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Does jealousy have a room in a relationship and is there a way to express it in a healthy way?


Anyone who has been in a romantic relationship must have had an experience of wanting to protect the one they love from someone or something that they consider as a threat to the relationship. Jealousy of this kind is just part of our array of human emotions. However, when jealousy becomes the main driver of our thoughts and actions, it can be harmful. Challenges in the relationship occur because of suspicion, insecurity and even paranoia. 

To avoid jealousy from taking over our relationships, addressing the underlying issues that cause it might be the best way to cope. When a couple overcomes this challenge, they can enjoy a stronger and more authentic relationship. 

Identifying signs of jealousy in a relationship

Everyone might express jealousy in different ways, but these are some of the most common signs of this emotion. 

  • Being possessive of you or seems to control you ( For example,  your partner wants all of your time, makes your decisions for you, stalking)
  • Suspicious of and constantly monitors your whereabouts
  • Often breaking healthy boundaries
  • Being easily angered or moody
  • Restricting your communications (also might go through your phone without permission) 
  • Threats of or actual physical violence

Making jealousy more constructive than destructive

Some studies have shown that jealousy is rooted in anxiety and imagining thoughts of “what ifs”. For example, in a 2021 study of students who have been dating for more than a year, researchers found that higher levels of jealousy and attachment anxiety were experienced by participants who had a habit of monitoring their partner’s social media activities including their online communication.

  • Understand what triggers jealousy. Often, jealousy has an underlying cause such as insecurity, low self-esteem, fear of being abandoned, neuroticism, past experiences, etc. Identifying your triggers is the first step towards the right direction. 

  1. Communicate honestly. In order to understand and find healthy ways to express jealousy, honest and authentic communication between partners is vital. Be ready to talk about the triggers openly and without judgment. Know that triggers come from issues that are often difficult to talk about, requiring partners to bare their history, so enter the conversation with as much patience and love. 

If past wounds from the relationship cause jealous feelings, most probably trust between the two have not been mended yet. Lack of trust may show up as controlling behaviors. The first step is to go back to those wounds and work out your healing through communication and forgiveness. 

  1. Develop emotional awareness and regulation. Even those in a strong relationship might find dealing with jealousy difficult without knowing how to express and manage their emotions during times of conflict. 

One tip in expressing your emotions is not to get defensive about your behavior, but respond as calmly as possible. Give them assurance that you are on their side in figuring things out. 

  1. Set healthy boundaries. Jealousy is normal and can be expressed in ways that can strengthen your relationship. However, when it triggers your partner to threaten you with violence, be firm in setting rules and boundaries in your relationship. Agree with each other which behaviors are tolerated and which are not. 

Although these tips may seem simple, they require both partners to be on the same page in managing jealous feelings. Studies have shown that going to couples therapy is beneficial. It can provide both of you a safe space to express your feelings and talk about sensitive issues while guided by an objective therapist who can also teach you ways to change negative thinking patterns. 

With these, you and your partner can  reestablish and strengthen a sense of security, openness and trust in your relationship. 

Consider using and posting to an online job board to find the perfect match to your healthcare professional job openings!

Does jealousy have a room in a relationship and is there a way to express it in a healthy way?
Brandon Resasco