What Causes Jealousy In A Love Relationship?

Jealousy - some call it 'The Little Green Monster'. In a love relationship jealousy typically involves the couple and a third party. One member of the couple can become jealous due to envy - if they perceive that someone else has, or is getting something they want from their partner, ultimately, it's caused by a situation which one member of the couple reacts to what they perceive to be a possible threat to their love relationship.

Some might say jealousy is caused by some deep seeded personality fault or insecurity on the part of the person who's become jealous, but it's not necessarily always the case. Everyone's capable of becoming jealous at some point in their love relationship because during our relationships we invest our emotions and become vulnerable and jealousy is an emotion, a real 'feeling' of being vulnerable.

In a relationship, particularly when it's new and you're falling in love and just beginning to learn to trust each other with these vulnerable feelings you may find your partner feels jealous in a number of situations, or you may become jealous at times yourself. Such situations you'd expect to find jealousy occurring are:

  • You or your partner are spending time with other singles of the opposite sex:

This could be you innocently working late on a project at work with a colleague of the opposite sex. But it has the potential to make your partner feel a little jealous because you're spending one on one time with another person who they do not know. Your partner may have no reason not to trust you, however it still can make them feel uncomfortable that someone is possibly sharing dinner with you at the office instead of you being at home with them, especially if they'd been hoping all day for a romantic evening with you.

You could also find yourself feeling jealous if you catch your partner talking to and being friendly with someone of the opposite sex, not that you wouldn't trust your partner, but a jealous feeling can sweep over you when you see the person they're talking to appears to be not only extremely attractive, but also appears captivated by your partners attention, smiling and flirting outrageously with them...

  • You or your partner keep in touch with a former partner:

No matter what your reasons may be, if you're spending time with or exchanging emails or text messages with a former partner it can instantly make your partner feel uncomfortable and jealous and it doesn't matter what your relationship with your former partner was like, or how you attempt to explain this to your current partner, he/she doesn't know your ex and can feel vulnerable and may start thinking all kind of things - like worrying that you may have loved them more / longer than you've love them etc, feelings of jelousy, including not understanding why you invest in a past relationship now that you have now found them!

  • One of you suspects the other is sexually attracted to a third party:

Having knowledge of, or suspecting that your partner has had sexual attraction to a third party can cause emotional jealousy. One partner feels the relationship may be threatened by the partner's desires and feelings regarding a third party. Or the partner feels envious that you could desire someone else as well as them!

  • Planning to spend your free time with your mates:

If you're hoping for a quiet romantic dinner with your partner and they're planning on partying with their single mates instead, especially on a regular basis, you could feel jealous. You may perceive that your partner prefers their company over yours, and not know what to do about it!

When someone feels jealous they are not necessarily 'thinking clearly', their jealousy is often a 'protective reaction' due to fear, anger, suspicion and uncertainty. They perceive there is a real threat to their relationship at the time. They usually have feelings of worry of losing an important love to another person, feelings of inferiority and it's like a line of communication has been broken between the couple when one of them becomes jealous.

If you are jealous, you need to communicate. You need to stop assuming the worst, ask questions and listen to your partners responses. That way you can discuss your feelings so you can work out solutions.

Best wishes,


© 2010 StricktlyDating

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Comments: 37 comments

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stricktlydating 3 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Keith, you've made some terrific points on this subject and I appreciate that you took the time to share your personal thoughts, thank you!

Keith 3 years ago


One question that comes to mind for me about the source of jealousy is: for what reason would one knowingly attempt to solicit a jealous response from their counterpart?

Three plausible reasons come to my mind instantly:

1.) The person instigating wants to see how insecure their partner is.

2.) The person instigating wants to get a rise out of their counterpart for leverage in the relationship

3.) The person instigating wants to understand how into them their partner is.

Analyzing reasons why someone could instigate such a thing as jealously might shine light on the subject from a different angle or perspective.

Based on these three motives one thing seems clear to me: that jealously translates to insecurity in the same way that indifference translates to confidence.

Sometimes indifference is a sign of confidence, but sometimes indifference is just a sign that you don’t care despite your level of self-esteem.

Sometimes jealousy is a sign of insecurity, but sometimes jealousy is just a sign that you’re not indifferent.

angie 4 years ago

This post is so true. I suffer with Anxiety Disorder and on occasion have very bad panic attacks which last for weeks on end, I am currently 25 weeks pregnant and am coping the best I can with my anxiety however I am getting very jealous over the slightest little thing, like if my partner answers his phone to the girl next door etc I know its silly but at the time I am extremely angry and go off on one with my partner and this then causes bad feeling in our relationship. I guess I am scared that my partner is physically attracted to this girl, of course I have asked him and he denies it but still this paranoid state of mind is still present and I hate it.

Brittany 4 years ago

Good job on this Hub and by the way i love all of your Habs!!!!

