How to deal with jealousy in marriage

Jealousy in marriage is a natural human emotion that is expressed and experienced more often with your loved ones, especially in a relationship. Everyone experiences jealousy at one point in their lives, but jealousy can move from a healthy emotion to an unhealthy and irrational one. It is okay to be jealous in marriage; to some couples, it gives a sense of reassurance and accountability; to other couples, it means their love is unwavering, and they do not take each other for granted.

Occasional and rational jealousy is healthy, but when it becomes irrational, intense, and overwhelming, it can seriously damage the marriage because this is an unhealthy emotion. The jealous partner becomes all protective and possessive of their other significant other. It sometimes leads to stalking, verbal bullying, financial abuse, physical abuse, anger, resentment, etc. This gradually deteriorates the marriage until it becomes overbearing for the other party, who wants out.

When a healthy relationship experiences jealousy, it comes from a place of protection. The partner sees the external figure as a threat to the marriage and expresses jealousy. For example, seeing your husband chatting daily with that co-worker, it is normal to show an atom of jealousy. Together, both parties can discuss and work on the issue so they can move forward. However, when jealousy becomes irrational and intense, the story changes. The marriage becomes unhealthy, and it gives a warning sign of a potentially abusive relationship.

Envy vs Jealousy

It is crucial to distinguish between envy and jealousy in a relationship. How are they different? Being envious is feeling angry, frustrated, or excluded because someone else has what you don’t. Being jealous is the fear of losing something (or, more commonly, someone) that you already have to a third party.

Envy is about comparing oneself to others and coming up short, but jealousy is about insecurity and feeling threatened.


The jealous partner becomes excessively controlling, stalking the partner’s activities, going through the texts, emails, and call histories of a partner without consent, always questioning a partner’s motives and behaviors because of their insecurities, infringing the partner’s freedom and movement in seeing friends, looking for signs to justify their imaginations that you are cheating on them. These are characteristics of unhealthy jealousy in a partner.

Most times, unhealthy jealousy brews from the fear of abandonment, the fear of not being loved, the fear of being inferior compared to other persons, insecurities, and low self-esteem, and it eventually leads to consequent arguments that further leads to the destruction of the marriage. If you are in this category of jealousy, do not worry. This article will guide you on how to deal with it.

Causes of Jealousy

When faced with a situation that could provoke jealousy, someone who struggles with this emotion may react with fear, anger, grief, worry, sadness, doubt, pain, self-pity, and humiliation. They may also feel suspicious or threatened or suffer from a sense of failure.

Jealousy can arise for a variety of causes, including:

  • Being insecure or having a poor self-image
  • Fearing abandonment and betrayal
  • Feeling strong possessiveness or a desire to control
  • Having a misguided sense of ownership over a spouse.
  • Having unrealistic expectations for relationships in general
  • Maintaining unrealistic expectations of a partner
  • Reliving a painful experience with abandonment in the past
  • Worried about losing someone or something important.


Do you want to be in control of your emotions, but you seem to be failing? You constantly ask yourself, “When will I stop being a controlling partner”? How do I stop being jealous so I don’t ruin my marriage?

Here’s the answer: you can’t.

It is natural to be jealous in a relationship; however, it becomes a problem when it is unhealthy. If you truly love someone, you can’t help but feel jealous when they do some things.

Notwithstanding, you have to be mature enough to know there’s a limit to every emotion. The best you can do is try not to overreact when it happens.

Acknowledge you are jealous

Feelings do not have to be suppressed, especially jealousy. You have to acknowledge the fact that you are jealous and make peace with the situation. Fighting jealousy is not easy in a relationship and will only make you feel uneasy about yourself. There will be people and situations that threaten your relationship, and how you react to it determines a lot. It will make or break your relationship.

Openly talk about the jealousy

Communication is key! In most cases, jealousy is an internal battle, and you need to be candid about how you feel about your partner. So, do some introspection and tell your partner exactly what you do not like. For example, “At the party, I did not enjoy the way that man was talking to you. I felt he was flirting but you did not caution him nor walk away. I was jealous, and it made me uncomfortable”. With this, your partner will make adjustments.

Listen to your partner

After discussing with your partner how you feel jealous, catch your breath and listen to their part of the story. Oftentimes, jealousy results from assumptions and wild imaginations that are, in most cases, not true. So, take a step back and understand your partner’s perspective before venting your thoughts. Listen openly.

Address the root cause

Being jealous consistently can be due to past experiences or low self-esteem. For example, if you haven’t completely worked through past infidelity or you have trust issues, it may manifest in your current relationship and sabotage it. So, for you to identify the root cause, you have to retrospect and introspect regarding the cause of insecurities. After doing this, you can identify and work on what is triggering your jealousy. For instance, am I jealous because my partner spends less time with me? Or am I jealous because I am not good enough and know he will find someone better than me? Ask questions and communicate with your partner.

Create an atmosphere of trust

One of the best ways to build a strong relationship is to trust one another; this means both partners are fully committed, honest, and believe in themselves. When a relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust, jealousy tends to be minimal and healthy because you know your partner won’t lie to you. You become less worried about their whereabouts and who they’re communicating with because there is trust in the marriage. Trustworthy people do not lie and cheat on their spouses.

Talk to a therapist

When your emotions get heightened, you seem to lose control over them. You want to overcome jealousy, but you are struggling to overcome it. You are stuck on your experience, and you believe your partner will leave you or cheat on you. Your self-esteem depletes daily, and you cannot get the thought of your partner defiling the marriage no matter how hard you try. Seek help from an external source. This does not make you weak; rather, it shows how much you value your relationship and do not want unhealthy jealousy to ruin it. An effective therapist will help you deal with jealousy and, furthermore, help you manage your feelings.

