Are you ever tempted to look at your partner’s phone? Or if you’re dating someone new… do you ever feel an urge to peruse social media for a glimpse of their ex?

Jealousy is normal…but only to a degree. If you or your partner’s green-eyed monster is rearing its head a little too often, then this week’s episode is for you. 

I’m going to break down the differences between normal and extreme jealousy and help you locate the origin of a jealous streak so you can decode it, deactivate it, and move into more healthy ways of relating.

Jealousy, if left unchecked, can damage your relationships, your internal peace, and wellbeing. So let’s talk about it, shall we?

Certain kinds of jealousy are pretty normal. You might feel jealous if someone else has something you want. Maybe you feel a flash of jealousy over a friend who is better at something than you are or a sibling who you feel has been favored within your family system. Today, I’m addressing romantic jealousy specifically, because it can be absolutely toxic to relationships. 

First, let’s break down what extreme jealousy is and what it can look like in practice. 

Extreme jealousy has a pathological element to it. It can be compulsive and even obsessive. If jealous thoughts and impulses are overly intrusive, it’s time to take a closer look. Extreme jealousy isn’t fleeting like normal jealousy. It persists even when there is no logical “evidence” to support it.  

Extreme jealousy can look like you feel like your partner is looking at literally every other person in a lustful way. Or, reversed, you might experience your partner accusing you of flirting with the random friendly barista that just sold you both your coffee (when clearly, you were not). 

It can look like bringing up situations or other relationships from the past that have nothing to do with what is going on in the moment. You might not think your partner will ever cheat on you, but if you experience feelings of dread and suspicion every time they go out with a pal, it is crucial to uncover where those feelings are really coming from. 

There are situations that might legitimately threaten the relationship. Let’s say your partner creates a loving and consistent relationship with someone else and tells you they are just friends, but it makes you feel uncomfortable and disrespected. In a healthy relationship, there have to be mutually agreed-upon rules of engagement and open communication (this goes for monogamous and non-monogamous relationships). You should feel comfortable sharing your feelings and re-setting a boundary if needed. 

Then there are situations that are only happening in one person’s mind (like the barista example). If your partner makes snide remarks about you flirting or the way you dress or you feel like you are constantly defending your faithfulness, it is a red flag. In this way, extreme jealousy is also a form of emotional and verbal abuse. When there is extreme jealousy in an unhealthy relationship, it is almost like they are expecting the worst of you. 

From a psychotherapeutic point of view, I want to be sure we are all on the same page about how incredibly damaging and caustic perpetual extreme jealousy can be. In my honest opinion, no relationship can survive it forever. 

How can there be any trust in a relationship if you and/or your partner are accusing one another all the time? So what can you do?

1. Uncover Your Jealousy Blueprint

Your “blueprint” is the collection of the conscious and unconscious ways you relate to jealousy and fidelity. These ways of relating are informed by all of the different experiences you’ve had in your life, your family system, cultural norms and taboos, and many other factors. 

This learned behavior is not your fault, but it IS your responsibility to figure it out…especially if jealousy is negatively impacting your life! The good news is, once you understand what might be driving your jealousy (or, why you might be involved with a jealous partner), YOU have the power to re-write your blueprint and make lasting change. 

Inside this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you questions to help you uncover your jealousy blueprint. You can get access right here. 

2. Do a Social Media Cleanse

Time to get mindful of how much time you’re spending going down the rabbit hole of social media cyber-stalking. Listen: there is so much information literally at our fingertips in this day and age and believe you me, I can understand googling someone you’re romantically interested in or checking out their Facebook profile but that is different than full-on cyberstalking all of their exes. (Or yours for that matter.)

Take a quick inventory of what you’re doing on social media. How much time are you spending, and how does it make you feel? If you’re scrolling through posts of your ex to see what their new GF looks like or spending hours looking for info on someone your partner complimented in passing, it’s likely best for you to reign it in and check your compulsion. Block your exes or hide them from your newsfeed. Instead of getting into detective mode, have a direct conversation with your person. Your peace of mind and your relationship will benefit. 

3. Get Clear About Your Relationship to Yourself

If you feel a lot of jealousy or are experiencing it from a partner, take some time and space to sit with these questions:

How is your self-esteem?

Do you think you are worthy of someone being madly and deeply in love with you? 

Are you really projecting your own insecurities on your partner or others?

Do you deeply love yourself? 

Do you celebrate yourself? 

Are there past wounds around infidelity you need to tend?

Your relationship with yourself sets the bar for every other relationship in your life, so get clear on how you feel about you and how you’ve been treating yourself. 

I would love to hear from you and how you experience jealousy. You can grab the guide right here, connect with me in the comments below or on Instagram @terricole and tell me what you discovered! If you think this could add value to someone else’s life, please share it! 

We are all perfectly imperfect humans and sometimes, jealousy is a part of our human experience. I hope this helps you get a better understanding of how you relate to jealousy and as always, take care of you. 

