Ever felt the green-eyed monster before? Maybe you thought someone attractive was making eyes at your partner, or perhaps a new work colleague has been slipped into the conversation too often! But what about when the shoe is on the other foot — do you know how to deal with a jealous partner?
If you’ve ever been in this position before, you’ll know that a little jealousy is fine –it might even feel good to know your partner cares! But anything more intense can quickly knock any romance right out of the park. Let’s take a closer look at why jealousy and love aren’t a great match!
What is jealousy?
Jealousy is a combination of emotions, including anxiety, passion, and fear. It's a strong, sometimes overwhelming feeling that may occur when you're worried about losing something close to you.
In romantic relationships, jealousy is based on the fear of your partner leaving. And this emotion isn't restricted to human behavior - it's present in the animal kingdom too.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that jealousy is cute or romantic. Even though it’s an entirely natural response, jealousy can quickly erode your relationship and mental health if you or your partner let it get out of hand.
Why is my partner so jealous?
Are you dealing with a jealous partner? Before we dive into how to deal with a jealous partner let's discuss why they may be feeling jealous in the first place. You might notice that the green-eyed monster appears due to some of the following issues.
Perhaps your partner’s career path isn’t progressing as well as they’d hoped, or they’re feeling put out because you earn a six-figure salary. Even if you work in separate industries, your partner may compare your successes and dislike the feeling of inadequacy they're putting on themselves!
It’s also possible that your partner might be ready to start a family and is wondering when you’re going to take a step back to have a baby. Of course, this is an outdated concept because it’s absolutely possible to have a rewarding career and be an amazing parent.
But if your partner is jealous you’re putting work ahead of family plans, it might be time for an honest discussion.
If you earn more money than your partner or have experienced financial success before or during your relationship, this is another potential cause of jealousy.
Your social circle
If you enjoy spending time with friends and family, a jealous spouse may feel as if they’re competing for your attention. This is worse still if your partner doesn’t fit in well with your social circle.
Often, this is because either your partner or your loved ones haven’t made an effort to get to know each other.
Other men or women
Perhaps the most common problem in a relationship is jealousy of other men or women. Your partner may be constantly worried someone better will come along and sweep you off your feet. This is a sign of insecurity and comes down to a lack of trust in the relationship.
Any of these reasons for being jealous come down to a fear of abandonment. Your partner may fret that any professional or social success will result in you becoming ‘“too good” for them, and you’ll choose to move on.
"Jealousy has many forms, expressions, causes, and degrees of intensity. Every person's jealousy is unique." - Robert L.Barker, The Green-Eyed Marriage
How jealousy destroys healthy relationships
Some degree of jealousy is normal and healthy – it can even teach us not to take each other for granted! But stronger feelings of jealousy can become toxic and lead to the following:
Lack of trust
Jealousy and distrust go hand-in-hand. If trust issues already exist, it’s easy for either partner to feel jealous and vulnerable at the idea of their partner humiliating them or dumping them.
But similarly, jealous episodes can end up causing distrust – for example, if you’re dealing with a jealous partner who has started spying on you!
Breakdown in communication
Positive communication should be at the heart of a happy and healthy relationship. But when jealousy rears its ugly head, this can cause communication to break down.
Perhaps you no longer feel able to share news about your work colleagues or yoga friends with your partner. Or jealousy results in the pair of you screaming at each other.
Is your partner stalking you due to a lack of trust in the relationship? This is a dangerous sign that jealousy has gone too far. But stalking is harder to spot when you're already dating someone.
If you bump into your significant other when you're out with your friends or having lunch with a coworker, you're unlikely to be as freaked out as if a stranger was stalking you.
In any case, stalking is a big sign that you are dealing with a jealous partner.
When feelings of love, passion, and jealousy descend into violence, you must seek help and end the relationship. There’s never any excuse for a jealous spouse to turn to physical abuse. This applies to all relationships!
So whether you are dating or married, remember you should not stay in a dangerous relationship.
5 Common jealous spouse signs
Before working out how to deal with a jealous partner, look out for some telltale signs that jealousy is an issue in your relationship. Here are some top red flags.
1. A jealous partner constantly checks up on you
If your partner reads your emails, listens to your voicemails, or constantly texts when you're apart, this is obsessive and unhealthy jealousy. Yes, they care about you and want to know your every move.
But this also signals a serious breakdown of trust in your relationship. While there may be some regular reasons for a partner checking your voicemails, for example, to hear shared information about your child, in most cases, this is a serious invasion of privacy.
If this is an issue in your relationship, set boundaries to clarify what you consider appropriate.
