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Characteristics of Excessive Jealousy in a Relationship

by
author image Michelle Ernst
Michelle Ernst has been writing since 2000. She published a critical essay in "Annual of the Association for Mormon Letters" in 2004. She also wrote two athletic grants that were funded on behalf of the Because We Care Foundation of Lehi, Utah. She holds a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from Utah Valley University.
Characteristics of Excessive Jealousy in a Relationship
A jealous woman looking away from her boyfriend flirting with another woman. Photo Credit nyul/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Most people experience a bout of jealousy at one time or another. Jealousy need not interfere with the quality of your relationship, as long as jealous feelings are resolved through thoughtful communication and sensitivity. However, extreme jealousy can be very damaging. In his book "Insane Jealousy: The Causes, Outcomes, and Solutions When Jealousy Gets Out of Hand," Vijai P. Sharma, PhD states, "Insane jealousy is the fixed belief that one's partner is unfaithful and sexually cheating behind his back." Relationships marked by extreme jealousy are potentially dangerous because such behavior can quickly escalate into abusiveness and battery. Some characteristics are common to extreme jealousy; you should consider these signs carefully if you suspect that your partner may be too jealous.

Control

An excessively jealous partner is motivated by control. According to the Help Guide website, controlling behaviors include monitoring your movements, refusing to allow you time by yourself or with your friends and asking invasive questions about your interactions with co-workers, acquaintances and even strangers. An overly jealous partner will see evidence of deceitfulness in the most innocuous comments and from the most unlikely sources, including your family and close friends. At her most extreme, a jealous partner may also follow you to work, check your car mileage and attempt to regulate your spending habits.

Possessiveness

Extreme possessiveness is another hallmark of an insanely jealous partner. Easily threatened, your partner resents compliments, attention or affection paid to you by another person, says Sharma. Another characteristic of extreme possessiveness includes suspicion and resentment regarding your appearance. Efforts to dress nicely for work are interpreted as an attempt to make yourself attractive to members of the opposite sex. Your partner may also demand an accounting of every exchange you have with a member of the opposite sex, make hostile remarks about the people you work with and constantly accuse you of infidelity. Your attempts to defend yourself will likely prove unsuccessful; an excessively jealous partner is determined to believe the worst about you.

Intimidation

Insanely jealous partners rely on threats and intimidation for control. Intimidation tactics include "threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display," warns the Help Guide website. It is important to note that even if your partner doesn't put his hands on you, he is still attempting to bully you through implied threats of violence.

Anxiety and Depression

Your reactions to your partner's behavior can also serve as an indicator of the unhealthy state of your relationship, says Sharma. If your partner is unreasonably jealous, you may find yourself feeling anxious or depressed much of the time. You might begin to give up the activities you enjoy in an effort to prevent arguments. To placate your partner and avoid the embarrassment of a jealous outburst, you may also find yourself cutting off contact with the people you love. If your relationship is characterized by signs of extreme jealousy, consider getting professional help to overcome it or to end it.

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