Understanding and Overcoming Jealousy in a Relationship

Updated on December 19, 2017
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Kate is a relationship mentor and holds a B.S. degree from Sonoma State University. She currently resides in Sonoma, California.

Being in an intimate and meaningful relationship with another human being may be one of the biggest challenges and struggles anyone can face. Although the majority of the human race wants nothing more than to love and be loved by someone, we still find it unbearably difficult to maintain a satisfactory and stable relationship with that special somebody without running into a wide range of trying circumstances, emotions, and experiences.

One of the most powerful emotions that can directly affect an otherwise loving relationship is jealousy. There is arguably no one single cause of heartache and turmoil in relationships today that is more common than jealousy.

That being said, this article aims to help you understand jealousy so that you can be more effective in overcoming these negative attributes, helping you to enjoy a positive and happy relationship.

What Exactly Is Jealousy and How Do I Know If I Am a Jealous Person in My Relationship?

There are a number of incidences and feelings that govern a person's actions and thoughts towards their significant other, some more positive than others. One emotional state that many in a committed relationship deeply struggle with is extremely intense and sometimes overwhelming feelings of jealousy.

Jealousy is generally considered to be a distinct insecurity, discomfort, and even fear that an individual may feel towards a group of competitors or people who pose a threat to their well being.

Often times this intense emotion can invoke uncontrollable envy towards a specific person or thing that may be posing an apparent threat to that person's overall happiness.

Symptoms of Jealousy:

  • Cringing at the site of a partner's platonic interaction with another person.
  • Scrolling through your partner's social media to carefully track all of their interactions.
  • Consistently questioning your partner about their actions while you are not present.
  • Uncontrollable negative comments about your partner's friends.
  • Concerns about the influences of you partner's friends.
  • Concerns about a partner's interactions with their own family members.
  • Being focused on how your partner dresses when going out in public.
  • Attempting to look through your partner's cell phone.
  • Making unrealistic requests about how much focus your partner should be putting on you.

Having any one of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you are a jealous person. For example, it may not be unrealistic for you to be concerned about the influences of your partner's friends if they all get together to do illegal drugs.

However, having four of more of these symptoms apply to you means you are likely a jealous person in you relationship.

Experiencing jealousy in a relationship can lead to distrust, anger, and aggression.
Experiencing jealousy in a relationship can lead to distrust, anger, and aggression.

How Do I Know Where These Intense Emotion of Jealousy Are Coming From?

Jealousy in a relationship can be caused by a number of specific things; ranging from lack of personal security in one's self, to genuine absence of trust for a partner or spouse. It is common for people who have dealt with unfaithful romantic partners in the past (or in their current relationship) to experience jealousy in more frequent and intense forms. These people are generally concerned that their counterpart may cheat on them due to lack of happiness or satisfaction they receive from their relationship.

A significantly low self-esteem can also play a huge role in the development of jealousy in a relationship as the person experiencing these emotions truly believes that they are not as appealing or desirable as other individuals. They may also feel "less than" their partner or as if their partner is "out of their league."

This can be a slippery slope for many who struggle with jealousy stemming from this absence of self-esteem as they will always find somebody taller, shorter, prettier, or smarter than them to cause these uncomfortable emotions.

Am I the Only One Who Experiences Jealous Feelings Often?

You are most definitely not alone. Jealousy is a naturally ingrained survival based reaction present in every single human being. Although these feelings can naturally be stronger in some individuals, every person has potential to feel jealousy to some degree.

This is a common issue for many individuals who find themselves in a committed relationship, but it does not have a cripple your relationship.

Jealousy can take root in a number of personal problems one experiences from themselves or their partner.

Jealousy From Negative Past Relationships and How It Affects a Person

The first step to conquering your jealousy is to identify and comprehend the area or attribute from which it is stemming. One of the most common reasons one becomes jealous is due to previous bad experiences in relationships. If you have gone through the difficult emotions associated with being left for someone else or your trust has been betrayed by one of your former partners, chances are your jealousy may be rooted in these experiences.

Another common reason people feel jealous is due to their childhood experiences. If you experienced feeling like you are not good enough constantly by one or both of your parents, this can cause you to never feel good enough for your partner in your adult relationships.

Or if you were witness to an intensely jealous parent growing up, you may have unknowingly been conditioned to think that this behavior is normal in a relationship. Although in this case you are more likely to be the victim of extreme jealously in a relationship and not the perpetrator.

Understand the Cause of Jealousy to Overcome It

What You Can Do When Your Jealousy Stems From Past Experiences With Others

A helpful remedy for this type of jealousy is when you find yourself wrestling with these thoughts, take a moment to take a breath and calmly remind yourself that your partner is not that same old mistake and you can't judge their behavior by someone else's hurtful actions. This is not fair to you or your partner.

People who suffer from intense feelings of jealousy often times become so possessed by this illegitimate envy and concern, that they begin to blur reality and combine their unrelated past experiences with those of the present. In a lot of ways being single is a much easier lifestyle, so when you find yourself with somebody who sticks by your side through the thick and thin, feelings of jealousy are often misplaced and illogical.

If your partner was really so enchanted by a number of other people they interact with in their daily lives, they would probably save themselves the hassle of being intimate with one distinct person and chase their interest in all of the others.

However, this is usually not the case. People who are dedicated to staying in a relationship generally have a true desire to love and uphold their partner.

