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Dealing with jealousy

Jealousy is a normal emotion, but it can be painful and difficult to control.

Jealousy happens most often within relationships. It can often occur between:

  • romantic relationships
  • siblings
  • family members
  • friends
  • work colleagues

Extreme jealousy can destroy relationships and damage your health.

Signs of jealousy

If you are jealous, you feel that someone or something is threatening something you value. Or you may envy something someone else has such as:

  • a relationship with someone
  • material goods - car, house
  • their emotional state - jealous of their happiness

Jealousy can make you feel angry, anxious and threatened. You might become oversensitive and possessive.

How jealousy can be harmful

Your health

Jealousy can take over your life and lead to sleep problems and a poor appetite.

Intense feelings of jealousy can have similar effects to chronic anxiety, including:

  • a raised heart rate
  • sweating
  • exhaustion
  • preoccupied thoughts

Your relationship

Jealousy can affect your relationship in a negative way. For example, when your partner isn't actually doing anything to justify the jealousy.

The most devoted partner can feel hurt, exhausted, anxious and angry if they're not trusted.

When jealousy is a problem

If you're concerned about your jealousy, ask yourself three questions:

  • Is this feeling interfering with my normal life?
  • Is my jealousy hurting someone I love?
  • Does my jealousy control me more than I control it?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, consider talking to a counsellor or a therapist.

How to deal with jealousy

There are some practical and positive things you can do to overcome your jealousy.

Talk to your partner

Tell them about your feelings without blaming them. Let them know what makes you feel worried and jealous.

Prepare what you want to say and talk to your partner in a non-threatening and neutral place. For example, arrange to meet in a café or restaurant. You'll be more likely to stay calm.

Don't let personal feelings or opinions get in the way

If you feel there is a threat, it doesn't mean that it's genuine. Try not to let your own feelings or opinions get in the way of the facts.

Accept some uncertainty

Uncertainty is part of relationships. You can't control someone else's feelings.

How a counsellor or therapist can help

A counsellor can help you to resolve your feelings of jealousy. They will help you look at the cause of your jealousy and deal with it on a day-to-day basis.

Related topic

Talking therapies

page last reviewed: 18/10/2018
next review due: 18/10/2021

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