Stories of jealousy range from the mild – a competitive comment from spouse to spouse about an attractive coworker – to the extreme – a stalker-like attempt to control a partner’s every move. While some jealousy may be a natural or instinctive reaction to the threat of losing a loved one, when jealousy takes over or appears in non-threatening circumstances, it can have a very destructive influence on a relationship.
One of the most harmful effects of jealousy is that it can lead a couple to limit eachother’s independence. When this occurs, people can lose the individuality and strength that once attracted the very partners who are now limiting them in these ways. The result is not only that the person who feels limited will also feel less attraction to his or her partner, but that the person acting jealous may actually resent the ways in which their partner has changed.
When people feel jealous, it is important to look at themselves. Why are they reacting this way? Are they actually being threatened in reality or are they just feeling threatened emotionally? What critical thoughts are they experiencing toward their partners and what critical thoughts are they having toward them selves as a result of these perceived threats to their relationships?
By exploring feelings of jealousy and understanding why people react (or overreact) to the things they do, we can learn more about ourselves and limit behaviors that our destructive to our partners… and ultimately ourselves.