Jealousy in Relationships: Is It Healthy or Not?

Lorraine Villorejo
4 min readSep 3, 2023
couple showing affection on city street
Photo Khoa Võ by on Pexels

Jealousy, is it a sign of love or a cause for concern?

Most couples experience jealousy at some point. It’s a complex emotion that often arises from insecurity or anxiety and involves feelings of inadequacy or fear of losing someone.

Occasionally, a little jealousy can spark the flame of love in a relationship. However, when it gets out of hand, it has the potential to destroy the relationship.

But the big question remains, Is jealousy in relationships healthy or not?

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years: the answer is both yes and no.

The Healthy Side of Jealousy

In small doses, jealousy acts as a wake-up call, pushing partners to value each other more. It stirs up emotions, counters complacency, and motivates couples to make necessary changes.

Yes, jealousy can be healthy. But only under specific conditions.

Yes, if it is expressed well.

Couples may open up to each other about jealousy in a calm and composed way. The couple can use it as a basis for understanding each other’s insecurities and expectations.

Open and honest communication is fundamental to any relationship. This rule applies even when discussing feelings of jealousy. It helps couples combat misunderstandings due to bottled-up feelings.

Yes, if it is communicated effectively.

Effective communication is different from mere expression.

Couples can’t just plainly say to each other that they’re jealous and leave it at that if they want to communicate. The jealous partner has to make the other understand why they’re feeling jealous and where their emotions are coming from without blaming their partner.

This way couples would be able to understand each other and assess how and at what point to start resolving feelings and avoid further conflicts.

Yes, if it is understood.

Every person who has had to deal with a jealous partner has learned not to dismiss the green-eyed monster.

Understanding your partner’s jealous episodes requires empathy. You don’t want to blame them for it if understanding is the goal. Your nonjudgmental acceptance of their feelings can make your jealous partner feel loved, respected, and assured.

But you must both be ready to acknowledge and understand the feelings. Keep in mind that you’re both a work in progress and teamwork is needed in resolving this issue.

The Unhealthy Side of Jealousy

On the flip side, excessive jealousy is like a slow-acting poison.

It breeds mistrust, fuels conflicts, and creates an atmosphere of negativity. At its worst, jealousy can lead to controlling behavior and emotional or physical abuse.

A jealous partner may demand the other to limit their social interactions, act mistrustful without valid reason, and even display unprovoked aggression.

Is this kind of jealousy still healthy?

No, if it is not acknowledged.

Couples need to prioritize sympathizing with each other. You don’t need to feel what your partner is feeling, you just need to be able to appreciate it. Those feelings include jealousy.

Ignoring your partner’s jealous feelings can be detrimental. It may lead to resentment and create toxicity within the relationship.

There would be a point where, if jealousy is continuously ignored, you’d both be left with no choice but to break up. It’s equally important to acknowledge and validate jealousy, which is the first step towards resolving it.

No, if it is suppressed.

Suppression of feelings, especially those related to jealousy, can breed tumultuous emotional turmoil.

If not addressed, these feelings can develop into destructive behaviors, including passive-aggressiveness, withdrawal, and even revenge.

No, if it is expressed as an accusation.

Have you ever had to argue with your partner about jealousy? Maybe you’ve seen those couples who fight in public, and it’s usually over a third party.

Accusing your partner without evidence or unfairly blaming them for your feelings of jealousy can lead to conflict and loss of trust.

I mean, how awful would it be to be accused of something you haven’t done? Would you stay with someone like that?

Like a double-edged sword, jealousy in relationships can be both healthy and unhealthy depending on how it’s handled. Not letting your emotions rule your head can help save you from a destructive relationship.

Understanding, acknowledging, and taking a mature approach to communicating jealous feelings can help couples manage it.