Signs Of Jealousy

Jealousy is one of the most common and complex human emotions. It is characterized by a range of uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, insecurity, anger, and resentment. Some people experience jealousy more than others, and it can manifest in different ways depending on the individual and the situation. In this article, we will explore the signs of jealousy and how to recognize them.

What is jealousy?

Jealousy typically occurs when you perceive a threat to a valued relationship or resource. It can arise from a variety of situations, including romantic infidelity, social comparisons, professional competition, and parental favouritism. Moreover, jealousy can be directed toward a partner, a family member, a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger.

Jealousy is a complex emotion because it involves both cognitive and emotional processes. On one hand, jealousy entails thoughts and beliefs about the situation, such as “my partner likes someone else more than me” or “my friend is more successful than me.” On the other hand, jealousy also involves physiological and behavioural responses, such as increased heart rate, sweating, tension, withdrawal, or aggression.

The signs of jealousy

Jealousy can be tricky to detect because it often manifests in subtle or indirect ways. However, if you pay attention to your own feelings and behaviours or observe them in others, you can recognize some common signs of jealousy. Here are some examples:

1. Passive-aggressive behaviour

When someone is jealous, they may act in ways that are non-confrontational or manipulative. For instance, they might give backhanded compliments, spread rumours, ignore or exclude the rival, or sabotage their success. These behaviours are intended to express their resentment and bring down the other person without facing direct confrontation or criticism.

2. Overcompensating

Another way that jealousy can manifest is by overcompensating or exaggerating one’s own achievements or qualities in comparison to the rival. This can involve bragging about oneself, belittling the rival, or trying to win the validation or attention of others. Such behaviour is a defence mechanism to maintain one’s self-esteem and superiority in the face of perceived threat or inadequacy.

3. Possessiveness

Jealousy can also lead to possessive behaviours, particularly in romantic relationships. A jealous partner may want to control the other’s time, activities, communication with others, or even appearance. They may ask for constant reassurance or demand exclusivity, and become angry or suspicious when their demands are not met. These behaviours are motivated by a fear of losing the partner or being replaced by a rival.

4. Overreacting

When someone is jealous, they may overreact to small or insignificant triggers, such as innocent compliments, friendly interactions with others, or minor changes in plans. They may interpret these events as a threat to their relationship or status, and respond with anger, tears, or silent treatment. This can confuse or annoy others who do not share the same intensity of emotions.

5. Disparaging comparisons

Jealousy can also lead to negative comparisons between oneself and the rival or between the rival and other people. For example, a jealous person may say “she’s not as smart as me” or “he’s not as attractive as my ex.” This is a way of invalidating the rival’s qualities or achievements and reaffirming one’s own superiority or worthiness. However, such comparisons can also reveal one’s insecurities or biases.

How to deal with jealousy

Jealousy can be a painful and disruptive emotion for both the person experiencing it and the people around them. Therefore, it is important to learn how to manage and reduce jealousy. Here are some strategies that can help:

1. Identify the source of jealousy

The first step to dealing with jealousy is to identify the underlying causes of it. Ask yourself what triggers your jealousy, what beliefs or expectations you hold about the situation, and how realistic or rational they are. Reflect on your past experiences of jealousy and how they affected your relationships. This can help you gain more self-awareness and insight into your emotions.

2. Communicate honestly and respectfully

When you feel jealous, it is important to express your feelings and concerns to the relevant person in a clear and respectful way. Avoid blaming, accusing, or attacking the other person, but rather focus on your own experiences and needs. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements, such as “I feel insecure when you talk to other people” instead of “You make me jealous when you flirt with others.” Listen to the other person’s perspective and try to find common ground.

3. Practice self-care and self-compassion

Jealousy can take a toll on your well-being if you let it consume you. Therefore, it is important to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally by eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Moreover, practice self-compassion by accepting your imperfections and mistakes, and treating yourself with kindness and understanding.

4. Challenge negative thoughts and beliefs

Jealousy often stems from irrational or distorted thoughts and beliefs that magnify the threat or undermine one’s self-worth. To challenge these thoughts and beliefs, ask yourself if they are based on evidence or assumptions, what alternative explanations or perspectives exist, and how realistic or helpful they are. Use rational and positive self-talk, such as “I am worthy and lovable regardless of what others do” or “I can learn and grow from this situation.”

5. Seek professional help if needed

If you find that your jealousy is persistent, intense, or interfering with your life, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide you with personalised strategies and insights to manage your jealousy, address underlying issues, and improve your relationships and well-being.


Jealousy is a complex and multifaceted emotion that can bring both positive and negative effects on our lives. While it can motivate us to protect our relationships and achieve our goals, it can also cause us distress and damage our relationships. By recognizing the signs of jealousy and learning how to deal with it, we can cultivate healthier and more fulfilling relationships with ourselves and others.


FAQs about Signs of Jealousy

What are some common signs of jealousy?

Some common signs of jealousy include feeling insecure, obsessing over a partner’s actions or words, constantly checking up on them, controlling behavior, being possessive or demanding, and making accusations without evidence. In extreme cases, jealousy can also lead to physical or emotional abuse.

How can I tell if someone is jealous?

If someone is jealous, they may show signs such as making negative comments or actions towards you, trying to control your activities or who you spend your time with, being overly critical or judgmental, or accusing you of things without a basis. It’s important to remember jealousy is a complex emotion and can present itself in different ways for different people.

What can I do if I feel jealous in a relationship?

If you feel jealous in a relationship, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about your feelings. Don’t resort to accusations or controlling behavior, but rather explain how you feel and work together to find a solution. Building trust and practicing healthy communication can help alleviate jealousy in a relationship. It’s also important to work on developing self-confidence and self-love to overcome feelings of jealousy.


1. Konečni, V. J. (1973). The attribution of jealousy to spontaneous and posed facial expressions of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 26(4), 431-442. doi: 10.1037/h0035118
2. Parrott, W. G., & Smith, R. H. (1993). Distinguishing the experiences of envy and jealousy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(6), 906-920. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.64.6.906
3. Wiederman, M. W., & Allgeier, E. R. (1992). Gender differences in the experience of jealousy: An evolutionary perspective. Psychological Science, 3(4), 251-255. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1992.tb00035.x