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Joeysblu,

I hear you! I really don't like it when a boyfriend continues a relationship with an ex. Infact, I always tell him it's a deal breaker for me early on, so that he is aware that I will not except him keeping a 'friendship' with someone he was romantically involved with (Of course it's different if there are kids or shared business but otherwise there is no need to continue their relationship with their former lover when we commence a committed relationship). Your guy doesn't seem to be hearing you so maybe try making it clear to him that you will not accept him having contact with any ex while he is in a relationship with you, simple! Goodluck!

Joeysblu 5 years ago

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2-1/2 years and we moved in together a year ago.

He still keeps in contact with several girls that her either "dated" or they are an ex-girl friend. Whenever I confront him when I find out that he has been talking to any one of them he tells me that they are just keeping in touch and they are "just friends" and that I have nothing to worry about that he isn't going anywhere and that he loves me. My response to him typically will be that he doesn't have to go anywhere when he is texting or emailing them. He doesn't tell me what they talked about so I never know how appropriate the conversations are.

Most recently his ex-wife's younger brother, who is 16, came to live with us and he didn't bother to ask me if would be OK or not. I have a problem with this because to me it seems like he is still wanting to have some kind of connection with her. When let him know that I had a problem with him staying with us because it makes me really uncomfortable, he didn't understand why. I explained to my him that her brother needed to go back to his moms where he belongs and he agreed. When I get home later on that evening her brother is still there. When I asked him why her brother didn't go home to his mom he replied that he was going to go home in a few days. Then I got upset all over again.

Theses problems have caused several arguments and have left me feeling like I my views are not valued in our relationship and that I'm just being the jealous girlfriend.

How do I communicate with my boyfriend that the things that are bothering me without causing anymore arguments and to bring resolution?

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Tafabalouba, You've made some really interesting points there, and I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thanks!

Tafabalouba 5 years ago

Fascinating comments. Jealousy is based in an individual's insecurities. What if the insecurities are legitimate i.e i think she wil break up wit me because im too fat and drink a lot. Is that person not more likely to be jealous and insecure because they realise a factual flaw in their personality... Should this person sort out their insecurities before looking for love or should they grapple with the heart wrenching feelings of jealousy, stay in the relationship while they sort themselves out.

I think once you start feeling jealous you want that to be with that person person exclusively. A good thing to do (usualy the best) is mention your insecurities to your partner as wel as your fears and weaknesses and find out what the person thinks.

Just random thoughts on a very interesting hub.

One last thing to consider in al of this is the 'obsessive personality'

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks rookie57, I appreciate your compliment ;)

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rookie57 5 years ago from Switzerland

I found this hub and I have to say SPOT ON!!!

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for your lovely compliment shanaya!

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shanaya 5 years ago from Living in my Own Dreams:)

Once again an outstanding HUB.i realy like it.

and i have to say WOW for the number of HUBS you have..keep rocking.:)

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for sharing your experiences on this topic Janellelk, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment! Best wishes.

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janellelk 5 years ago

I've been on either sides of the fence. One of my partner was insanely and irrationally jealous and it really got old. I could not explain to him enough or sufficiently how I was NOT cheating on him, was NOT attracted to anyone but him, etc. It lead to our break up because I could just not handle it. Now, funny enough, I am the jealous one in my current relationship. I recognize that my jealousy comes from my own insecurities with myself and try to pause, calm down, and logically examine the situation. If there's something there that rationally explains my jealousy, then I might bring it up in a tactful way. Otherwise, I LET IT GO. And when I say I let it go, I really mean it. It's hard but it's not worth keeping those resentments around. My significant other and I have talked about it as well and ultimately, he says it makes him feel bad because it makes him feel like I can't trust him. I can relate to this feeling from my previous relationship. it's frustrating and no fun. I'm really trying to work on it so thanks for this great hubpage! Definitely got me thinking!

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Assassin Fred 6 years ago

If you are constantly accused of having a wandering eye, but you know your actions are nothing of the like, you may want to do a little investigating into what your jealous partner has been up to... I'm just saying!

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Yes Fred that could be true too!

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Assassin Fred 6 years ago

Another thing to be aware of with a jealous partner (if you think they might be anything less than trustworthy), is that many people have jealous and enraged feelings when they, themselves are doing something shady... sneaking around, or whatnot. It's called "projecting."

Food for thought, don't trust everyone you meet.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for your comment ahostagesituation, I think you have a great outlook!

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ahostagesituation 6 years ago

I was just talking about this with someone--whether or not jealousy is okay in a relationship. Jealousy is not really an issue for me, but I'm certainly not willing to share someone I'm in love with. Period. And I haven't had to make that clear, but they have already known that. And honestly, if ever my boyfriends would be okay with me being close with another guy I'd definitely question the depth of our relationship. I think a certain amount of jealousy in a relationship, even one with a lot of trust, is pretty healthy.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for your comment ItsThatSimple!

