all experienced jealousy at some time in our lives, although the
reasons why each of us gets jealous and the emotions we feel may
to clinical psychologist Ayala Malach Pines, "jealousy is
a complex reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship
or to its quality". Unlike envy, it always involves a fear
of loss and three people.
is a "complex reaction" because it involves such a wide
range of emotions, thoughts and behaviours.
- pain, anger, rage, sadness, envy, fear, grief, humiliation.
* Thoughts - resentment, blame, comparison with the rival, worry
about image, self-pity.
* Behaviours - feeling faint, trembling and sweating, constant
questioning and seeking reassurance, aggressive actions, even
In relationships where feelings of jealousy are mild and occasional,
it reminds the couple not to take each other for granted. It can
encourage couples to appreciate each other and make a conscious
effort to make sure the other person feels valued.
heightens emotions, making love feel stronger and sex more passionate.
In small, manageable doses, jealousy can be a positive force in
a relationship. But when it's intense or irrational, the story
is very different.
How jealousy damages love
Sometimes jealous feelings can get out of proportion. For
example, when a man makes an embarrassing scene at a party because
his wife accepts an invitation to dance with an old friend, or
when a woman is overwhelmed with jealousy because her husband's
company appoints a female boss.
of reaction can put a huge strain on a relationship, leaving the
other partner feeling as though they're constantly walking on
eggshells to avoid a jealous reaction. The jealous partner, often
aware of their problem, swings between self-blame and justification.
If you're the jealous one
Overcoming jealousy takes patience and hard work. If you feel
your jealousy stems from issues in childhood, you may find counselling
useful. If you're recovering from an affair, you'll need to deal
with those issues first.
some things you can do for yourself:
Give yourself a reality check - take a good look at those
things that trigger your jealousy and ask yourself how realistic
the threat is. What evidence do you have that your relationship
is in danger? And is your behaviour actually making the situation
self-talk - when you start feeling the twinges of jealousy,
remind yourself that your partner loves you, is committed to you
and respects you. Tell yourself you're a loveable person and that
nothing's going on.
- one of the best ways to beat jealousy is to ask your partner
for reassurance. Make sure you don't nag or bully, but rather
share your insecurities and ask them to help you overcome the
with a jealous partner
Having a jealous partner can be exhausting. Here are some
ideas that may help ease their jealousy:
of the problem in a different way - remember that jealousy
is a sign of love. If your partner didn't value your relationship,
you wouldn't be having this problem. Rather than becoming defensive,
try to be understanding and supportive.
your behaviour - if you know that certain behaviours trigger
your partner's jealousy, change them if you can if only until
the problem has been overcome. Be sure to stick to any agreements
you've made, too, but avoid making promises you'll find difficult
to keep, such as always being contactable.
your partner's confidence - be sure to take every opportunity
to tell your partner how much you love them and why you wouldn't
want to be with anyone else. Give lots of compliments and talk
about the wonderful future you're looking forward to spending