Ready to book a Relationship Counselling appointment?

Understanding And Managing Jealousy In Relationships

Jealousy – the Emotion we Love to Hate

We all know that feeling of insecurity and fear that can arise when our partner shows interest in someone else.¬†Jealousy is a complex emotion that can arise in romantic relationships and can be difficult to understand and manage.¬†It is often seen as taboo or “forbidden.”

It can be difficult for people to admit to feeling jealous, as it is often associated with negative traits such as possessiveness, insecurity, and mistrust. However, it is important to recognise that jealousy is a natural and normal emotion that can arise in any relationship.

Jealousy doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, it can actually bring couples closer together. A little bit of competition never hurt anyone. In the end, facing a “rival,” even if they’re just in your head, can make your own partner look all the more attractive. So go ahead and embrace the green-eyed monster every once in a while – just try not to break anything (or anyone) in the process.

Understanding Jealousy

From a psychotherapeutic perspective, jealousy can be understood as an emotion that is rooted in feelings of insecurity, fear, and a lack of trust. These feelings may be triggered by a variety of factors, including past traumas, power imbalances in the relationship, and a lack of self-worth.

Jealousy is a painful emotion that many of us struggle to admit and confront. It can be especially challenging in romantic relationships, as it involves the fear of losing your partner’s love or attention to someone else. This fear can lead to a range of difficult emotions such as anger, insecurity, self-doubt, and embarrassment. It can be tempting to try to deny or ignore these feelings, but it is important to address jealousy in a healthy way in order to maintain the health and happiness of a relationship.

It is important to remember that jealousy does not have to define a relationship or lead to negative outcomes. By addressing jealousy in a proactive and healthy way, individuals can work to manage these emotions and strengthen their relationships. This may involve open communication with a partner, setting boundaries, and seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Jealousy can also be a sign of deeper issues in a relationship, such as a lack of trust or a power imbalance. By addressing these issues and working to build a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect, individuals can create healthy, fulfilling relationships.

Trust and Jealousy

Lack of trust is often a root cause of jealousy in relationships. When individuals do not trust their partner, they may be more prone to jealousy, as they may fear losing their partner’s love or attention to someone else. This fear can lead to feelings of insecurity and mistrust, which can have negative consequences for the health and happiness of a relationship.

It is important for individuals to work on building trust in their relationships in order to manage jealousy. This may involve open communication with a partner, setting boundaries, and seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist. By addressing the underlying issues that contribute to a lack of trust, individuals can work to create healthy, fulfilling relationships that are free from jealousy.

In addition to addressing trust issues, it is also important for individuals to work on building their own self-confidence and self-worth. When individuals feel secure in themselves and their relationship, they are less likely to experience jealousy. Overall, trust and self-confidence are key factors in managing jealousy and creating healthy, fulfilling relationships.

Power Imbalance and Jealousy

Power imbalances in relationships can contribute to feelings of jealousy. When one partner holds more power or control in the relationship, the other partner may feel a lack of autonomy and may be more prone to jealousy. This can be especially true if the partner with more power is seen as having more options or opportunities for romantic involvement with others.

Jealousy can also be fuelled by power imbalances in relationships when one partner feels that they are not being treated equally or with respect. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and mistrust, which can have negative consequences for the health and happiness of the relationship.

It is important for individuals to recognise and address power imbalances in their relationships in order to manage jealousy. This may involve open communication with a partner, setting boundaries, and seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist. By establishing a sense of equality and mutual respect in the relationship, individuals can work to create healthy, fulfilling partnerships that are free from jealousy.

Attachment Styles and Jealousy

Attachment styles can play a role in the experience of jealousy in relationships. Attachment styles refer to the way in which individuals form and maintain emotional bonds with others. There are three primary attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant.

Individuals with a secure attachment style tend to feel comfortable with intimacy and are able to trust and rely on their partners. They are less likely to experience jealousy, as they have a strong sense of self-worth and trust in their relationships.

Individuals with an anxious attachment style may be more prone to jealousy, as they may have a greater need for closeness and reassurance from their partner. They may feel a stronger fear of losing their partner’s love and attention, leading to feelings of insecurity and mistrust.

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style may be less likely to experience jealousy, as they may have a greater need for independence and may be more comfortable with emotional distance in their relationships.

It is important for individuals to be aware of their own attachment style and how it may impact their experience of jealousy in relationships. By understanding these dynamics, individuals can work to manage jealousy in a healthy way and create fulfilling, trusting partnerships.

Managing Jealousy

One way to manage jealousy in a relationship is through open communication with your partner. It is important to express your feelings and concerns in a non-accusatory way and to listen to your partner’s perspective. Setting boundaries can also be helpful in managing jealousy, as it allows both partners to have a sense of independence and autonomy.

In addition to open communication and setting boundaries, seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist can be beneficial in addressing jealousy in a relationship. A therapist can help individuals understand the root causes of their jealousy and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

It may be necessary to seek help from a therapist or other professional if jealousy is causing significant distress in a relationship or if it is leading to unhealthy behaviors. A therapist can work with individuals to identify the underlying causes of their jealousy and help them develop healthy ways of coping with these emotions.

Can Therapy Help with Jealousy?

Yes! Therapy can be helpful in addressing and managing feelings of jealousy. Jealousy is a normal and natural emotion, but it can become problematic if it is intense or irrational, or if it leads to harmful behaviours.

Therapy provides a safe and supportive space to:

  • Explore the root causes of jealousy
  • Develop healthier coping mechanisms
  • Identify and challenge negative thought patterns
  • Increase self-awareness and self-esteem
  • Improve communication skills

If you are experiencing intense or problematic jealousy, it may be helpful to consider seeking the support of a mental health professional.

In conclusion, jealousy is a complex emotion that can be difficult to understand and manage. By engaging in open communication, setting boundaries, and seeking support, individuals can work to manage jealousy and strengthen their relationships.

Cristina Vrech

Co-founder and director of Leone Centre, 20+ years of experience in supporting people, and offering valuable knowledge through Couples Counselling and Individual Counselling. Before becoming a therapist, I worked in the financial sector.

View more posts by Cristina Vrech

Talk with a Relationship Counselling Professional

If you do feel like you need some help and support, our Relationship Counselling professionals are available 7 days a week. Call us on 020 3930 1007. We can also provide fast track therapy.

We can offer in-person counselling in London appointments at our head office in Fulham and our offices in Kensington, Wimbledon and Belgravia, We also service Victoria, Putney, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, and City of London.

In addition, we offer Online Therapy appointments wherever in the world you are located, should this better fit around your existing commitments or if you are not able to attend an in-person appointment.

Schedule Your Relationship Counselling Appointment