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ItsThatSimple 6 years ago from Florida

I agree that these are some of the reasons for jealously in a relationship. I think there is an underlying cause for jealousy as well. Self-esteem, lack of confidence in a partner are what contribute to jealousy.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Secretmion and Neil Sperling, appreciate your comments on this subject.

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Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

I too see jealousy's root cause is insecurity.... or you are with someone who does not feel the same way you do.... so you are caught "wishing/hoping they will love you like you love them. It could also be the one you are with simply is not able to love at a level as deep as you.

Good hub

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Secretmission 6 years ago from Sandwich

I agree that jealousy is the result of some deep seated insecurity. Great hub.

Alice_babeyy 6 years ago

My ex was the most jealous insecure person ive ever been with, I wish I would have read this when I was with him, then I might have understood better why he was acting the way he was...

Thx :)

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ellacor 6 years ago

Jealousy can take over your life. It can result from a feeling of insecurity.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for your comment acaetnna, I agree!

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acaetnna 6 years ago from Guildford

Great hub stricklydating. I was also interested in reading Cheeky Girl's comments. I too know of women you think they can keep a man by paying him. That type of relationship will never work of course.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for adding more to this topic Cheeky Girl. I have a friend who was also in a similar situation to what you've meantioned - She was insecure in her relationship and basically paying to keep her hot boyfriend around. After much frustration on her part (No matter what she did for him he didn't want to commit) the relationship didn't last. It's always great to read your comments! Best wishes :)

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Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

I have a lady friend who has suddenly found herself a guy after a long time not being able to get guys. She was always fretting over other women having the looks and figure that she admits she does not have. Well, that's her view of it. But this is where it gets interesting.

The guy who is dating her is a free-loader. He lives off her because she has a high income, and is so desperate to "want" the guy in her life, she is willing to pay for him, literally. I can't get her to see sense. But I will not give up on her. Sorry if I am unloading somewhat on your comment section, but my point is - the whole jealousy thing is very subjective sometimes...

We will always have competition. And the younger and more insecure some people are, there more they will be subjected to those feelings of insecurity. I am not claiming I know the antidote to jealousy in a relationship. I don't.

But one time I dated a total nerd, and I had no jealousy issues whatsoever, because no woman would give the guy a second look! LOL! He was fun, and it was a fun relationship.

If you keep the wheels turning and maintain - maybe not romantic relations with guys - but hang out with guys in general, that constant contact thing tends to make those around you realise that you are a woman who enjoys the company of others and are proactive in friendships.

There is always the guy who might switch allegiances of the romantic kind. When I used to date, I made the point of making allegiances with groups of friends and we had a code of behavior where we would not steal each others dates. Mind you, it didn't always work. And there was hell to pay when someone stole someone's date. Heh!

You could always try dating hot guys who are broke - or wealthy guys who are plain dull boring. LOL! They are the worlds easiest men to win. I call it shooting fish in a barrel, myself. Hehehehe!

Note: guys actually are turned on by women that they find are insecure or who have that sense of delicacy or vulnerability. It's only a wee suggestion - Fake that quality and see who you catch in your net. You might be surprised. Cheers!

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Manasidas, good point, thanks for sharing your opinion, best wishes!

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Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

I have often wondered how much "Insecurity" has to do with Jealousy. I feel there is more that could be written about it. I do know people who have expressed feelings about a partner who was in the presence of another person and pangs of jealousy ensued. I have been working on this theory, and its just a wee theory, mind you - that the more insecure we are - the more jealous we will be when a partner is in the presence of another person who might be a potential romantic threat.

This is a great hub, and it really covers a lot, and its great. I wonder what you think of my pet theory, strictlydating? Am I nuts? Heh! Okay, kidding. But anyway - glad to get your view too! Thanks for sharing - a lot of this here makes great sense. Cheers.

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Manasidas 6 years ago from Kolkata

If you think deeply u can also feel that when u are being jealous, u are actually showing your love toward your beloved one. It shows that you cant share him/her with anyone else, your fear for loosing him/her actually shows how much you are involved with him/her, how much you love him/her that you can't think yourself apart from your beloved one. Nice hub, thank you.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for your feedback Rossimobis, much appreciated!

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Rossimobis 6 years ago from Biafra

I read this hub with great enthusiasm and to be honest you got it right with this statement..."You could also find yourself feeling jealous if you catch your partner talking to and being friendly with someone of the opposite sex"

Thanks for sharing this...

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for your comments Bob!

diogenes 6 years ago

Jealousy would seem to be another manifestation of good old "survival of the fittest." Evolution encourages us to fight for what we want and jealousy gives us a resson to do so. "Faint heart don't win fair lady," as the saying goes. Or handsome man, too, although sexual jealousy is usually directed towards the female who can be impregnated with perhaps inferior seed. It's a horrible, dangerous emotion that kills love and should be avoided if possible in a modern world...Bob

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