Sure, slipping on a wedding band may give you a newfound sense of security, but it doesn’t always change everything in your relationship for the better. In fact, for many women, that walk down the aisle doesn’t do a thing to quell the jealousy that’s been a constant issue since the two of you began dating. And let’s be clear: Too much jealousy is super insidious on a marriage. In fact, according to research conducted at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, anxious relationship jealousy is significantly correlated with lower overall relationship satisfaction.
But don’t worry: before you and your spouse get into it over some perceived slight, get acquainted with these 25 silly things that make you an overly jealous wife—and before long you’ll realize that it’s totally no biggie when he likes another person’s Instagram photo. And for more amazing relationship advice, check out these 40 Old-Fashioned Relationship Tips That Still Apply Today.
Guarding their phone.
It’s 2018, and the phone is essentially part of his hand—it’s an extension of his life, which includes the good (his work, his communications with you, his photos of children), the bad (his video games), and the ugly (his Instagram account, which includes bikini models). But remember: just because he’s a bit guarded with his phone and doesn’t want you looking over his shoulder as he killing time doesn’t mean he’s carrying on a torrid affair with someone.
In fact, your SO may just not want you to go snooping in case you find a record of that birthday surprise party they’ve been planning all year! And if you find yourself glued to your phone, don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Just check out the 11 Easy Ways to Curb Your Smartphone Addiction.
Celebrating their successes with their friends, not you.
Just like you might not want your spouse to turn immediately to someone else with their problems, celebrating their successes with their friends instead of you can feel just as bad. And in some cases, simply achieving those successes can be a trigger for jealousy.
“Just about anything your partner is good at can be a source of jealous if you are insecure about yourself or not feeling fulfilled in life. A person who is happy internally can celebrate their partner’s success instead of feel in competition,” says certified Imago relationship therapist Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC, co-founder of the Marriage Restoration Project.
Taking on a sudden interest in fitness.
Exercise prolongs your life, makes you look better, and can even excuse that occasional cheeseburger. That said, knowing that your spouse is not only getting hotter, but also has plenty of ripped gym bodies by their side while they do it, can turn any wife into someone unrecognizably insecure.
However, there’s an upside: research published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine reveals that working out can boost arousal in women taking potentially libido-suppressing antidepressants, so instead of stewing at home, consider hitting the gym, too. And when you want to transform your own body, check out these 30 Workouts That Burn More Than 500 Calories an Hour.
Liking other people’s Instagram photos.
It’s not as though your spouse liking a photo of Rihanna in a bathing suit means they’re going to fall madly in love, but it’s not exactly like you can suppress those feelings of jealousy when it happens, either. If you’re feeling a surge a jealousy when this happens, first take a few deep breaths and ask yourself where these feeling are coming from.
Is it him, or is it your own insecurities bubbling up? When in doubt, follow the “rubber band technique,” courtesy of the folks at YourTango.com. To do so, simply wrap a rubber band around your wrist and, when you feel yourself starting to boil with jealousy, snap the band to “snap” yourself out of that feeling.
And if you’re finding your own social media choices to be a little questionable, make sure you know these 20 Social Media Habits That Are Technically Cheating.
Talking to a friend about their feelings first.
You love being a sounding board for your spouse’s opinions and being the first person they come to when they’re feeling blue. But when someone else shoulders the latter role in lieu of you, it can sting more than a little bit. If you feel this way, you’re not alone: in fact, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that emotional infidelity was a greater trigger for women than physical infidelity.
Needing “guy time.”
Everyone needs time with their friends, your spouse included. Study after study has linked strong mental health with strong male friendships, and, in the modern era, male friendships have actually been shrinking. So, if your Damon needs to be with his Affleck, it’s best to resist viewing him as competition. Instead, try to take advantage of that time to see your own friends—or accomplish something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
Working late at the office.
You’ve met your spouse’s co-workers: they’re nice, normal people with significant others and lives outside the workplace. That said, when your significant other is burning the midnight oil in the office, you can’t help but imagine that Janet from accounting is practically a Victoria’s Secret model just waiting to rip their clothes off. When those waves of jealousy wash over you, just remember: they’re just as eager to leave the office (and any memory of the workday, including your spouse) as soon as they can clock out, just like your significant other.
And if your career is encroaching on your relationship time, make sure to check out The 50 Top Secrets of a Perfect Work-Life Balance.
Being overly friendly to wait staff.
