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Heart Matters: How jealousy can destroy your relationship
How jealousy can destroy your relationship

Heart Matters: How jealousy can destroy your relationship

No one wants to admit being jealous, but we’ve all felt it. We all know that stingy realisation that something or someone we love is at risk of being lost or taken from us.


Jealousy can be a reflection of our innermost thoughts. We then project the emotion onto our reality and relationships.

Jealousy can create unhelpful patterns of behaviours and intrusive thoughts that can leave relationships reeling.

Even though jealousy can be problematic in relationships, the emotion can be redirected and reframed into productive, meaningful avenues for growth and acceptance.

The effects of jealousy in a relationship

Has your partner become more controlling by questioning your behaviours and motives? Are you feeling insecure and creating scenarios in your head and destructively projecting them onto your relationship? If so, jealousy might be the culprit.

Jealousy is the emotion we can experience when something of value — such as our romantic relationships or positions at work — is being threatened and can be potentially taken from us.

Also, jealousy can arise spontaneously and potentially sabotage our otherwise healthy and harmonious relationships.

Still, the emotion occurs naturally in humans and can invite us to turn our attention toward the root of the feelings we’re experiencing.

Some might argue that jealousy in relationships isn’t “bad” and can be quite constructive. But there is a fine line between jealousy as a healthy motivator and jealousy as the destructive antagonist.

Jealously runs on assumptions and can make you imagine circumstances that aren’t there. Understanding how signs of jealousy may show up within a relationship can be helpful.

 Signs of jealousy

Because every relationship is unique, jealousy may appear in various ways and look different for everyone. The following are common signs that indicate your partner might be experiencing jealousy:

possessive or controlling behaviour


constant reassurance

monitoring your whereabouts and communications

distrust or suspicion

lack of boundaries

 increased volatility

Becoming aware of toxic behaviours in your relationship can help you examine how your actions may affect your partner.

Behaviours that you may notice can include but aren’t limited to:

restricting your ability to communicate with others

going through your phone when you’re not around

checking your text messages and emails without consent

threats or acts of physical violence

 Causes of jealousy

Anxiety and its trademark “what ifs” can create something out of nothing and leave the door open for jealousy to take root in your relationship.


According to a small 2021 study, people who monitor their partners on social media or mistrust online communication experience higher levels of jealousy and attachment anxiety.

The same study also reported that jealousy responses in relationships typically increase if an individual lives with attachment anxiety.

Behavioural patterns in previous relationships can also make you more likely to become jealous or experience jealousy in your relationship.

Jealousy is often a cover for underlying issues, such as:



low self-esteem


fear of abandonment

These issues can fuel jealousy and manipulate a person’s behaviour. They can also cause harm that can be hard to recover from.

How to cope with jealousy in a relationship

If jealous behaviour and feelings impact your relationship, implementing strategies and techniques can help you navigate back to a more peaceful place. The following are some to consider.

 Explore the root of jealousy

Try to identify why jealousy has become an issue and communicate openly with your partner about their point of view.


You may also consider asking a trusted friend for their opinion. You might be surprised how a different perspective can help you see more clearly.

 Focus on the present moment

The presence of jealousy can be an opportunity to discuss the reality of your relationship versus the perception of what it should be.

Mindfulness and gratitude practices may also be beneficial for overcoming jealousy. Being grateful for the relationship you have, perfect or not, can help you identify all the things that work.


Couples therapy may also prove beneficial.

Finding a space where we feel comfortable expressing our true feelings, especially on a sensitive topic like jealousy, can be difficult.

A therapist can help guide your discussions so that you and your partner can get to the root causes of jealousy. They can also help you work to reframe unhelpful behaviors or intrusive thoughts.

 Next steps

Jealousy is a natural emotion, but it can create quite a challenge for even the strongest relationships.

Whether you notice jealousy in your partner or yourself, understanding why jealousy is present is crucial to the relationship’s survival.

Try to observe how jealousy affects your relationship and explore the root cause without judgment.

It may take time, but you can overcome jealousy with an openness to communicate and an ability to employ gratitude toward your partner and relationship.




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