Do you feel jealous when your partner spending time with an attractive colleague for a coffee break?
Do you feel jealous when your partner paying attention to an attractive person in the street? Does your partner feel jealous of you having a coffee gathering with an attractive and competent colleague? Do you frequently check your partner’s phone? It is very common to see these examples of jealousy in romantic relationships in daily life or in my therapy room. Why do some people feel jealous so easily and some others do not?
Even the partner seems to be the most faithful person in the world, some people still feel insecure and cannot trust their partner completely. These people are obsessed in looking for behaviours or situations to feel jealous about. For instance, a lady suddenly had an angry outburst when she saw her boyfriend paying attention to an attractive lady in the street. If you or your partner had this pattern of jealousy issue, one might probably have underlying attachment issue. Persistent jealousy issue might alienate the partner and drive him or her away. In extreme case, the partner might eventually be unfaithful as if he or she had no choice.
For people having secure attachment with their caretaker developed in ones’ childhood, they will feel secure when being in a healthy intimate relationship in adulthood. Secure attachment is developed when the caretaker is sensitive to the need of the infant responsive to the infant’s signal. The caretaker will pick up the baby quickly when they cry and hold them with tenderness and care. However, if the caretaker is unpredictable and only occasionally available, the infant may react to the separation with the caretaker with angry outburst or passive avoidance, when the infant reunions with the caretaker again. If the caretaker failed to provide consistent love and care to the child or even abused the child physically or psychologically, the child would grow up with a damaged self image and severe insecurity issue. As a result, jealousy issue is common for these individuals due to their underlying insecurity.
Jealousy issue might also develop due to trauma in past relationships. If a person is betrayed by his or her partner in a previous relationship, he or she may develop insecurity in intimate relationships and be unreasonably jealous to one’s partner. When a person was mistreated by one’s care taker in childhood or by one’s past romantic partner, he or she might think one does not deserve being faithfully loved and cared. The person might not expect a romantic relationship to last and a romantic partner treating one as important and precious.
If you or your partner had jealousy issue, one needed to look into one’s possible childhood traumas or traumas in past intimate relationships, and seek psychological help if possible. The other party in the intimate relationship needed to be sensitive to his or her partner’s need and try to give enough reassurance to the partner in the face of suspicion or trust issues. For example, if your partner suspects you to date an attractive colleague after working hours, you need to explain clearly to him or her that you are working overtime in the office with a goal to have career success in your mind. It is because you believe career success can provide you with resources to give your partner a good life in the future.
For those who have poor self-image and always think ones are not good enough for their partner, ones need to work on the underlying attachment and security issues. Whenever suspicion arises, one may try to acknowledge one’s distorted cognitions and to be more objective in observing the true picture. Surprisingly, one may find the other half was a faithful lover who loves you wholeheartedly all along. People with attachment and insecurity issues also deserve fruitful and meaningful intimate relationships, both partners should work together to cope with the issues and long lasting relationships are still possible.