Q. My girlfriend says my jealousy is ruining our relationship. What’s your view about what counts as “jealousy” vs being legitimately watchful?
A.I’ll respond generally by providing six common signs of jealousy derailing a relationship.
i) Possessiveness: Showing the world that your girlfriend is yours is one thing, but thinking about her as more of a possession than a person is where this behavior enters dangerous waters. When you seek to “own” your girlfriend—even subconsciously—it will eventually cause her to rebel against you. This behavior typically shows up with the frequent need to know what your girlfriend is doing, where she is, or who she is with. Micromanaging your girlfriend like this is bad news and will only serve to push her away.
ii) Insecurity: In order to truly love someone else, you must first love yourself. Believing that you’re not worthy of love or that you’re not worthy of a relationship opens the door for insecurity to take root and can cause extreme jealousy issues. If you find yourself putting yourself down or constantly feeling like other people are better than you in one way or another, it’s a sign that jealousy is starting to creep in.
iii) Always Watchful: Keeping one eye open for signs that your girlfriend is cheating on you is actually a sign that jealousy is taking over your relationship. While infidelity does happen, there’s a deep seated issue within your relationship if you’re expecting it.
iv) “What-If:” If you’ve started to imagine scenarios that haven’t happened, such as your girlfriend breaking up with you or leaving you for someone else, chances are good that you’ve been bitten by the jealousy bug. When jealousy manifests itself like this, it can cause you to treat your girlfriend as though these things have actually happened, even though they haven’t. She will be confused as to why you are acting as though she has done something wrong, and you’ll be harboring negative feelings over a situation that doesn’t even really exist.
v) Space: When jealousy begins destroying your relationship, your girlfriend will slowly but surely find reasons to not be around you or excuses to not see you. If she isn’t returning your calls or asking to spend time with you, she could be putting space between the two of you because your jealousy is hard to handle.
Failure to get your jealousy in check can lead to the total demise of your relationship. If you truly care about your girlfriend, consider seeking help in dealing with your jealousy issues before it’s too late. A healthy relationship isn’t a jealous one but is, instead, much more fulfilling for both of you.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.