What Is Jealousy and What Does It Tell in a Healthy Relationship?
By Space Coast Daily // November 27, 2021
Can Jealousy Be a Part of a Healthy Relationship?
We all feel jealous at some point. Is this a sign that we’re becoming toxic, or is it a normal emotion in any healthy relationship?
Jealousy is something we are all familiar with once we fall in love for the first time. Although jealousy is often associated with toxic relationships, it’s an experience that we all go through — whether it’s us feeling jealous, or our partner is jealous.
As long as we don’t let this feeling overpower us and guide our actions, jealousy can be productive in a healthy relationship.
Let’s find out how we can better understand our feelings and learn how to control jealousy in a healthy way.
What Does Jealousy Mean?
Jealousy may seem similar to envy. However, when we are envious, we strive to have something that others have. With jealousy, we are confronted with negative feelings over uncertainty or an unknown future, and this work of our imagination can be destructive.
Jealousy in relationships is an emotion deeply rooted in the fear of losing our better half. It may be associated with anger and abandonment, which makes us behave irrationally. When we let jealousy dictate our actions, we tend to do exactly the thing we most fear: drive our loved ones away.
Jealousy is not a bad experience per se. Why are you jealous? Simply because you do not want to lose the person you love. It’s important not to let this fear overpower you and impact your relationship.
In many cases, uncontrolled jealousy can lead to toxic relationships and abuse. If you need support and guidance, relationship counseling and therapy can help you and your partner accept these emotions, find the cause, and adopt solutions.
Where Does Jealousy Come From?
To help you understand what jealousy in a relationship is and how it can be controlled, it’s important to understand where it comes from.
Essentially, you feel jealous when you lack confidence and you don’t trust your partner. You think someone else may take your partner away from you, so you tend to do whatever you can to prevent this.
When jealousy is overpowering you, it can lead to destructive behaviors.
The Signs of Jealousy
The line between healthy jealousy and destructive jealousy is extremely thin. One minute, you feel rational, then you start to actually believe the irrational thoughts you have. Maybe, deep down, you know that your loved one will never hurt you, but jealousy heightens the feeling of insecurity, and you start watching them more carefully.
You may even start feeling like you cannot trust them, leading to a waterfall of negative feelings — rejection, feeling unloved, or even overwhelmed. Jealous people want to know where their loved one is all the time — where they go, with whom they spend every minute, and what they do.
Because jealous people tend to limit their partner’s freedom, excessive jealousy is extremely destructive for relationships. The receiving person will start feeling resentment as they realize you don’t trust them. They may start feeling controlled and suffocated. In turn, this creates tension in your relationship, driving your partner away.
Is Jealousy Healthy in a Relationship?
If you find yourself wondering if it’s normal to feel jealous, it’s important to know that jealousy is a healthy emotion. Just like happiness, joy, anger, and sadness, jealousy is a normal emotion. What makes the difference between destructive and healthy behavior is how we handle this emotion.
Jealousy is expected in any relationship. After all, you love your partner and you don’t want them away from you. However, to control its negative impacts, you need to learn how to identify when your jealousy is healthy and when it is unhealthy.
Jealousy stems from a lack of trust in your partner, love, insecurity, or even obsession. A healthy relationship will trigger healthy jealousy – this means that you can freely communicate with your partner, you trust them, and you can handle these situations together.
However, if you cannot talk to your partner when you feel insecure, your jealousy is likely to be unhealthy. Talking about your emotions and feelings is encouraged to prevent bottled emotions from becoming poisonous.
What Does Healthy Jealousy Look Like?
In a healthy relationship, you will feel a spark of jealousy caused by your partner’s actions or someone else. If this happens, let your partner know, so you can work together on finding a solution, such as correcting the triggering behavior or dealing with the person threatening your relationship.
Letting your partner know about this struggle shows them you love them and you will be brought closer together.
Feeling a spark of jealousy when your partner is busy is not unhealthy. Simply let your partner know how you feel, so they can reassure you. Communicating your feelings will help you diminish these negative emotions.
How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship
Overcoming jealousy in a relationship may not be as simple as it sounds, but it is possible as long as you and your partner are both working on it.
Here are a few tips to help you overcome jealousy in your relationship and keep it healthy.
Accept Your Emotions
Probably the most important step towards solving jealousy issues is to accept how you feel. Many partners simply tend to disregard or ignore negative feelings, which only makes them stronger as your insecurities grow.
Unresolved issues, including jealousy, tend to grow bigger in importance over time. As soon as you accept your jealousy, you will be able to admit your feelings to your partner and start working through them.
Communicate with Your Partner
The importance of communication cannot be overstated. Admit your feelings to your partner, discuss and identify the causes, and find solutions together. Our partners cannot read our minds, so they will not be aware of your struggles unless you make it clear to them. They will be able to ease your concerns by reassuring you of their feelings and finding a solution to eliminate the causes.
Any healthy relationship requires some soft and/or hard limits. Once you identify the source of your jealousy, you need to discuss it with your partner and recognize what you can do to eliminate the source.
This is not the same as controlling your partner’s whereabouts when you feel jealous – it’s a very different approach since you’ll both have a say in establishing boundaries that make both of you feel comfortable.
All in all, jealousy in a relationship is a normal emotion and it can be important for the health of your bond. After all, feeling jealous means that you love your partner and you don’t want to lose them.
However, if you feel concerned about this emotion turning poisonous, you need to communicate with your partner. You may try relationship therapy, which can be essential if you both need extra support.
On online therapy platforms like Calmerry you can talk to a licensed mental health professional from anywhere, on any device. A therapist can help you learn more about your jealousy or the feelings of your partner, rediscover your relationships, and find ways to enjoy them to the fullest.