Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Jealousy?


Spring 2024

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Jealousy in a relationship can be a double-edged sword that can strongly impact your relationship. Admittedly, everyone feels jealous at times, especially if they notice that their partner is getting a lot of attention from someone else.

Relationship experts agree that it’s natural to feel jealous. However, when these feelings overtake you, it is a red flag indicator to do something about them before they destroy your relationship.

What Causes Jealousy?

Even though jealousy might seem benign, it stems from deep feelings of insecurity. Although you might be in a stable romantic relationship with your partner, you might begin to doubt their every move and action.

Identifying what triggers these feelings is important. Try to figure out whether you are doing something that is provoking these jealous feelings. Before the problem escalates, quickly detect whether you are overreacting. Most importantly, discuss the situation openly with your partner and work together to find a solution.

Is There a Healthy Dose of Jealousy?

This can be tricky to address; some relationship experts rationalize that all types of jealousy are unhealthy for a relationship. In contrast, others believe that a small dose can protect your relationship against attacks and demonstrate your commitment to the relationship.

Nevertheless, it is how you label those feelings that makes a difference. Choosing jealousy to express those emotions is not healthy. An overprotective spouse or partner with such feelings displays a lack of trust, which is a symptom of a deeper problem in a relationship.

Is Jealousy Detrimental for Your Relationship?

Jealousy has the potential to destroy your relationship. For example, suppose you are constantly feeling jealous and overprotective. In that case, you might prevent your spouse or partner from going out, having a normal conversation with a friend, or even chatting casually with a work colleague. 

That behaviour leads to abusive situations and eventually destroys your relationship and harms your partner or yourself. Like other emotions, if handled correctly, jealousy can trigger growth in your relationship. Instead of allowing it to destroy your relationship, use it to strengthen it.

What Can you Do if your Partner Feels Jealous?

If you feel that your spouse or partner is jealous, address your concern head-on. Open communication is the key. Several factors could contribute to an unstable relationship; these include the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one. Ask yourself if these factors contribute to feelings of jealousy within you. Could it be that you are upset that your partner is thinking of someone else, i.e., bereaving the loss of a loved one or focusing their attention on a newborn?  

In such situations, consider a few coping mechanisms. For example, voice your concerns by taking the opportunity to talk about any relationship boundaries. It also helps to share ways of keeping your relationship strong. Another option is talking to a trusted friend; an outside point of view can make the situation less threatening and help you gain perspective.

Time can also be a healer; according to a psychological study, people are more likely to feel jealous before something happens as opposed to after. As you allow time to pass, you are less likely to compare yourself and your circumstances to someone else. If feelings of jealousy persist and you have trouble coping, talking to a therapist or a couple’s counsellor is of great help.

David Messiha | Staff Writer

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