Jealousy in a Relationship
Some people get jealous because they fear they are not good enough and believe someone else will take their place, while others get jealous because they aren't always the centre of attention in their partners' life. Everyone experiences jealousy at some point in their life and it affects people in different ways, most of which are out of character and can leave you looking silly.
Who is prone to jealousy?
No one is exempt from having feelings of jealousy, it is all about knowing how to control them. People might say they are not the jealous type, but when put in certain situations, that can change. There are however people who are more likely to suffer from jealousy than others. They are;
- People who have been betrayed in the past
- People who feel insecure about their appearance
- Those with low self esteem
People can develop insecurities as a result from feeling unattractive and lacking confidence. These insecurities can lead to jealousy often due to the issue not being discussed with your partner. If you don't think highly of yourself then you will start to wonder what your partner sees in you. Your low self esteem and insecurities lead you to question why your partner is with you and you will feel they will leave you for someone else. This is when you become suspicious and the jealously actions start.
What do people get jealous of?
Jealousy isn't always about feeling threatened from ex partners, or other men or women your partner talks to. It can be due to a number of reasons all resulting in you not having constant attention from your partner. These include, your partner's job, family, friends, hobbies and even their pet. Sometimes something very small can trigger off jealous feelings, such as your partner looking at another man or woman, even if it is completely innocent, or even a comment made about someone in a television programme you are watching together. Another scenario could be your partner choosing to take their dog for a walk instead of making plans with you, and in this instance it is possible to feel jealous of a pet dog. Often when you live far apart from your partner, it is easy to become jealous, mainly due to not knowing what they are up to when you are not there. For advice on how to cope when you and your partner live far apart, please see our article on Long Distance Relationships.
Signs of jealousy
Some people can hide their signs of jealous very well, but others aren't so discreet. If you find yourself doing any of the following then you are suffering from jealousy. Do you:
- Have suspicious thoughts
- Dislike it when your partner talks about a co-worker or friend, who you see as a threat
- Feel needy and constantly want your partners attention
- Check your partners' personal belongings
- Read the text messages and call log on their mobile phone
- Check the phone bill
- Resent their family, friends, pets and job
- Tell them what to wear
- Tell them where they can go and where they can't
- Tell them who you don't want them to talk to
- Ask a friend to keep an eye on them for your
- Phone them throughout the day
- Follow them
- Punish them physically
Most of these signs are carried out together with bitterness and coldness towards your partner, and even mood swings. Although you are jealous due to wanting your partners full attention, acting jealous could possibly have the opposite effect and actually push them away from you.
Does jealousy always have a negative impact on a relationship?
Generally jealousy has a negative impact on a relationship, ranging from being the cause of arguments, to destroying a relationship entirely. Even if your partner doesn't realise that you are jealous, your feelings will become unbearable for you, resulting in you being unhappy. Having said that, there are a few occasions where jealousy can actually have a positive impact. When in small amounts, jealousy can show how much someone means to you, confirming how strong your feelings are towards them. If they notice this, then they should be flattered that they mean so much to you. It is important that these small feelings of jealousy stay small, otherwise this positive impact will turn negative. If your partner is unaware of your feelings, then your suspicious mind will more than likely go into overdrive. You will find yourself questioning where your partner has been and who with. Unless you deal with the issue, you will start to see problems that don't even exist, which is unfair to your partner and the relationship.
Controlling your jealousy
Being in control of your jealousy is a hard thing to do, and not everyone is able to do it. A mistake many make is not telling their partner how they feel. If something your partner does makes you feel insecure or someone they know makes you feel uneasy, talk to them. By expressing your feelings you are admitting your honest concerns which is the first step in dealing with the situation. Your partner should listen to you and do what they can to reassure you. There will be situations where your feelings will seem out of the blue to your partner, and sometimes seeing their surprised expression is a good way in making you realise there is nothing to worry about and be jealous of.
When a partner finds out that you are jealous, it can be upsetting for them as it can appear that you don't trust them. You might be jealous of a particular male or female friend they have, but that isn't to say they will dump you for their friend. It is you assuming they will do that, not them. All this will show is your lack of trust in them, and trust is something vital in a relationship to make it work. By acting out of character you are displaying an ugly side which is not a feature people find attractive.
It might help to discuss your jealousy with a close friend or family member before you talk to your partner. That way they can give their opinion on both the situation and on what you are planning to say. It can help to talk to someone not personally involved as they can often make you realise that you have nothing to be jealous of. In some cases a talk with a close friend is enough to put your mind at rest.
Being open with your partner and discussing the situation is the best way to help you let go of your jealous feelings. By expressing your love and reassurance to each other, you can work on strengthening the relationship you have together and hopefully putting your insecurities behind you.