Understanding Jealousy

Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses many different kinds of feelings that range from fear of abandonment to rage to humiliation. Jealousy can strike both men and women when they perceive a third-party threat to a valued relationship, it can be a problem among siblings competing for parental attention, or envy for a wealthier more successful friend. Conventional wisdom holds that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds. But jealously usually does more harm than good to relationships, and can create relationship conflict and violence.

Recent Posts on Jealousy

Abuse That’s Hard to Recognize: Coercive Control

By Lisa Fontes Ph.D. on August 26, 2015 in Invisible Chains
Recognize abusive control in relationships

When the Pay to Win Button Backfires in Video Games

By Jamie Madigan Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Mind Games
How do players react and what social comparisons do they make when others pay real money for in-game advantages?

Why Do You Try To Make Your Partner Jealous?

By Sean M. Horan Ph.D. on August 17, 2015 in Adventures in Dating
Feeling jealousy is complicated...perhaps more complex is our motivation to make others jealous. Why might one do this? A new study reveals some factors explaining this process.

Make Envy Your Friend—and Keep Your Friends

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 17, 2015 in Open Gently
Envy is normal but dangerous if it combines with anger.

3 Ways to Turn Jealousy Into Motivation and Self-Acceptance

By Susan Harrow on August 16, 2015 in The Body Blog
For some people — including me — studying Aikido (The Japanese Martial Art, called The Way of Harmony that works as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold) is a slow, awkward, and arduous process.

The Archeology of Misbehavior

Archeology is the study of human activity in the past. The archeology of misbehavior is studying current behavior to uncover hidden sources. The “ruins” of misdeeds are built upon personality architecture and cultural landscapes.

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 10

By Eyal Winter on July 25, 2015 in Feeling Smart
On Sex, Procreation and Sperm Compitition: How do Human Beings Differ from Animals.

Managing Pregnancy Jealousy During Infertility

Feeling jealous of another woman’s pregnancy is common and normal when you are experiencing infertility. Instead of feeling guilty, try these 6 ways to give yourself a break.

Sexually Open Marraige

By Frances Cohen Praver Ph.D. on July 19, 2015 in Love Doc
“I’m not feeling well. I can’t get going.” Sharon said softly. I remarked, “You seem sad.” Her voice picked up as she said “I am but I don’t understand it. My life is great. I’m married to this wonderful man, have an adorable six year old daughter, a lovely home, and a satisfying career.”

Sex and the Single Borderline Woman

The Buddha and the Borderline is a cross between "Girl, Interrupted" and "Bridget Jones’s Diary." She is much more than a ‘lonely and increasingly horny receptionist,’ as she says in the book. Her insights into the world of the borderline mind are as funny as they are revealing.

How Jealousy Can Change You (and Why That Might Be OK)

By Erica B Slotter Ph.D. on July 13, 2015 in Me, You, & Us
We all get jealous in our relationships from time to time. Ever considered how this influences how you see yourself and how you act?

My Daughter Paid Her Boyfriend To Be With Her

What To Do When Someone You Love Is In A Dreadful Relationship

7 Reasons Why We Envy Our Friends (and Vice Versa)

By Seth Meyers Psy.D. on July 08, 2015 in Insight Is 20/20
Envy is an ugly—but totally human—cluster of feelings. When it strikes a friendship, the friendship can seriously suffer. Beware these seven common triggers.

The Diseased States of America

By Stanton Peele on June 23, 2015 in Addiction in Society
If addictions are life-long diseases, we're all doomed.

“Two-ness:” the Mind’s Binary Code

The earliest roots of what is recognized as “envy” in later life emerge from the normal sense of “two-ness.” In Envy Theory, this "two-ness" is the mind's innate binary code: envy’s mode of operating. Modulating “two-ness” early in life decreases emotional dysregulation. From the healthy maturation of envy, admiration, emulation, gratitude, and empathy are born.

5 Tips for Dealing With the Sister-in-Law From Hell

By Deborah King on June 18, 2015 in Mining the Headlines
Jealousy is such a destructive emotion. What can you do when you are the recipient of someone else's envy?

The Envy of the Collective

Our fear of standing out from the norm is often our fear of the envy of the collective. "What will the neighbors think?" is often another way of saying "I don't want to stand out because I'm afraid I'll be struck down by someone else's envy."

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 4

By Eyal Winter on May 30, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Jealousy, cheating and evolution

How Facebook Affects Our Relationships

Facebook has influenced the way couples interact with and feel about each other and their relationships. But, you may wonder if that change is for better or worse. So let’s examine the ups and downs of having a relationship in the age of Facebook.

Play, Primates, Jealousy, Work, and Losing Deliberately

By Peter Toohey on May 27, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
Gorillas like to play games and when they do, they sometimes lose deliberately. Why? “Self-handicapping” encourages their playmate to keep on with the game. Jealousy can be very like play—there are triangles, winners and losers, and feelings run high. This is very true of workplace jealousy. Does self-handicapping have a role to play in mitigating workplace jealousy?

#rednoseday: Mental Health Is Social Equity!

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on May 20, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Thursday, May 21 is the first Red Nose Day in the U.S. Here are some thoughts on what emotional problems are worsened with socio-economic inequity and why.

Can Snapchat Cause Jealousy?

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on May 18, 2015 in Love, Digitally
Snapchat used for sexting. Participants used Snapchat more for flirting.

How to Cope With the Envy of Others

By Sheila Kohler on May 15, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
My mother was one of four children, three girls and a boy. They came from a modest home. She was the only one of the three girls to marry a wealthy man, twenty years older than she. He lived in a splendid house with fourteen acres of garden, a pool, tennis court, and even a nine hole golf course all kept up by an army of servants.

Do You Know What Makes Your Partner Jealous?

You know you've done it - peeped at your significant other's open Facebook messenger - who hasn't ? What happens when what you see makes you jealous? Do you confront them? Do you cyberstalk the person who sent the message? Would an emoticon included in the message make you respond differently? Do women and men react differently? Recent answers to these questions and more!

What We Now Know About Jealousy in Relationships

An extreme form of jealousy, possessiveness is the desire to put a wall around your partner to ensure you have exclusive access. Take a quiz to find how possessive you are, and what this might say about you and your relationship.

Our Fear of the Envy of Others

Our fear of being envied by others can stifle us in our development and creative expression. Sometimes this envy comes from those we think should love us the most.

The Real Reason Some Women Put Themselves Down

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Good Thinking
Women usually respond to compliments by putting themselves down. Research shows that the reason for this is not low self-esteem or self-hatred. Instead, it is something far more subtle, strategic...and powerful.

I'm Having An Impossible Time With A Break-Up

Breaking Up in The Age of Social Media

How Attachment Styles Impact Attitudes Toward Infidelity

Why do people respond differently to sexual versus emotional infidelity? People's attachment style may be a crucial factor.

3 Ways to Transform Jealousy into Personal Growth

Simply put, jealousy is motivated by fear. When fear is driving your behaviors, it is essential to tune into the cognitive components that accompany the fear to help you break it down and make it containable.