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  1. Still working through the questions but had a MASSIVE shift when I finished answering the first question(s) from a romantic relationship perspective which was not a whole lot… Something didn’t sit right when it hit me that I was answering the questions romantically to help work out the jealousy I’m experiencing in my romantic relationship, so assumed it must have been in the behaviour modeled in that department…
    This was not where I learned jealousy. I learned jealousy/insecurity from my mom’s relationship with me! So much neglect raised me to be incredibly independent and any attention I received was distorted by mom to rip away, tear me down, or was an extension and and acknowledgement of her, to help her self-esteem.
    Very interesting to follow this further but wanted to share in case any one else was getting stuck like me !!

    1. Hi Desiree,
      Yes! Thank you for sharing this! It’s so important to understand where these feelings of jealousy might be coming from and what it reminds you of. It certainly sounds like your mother taught you this behavior and has engrained these feelings in you. This is important work in understanding how to deactivate your jealousy ❤️

  2. My sweetheart is an Aries fireball who reminds me of the stallions I worked with. Any hint of another male was enough to set them to strike, kick, or bite. A year into this relationship and I’ve learned not to mention my hairdresser, past relationships, or male friends I have dealings with. He goes totally silent and then won’t talk to me and when he finally does its a barrage of flames. He does have a history of not being faithful in his long term relationships when he was younger. The good side of the fire is that he is very passionate and loving towards me and my relationship with him is good most of the time.

    1. HI Yvonne,
      Thank you for sharing ❤️ It’s tough to acknowledge his discomforts while also allowing yourself the normalcy of interacting with the opposite sex. Have you discussed his feelings directly? I wonder if actively working through each instance of jealousy to decode his feelings and work toward deactivating them would help here.

  3. Hi Terri,
    What if your partner has openly admitted to checking out other women in front of you? He often gets giddy and is smitten when a seemingly attractive person interacts with us. He has acknowledged it. It’s been something that has made me feel a bit insecure because I’ve expressed to him that doing that around me gives off the wrong message. I think providing our partners with a safe environment is super important.
    He’s also gone into a rabbit hole of watching provocative snap chat reels. It’s not that I’m wanting to become this person, I just feel the trust in his intentions has diminished. Thanks, loved this episode.

    1. Hi Ro,
      Thank you for sharing! I think you make a great point – this is something that makes you uncomfortable and it’s your boundary. I wonder what your partner has said to you when you express this discomfort? I wonder how he would feel if you were the one behaving this way? I think expressing your discomfort is important and working on where your jealousy is being most activated will also help you to better understand the situation.

  4. Hi Terri, thanks for your post, very timely in my life! What is your advice for the partner that is a bit on the narcissistic spectrum who takes some kind of pleasure out of saying/doing things to make you jealous, is secretive with some of his actions, then when you react he is shocked and calls you the crazy, jealous wife? Also, how do you differentiate between jealousy and intuition?

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Thank you for your question! I wonder why he’s doing things to make you jealous? What’s his intention and goal there? And for you, where is the jealousy coming from? It sounds like you’re doing a dance that continues on and on. Changing the pattern and behavior is a great place to start. If you think he’s intentionally trying to make you jealous, rather than acting jealous, maybe try asking him questions and diving deeper into his intentions. ❤️

  5. Hi Terri,

    I’m following the link, entering my name and email, and still not receiving the email to get the Decode Jealousy Guide. This one looks like a necessary read for me! How can I get the guide? Thank you!

  6. What if someone is married to a narcissist that creates triangulation, whereby they intentionally do and say things repeatedly that causes issues between 2 woman? The woman doesn’t feel jeleous against the other woman but just knows their husband is trying so hard to get a reaction.

    1. Hi Angela,
      That’s certainly a difficult situation. With healthy boundaries, it’s so important to stick to your side of the street. We can only control ourselves and our own behavior. If the husband is getting in the way of the relationship between the two women, it’s up to each woman to decide her boundaries and share her feelings. ❤️

  7. Omg yes this is so my boyfriend and yes he is very unhealthy, i am starting as you already might know that his narrasistic and this is a big thing for him as well. he gaslights me all the time and makes fun of me with statements like “im just being “true”” trying to make fun of me and my honesty even when difficult to do. i find him triggering me to a person i do not want to be. i have to catch my self so that i do not regress back to, and or behave in that manner as he is to me. its hard, but i am working on my boundary boss-ness and do you have any suggestions on this or should i ask your team, team tc in the bootcamp?

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thank you for sharing and for being here. It’s not easy to continue to set boundaries with someone, especially if it feels like he’s bullying you and gaslighting you. I’m holding so much space for you as you navigate this and continue to set boundaries. And yes, feel free to also share your question in the team tc bootcamp! ❤️

  8. Cannot download the guide but sooooo interested in this topic – been dreaming about my SO cheating nearly every single night and it’s making me go insane because I can’t be actually mad at him yet something in my gut wants to listen to this feeling. I don’t want to resort to sneaking through anything, and also communicate openly about my distrust – and also not sure I can trust he’s telling me the truth anyway… This is such a great topic Terri – thank you always <3

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