Jealousy is a normal, human reaction to experiencing someone else getting attention that we hoped was directed only toward us. Siblings experience jealousy when their mother spends more time with or gives more attention to a brother or sister. Children experience jealousy when one child is singled out in school or a social setting to receive attention the others were hoping for.
Jealousy is a normal part of the human experience. Even knowing that you have no real need to feel jealous can’t stop you from having those feelings. Most people, once they understand that this is a normal, human emotion, are able to control their feelings of jealousy and it affects them only minimally. Others have not figured out how to temper the jealous feelings they have and this can become quite problematic in their love relationships.
How can you tell if your feelings of jealousy are normal or out of balance? Your thoughts and behaviors will give you the best clues. So will honest feedback from people you trust.
Here are some guidelines to determine whether your feelings of jealousy are beyond what is considered normal:
1. You feel a pain that does not go away and grows as you continue to dwell on it. You cannot figure out how to think about it any other way.
2. You may feel as if you are going crazy or think your loved one is lying to you about her/his whereabouts whenever you are apart.
3. You may keep tabs by going through your loved one’s personal items, like a purse, wallet, or cell phone, to check for “evidence” of wrongdoing.
4. You may lash out regularly at your loved one with accusations of infidelity
5. You may call many times a day, hoping to catch your loved one “in the act.”
6. If you call or text and your loved one does not answer right away, you may see this as proof that your fears are true.
7. You may start arguments as soon as you are face to face with your loved one as a result of your feelings of jealousy.
If you see yourself in any of these examples, you are probably feeling pretty badly a lot of the time and your relationship may be in danger. It is very hard to live with a person who experiences this level of jealousy. If you want to save your relationship with the one you love, you need to act quickly to modify your behaviors that stem from the jealous feelings.
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