Stop comparison

In life, we will always see someone better than us and someone lesser than us. It is left to you to be contented with the way you are. Your partner co-worker might have a better body type than you, but that does not make you any less. Why? Because your partner chose you. He chose to walk down that aisle with you, not his co-worker. You have to stop comparing yourself with every human that crosses paths with your spouse. The comparison cycle is an unending one once you begin it; however, you need to stop this cycle. What matters is that your spouse chose you, and he loves you for who you are.


Chances are, when you have heightened self-esteem, you will be in control of your jealousy. Because you know who you are and where you stand in the marriage. When you feel good about yourself, it takes time to get jealous. Nevertheless, being jealous is innate in humans, but you tend to be in control now. If insecurity and jealousy creep in, you will realize that over time, your confidence and self-esteem will help you overcome it.

Remind yourself that you cannot control your partner

One of the healthiest ways to deal with jealousy is to remind yourself that you cannot control your partner constantly. When jealous, there is this feeling that wants you to constantly keep tabs and monitor every one of your spouse’s movements. Remember that controlling your partner does not give assurance that they will stay with you, and their absence does not mean they are cheating on you with someone else. What is yours is yours. Give yourself a break, and do not control your partner. This might even lead to them leaving you. Encourage self-esteem and self-awareness within yourself.

Believe in your love-ability

Most of the time, feelings of jealousy come from not feeling enough and unworthy of love. This begins to affect your marriage, and you get jealous of the littlest things your spouse does. This, in turn, leads to the deterioration of your marriage. To avoid that, work on enhancing your self-love and self-esteem. You will realize that when you genuinely treasure yourself, your level of jealousy diminishes.

Lay ground rules

Oftentimes, jealousy is caused by the actions of your spouse. If your partner is the instigating party and flirts openly in your presence, then it is a problem. You need to lay ground rules for your partner to understand the effect of their actions on you. Ensure both parties understand the rules and abide by them.

Seek couples therapy

Your intentions and concerns have been made known to your spouse, but there’s no sign of improvement. Everything you stated you do not want/like is exactly what your spouse keeps doing. It is best for both parties to seek couples therapy. This will be of great help to them in navigating through their marriage. A couples therapist can teach them how to be empathetic and understanding. So, in the long run, unhealthy jealousy will not ruin the marriage.

Make a list of your jealousy triggers

Jealousy often comes from a place of insecurity within yourself; brainstorm and make a list of the things that trigger it. For instance, you see your spouse conversing with someone good-looking, and what comes to your mind is how you won’t ever be as good-looking as the person. Then you start feeling jealous. This means that your jealousy was birthed from your insecurity of not being attractive. Write this down in your journal and take notes. As time passes, you begin to work on all the points you’ve listed that trigger jealousy.

Use relaxation methods to manage your emotions

Being in control of your emotions can be achieved by using relaxation techniques. When you notice you are getting jealous, instead of taking the feeling out on your spouse. You can look for other ways to unwind and calm yourself. For instance, meditating, walking, calling a friend or family, watching TV or binge-watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, or listening to soothing music.

Ask for reassurance if you’re worried

Instead of consuming your feelings, speak up and let your partner be aware of your feelings. If their actions affect you indirectly, bring it to their notice and ask for reassurance. Be gentle when explaining to them. Ask for assurance that everything is okay between you. This will encourage understanding in the marriage because both parties are now aware of the feelings and how to circumvent them. For example, hey babe, I noticed how much time you spend on a call with your secretary, and I feel insecure about it. I just need reassurance that nothing is going on between you guys.

Jealousy Can Have Real Consequences

Katie Schubert, PhD, a sex and couples therapist and CEO of Cypress Wellness Center suggests that if jealousy is not dealt with properly, it can have a negative impact on nearly every aspect of a relationship. “Communication, sex, trust, and feelings of partnership will all likely suffer,” she explains.

Unfortunately, couples often misinterpret jealousy for love, even if it is generally healthy and infrequent. However, abnormal jealousy is the opposite of love. Abnormal jealousy wreaks havoc on a relationship, making the jealous person more fearful, angry, and domineering.

Jealousy might eventually develop into resentment and defensiveness. It also erodes trust in a relationship and leads to more arguments, especially when the jealous person makes demands and constantly questions the other person.

Intense emotional experiences can also cause physical symptoms. Jealous people sometimes have bodily symptoms such as trembling, dizziness, depression, and difficulty sleeping.

Schubert also says that sexual intimacy will grow more difficult if jealousy is not managed in a healthy manner. “Sex can be an act of intense vulnerability, and if you’re feeling unsafe in a relationship because of feelings of jealousy, it may be hard to connect with your partner in a vulnerable way,” she says.

How Can I Control Jealousy in My Marriage?

  • Acknowledge you are jealous
  • Address the root cause
  • Challenge irrational thoughts
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Limit comparison, etc.

What Is the Root of Jealousy?

Jealousy can be brewed from many root causes, including low self-esteem, low self-love, past experiences, feeling possessive of your partner, and fear of abandonment, which are also major motivators.

Can Jealousy Ruin a Marriage?

Yes, unhealthy jealousy can ruin a marriage. It becomes overbearing for the partner, and they want to get out of the marriage.

What Can Jealousy Lead To?

Unhealthy jealousy can lead to physical abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, distrust, paranoia, and even divorce.

Why Can’t I Stop Being Jealous?

It may be that something is holding you back from stopping. If you find it difficult to stop jealousy, seek external help. For example, see a therapist.


In conclusion, being jealous in a marriage is normal and healthy, but there’s a limit to it, and it becomes unhealthy. However, you will not want to lose your spouse over jealousy. So, you should learn to manage and control your emotions. Seek external help if needed.

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