5 Signs Your Partner Is Jealous of You, According to Therapists
Keep an eye out for these key indicators in your relationship.
When jealousy rears its ugly head, it can have a tremendous impact on any relationship, including romantic ones. Whether you've felt jealous of your partner or been on the receiving end of these emotions, it's never fun to navigate. However, therapists do say that some feelings of jealousy are normal—we've all felt those pangs at one point—but when they start to control someone's behavior, serious issues can arise.
"Jealousy is a natural emotion that all of us feel from time to time," Courtney M. Hubscher, MS, LMHC, NCC, of GroundWork Counseling, LLC, tells Best Life. "In relationships, it can be especially damaging if not addressed properly. Jealousy often stems from feelings of insecurity and fear of being replaced or losing status within the relationship."
While it's not uncommon for jealousy to interfere with our relationships, it's not the same as envy, at least in the world of psychology.
"Envy, which is related to desiring something another person has, holds a different flavor than jealousy," clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD, tells Best Life. "Jealousy tends to arise as a result of fear related to feeling threatened—a fear that you will lose something you have or desire to have." Jealousy, Manly says, can stem from "unresolved trauma," especially if you've been betrayed or rejected in your past relationships.
Jealousy can manifest in different forms, says Beth Ribarksy, PhD, professor of interpersonal communication at the University of Illinois Springfield. "Person jealousy is when you are jealous of the relationship your partner has with another person, such as the closeness they may have with a friend," she explains. "Time jealousy focuses on your partner devoting time you'd rather have to someone or something else, such as spending an excessive amount of time at work or on a hobby. Finally, opportunity jealousy is when we desire something a partner might have, such as money or an upcoming work trip."
Regardless of the variety plaguing your relationship, there are a few general ways your partner might reveal these feelings. Read on for five signs that your partner may be jealous of you.
They try to undermine the relationship.
Similar to Hubscher, Randi Levin, transitional life strategist and founder of Randi Levin Coaching, notes that jealousy often stems from insecurity—and as a result, your partner might fear that they will lose you to someone else and try to "undermine your relationship."
This can occur, for example, if your partner has a change in their appearance that makes them feel poorly about themselves. As a result, they may start to feel unworthy of a relationship—or of you, in general—and lead them to question why you would want to be their partner.
"It then becomes easy to set in motion a chain of assumptions about why your partner is late for dinner or talking to someone for a long time at a party," Levin says.
They may then accuse you of things and no longer believe what you say—going so far as to accuse you of cheating or being unfaithful, Hubscher cautions.
They downplay your successes.
In a relationship, your significant other should be building you up, not tearing you down. According to Ribarsky, if your partner isn't making you feel good about things you've achieved, you need to address it.
"A good relational partner will support your successes and be your biggest cheerleader," she says. "When they downplay your success, it may be a passive-aggressive way of displaying they're jealous of your achievements. Acknowledging a success they're jealous of may only make that achievement seem even more unachievable for themselves."
Ribarsky recommends communicating openly with your partner about their jealous feelings, or seeking counseling if one or both of you "struggle with these emotions."
However, she also notes that it's not you're fault if your partner isn't celebrating you. "It is vital to note that a partner doesn't make us jealous—rather we are responsible for our own jealous feelings," Ribarsky says.
They make different or disingenuous comments about you.
On a similar note, if your partner is still saying kind things, but they feel underhanded, they might be letting you know that they're jealous.
"Although they may say all the right things, the compliments may actually feel over the top, insincere, and sarcastic," Ribarsky says.
Candace Kotkin-De Carvalho, LSW, LCADC, CCS, CCT, clinical director at Absolute Awakenings, mentions this as well, noting that these comments might actually take a crueler turn. If your partner is jealous, they might "make disparaging comments about your successes and achievements," she tells Best Life, or show "a lack of enthusiasm for things that are important to you."
They disrespect boundaries.
If your partner isn't respecting the clear boundaries that you've set in your relationship, it could be another indicator that they're feeling jealous or threatened.
Levin explains that your partner may do things like "follow you or read your texts and emails looking for potential clues to support their assumptions about you."
They could also break boundaries by trying to control you, Kotkin-De Carvalho says, which they may see as "an attempt to keep the relationship 'safe' from outside influences." They may want to have the final say in what you do and who you spend your time with, she adds, effectively limiting your access and opportunities.
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They're bothered by little things.
Another clear sign of jealousy is if your partner is all of a sudden angry or annoyed by things that never used to bother them, Hubscher says. Perhaps they were never irritated by your little quirks—maybe you're always forgetting to put the cap back on the toothpaste—but you should take note if they're now lashing out as a result.