top of page

Jealousy in Relationships & What We Can Do Author: Tim Woody MAC PLPC

There are few stronger feelings than the feeling of jealousy. We can feel like we are secure individuals, but often relationships have a way of provoking the emotion of jealousy that can erode our sense of self and sense of security. When we are not at our best, we can think that the best way to handle jealousy is to create an environment of safety by a variety of ineffective behaviors. Some of these ineffective relational behaviors are:

  • Restrict or require our partners to change behaviors in order to create a sense of safety for ourselves and alleviate some of the distress that comes from their choices.

  • Assuming things about our partner’s choices and motivations.

  • Create a mental and emotional environment that obsesses over our partner’s lives.

  • Become intrusive in our partners lives by not respecting privacy, including going through their phones and emails.

If these behaviors are something you have experienced or have struggled against, then maybe jealousy has taken over in your life in ways that strain your relationships or make you feel guilty. Maybe it's time to understand jealousy better, and have strategies that help us become less jealous and more secure.

Understanding Jealousy

The first step in reducing the negative effects of jealousy is to better understand its function. Sometimes we look at jealousy through a purely negative lens. But jealousy can be a very important emotion.

First, jealousy can let us know when our needs or wants are not being met. For example, maybe you are feeling jealous because you have been wanting more time with your partner, but instead they are giving their time to their hobbies or friends. Or, maybe your partner missed an important date or event and you are feeling forgotten. In lots of situations jealousy can let us know when something feels unbalanced. In these cases, being vulnerable and having a productive conversation can do wonders for our jealousy. Just a brave conversation starter like “I have been really wanting more time with you. I am feeling like I haven