Getting to the Root of It
Jealousy in relationships is a fear based response. It can sneak into relationships for many reasons, and usually none of those reasons harbor a favorable outcome for your relationship. If you don't know where jealousy comes from, it's harder to stop it in its tracks. Let's go over some of the main reasons why you might start feeling the green monster of jealousy creep up:
A Withdrawn Partner
If you partner is distant, closed off, or shares little to no information with you, this is classified as being “withdrawn.” When you don’t know how they feel or what is going on, it’s easy to make up stories in your mind of the worst case scenario variety. The natural reaction for the partner who is not withdraw, is to start filling in the gaps and try to predict what is going on. When that happens you then become a victim of your own imagination and the panic of the unknown begins to sit in. This is one of the main emotional places where jealousy comes from.
If you have a history of being the victim to cheaters or have always been around unfaithful relationships the mind will remember trauma and can be triggered with similar situations. In this scenario, your partner’s behavior actually has little to nothing to do with your jealousy — you just can’t seem to shake these residual feelings from past experiences. It’s a bit like muscle memory — you mind goes to a bad place almost as a habit.
Your Partner’s History
If your partner has a track record of cheating this can cause your mind to wander when they are not around. In these cases regardless of how much you love your partner, it may be very difficult to keep trust in the relationship.
When the bond isn’t secure because of endless fights or the feeling of disconnect, it can create a fear-like response of jealousy. The less you are connected to your partner, the harder it is to feel confident in the relationship.
Discomfort in Your Own Skin
You get upset when you think your partner is up to no good; you can’t reach them when they are in a meeting, or they don’t answer their phone for an hour or longer. When you aren’t comfortable being in your skin alone, then it can come out in unjustifiable jealousy. You get jealous that your partner pays attention to the dog more than you.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653