It’s Hard to Feel Jealous in a Relationship; Here’s How to Handle It


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Although it might be unpleasant, jealousy is a common feeling. Everybody has little anxieties and sensitivities that sometimes make them feel envious. It may sometimes occur when someone feels uneasy in their relationship.

“Being jealous in a relationship is a common occurrence, particularly when the relationship is new or going through changes,” explains Cypress Wellness Centre CEO and sex and couples therapist Katie Schubert, PhD.

79% of men and 66% of woSixen in a survey of married couples seeking relationship counselling described themselves as envious.1. Although envy is a common emotion, issues may occur when it turns from a good feeling to an unpleasant and illogical one.

Quick Overview

Up to a certain point, jealousy is a complex feeling that is natural and good. If you don’t deal with your own jealousy, it may lead to major issues in your relationship and perhaps even the breakup. Jealousy can become an excessively dominating feeliUnhealthy Envynship. It’s important to recognise the distinctions between good and pathological jealousy and to discuss these distinctions with your spouse.

 Recognising Reactive Jealousy

In the Framework of a Relationship, Jealousy

Jealousy is a response to a perceived danger, real or imagined, in our relationships.2. Most frequently, the jealous spouse worries that someone else is vying for their loved one’s attention.

Jealousy may be harmful and even dangerous since it is often linked to feelings of rage, disdain, anxiety, and depression.1.

In a relationship, a little amount of envy may be comforting and might even be ingrained in us. But excessive jealousy may be frightening and overpowering, particularly when it can result in risky actions like physical abuse, violent online dating relationships, and stalking.3.

Without treatment, there’s no reason to think that jealousy will get better. It is not possible to remove jealousy with wishful thinking. Overcoming these sentiments requires awareness and effort since they are deeply ingrained and cut to the heart of who we are.

Distinguishing between jealousy and envy

In relationships, it’s critical to recognise the difference between jealousy and envy. What distinguishes them? Being jealous is having feelings of being left out, irritated, or upset at someone else for having something that you do not. The fear of losing something (or, more usually, someone) you do have to a third party is the root of jealousy.

Jealousy is characterised by insecurity and a sense of danger, while envy is the result of comparing oneself to others and feeling inferior.

Healthy versus Unhealthy Envy

While some jealousy is normal, when it escalates or becomes unreasonable, it may be very harmful to a relationship. Understanding the difference between good and pathological jealousy is critical to your partnership’s success.

When two healthy individuals are in a relationship, it’s easy and fast to express and process these emotions. Schubert notes that envy may really harm a relationship if it persists, becomes worse, or you feel uncomfortable talking to your spouse about how you feel.

Typical Envy

When jealousy is moderate and sporadic in a relationship, it serves as a reminder to the pair not to take one another for granted. Couples might be inspired by jealousy to value one another and make an effort to ensure that their spouse feels appreciated.

Moreover, envy intensifies feelings and strengthens the feeling of love. Jealousy, in moderation, may be a constructive factor in a relationship.4

Jealousy in a healthy relationship originates from a position of defence. Someone displays envy or worry because they see a possible danger to the relationship. The pair calmly examines the matter and decides on a course of action together. They are not uneasy about who they are as people, and they are both dedicated to the partnership.

 How to Be Positive When Expressing Jealousy

Unhealthy Jealousy

The situation is very different when envy is extreme or unreasonable. Excessive or unreasonable jealousy is often a red flag in a relationship that might be violent.

Jealous individuals eventually feel their feelings and fears overpower them to the point that they take control of their relationships. They could use violence, verbal abuse, and money abuse as a way to stay in control and hide or minimise their emotions.

Anxiety over not being fully loved and a fear of being abandoned may sometimes be the source of unhealthy jealousy.2. Symptoms of unhealthy jealousy include:

  • being too suspicious of a partner’s actions or emotions
  • requesting an explanation of a partner’s whereabouts
  • exhibiting atypical dread and insecurity
  • Telling stories and levelling unfounded allegations
  • excessively doubting the actions and intentions of a spouse
  • stalking or following a significant other to find out where they are
  • Limiting a spouse’s independence or preventing them from visiting friends or relatives
  • examining voicemails, messages, and emails in the hopes of finding lies or adultery3.
  • sending constant texts to a lover when they are separated

Reasons for Feeling Envious

Someone who battles with envy may react to situations that might cause them to feel fear, wrath, sorrow, concern, sadness, doubt, agony, self-pity, and humiliation. Additionally, individuals can have a general feeling of suspicion or menace, or they might experience a sense of failure.2.

There are several causes of jealousy, including:

  • Having a negative self-image or being insecure
  • dreading being left behind or betrayed
  • having a strong need to be in charge or feeling possessive
  • erroneously believing one is superior to a partner
  • Having irrational expectations in general for partnerships
  • Continuing to have unjustified expectations for a partner
  • revisiting a painful prior abandonment experience
  • Fearing the loss of a significant someone or object

What leads to relationship insecurity?

Relationship insecurities may arise from a partner’s low self-esteem and belief that they are unworthy of their partner’s affection and respect. Infidelity is one example of a perceived or actual danger that may lead to jealously and anxieties. Intimacy, connection, or the inability to completely form such ties may also be lost.5.

