you defensive and controlling. It could also lead to unnecessary strife between the couple, which makes jealousy unhealthy most times.

On the other hand, love is all about freedom and satisfaction that comes from trust and faith in your partner. So, jealousy and love cannot be synonymous.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is jealousy a reason to break up?

Feeling jealous in a relationship isn’t uncommon. However, irrational and excessive jealousy can damage the relationship. Excessive jealousy can make a person act aggressively towards their partner. It can make people accuse or blame their partners for things the other person is unaware of. Constant fights and arguments over trivial matters can make people feel drained and suffocated, ultimately leading to a breakup.

2. Can a relationship survive jealousy?

Irrational and excessive jealousy can be a strong negative emotions that can render other emotions, such as love and trust, ineffective. In such cases, keeping a relationship afloat can be extremely tricky. Yet, a relationship can survive jealousy if the person feeling jealous accept the problem and work on it. Even their partner must support them and help them change their thinking pattern. Couples and individual therapy under an expert are other ways that may help a relationship survive.

3. Why would a man try to make you jealous?

Often a man may try to make you jealous because he’s insecure about your feelings for him, he’s feeling neglected, or just to have some fun. Testing your feelings for him and a desire to end the relationship can be other reasons a man may try to make you jealous.

As humans, jealousy is a common feeling that people experience. However, if the feelings of jealousy in a relationship are prolonged, it may lead to unfavorable situations. You may experience jealousy due to many reasons, such as insecurity, irrational fear, or competition. No matter what the cause, it is beneficial for partners to get over it as soon as possible. So, communicate your feelings, figure out the cause, and try to look at the situation from a different perspective. Continuous effort and a calm and dedicated approach can help you build back the trust and enjoy a strong relationship.

Infographic: How To Handle Jealousy In A Relationship?

Whether you are jealous of your partner’s achievement or their friends, family, or other relations, the stronger it gets, the more harmful it becomes for the relationship. The following infographic provides some useful ways to deal with jealousy.

useful tips to overcome jealousy in a relationship (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Jealousy develops from insecurity and trust issues in a relationship and is a common reason for breakups.
  • Possessiveness, excessive control, and anxiety are signs of jealousy in a relationship.
  • Overcoming jealousy in a relationship involves being honest, finding the reason and expressing it to the partner, controlling insecurities, and staying positive.
  • Keeping thoughts to oneself can result in a buildup of feelings and may cause an outburst.
  • A little jealousy can add fun and spark to relationships, while excessive jealousy can destroy them.
Jealousy In A Relationship_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Unsure of whether someone is jealous of you? This video can help you understand the 10 signs of jealousy.

Personal Experience: Sources

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Jessie White
Jessie WhiteLCSW & Psychotherapist
Jessie White is the founder of ‘Thrive: Children, Parents and Families’, where she is the clinical director, head psychotherapist, and parent educator. She completed her postgraduate course in Psychotherapy from Pathways Institute, Sydney in 2017.

Read full bio of Jessie White