The Battle Between Self-Esteem and Reality

That being said, this brings us to our next point, self-esteem. Jealousy stemming from low esteem is a harsh battle to deal with, specifically since it is largely internal. A simple remedy for this would be to remind oneself that his or her partner choose to be with them, and only with them, for a set of specific reasons. As we went over in the previous paragraph, a single lifestyle is recognizably carefree and arguably easier than a relationship.

People who suffer form low self esteem in a relationship often times were made to feel like they weren't good enough, or could have always done better, by at least one parent during childhood.

How to Avoid Letting Your Own Struggle With Self-Esteem Affect Your Relationship

This being said, people who become jealous due to their own lack of self-confidence or self-appreciation must consistently remind themselves that their partner sees a sea of characteristics in them that gives them a desire to be solely dedicated to them.

Although these characteristics and attributes may be difficult (or impossible) for one to see in themselves, it is apparent that their counterpart has no trouble seeing these wonderful qualities and loving them for them. It sounds crazy to say but overcoming feelings of jealousy due to a lack of self-confidence may be significantly controlled and stabilized by simply asking your partner why they love you.

How Honesty and Transparency Can Help You Combat Jealousy in Your Relationship

Although there may be a number of reasons that you yourself are unable to believe or comprehend, it will still be very therapeutic for one to hear some of the distinct reasons behind their partner's dedication to them. Many who take this honest and straightforward approach will discover that their partner has a number of things they see in them that they themselves were unaware of and could not recognize on their own.

Often times, a person may even find out that some of the insecurities they struggle with (related to their appearance or personality) may actually be characteristics their partners have come to love or find attractive.

As an example, there are a number of people who desire to be taller due to a social norm established by the fashion industry that lanky, tall bodies are the most desirable. This can cause these individuals to wrestle with intense emotions of jealousy when their partner interacts with individuals who have a "more desirable or attractive height". However, opposed to the medias skewed portrayal of beauty, there are a number of men and women who find shorter heights to be attractive and desirable traits in a partner.

All this being said, an individual could be torturing themselves with negative feelings of envy towards someone for qualities that may actually make them less attractive or desirable to their partners.

"Jealousy is a very stressful emotion that can take its toll on your mind and body. Decide to make a change and trust me, you'll thank yourself down the road."

— Kate Daily

The Harsh Facts of Low Self-Esteem and the Effect of Its Inaccurate Assumptions

As crazy as this sounds, it is an extremely common misconception that takes place more often then one would realize. A lot of it comes back to the general idea of relationships being difficult and the general public often doesn't desire to go through the slippery slopes of commitment with someone that they are not even truly attracted to.

Low self esteem and the resulting irrational jealousy could lead to some very unfortunate consequences. More than any other single factor, jealousy such as this has been responsible for countless breakups, divorces, and even crimes of passion. If you are feeling this way, make a decision to resolve this issue within yourself before you potentially loose someone you care deeply for as a result.

An honest conversation with a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or partner to go over your insecurities and feelings of envy may be one of the most beneficial and helpful things one can do to help conquer their inner negativity.

Don't Let Your Positive Relationship Fall to the Lies and Misconceptions of Jealousy!

No matter what, jealousy can be an extremely damaging and harmful trait that can cause much unnecessary strain on a relationship and potentially be devastating in the long run.

It is one of the most common struggles for couples from all backgrounds, sexualities, and walks of life to experience and is a fire that is best controlled before it burns down a promising forest of love and companionship. Whether it's a bad experience or a lack of self-esteem, don't let jealousy be the cause of your relationship's failure.

Jealousy is a very stressful emotion that can take its toll on your mind and body. Decide to make a change and trust me, you'll thank yourself down the road.

Anonymous Reader's Poll

What type of damaging jealous actions are you most guilty of?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Kate Daily

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      • profile image

        threekeys 

        10 months ago

        Jealousy and envy really needs to be addressed.

        I think it would be fair to say that feelings of jealousy and envy have been felt by us at one time or another. They are unsettling horrible feelings to feel and they are frightening and dangerous to be on the receiving end.

        Feelings and envious feelings tell more about our insecurities and dangerous childish immature selves. I personally do not desire to be around that dynamic and will remove myself unless I have been trapped.

        Look, on a planet of about 8 billion people there will be people MORE than us just as there will be people LESS than us. The best thing to do is keep finding and acknowledging what is decent about you and keep trying to make your life work for you in the best way possible with what resources you have presently available to you. THAT is the best you can do and the best anyone can ask of you. And be thankful.

        Lastly, I would like to say from my perspective and Im sorry it is a judgement, but jealousy and envy makes you ugly and you are the only person who can resolve it. So stop complaining and get to work at becoming more secure witin yourself.

      • dashingscorpio profile image

        dashingscorpio 

        10 months ago

        Ultimately jealousy is about believing you're more invested in the relationship than your mate is.

        The goal of most jealous people is to either prove to themselves that they were right not to trust their mate; or to have their mate prove to them time and time again that they are 100% committed to their relationship. One must {jump through hoops} for them.

        Essentially a jealous person views happiness as being "too good to be true". They're always on the "lookout" for a shoe to drop.

        Most likely they've been disappointed a number of times in the past and instead of viewing it as being flaws of those individuals they project it on everyone they meet.

        Instead of (recognizing "red flags") a jealous person (looks) for and sometimes creates "red flags" with their behavior.

        If you don't trust someone they're not the one for you.

        If you don't trust (anyone) ever then you have a problem.

        Ironically I've known people who believe jealousy is proof of love. If their mate does not act jealous or become suspicious of them at times, in their eyes it means he/she doesn't care or love them.

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