Is Jealousy Excusable If You Love Someone, Or Is It A Red Flag?

Contributor: Louis Costello

Alright amigos, time to clear up a few bits and bobs regarding jealousy and its negative impact on our relationships. This includes some common scenarios and advice to deal with them, so stay tuned.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, chances are either your partner or yourself has experienced the stinging pang of jealousy – it feels shitty and you probably would prefer to walk across a pile of broken glass than be jelly of your partner.

What we should point out though is that if you’ve experienced jealousy in a relationship, that jealousy isn’t symbolic of your love for your partner. You can care deeply about your beau without being jealous and, if you’re feeling like the emotion is rearing its uggo head, there are appropriate steps to take to address your feelings in a healthy way. Self-care and self-awareness is key, y’all.

jealous jelly GIF

We have to be careful about what we believe is an act of love, otherwise we start to do negative things and think negative thoughts under the pretence that we’re doing it because we care. This is where it can get a bit dicey.

If you do have that urge to act in a negative way, ask yourself why – do you not trust them? Do you not trust yourself? Are you insecure about where you’re at in the relationship?

Once you’ve figured out what’s driving your actions and why it is you’re feeling jealous, it’ll be easier to move forward. Progress, ppl.

Quick side note: Don’t beat yourself up too much about feeling jealous, we can’t control all of our emotions but we can take charge of how we handle them. It’s also important that we take responsibility for our own feelings and don’t use our feelings as an excuse (or blame other people for them).

If you do happen to be the jealous type or you fear you could become the jealous type, here are a couple of warning signs and tips to keep it in check and keep yourself (and your relationship) healthy.

Scenario #1 – Phone Usage

You and your partner are both sitting on the couch, trying as hard as you can to pretend to like Netflix‘s new documentary, Wild Wild Country because everyone tells you it’s the most revolutionary documentary since Blackfish – but you’re low-key bored as hell. That’s when you start to notice your partner playing on their phone and thoughts begin to slip into your head:

“Who are they texting? Should I ask them? They’re probably just browsing Insta. What if they’re not, though?” 

The jealousy aspect: The obvious sign here is the desire to invade your partner’s privacy to make yourself feel better and/or less paranoid. As it’s 2018 and we’re all obsessed with our phones all the damn time (the number of times I’ve walked into a pole because I’ve been staring at my phone is genuinely alarming), it’s not uncommon for us to be texting/living half our lives through our screens – so, your partner playing on their phone like an average human shouldn’t really be a big deal.

What it looks like to give a shit: Even with my partner and my friends, I find myself going, “Oohh, who ya texting?” not out of jealousy but just genuine curiosity about their life. We have a pretty open and honest relationship so there’s no reason for any of us to lie about who we’re messaging – of course, if they don’t want to tell me, that’s 100% their choice. No point pressing the situation.

There’s a fine line between showing interest in your partner’s life and asking questions because you’re insecure or lack trust. Pinpoint which one’s driving your behaviour and go from there. Again, I ask my friends questions about their life because I have a harmless interest in what they’re up to. If the motivation ever changed to that of a jealous nature, I’d have to ask myself why.

If you’re still feeling that nagging feeling, speak to whoever you feel comfortable talking to about why you might be feeling this way and how to handle it. Better yet, talk to your partner about it (but emphasise that it’s nothing they themselves have done to make you feel this way).

Scenario #2 – Different Interests

You’re a bit of a homebody. Your idea of a good time is to stay home on the weekend and order UberEATS so you don’t have to put pants on or leave the house for any reason whatsoever. Perfect. Why not? You do you, boo. Your partner, on the other hand, is one of those party folk: clubs, bangers, bevs, the works. Again, perfect. Why not? Each to their own.

However, you’re starting to get jealous and slightly annoyed that your partner constantly wants to spend time out with their friends and you want to stay home. You think to yourself, “Can’t they just spend a couple of nights in with me?” 

The jealousy aspect: If you begin to take issue with their social life and it’s bugging you, that’s 100% jealousy. The option is always there to go out with them once in a while so you feel more involved in their hobbies and interests, so there’s no point sitting at home and stressing about it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, pal.

What it looks like to give a shit: It’s natural to want to spend as much time as possible with your partner. Who doesn’t? They’re your one and only and life’s short. It’s tricky if you both have different interests because often one of you has to make the compromise, but let your partner know that you’re feeling a bit bummed because you just want to hang out with them more. At least that way, you’ve told them how you feel and no one’s gonna sit around stewing on their thoughts until it gets even worse.

growing season 3 GIF by Saving Throw Show

Scenario #3 – Old Exes

You’ve met all of your partner’s friends and they’re all stand-up pals. Can’t fault ’em. Before you met them, your partner let you know that years ago, they had a minor fling with one of their mutual friends. They never dated, it was a one-off that never turned into anything romantic.

After meeting everyone, including the person your partner had a fling with, you know that the friends are great but you weren’t too happy when you saw your partner talking to their sorta-ex (despite having remained close friends for years before you came into the picture).

The jealousy aspect: Becoming annoyed or jealous over something as innocent as a conversation between two friends is not ideal and you have to figure out a way to overcome this for the sake of your relationship. Becoming vexed over a hypothetical situation never ends well and you risk getting in your own head more than you need to be.

What it looks like to give a shit: While it’s tricky to not feel a pang of jealousy at the thought of your current partner sleeping with someone else, there’s definitely a healthy way to address your emotions without directly interfering with your partner’s friendships. Talk about it with your partner, get it out of the way and move on. If you can’t, there may be a deeper problem to address.

kissing cat lady GIF by HelloGiggles

There are literally hundreds of these scenarios and they all have a very similar outcome: if you don’t trust ya boo or they don’t trust you, problems will arise and it will almost certainly show signs of an unhealthy relationship.

Jealousy stems from insecurities, a lack of trust and miscommunication and it causes you to behave in a negative way that can make your partner feel unloved. Love, on the other hand, makes you want to treat your partner like royalty and does not involve possessiveness or a desire to be controlling.

Behaving like a jelly belly isn’t excusable simply because you claim to love someone. Jealousy isn’t the be-all and end-all of a relationship by any means; it’s how you handle yourself once faced with the Green-Eyed Monster.

Head over to The Line for more helpful advice on sex, dating and relationships.