Relational jealousy is a perfectly natural emotion that we have all experienced at one time or another, but it can definitely be a painful one. This is partially due to the fact that it can encompass a variety of other feelings, combining into one messy ball of emotion. Jealousy is more complex than one may think, and the more we understand it, the more effectively we can respond and take care of ourselves when we feel it.
Jealousy is Insecurity’s Mask
A common misconception about jealousy in relationships specifically is that it can be indicative of care and love. On the contrary, insecurity is usually a larger cause for feelings of jealousy. When a relationship feels as though it is hanging in the balance or when we feel inadequate in some capacity, we are capable of becoming intensely jealous. These feelings of insecurity can even begin to convince us that we are more invested and present in our relationships than another person is.
Mistrust at the Root
When we feel that a relationship is unbalanced or at risk, we are ultimately diminishing trust. This is not only trust in the relationship, but trust in ourselves to prioritize and care for our own needs. This insecurity likely manifests in other areas; however, our romantic relationships feel more vulnerable and typically bring out the most emotion.
Damage and Fallout from Jealousy
A relationship in this type of situation may begin shouldering the pressure of insecurity and mistrust, which can create a strain. Arguments may become heightened, in frequency or intensity. The feeling of unresolved or unspoken stress may linger and create distance in the relationship. Ultimately, relationships do suffer from this type of stress.
There is Hope
Even the most confident of individuals can feel relational jealousy, and this is not a relationship death sentence. As with any other point of conflict, communication is key. The way we process this type of emotion and the way we share with our partners can mean all the difference between a productive, loving discussion and a blowup. It is important to take the time to pause and process our own emotions before reacting. Ultimately, our worth rests within us as individuals, and differentiating this self-worth from the the relationship is key to managing feelings of jealousy. If you are struggling with relational jealousy, we are here to help!