Where does jealousy come from? And how do you deal with it?

Where does jealousy come from? And how do you deal with it?

Jealousy: that nasty feeling that creeps up on you and doesn’t let go. It makes you feel insecure and at the same time makes you act like a possessive person who doesn’t trust their partner. Do you feel suspicious at merely the mention of that one colleague or do you struggle with the idea of your partner giving a compliment to someone else? Most people see jealousy as a very nasty character trait, something you should be ashamed of, but in reality, most forms of jealousy are healthy expressions of a complex emotion.

This is how jealousy forms in a relationship

Everyone feels jealous at some point in their relationship. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Jealousy in a relationship can actually lead to number of positive things, provided that we interpret this emotion the right way.

We often interpret jealousy as the feeling that something is being done to us. It feels as an injustice. But if we look closer at those jealous feelings, we often find that it comes from being confronted with something that’s missing within ourselves; you get jealous the moment you see someone sharing something with your partner that is lacking in your own life.

Because we interpret jealousy the wrong way, jealousy is often seen as a useless emotion, something we should surpress. By approaching jealousy in a different way, it can actually benefit your life.

‘Our emotions serve a purpose’

Jealousy often comes from something that’s missing; we see our partner share something with someone else, like an intimate conversation, a joke, a unique experience or a warm hug, while we long to have that with our partner ourselves. You fear that your partner can find that with someone elso, but not with you. Jealousy comes from something that’s missing, but it also indicates a need to share something in particular with your partner.

Our emotions often serve a purpose; it says something about our emotional well-being. If you feel jealous, that can be an indication that something is wrong in your emotional state. Use this feeling to discuss the situation with your partner. Like any other emotion, jealousy grows when you nurture it.

If we feel jealous, we are less able to interpret the signals our partner gives us the right way and we tend to see or hear confimation of the thing we’re jealous about. By talking about it when you first feel it, you can work on it with your partner in an appropriate way and hopefully deal with it in a healthy manner. By starting that conversation with your partner, you have the chance to express your needs and your fear, and what you are missing in your life, after which your partner can hopefully reassure you.

Extreme jealousy

Are you extremely jealous? It’s possible that your partner constantly behaves in a way that makes you feel jealous. It’s also a possibility that there’s a part of you that you need to pay more attention to, which can be worked out through some conversations with a therapist. Your own insecurity can make you feel very jealous, regardless of your partner’s behaviour. Insecure attachment can play an important part in this too. From birth, your attachment forms the blueprint of how you form meaningful relationships with others.  If you’re insecurely attached, this can create many challenges. If it causes extreme jealousy, comfirmation by your partner will almost always be insufficient when it comes to reassuring you.

You could also say that extreme jealousy comes from irrational thoughts and fears. This goes beyond healthy forms of jeaousy in a relationship. Because it can be destructive to a relationship, it’s good to deal with this adequately. That way you can prevent getting stuck for years in the same kind of interactions where both partners feel unsafe and where the relationship is less and less about love and trust.

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