Jealousy is an almost unavoidable feeling during a love relationship. However, undeniably, this feeling is painful, both for oneself and for the partner who suffers its various manifestations. SHOPOIR gives you ways to understand your jealousy and learn how to manage it.


Jealousy: a proof of love?

It is difficult to conceive of a love relationship totally devoid of jealousy. In fact, it is not uncommon to think that, on the contrary, a person who is not jealous at all does not sincerely love his or her partner. As a result, the two feelings are commonly associated.

In fact, jealousy is a response to a threat from a third party to a relationship we value. It is the fear of seeing one's partner taken in by another person, and therefore the desire to maintain the relationship, that is at the root of this feeling1. 1 In this sense, jealousy is less a proof of love for one's partner than a desire to keep possession of him or her. If the feeling of love often induces in fact the instinct of possession, the opposite is not necessarily true, and it is therefore not directly love that explains jealousy.

Jealousy is a natural feeling

Even though the partner may be exasperated by displays of jealousy that he or she may find exaggerated, it is important to know that jealousy remains an absolutely normal and human feeling1.

1,2 when we experience the sense of exclusivity that binds us to our mother, the fear of abandonment, or the jealousy we may feel at the birth of a baby brother or sister. It is in this sense a precisely primary feeling1, strongly linked to childhood, like envy, possessiveness or selfishness.

The psychology professor A.P. Buunk distinguished in 1997 three forms of jealousy in couples3 :

Reactive jealousy: a negative response to a partner's emotional or sexual involvement with another person.

Preventive jealousy: an effort to prevent the partner's intimate contact with a third person.

Anxious jealousy: obsessive anxiety related to the possibility of the partner's infidelity.

The feeling of jealousy can thus present different degrees, depending in particular on each person's personal experience. This implies that it can still, in some cases, become pathological and potentially destructive.

Jealousy: a destructive feeling

Jealousy is a particularly powerful feeling. Many people's experiences of jealousy often coincide with the idea that they are no longer in control of their emotions or actions, to the point where they think they have gone crazy1. 1 Ultimately, the person who causes their partner to experience jealous outbursts often comes out devastated.

Jealousy manifests itself in a variety of ways, which greatly impair the quality of the love relationship: distrust, surveillance of the partner, interrogations, accusations, all of which lead to arguments because they tend to deprive the other of his or her freedom. These manifestations can even turn into dementia if the jealous person does not try to rationalize their feelings, and allows themselves to be overwhelmed by their obsessive thoughts, which are often the main driving force behind jealousy2.

Thus, while it is almost impossible not to feel jealous at some point in a relationship, it is important to "educate "2 this feeling so that it is not fatal to the relationship.

Manage your jealousy by agreeing to acknowledge it.

Today, jealousy is usually a feeling that we are ashamed of and try to hide1. 1 Yet, denying or repressing it tends to make it even more important and leads to frustration.

It is therefore preferable to try to protect one's partner from possible jealous outbursts by letting him/her know that he/she is uncomfortable with a change in his/her behaviour or relationship. Openly discussing the problem with his/her partner and finding a compromise is a constructive way to manage jealousy2 , as opposed to destructive behaviour, such as threatening to end the relationship. Discussions promote stability in the couple and can even strengthen bonds.

Manage your jealousy by improving your self-confidence
One of the first causes of the feeling of jealousy is the lack of self-esteem1. Indeed, the jealous person feels threatened because he/she is afraid that the rival is more attractive, more intelligent, or generally has qualities that he/she does not have.

It is important to try to regain self-confidence because a lack of self-esteem tends to lead to destructive behaviour in the couple2. However, most of the time, the jealous person tries to regain self-confidence by soliciting his partner more, by provoking compliments, or even by asking for proof of love from him. However, this only temporarily calms the feeling of insecurity, and the jealous person will tend to increase these kinds of solicitations to reassure himself, which can, in the long run, irritate the partner.

Finally, it is in oneself that one can have the surest and most durable conscience of his own value and thus find a sincere self-esteem. By learning to value oneself, one is better able to trust one's partner because one doubts less about one's propensity to be attracted to another person.

Managing jealousy by rationalizing one's instinct for possession

The partner's desire for possession often stems from a mistaken vision of the love relationship, according to which both members are fusional and indispensable to each other, in all circumstances1. In reality, while each member of the couple brings unique things to each other, it must be recognized that one cannot meet all of one's partner's needs alone. It is perfectly normal for the partner to want to be active independently, by going out with friends or visiting family, and this personal balance must be respected.

One can go as far as to mention the ideal of a disinterested love, which would be satisfied with the freedom and happiness of the other, whatever the implications. This is obviously much more difficult to put into practice, but it is a perfect example of the absence of possessiveness and, consequently, of jealousy.

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