Jealousy can cause you to feel threatened in a relationship, and although unpleasant, a small dose of jealousy may actually function to influence partners to value one another, says the UK's National Health Service in "Overcoming Jealousy." However, left unchecked, jealousy can hurt both partners when exaggerated feelings of insecurity fuel paranoia and distrust, and partners experience emotional exhaustion. Learn to recognize how jealousy and paranoia creep into a relationship, and how to safeguard your own relationship when jealousy and paranoia come calling at your heart’s door.
Competition in the Cave
There’s nothing new about feeling jealous, so forget about rushing to make a post on your blog or contacting the news media. Jealousy originated in your evolutionary past, according to Dr. Raj Raghunathan, an associate professor at the University of Texas in the "Psychology Today" article titled, "Overcoming Jealousy." Your ancestors who obtained more food, shelter -- and yes, emotional intimacy with a partner -- increased their likelihood of survival. Jealousy is interwoven into the fiber of your genetic fabric, so your feelings are normal.
Where Have You Been?
The fear of losing a partner can evolve into an all-consuming paranoia, and partners who feel the most insecurity tend to exhibit the most paranoia, writes Hara Estroff Marano, editor at large of "Psychology Today," in the article, "Jealousy: Love's Destroyer." Paranoia causes a partner to become increasingly obsessed with the other partner’s perceived infidelity, instigating accusations that ultimately drive the accused partner further away from the arms of the accuser. Feelings of paranoia nurture destructive behaviors that culminate in anxiety, anger and depression.
Don't Be Swept Out to Sea
Gaping holes in self-esteem may feed the agonizing feelings of jealousy and paranoia. When you feel unattractive and unlovable, it’s easier to be carried out to sea by a relentless, surging current of insecurity, reports Marano. Okay, it’s time for a reality check. There will always -- reiterating always -- be someone who is more physically attractive, more charming, talented and more intelligent than you, and it may be a tough pill for you to swallow -- but there it is. To tame jealousy and paranoia, accept that your partner perceives a quality in you that sets you apart from the others, and who cares about you and loves you for who you are.
Talk to Me
Although you can never completely safeguard your relationship against the negativity related to jealousy and paranoia, you can take a proactive stance by consistently communicating about your world, regardless of whether you are physically together. If the negative feelings still emerge, talk to your partner before the current of negativity sweeps you away, and damages your relationship.