Everyone knows the green-eyed monster and the gnawing feeling that accompany it.
But let me tell you one thing:
Jealousy is completely normal, and every single person feels it at one point in their lives, whether they admit it or not.
Jealousy can be felt in many instances.
- It might be a feeling of inadequacy when your friend posts a picture of their amazing holiday.
- When other people are getting more attention from the opposite sex than you
- Or when someone gets a promotion that you thought would be yours.
The point is that jealousy is a human emotion experienced by everyone, especially in relationships.
We all feel jealousy - it's not something you should be ashamed of.
If you or your partner feels jealous and it's causing a strain on your closeness, this is only when it becomes a problem.
If you want to know how to overcome jealousy in a relationship, keep reading.
What is Jealousy?
“The more people you love, the weaker you are.” -George R.R. Martin.
Jealousy is an emotional experience that results from a perceived threat to a valued relationship or social standing.
In many ways, jealousy is an evolutionary mechanism that encourages the protection and preservation of resources.
It can be triggered by the threat of losing a partner or the possibility of a third party that threatens the integrity and stability of an existing relationship.
Any of these emotions or feelings characterize jealousy:
- Finding fault in your partner
- Criticizing your partner
- Blaming your partner
- Refusing to trust your partner
- Being obsessive about your partner’s whereabouts
- Verbally abusing your partner
- Not respecting your partner’s privacy1
Types of Jealousy
To have a clearer picture of what jealousy is, you need to know the different types of jealousy.
This is a severe form of jealousy caused by mental disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder.
People who feel pathological jealousy are overly suspicious and have a low tolerance for their uncertainty.
They imagine impossible things, and they frequently misinterpret situations.
It often occurs when a significant other becomes attracted to another person or when another person is considered a potential rival.
Fear of rejection is often extreme because people in love are often afraid to lose their partners.
Sexual jealousy occurs when a partner is jealous of their partner's sexual activity with others.
It can be triggered by a partner’s sexual affairs or flirtation or simply by the thought that their partner might want to have sex with someone else.
This type of jealousy is rooted in rationality. It is based on the assumption that a partner might want to be with someone else.
It usually occurs when a partner is jealous of other activities that are not sexual but involve the same degree of emotional attachment.
Such as when one partner spends a considerable amount of time with another person or when they share a similar passion or interest.
This type of jealousy is often triggered by impulse. It is characterized by intense emotions and immediate reactions.
When irrational jealousy occurs, people become unduly suspicious and often accuse their partners of cheating when no evidence is present.
This type of jealousy is often based on a lack of trust or a lack of understanding, and it is often rooted in personal insecurities.
Intentional jealousy is the conscious attempt to make someone jealous with a specific goal.
People who practice this type of jealousy often do so because they want to tease or provoke their partner.
What are the main causes of jealousy?
Now that you’ve seen the different types of jealousy, it’s time to know its primary causes.
This is the most common cause of jealousy in relationships today.
It occurs when one partner begins to feel that their partner spends a significant amount of time with another person.
Insecurity caused by poor self-image
Around 85% of people have low self-esteem. When people have a poor self-image, they are more likely to act out of jealousy.2
They try to compensate for their poor self-image by becoming jealous of their partner’s bond with other people.
They will often assume that their partners will leave them for someone better and do completely irrational things.
Fear of abandonment/betrayal
Jealousy is often rooted in fear.3
There are times when people are jealous of their partners because they fear that they will leave them for someone else.
This can be very debilitating to a relationship if left alone.
Some people expect more from their relationship than others.
They want their partners to be perfect: the perfect romantic partner, the perfect friend, the perfect listener - the perfect everything.
They want their relationships to be faultless but feel hurt when their expectations are not met.
Hurtful experiences in the past
People who have had traumatic or hurtful experiences in past relationships will often transfer these negative emotions to the current relationship.
They are afraid to trust other people because of previous experiences and are insecure in their relationships.
Tips On How to Deal and Cope With Your Jealousy
We have identified the different causes of jealousy, but how do we overcome it? Here are some tips.
1. Acknowledge your jealousy
In a study conducted by USC San Diego, more women (79.4%) are jealous than men (74.1%).4
The first step to overcoming jealousy is acknowledging that you are feeling it.
Recognizing your jealousy will help you realize that it is okay and normal to feel it.
Once you have realized this, you can start confronting it rationally.
2. Don't let your imagination run wild
When you are jealous, your mind will start focusing on all the devastating things that could happen.
It will tempt you to believe things like your partner is cheating on or planning to leave you.
Nothing is more hurtful than believing these things. When you feel like your mind is wandering, consciously stop yourself from thinking about bad things.
Related: Infidelity Statistics: Cheating in Relationships Exposed
3. Don't accuse your partner
It is easy to lash out at your partner or accuse them of something they haven’t done if you are going through a jealous phase.
Don't do this. Instead, take a step back and realize that jealousy is often an emotional reaction. Hold yourself back from accusing your loved one of something you just thought of.
4. Find out underlying issues and heal them
Jealousy is one of the major causes of marital arguments.5
Try to take a step back and look at your relationship.
- Do you feel like your partner is not giving you enough attention?
- Do you feel like they are not fully committing to you?
- Do you feel like you are not important to them?
Try to find out what causes your jealousy.
If personal issues cause it, you need to work on these issues first before you can heal your relationship.
5. Talk to your partner about your concerns
Once you have examined your relationship, you can talk to your partner.
For example, tell your partner that you need more attention or feel like they are pulling away.
This will help them be aware of your needs, and they'll be able to work on them.
6. Don't push your partner away
When you are jealous, it is human to want to protect yourself by avoiding anything that might cause you pain.
