The Madness of Jealousy in a Relationship
Ask yourself if you’ve ever been afraid of losing the person you love to someone else. Fear is another facet of love. We’re afraid of losing what we have and are, which can lead to jealousy if we’re not careful.
What do jealous people act like?
Jealous people are always paying attention to every step their partner takes, watching and controlling them to restrict their actions. They think that in doing so, they can prevent or discover their partner’s infidelity. They perceive threats from everyone their partner interacts with: coworkers, classmates, family, friends, and even casual acquaintances. Some people are even jealous of experiences their partner had in the past, before they even knew them.
There are two main types of jealousy: obsessive and delusional. A person can experience one or both types at the same time.
What is obsessive jealousy?
Obsessive jealousy is characterized by performing rituals to verify, check up on, and control their partner’s behavior. Here are some key examples:
- They read their partner’s text messages, emails, and anything on social media.
- They confront their partner every time they’re skeptical about a photo, message, or phone call.
- They call their partners constantly and make surprise visits just to verify that they are where they said they would be.
- They prohibit them from wearing makeup, doing their hair, dressing how they want, etc., because they think all of that will lead to infidelity.
- They distance them from their families, who they think might potentially be sending them messages from possible lovers.
- They distance them from friends of the opposite sex to keep them from cheating.
- They distance them from friends of the same sex, just in case they might be gay.
When people carry out these behaviors, it feeds into their anxiety, worry, and distrust. Their distorted thinking causes emotional distress.
- They feel unattractive.
- They’re afraid of being alone.
- They think anyone might be better than them and might take their partner away from them.
- They harbor insecurity and project it onto others.
What is delusional jealousy?
People whose jealousy is delusional are convinced of their partner’s guilt when there’s barely anything to implicate them. Their jealousy is highly excessive and becomes a vicious cycle (any little detail could be evidence of why their jealousy is valid). They’re extremely possessive.
These people look for secret lovers, think they exist when they don’t.
They adopt an attitude of vigilance and distrust, causing their partner to become reserved and resentful. Both make each other suffer, and both reinforce the other person’s behavior. The jealous one becomes more and more vigilant, and the partner becomes more and more reserved.
They feel bad for making their partner suffer, but that doesn’t prevent their jealousy from acting up at any trigger. Usually, the jealousy ends in aggression, whether it’s verbal, physical, or psychological. Once they’ve calmed down, they go back to the start of the cycle and beg for forgiveness.
Can jealous people change?
Of course jealous people can change. In fact, cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques have shown to be some of the best tools to bring about these changes. With treatment, jealous people can learn to trust others and to firmly believe in their partner’s loyalty and desire to be with them.
They can change when they understand that they have virtues and are worthy of being loved, when they accept that they are capable of changing their weaknesses, and when they recognize that they can give their partner some space. The change will hold steady when they gain a sense of value and control.