What is jealousy?

It’s normal to feel a bit protective of your partner from time to time. Maybe even jealous. Most of the time it’s easily dismissed, but sometimes it can get way out of hand without you even realising it. So what is jealousy? How do you recognise it and how can you tell if it has gone too far?

Two young women are dealing with jealousy. This is a wide-angle image.

Jealousy in relationships

So what is jealousy, a.k.a the green eyed monster? Well, jealousy is a common feeling. One that we can’t really control.

It can affect even the most level headed, emotionally intelligent people. We should mention that there are different types of jealousy and envy. But jealousy in relationships usually stems from one partner feeling threatened in some way, or the fear of losing the relationship altogether. 

You might feel like your partner is spending time they used to spend with you with something or someone else. It could be another person, or even your partner’s work or hobbies. 

Some common signs of jealousy to look out for include becoming short tempered, acting unreasonably and acting on emotional impulses. We’re gonna be real with you, jealousy in your love life is one of the strongest and most unpleasant emotions.

How to deal with jealousy

Whether you’re the one who’s experiencing jealousy, or you’re on the receiving end of it, our advice is the same. Generally speaking the best thing to do is to try to separate strong emotions from your decision making. That way you’re more likely to deal with it in a calm, rational way. Of course, that’s easier said than done when it comes to your relationship. So here’s some tips to help:

If you’re jealous about your partner:

Think about why you might be feeling this way. Ask yourself, what is jealousy to you? Are you aware that you’re participating in jealous behaviours? Are you being unfair to them

  • If you live with them or nearby, but they’re never at home or out with you, it’s fair enough to have an honest talk with them. Simply say that you really want to spend more time together.
  • If your partner spends lots of time with you already, ask yourself how reasonable you’re being here. There’s a fine line between wanting to be with someone, and trying to control them. Don’t just sit around brooding when you’re apart. Go out and get some interests of your own to take your mind off your jealous thoughts. Remember, you don’t ‘own’ your partner.
  • Have they ever given you a good reason to believe that they would be unfaithful? If not, they’re not to blame. Instead, you might wanna explore why you feel insecure in your relationship.
  • Lots of people are a bit flirtatious by nature, but they don’t mean any harm. And if flirting upsets you, explain it gently to your partner. There’s no need to make a big fuss or dole out any threats.
  • People who feel jealousy often have their own struggles that cause these emotions. Problem is, if you just keep yelling accusations at your partner, they’re not likely to stick around long enough to understand why you’re acting this way. So make sure you treat them with kindness and let them know what you’re going through.

If your partner is jealous over you:

  • If you’ve given them no reason to doubt you, but they’re being a bit jealous, it’s not your fault. They might just need a bit of affection and reassurance.
  • Signs of unhealthy jealousy in romantic relationships include the following; constantly calling to your phone while you are apart to check up on you, listening in on your phone conversations, banning you from wearing ‘revealing’ clothes, and going through your personal property looking for evidence of an affair.
  • Someone who flies into possessive rages for no good reason needs professional help, especially if they’re violent. Try to suggest this to them. Either way, make sure you get out of the relationship. At least until they’ve truly shown that they’ve done the work to get better. Otherwise, you could be putting your personal safety in danger.
  • Learn more about the signs of an abusive relationship here.

Next Steps

  • Relate is an affordable relationship and sex counselling service. 0300 100 1234
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

Tags:

jealousy| trust

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 20-Jun-2022