If you feel that your partner is pulling away from you, it is understandable for you to feel the need to pull away from them.
But this is not going to solve anything.
Instead of pushing them away, talk to them.
If you feel like they are not giving you the time you deserve, ask for it.
7. Lower your expectations
This will be very hard to do at first, but it is essential to overcome your jealousy.
Lowering your expectations can sometimes help you understand the situation better.
If you expect too much from your partner, you will feel like you're not getting enough.
8. Never make rash decisions
Under certain circumstances, a subconscious neurological sequence in your brain causes you to perceive the world in a way that contradicts reality.6
It's easy for jealousy to feel suffocating and overwhelming.
But don't make rash decisions because of it.
For example, don't make a scene, or don't let your partner choose between their friends or you.
Never make decisions when you are jealous. Instead, wait until your emotions have calmed down, and talk to your partner when you are in a sane state of mind.
9. Learn some coping skills
Learning some coping skills will help you in overcoming your jealousy.
If you feel like you are overreacting because of your jealousy, take a few deep breaths, read a book, write in your journal, or try sports such as boxing to release your aggression.7
If you feel like you are losing control of your emotions, remove yourself from the situation. Intentionally remind yourself that you are in a relationship and you are loved.
10. Improve your self-confidence
Jealousy often stems from a poor self-image, exacerbated by a lack of self-confidence.
One of the best ways to improve your self-confidence is to start working out since it releases endorphins, which greatly help you feel good.8
You can also improve your self-esteem by surrounding yourself with positive people, reading positive books, and visualizing positive images daily.
It won’t happen overnight, but you can improve your self-confidence with time and effort.
11. Establish trust
82% of people say that they completely trust their partner.9
Establishing trust is essential because this is the only thing that will keep your relationship healthy and strong.
Talk to your partner and open up to them.
Tell them the things that you feel, what you want from them, what you like, and what you don't like.
Work on your relationship together and commit to trusting each other.
12. Stop comparing your relationship to other couples
There is no such thing as a perfect couple, even if it seems that way on social media.
However, more frequent comparisons only lead to reduced positive feelings, and many people end up with a deflated self-esteem.10
Instead, focus on the things you like in your relationship and start thinking of ways to improve it.
Every relationship is different, and that is how it should be. Don't let jealousy make you rethink your relationship and make it something that it's not.
Related: 45 Facts How Social Media Affects Your Marriage: Does It Ruin or Help Relationships?
13. Evaluate toxic behavior
Are you being physically or verbally abusive, disrespectful, or controlling to your partner because of your jealousy?
If you are, you need to stop this behavior immediately.
Your relationship will never move past this.
14. Stop being codependent
Codependency is often the root of jealousy because you don't want to feel like losing control of the relationship.
Some people get jealous because they feel like they have no alternative if they break up with their partner.11
If this is true for you, you may just be afraid of being alone.
If you feel codependent, focus more on yourself and improve your self-confidence.
This will help you be more independent, and you'll be able to let your partner do their own thing without feeling insecure.
How to Deal with A Jealous Partner?
If your partner is jealous or possessive, here are some tips to help you deal with it.
1. Stop being defensive
When your partner is jealous, it is understandable that you feel like you are under attack.
They say you have done something wrong (which you didn’t. It’s usually all in their minds).
Be as calm as possible and discuss your feelings with them. Remember, they may only be jealous because they fear losing you.
It also helps to empathize with your partner. Understand what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way. This will help you emotionally connect with your partner.
2. Talk to them about the things that you have been feeling
If you feel like your partner is being demanding or clingy because of jealousy, talk to them about your concerns.
It’s possible to make jealousy a positive force in your romantic relationship.12
But you first need to know how to open up to your partner.
Tell them that you don't appreciate their behavior and that it’s unhealthy for your relationship.
Let them know everything you have been feeling, and this will help them understand your point of view.
3. Speak in a soft manner
Just because your partner is jealous doesn't mean they are a terrible person. If you are discussing jealousy with your partner, never raise your voice.
Peacefully speak to them. It will help you ease the situation and diffuse the emotions between you.
It also helps to mirror your partner's body language and repeat their thoughts more rationally.13
This psychological hack builds a bond and understanding.
4. Reassure your partner of your commitment
Instead of trying to explain yourself to your partner, reassure them.
Constantly tell your partner that you want them in your life.
It’s even more powerful if your partner appreciates words of affirmation as a love language.
Reassure them that you want the same things for your future and are committed to your relationship.
This will help to calm them down, and they'll be able to trust you more.
5. Show affection
When your partner is experiencing jealousy, they need reassurance that you are committed to the relationship.
Show your partner affection as much as possible, especially if their love language is physical touch.14
You can hold their hand, kiss them, or hug them.
Be generous with giving affection. Doing these things will help them feel your love.
Keep in mind that having jealousy in your relationship in small doses can make your love feel more intense and passionate.15
6. Establish boundaries
After you've calmed down your partner, it's time to introduce some boundaries.
Ask why your partner is jealous.
Are they jealous because you are spending too much time with your friends?
Learn to establish boundaries in your relationship, which will help you avoid being jealous.
Always make your boundaries reasonable.
Don't say that you will never spend time with your friends.
Instead, promise to spend more time with your partner after work so you can meet their needs better.
7. Be patient
It can be hard to be patient when your partner is jealous, but you need to remember that everything happens for a reason.
Give your partner time to heal.
You cannot expect your partner just to stop being jealous after one conversation.
Jealousy can become deeply ingrained into someone, and it can take months, if not years, to overcome it.
Be patient and help them learn to trust you again.
Note: Violence is never okay in any relationship. If your partner is too controlling/aggressive, please get in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline.