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Is Jealousy a Sign of Love or Insecurity?

by Kimberly Delarosa

Photo by Leonardo Santos from Pexels

Does Jealousy Come from Love?

It’s something that has been assumed for years. We hear countless love songs about how jealousy is used to prove the validity of their love; it makes for a good romantic love story, and we as a society fall head over heels for it. But according to Karen Doll, Psy.D., L.P, "Jealousy is an emotion that very commonly creates discord and strife in romantic relationships. While the impact this emotion has on a relationship can vary, it’s usually damaging and generally leads to some level of disconnection."

When our partner shows signs of jealousy, the initial reaction is “Aw!” Someone cares about me that much they’re afraid of me leaving them. Human beings crave connection; it’s nice to feel wanted, adored, and seen. This is why we reward the cute jealous pouts with kisses and hugs.

However, jealousy comes with risks. In relationships, it can sometimes feel like walking a tight rope over running rapids—unsteady and nerve-wracking. In a matter of seconds, jealousy can transform from cute pouts to an angry outburst. We oftentimes see couples who tend to let jealousy get the best of them and completely obliterate their relationship. How does that align with love?

Reasons for Jealousy in Relationships:

According to numerous therapists and couples’ counselors, the root cause of jealousy is a lack of self-love. Although your partners' actions seem directed towards you, in reality, it has nothing to do with you.

“Jealousy is an inside job,” says Audrey Hope, an award-winning certified addiction and trauma therapist based in California. “At the root, it is about insecurity and imbalance. A fear of abandonment or that your partner is interested in another person is about not knowing your self-worth.”

Related articles: Signs of Unhealthy Jealousy

Jealousy originates from feeling unloved or unwanted. When a jealous partner feels like you’re triggering some unsettled feelings, their initial response is to blame you and try to control the situation. They don’t realize how to take responsibility for their emotions. Countless couples have difficulty realizing this pattern.

When we see the facts front and center, it’s without a doubt that love and jealousy do not go hand and hand. There’s no way jealously is a form of love for one another, especially when it’s within those extremes. This means that the origins of jealousy are not what we’ve been told.

Jealousy Kills Relationships:

There are different ways unhealthy jealousy can manifest. We usually see signs at the beginning of the relationship, but when you're in a haze of love, it goes unnoticed. One day, it can seem like it came out of nowhere when in reality, the signs were there all along. So, what’s the tell-tale sign of unhealthy jealous patterns? Experts say to look out for a need to control.

Sam Nabil, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of Naya Clinics, states that the concept of control is the most common sign of jealousy: “A jealous partner can try consuming them completely that their only interactions are with their partner. At its worst, jealousy can manifest in overall distrustful behavior and even physical or emotional abuse.”

Control and possessive behavior can show in different forms. Signs include your partner wanting to know your whereabouts at all times or who you’re calling or texting when you’re on your cellphone. Another sign is when your partner makes you feel guilty for wanting to spend time away from the relationship. This gives them the advantage to monopolize their time which is the ultimate goal.

Regardless of the origin, we now know that anything that was learned can be unlearned. As long as you are willing to do the work.

To Stop Unhealthy Jealous Behavior, You Have To Go Within:

Katie Ziskind, family therapist and founder of Wisdom Within Counseling located in Niantic, CT, talks about the importance of getting help. “Unhealthy jealousy gets in the way of all conversations and prevents you from being happy and content. If you feel the level of jealousy that is intense or unhealthy, seeking professional counseling can help you understand the triggers and outlets as well as coping skills.”

Jealousy is not about the lack of love for our partner, but the lack of love within ourselves. For couples to thrive and work through unhealthy jealousy, healing needs to take place. No matter how many times you assure your love and loyalty, a jealous person can never move past hurt feelings unless they’re addressed. And for that to happen, they need to be willing to get down to the source.

This is not easy or quick to move through. Healing inner stories and trauma is a very vulnerable experience, but it can also create a beautiful bond between you and your partner. Being jealous does not make you a bad person, it just means that there is a lot of pain that needs to be treated with care. And the best part is if you’re partner wants the relationship to work, they will be right by your side.



Audrey Hope, Certified Addiction and Trauma Therapist, Relationship Expert

Sam Nabil, Psychotherapist, and founder of Naya Clinics

Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage, and family therapist and founder of Wisdom Within Counseling


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