There are many people in the world who think you can tell what a person is like by how they treat people in service positions. And while you might be horrified if your spouse ever skimped on a tip or spoke snappily to a member of a restaurant’s wait staff, you can’t exactly claim you’re anything less than jealous when they strike up a conversation like they’re old friends.
However, if you want to keep your relationship on an even keel, this is one behavior you might want to let slide. According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, women typically tip attractive female wait staff more generously than less attractive ones, so it’s not like your significant other is alone in this jealousy-inducing behavior.
Not texting back.
There are countless reasons your spouse might not be texting you back: they’re stuck in a meeting, they’re in traffic, or their phone died—just to name a few. In your head, however, that lack of communication can only mean one thing: they’re getting uncomfortably close with someone else.
And while your partner’s unlikely to be outright ignoring you, there is something to be said for getting to decide when you’re on the clock for communication and when you’re not—in fact, a study conducted at American University found that one of the things study participants liked most about their phone was the sense of control they provided. And for more ways to improve your romance, whether from nearby or afar, discover these 30 Ways to Have a Happy Long-Distance Relationship.
Having adventures without you.
Sure, you didn’t learn to surf and the idea of snowboarding doesn’t sound like a good time to you. That said, when your spouse goes away on those adventures without you, you still feel more than a little jealous about it. However, if you want to look on the bright side of things, consider this: research published in the Journal of Consumer Research reveals that people generally overestimate how much doing things with a partner will improve their enjoyment of an activity, so instead of getting jealous, try venturing out on your own, as well.
Watching a TV series you wanted to see.
The world’s greatest betrayal, according to many wives? The sneaky binge-watch. Your significant other may not have done it to spite you—in fact, they may not have even known you wanted to watch that show to begin with—but doing it without you (or worse, with someone else) can trigger a seriously surprising emotional response.
However, considering that studies have linked binge-watching to feelings of depression and loneliness, it might be worthwhile to find a better bonding activity for the two of you to share.
Constantly texting someone else.
Even if the recipient of those texts is his mom, your dog walker, or a bot helping him register to vote, the fact that you’re not always the star when it comes to your spouse’s affection can prompt a shocking amount of jealousy.
When you feel that sting of jealousy beginning to burn you up inside, try remembering all the people you text every day without any ill intent, and perhaps suggest your spouse sends you a few messages while they’re at it: according to research conducted at Brigham Young University, affectionate texts between partners actually increased a couple’s romantic attachment to one another.
Having activities you’re specifically not invited to.
Having interests your spouse isn’t involved in isn’t just a nice break, it’s healthy. That said, when it’s clear your SO really doesn’t want those trips to the rock climbing gym to become a couple’s activity, your jealousy might just get the best of you.
But just because you’re not at the top of his or her roster when it comes to joining a kickball team or playing Fortnite doesn’t mean you’re not wanted. After all, think of all the things you wouldn’t like your spouse to join you in—does the idea of your spouse tagging along to your barre class or a waxing really sound like great bonding time to you?
Checking out other people.
While openly ogling someone else is hardly a welcome habit, sometimes all it takes is your spouse looking in the direction of someone attractive to make you seethe with jealousy. However, regardless of your spouse’s intentions, it’s probably best to nip this habit in the bud before it becomes a more serious point of contention.
This can “not only can cause jealousy, but can lead to deeper insecurities by their partner causing turmoil and negativity in the relationship as a whole,” says Dr. Kulaga.
Splurging on a new wardrobe.
Do you want your spouse to look good? Of course! Do you want your spouse to get that urge out of nowhere many years into your relationship and seemingly apropos of nothing? Not unless you love feeling jealous.
That said, when you start to feel a little tinge of jealousy when your spouse starts spiffing up their look, remember this: there’s a litany of evidence suggesting that when women dress up, they do it to gain the attention of other women, not men, so it might be worth your while to assume your spouse is doing the same.
Giving other people compliments.
Occasionally, complimenting friends and coworkers is a good way to make those relationships a bit happier or closer. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for that habit’s effect on your marriage.
When you’re feeling down in the dumps about your spouse’s seeming ability to dole out praise without a second thought, consider it a motivational tactic. Research published in PLOS One reveals that compliments can improve a person’s task-based performance, so if your spouse is complimenting a waiter or waitress or singing the praises of a co-worker, it could just be their way of getting things done in a more effective manner. And when you want your spouse to send some of that sweet talk in your direction, have them start with these 20 Compliments Women Can’t Resist.