Real Repercussions Can Result From Jealousy

Schubert says that if jealousy is not dealt with in a healthy manner, it may negatively impact almost every element of a relationship. “Communication, sex, trust, and feelings of partnership will all likely suffer,” she says.

Sadly, it happens often for couples to mistake jealousy for love, particularly when it’s mild and intermittent. However, excessive jealousy is not affectionate at all. When someone has abnormal jealousy, their anxiety, anger, and control escalate, severely damaging effects are experienced in the connection.

Instead of approaching a discussion with empathy, partners may take the offensive or defensive, which will make communication more strained and hostile.

— KATIE SCHUBERT, PhD, SPECIALIST IN SEX AND MARRIAGE

Jealousy eventually gives rise to defensiveness and bitterness.2. Additionally, it erodes mutual confidence and fuels conflict, particularly when the envious party places demands and probes the other nonstop.

Physical symptoms may sometimes be a consequence of intense emotional events.6 People who are envious sometimes have physical symptoms including shaking, lightheadedness, melancholy, and difficulty falling asleep.

Schubert also asserts that if envy is not dealt with in a healthy manner, it will become harder to have intimate relationships. “Sex can be an act of intense vulnerability, and if you’re feeling unsafe in a relationship because of feelings of jealousy, it may be hard to connect with your partner in a vulnerable way,” she explains.

 How to Handle a Partner Who Is Envious or Jealous of You

How to Handle Envy in a Partnership

It’s critical to deal with envy before it becomes out of control if you find yourself feeling that way. It’s possible for you and your spouse to develop appropriate coping mechanisms for jealousy.

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Ackn4wledge That Jealousy Is Common

There are going to be persons and circumstances that make your relationship’s stability vulnerable. Feeling a little envy is acceptable, especially if you have a career that involves a lot of travel or flirting coworkers. It’s crucial that you set out time to discuss your worries and establish ground rules that will safeguard both your emotions and your relationship.

For example, you could both agree that it’s critical to keep your relationship healthy by avoiding contact with a flirting coworker. Alternatively, you may decide that having a conversation before bed while one partner drives would allay worries. It’s important that you have a calm conversation about the problems and work together to find answers.

Discover the Cause of Your Jealousy

Investigating the cause of jealousy is crucial when one spouse experiences it often. Is your lack of quality time together causing your jealous spouse to feel uneasy, for example? Or is there a problem with trust in the partnership as a result of adultery?

Make inquiries. Look for ways to mitigate the envy and find out where it’s coming from.1

Establish an Enviro1.ment of Trust

Building a culture of trust is one of the greatest methods to prevent envy. Being trustworthy is the first step in this process for both parties. Stated differently, they exhibit faithfulness, commitment, and honesty.1

Reputable individuals are honest about their time management practices. Additionally, they don’t betray their partners. Jealousy will be replaced by growing trust in the relationship if you both avoid these traps.

Establish a Healthful Bond

Spending time together, expressing love, and developing a bond with one another are all part of a relationship. Any dangers to your bond ought to worry you. When jealousy indicates that the relationship may be in jeopardy, it is acceptable.4

Jealousy is often a result of attachment patterns that are instilled in children. Discussing envy that develops in a relationship from this angle makes it easier to avoid being “lost in the weeds” and acting combative or defensive.

— KATIE SCHUBERT, PhD, SPECIALIST IN SEX AND MARRIAGE

Determine When Envy Is Abusive

It is reasonable to feel jealous when there is a genuine danger to the partnership. However, if one spouse exhibits jealousy without cause, this may be cause for concern, particularly if the jealousy is accompanied by intense rage, irrational expectations, and baseless charges. Furthermore, this kind of envy doesn’t happen just once. It’s a recurring pattern of behaviour.

Making ludicrous charges and attempting to dominate someone else are two further signs of abusive or pathological envy. It’s a warning sign if you find yourself constantly defending yourself from your partner’s irrational or accusing inquiries. Before things go out of hand, you need to receive treatment as soon as possible.

For discreet support from qualified advocates, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 if you or a loved one is a victim of domestic abuse.

See our National Helpline Database for other information on mental health.

Handling Your Personal Jealousy

Consider why you could be feeling envious in your relationships if that is the case. For example, are you frightened that your spouse may leave you or do you battle with self-esteem? Or are you concerned that your spouse may cheat on you again since they did it in the past?

In any case, you must address your emotions. Finding a therapist or counsellor who can teach you how to control your envy is the best course of action.

Jealousy, like most other challenging emotional situations, may spur development if handled appropriately. Dealing with envy may be the first step towards better understanding and self-awareness for you and your spouse.

Typical actions to get over jealousy are as follows:

  • Realising how envy damages your relationship
  • Recognising your jealousy
  • Consenting to stop spying on your partner
  • talking about the causes of your emotions of jealousy
  • deciding to alter your way of acting
  • Realising you have power over your own response, even while you cannot influence others
  • If required, seeking expert assistance as a pair
  • establishing reasonable ground rules that both of you can follow

It’s crucial to communicate openly. Schubert advises, “Communicate about feelings openly, honestly, and without judgement.”

When envy gets out of control, it may ruin friendships and lead to poisonous marriages. For this reason, it’s critical to seek out a therapist or counsellor to assist you comprehend the reasons behind your intense jealousy if it’s negatively impacting the stability of your relationship. They may provide you with strategies for effectively managing jealousy.


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