2. Your jealous spouse monitors your social media
This is similar to going through your phone or inbox. If your partner is scrolling through your social media feed, or hacking into your profile and reading your DMs, their jealousy has got out of hand.
They’re doing these things because they expect to find something, which again signals a lack of trust.
3. A jealous spouse tends to pick fights with you
Arguing can be a cry for attention and a chance to have you communicate your deepest feelings with each other. If your spouse or partner is constantly picking fights with you, this can be due to low self-esteem.
But there are far healthier ways to have a conversation about your relationship.
4. Your partner doesn't like your namedropping
Does your partner prick their ears up whenever you mention another man or woman? They might be jealous every time you talk about your past relationships, your gym instructor, your friends’ husbands, or even your best friend.
If you get to the point where you’re filtering everything you say, this isn’t the sign of a comfortable and relaxed relationship.
5. A jealous partner constantly puts you down
A supportive partner should be there building you up and championing all your successes through life. If you feel they’re being negative or belittling you, this isn't something you should put up with.
5 Key tips on how to deal with a jealous partner
Once you’ve established that your partner’s jealousy is a problem in your relationship and is affecting your personal happiness, there are some steps you can take.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some of these will help you save your relationship. Others will help you recognize you’re in a toxic situation and give you the strength to move on.
1. Discuss your partner's jealous feelings
As a loving partner, the first step is to discuss your partner’s jealous feelings. Try to understand their fears and reassure them. Be aware that your partner may be defensive discussing their jealous behavior and could even deny it.
Are you finding it hard to communicate honestly with each other? It may be helpful to gain professional help by speaking to a family therapist or relationship expert.
Having open communication is a great way how to deal with a jealous partner.
2. Take a look in the mirror
Assess whether you’ve caused the jealousy your partner feels. For example, if you’ve been flirtatious with someone, then understand your role in making your partner jealous.
However, if you’re confident you’ve done nothing wrong, don’t let your partner rewrite what’s actually happened. You can always ask a close friend for a second opinion if you’re unsure.
3. Deal with a jealous partner by setting boundaries
If your partner is open to communicating with you about their jealousy, this is an excellent sign you can work things out. But make sure you have a frank conversation about putting clear boundaries in place.
You might ask your partner to trust you on a night out with your girlfriends and not demand you check in every five minutes. Be careful not to agree to unreasonable boundaries, it’s important you’re both comfortable in your relationship, and you don’t feel trapped.
4. Keep a separate bank account from a jealous partner
Having a jealous partner is not a reason to hand over your financial independence to someone, especially if they’re emotionally unstable. You may have a joint bank account to fund joint purchases or expenses as a couple.
However, you must keep your own bank account that your partner doesn’t have access to.
Consider having your salary paid into your personal bank account and then transferring an agreed amount each month into a joint account if you need to share the cost of expenses. It could be a warning sign if your partner isn’t happy with this suggestion.
This is why it's important to have a money discussion before the relationship gets serious.
5. Get immediate help if you have a jealous partner who is abusive
Have you noticed the warning signs of jealousy in your relationship? Perhaps you’ve been trying to work on them, but the situation isn’t getting any better.
Jealousy can, unfortunately, lead to a toxic relationship, and the outcomes can be mental abuse or physical violence. Please use some of the following resources to access the help you need when dealing with a jealous partner.
National Domestic Violence Helpline
Reach out to The Hotline for confidential support about your relationship or any abuse you're facing. You'll be asked if you're in a safe place to talk and will brainstorm ideas to improve your situation.
This may include finding ways to feel safer, improving communication, or leaving the relationship entirely. The contact number is 1.800.799.SAFE.
Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network
If your partner has sexually assaulted you, or you're not sure if they have, the National Sexual Assault Hotline will provide you with a range of free services, including confidential support from a trained staff member, referrals for long-term support, and free sexual assault forensic exams.
You can reach this hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE.
Mental Health America
If you're living with a mental health condition, including depression or anxiety, you can seek support from Mental Health America. Gain access to a range of online screening tools to help you understand more about the type of support you need.
If you're in need of immediate assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.TALK or text MHA to 741.741 to speak with a trained counselor.
Can a jealous person change?
Yes, a jealous person can change, but it has to be their decision to work on themselves. You can’t make someone stop being jealous if they’re not ready.
But you are responsible for your own behavior and can choose when it’s time to move on. Remember, sometimes you may need to seek professional help, to assist in the situation.
Do what's best for you when dealing with a jealous partner!
Remember – your self-worth is so much greater than the negative energy you’ve been receiving. So, if you’ve been wondering how to deal with a jealous partner and recognize any of the telltale signs, then it’s time to take action.