What Causes Jealousy? Find out the causes of jealousy and what you can do about it

Girl hiding behind a desk

By Susie and Otto Collins

Jealousy can come out in many different ways.

You might feel anxious and worried when your boyfriend doesn’t call when he’s supposed to call. Does this mean that he’s started dating someone else?

Your stomach knots up and you break out in a cold sweat.

You may get protective and even controlling when you and your girlfriend are out together. You can’t stand it when it seems like other men are looking at or talking with her.

Your fists clench and you use your body to “guard” her.

Or, jealousy might show up when you look in the mirror and wonder why your partner is with someone who looks like you (think you) do.

It could be the tone of voice you use when you ask your mate a question. And, it could also be how driven you are to check your partner’s cell phone and e-mail messages just to make sure there’s nothing suspicious going on.

When you have a jealous habit, it can be crippling to both you and your relationship.

Instead of truly sharing a moment of love, passion and connection with your partner, you are defensive. You might make accusations, when you didn’t intend to.

Instead of living the full and happy life you want to live, you are plagued by fear, worry and never-ending “What if?” scenarios in your mind that usually involve your partner lying, cheating and leaving you.

Jealousy can be exhausting and destructive.

If you are ready to overcome your jealousy habit, it’s time to look at some possible causes of jealousy.

Find out what causes jealousy for you

We have all had unique life experiences and we all hold unique beliefs and expectations about ourselves, other people and relationships.

One important key to stopping jealousy is to find out what has caused jealousy for you.

Here are some common causes of jealousy:


Feeling worthless or inadequate

Old hurts from past relationship betrayals or break ups

Old hurts from childhood (abuse or parents having affairs)

Beliefs about relationships in general

Beliefs about men or women in general

Lack of or confusing communication in current relationship

Betrayals, lying and past infidelity in current relationships

Take the time to figure out what is at the root of your jealousy

You can gain more clarity about this if you sit down in a quiet place with a piece of paper and a pen and just write down your thoughts and feelings.

Don’t censor yourself- allow whatever is rolling around in your head to come out.

Next, read over what you wrote and identify the main themes in your words. Don’t make these right or wrong; instead, learn from them.

Use this to find out what causes jealousy for you.

If you are tempted to point the finger of blame at a particular person (your current partner, a past partner or someone else), encourage yourself to look deeper. Yes, there is probably another person who plays a role (or did in the past) in causing your jealousy.

What is going to be most helpful for you is to figure out the thoughts, feelings, expectations, beliefs and memories that are active within YOU.

Find out what helps you feel better

Now that you have this valuable information about what causes jealousy for you, it’s time to create an action plan that will help you stop jealousy.

If, for example, you realized that you are still holding onto the belief that “all men will lie and cheat” or “all women will flirt and leave” because or past relationship experiences that you had, it would benefit you to re-examine those beliefs.

As true as a belief seems to be for one (or more) of your past relationships, is it true or accurate now in this relationship?

Too often, people become jealous and expect only betrayal, hurt, abandonment and lies from their current partner when they are mostly reacting in the present to the past.

Interrupting yourself when you start to react to your mate from a past point of view is one way to bring yourself back to this moment.

Learn techniques to ground yourself in the here and now so that you can more clearly see what’s actually going on and respond to that.

If you struggle with low self esteem and feelings of inadequacy, find tools that can help you re-program your beliefs about your own self.

Set an intention to find at least 1 different thing about yourself every day that you can appreciate and feel good (or improved) about. This might relate to your physical appearance, your performance at work, a dynamic at home, communication with your partner or something else.

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