Constantly talking about a specific friend of yours.
It’s always nice when your significant other gets along with your friends. However, when they start singling out a specific friend who’s “so great” and whom you should “invite to everything,” it’s understandable if you get a little jealous. When you find yourself feeling this way, try to dig deep and remember that including your friends in activities is something your spouse is likely doing predominantly for your benefit, not as some sneaky way to get close to that high school friend of yours they couldn’t have cared less about a month ago.
Having a predominantly friend group.
Having a male spouse with no female friends can be a major red flag to many women. That said, if his group of friends seems to be entirely women he adores and confides in, that can make even the most otherwise-secure wife feel jealous.
The good news? Even if your spouse is secretly attracted to someone in his friend group, it’s not likely the feeling is mutual. According to research published in Evolutionary Psychological Science, while many men consider female friends people they’re attracted to with whom they manage to maintain relationships, most women don’t feel the same romantic desire in response.
Talking constantly about a new friend.
You love that your spouse doesn’t solely rely on you to meet their emotional needs—until they’re talking incessantly about some amazing new friend, that is. Even if you’re pretty even-keeled in other aspects of your relationship, hearing your significant other talk about someone else like they hung the moon can spur some serious jealousy.
But remember: having close friendships outside of your romantic relationship can help take some of the pressure off of you to be your spouse’s sole confidante, lightening your load in terms of the emotional labor you put forth in your relationship.
Not wearing things you got them.
Silly though it may seem, if those gifts you got your significant other are languishing at the back of their closet, you might find yourself trying hard to suppress your inexplicable jealousy.
They may just be items, but to you, the seeming lack of appreciation for them can feel like a very personal dig. If you’re feeling this way, try to step back from the situation and consider it from a more objective standpoint: wouldn’t you prefer your spouse wore things they felt good in, regardless of where their provenance, than dress up just to suit you?
Keeping mementos from a past relationship.
Not everyone has taken Marie Kondo’s message to heart. Unfortunately, if this is the case with your spouse—especially if it means they have kept every card, movie stub, and birthday present from a previous relationship—you might just find yourself feeling virtually overwhelmed with jealousy over it.
If you’re feeling threatened by those mementos, think of them like you would photos of friends with whom they’d had a falling out—it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s any relationship there to salvage. And, after all, getting rid of the items won’t actually change what transpired, but it’s a good way to make your spouse resent you.
Sometimes, even the most supportive couples don’t feel like spilling every detail about what they’re up to or where they’ve been during a day. And even if you know this probably doesn’t mean something terrible is going on behind your back, when he or she responds “nothing” when you ask them what they did all day, you might find yourself feeling a little jealous.
Of course, while this behavior may be maddening, just remember that there are plenty of times you don’t feel like pouring your heart out, either. Give your spouse a little space and they’re sure to come around when they’re ready to talk about it.
Getting into a new fandom without you.
You’ve always been a Star Wars kind of gal, and your spouse has too. But suddenly, your significant other is talking about Star Trek like they’re the greatest thing they’ve ever seen?
Like it or not, you might find yourself feeling more than a little jealous. However, according to practitioners at the Gottman Institute (as relayed to Revelist), couples only really need to have two things in common to keep that flame alive: finding shared meaning in your connection and having an interest in their interests—even if the specifics of those passions don’t appeal to you personally.
Some people simply aren’t great when it comes to remembering important details. And while you may already know this about your spouse, feeling like they have other things they’d rather be doing than spend time with you—especially if that means spending quality time with other people—can make that green-eyed monster rear its ugly head.
While stewing over the occasional forgetfulness may be silly, if you want to nip this problem in the bud once and for all, try creating a shared calendar both of you can add events to. If your spouse can check their email or phone’s calendar, they’ll have a written record of where they’re supposed to be and when, and, more importantly, no excuse not to show up.
Talking about celebrities.
It’s not exactly like you think your husband is going to leave you for A-Rod, nor do you genuinely believe that their belief that Tom Hardy is “the coolest person in the world” actually diminishes their feelings about you.
That said, even if you know there’s no sexual attraction involved, hearing your spouse fawn all over a celeb can make even the most level-headed individuals feel surprisingly jealous. When it feels like you’re playing second fiddle, admiration-wise, to a bunch of celebrities you’ll never be like, just remember that having an NSYNC poster on your wall as a kid didn’t actually mean you were comparing your high school boyfriend to Justin Timberlake every time the two of you hung out.
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