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7 Stories of Jealousy: a Psychologist’s View

23.08.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

“I do not believe that jealousy comes from great love. What kind of love is it that can hurt so much a loved one? My ex-husband was simply jealous of every pillar. Almost with a timer he watched how long it takes me to get home or at the store. As if I am able to cheat on him in 5 minutes! God forbid someone on the street to look at me! Of course, he is my lover. Constant suspicions, reproaches, surveillance, fights on the topic “with whom are you cheating on me?” Once he began to beat me sleeping, because at night he found a profile on a dating site. Without a photo, but height, weight and age were like mine. He decided that it was my profile, and started to beat me. Not much, slaps in the face, but still not enough pleasant. When I left him, he still followed me for some time. He wrote, called, waited for me near my house. He begged to return and at the same time told bad things about me. 15 years have passed, but he still sometimes writes some crap about me. And, is it all from love or what? Yeah, it’s all from the greatest love”.

– Tatyana, 36

Jealousy is an ordinary feeling, and like any feeling or emotion, it cannot be only good or only bad. It all depends on the relevance, degree and frequency of manifestations. Jealousy can be light and controlled, and can turn into an obsession and acquire a pathological form.

We have already published an article about the features and stages of the development of jealousy. Today we want to not only talk about jealousy, but to analyze it with real examples. Why people are jealous, how different types of jealousy differ from each other, when it becomes dangerous, and what can be done about it – about this in today’s article.



Jealousy in most cases is caused by the fear of losing the love and attention of a loved one. But different fears can be a reason for this fear. And the same person may have a few of them. We found the most typical stories that show how different this feeling can be. Of course, it is difficult to make conclusions, but we can assume that this was the cause of some or other outbreak of jealousy. [1] All names and significant events by which people can be recognized are changed or deleted in order to maintain anonymity.

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Story No. 1. Jealousy as a way to get attention

“We recently met and rarely see each other (she lives in another city), but very often we chat online. Yes, we also met during online computer game. I love her very much, and I feel good with her. But not only when she is jealous and provokes jealousy from my part. We constantly fight because of my school friends. She says: “Well, you are talking with your classmates, and I want to keep my friends close to me”. And she shows me screenshots of her chats, where she asks if some friend of her is ready to marry her, and he replies that he is ready just tomorrow. Seriously? And this happens very often. She is jealous herself and constantly does something to make me jealous. I tried to talk calmly, but it brought no results. She starts to get furious and generally ceases to hear me. I am writing to her: “I love you, I don’t need anyone else”, and she replies: “Come on, leave me, everything is clear with you”. I don’t know what to do when she has such pathological jealousy and how to talk to her at such moments”.

– Nikita, 18

jealousy is a way to get attention

Some data shows that one of the peaks of jealousy occurs in adolescence. [2] Teenagers tend to doubt their attractiveness, therefore external confirmation is so important for them. And teenagers are emotional, and these two factors can turn into an explosive mixture of scandals and suspicions. This form of communication can become familiar and acquire the features of pathological jealousy, when more and more attention is required every day.

It would also be useful to find out how the relationships were developed in the girl’s family, whether she felt like a beloved child, whether she had brothers or sisters. Perhaps in their family it was the quarrels that helped get the attention of her parents, and the girl transfers this habit to her romantic relationship. This is probably the only way she can get confirmation that she is loved and appreciated. It is important to understand that it is a habit, and to come up with other, healthy ways to get attention, that will suit both. Perhaps, some code words, traditions like morning notes or nice messages, or other small but constant signs of attention.

Story No. 2. Jealousy as a manifestation of fear of losing a loved one

“This is some kind of fate, probably, but I constantly come across cheating. Grandfather cheated on grandmother, dad cheated on mom, my brother cheats on his wife. I look at other people’s relationships and I see that adulteries and divorces because of them are very frequent. And this widespread dominance of betrayal is driving me crazy, I constantly suspect my husband cheats, too. After all, everyone does it! I cannot forgive a betrayal, I do not want. This is the dirtiest and lowest betrayal you can imagine. I constantly suspect my husband. If he didn’t pick up the phone, I’m already drawing pictures in my head that he is somewhere with another woman. After 5 minutes, he calls me back, and in my head he has already packed his bags and left me. We constantly fight. He keeps swearing that no way, he says he knows that I will leave him if he cheats, and that he is not going to risk our relationship for the sake of a minute of pleasure. And I really want to believe him. I guess I still believe him. I see that he is in a hurry to go home after work, that he wants to spend time together, although we have been married for several years. But in my head thoughts of a betrayal are growing just like a snowball. What should I do with my delusional jealousy?”

– Margarita, 24

how to get rid of jealousy

The situation of Margarita is complicated by the fact that she has repeatedly come across real examples of betrayal. She seems to have formed an attitude that “everyone has affairs and gets divorced”. She believes that divorce is a matter of time, because a betrayal is bound to happen sooner or later. Of course, living in such a stress is difficult.

In this situation, it is worth trying to shift your attention to facts, not to fantasy. Every time pictures of cheating arise in your head, ask yourself: “What real facts do I have for this version? And which are against? ” Not someone else’s experience and assumptions, just

facts. When Margarita sees that her husband really appreciates their relationship and seeks to preserve them, it will become easier for her to trust him, which means there will be less doubt of loyalty.
And, of course, it’s important to understand that suspicions and scandals will not save you from betrayal. If a person makes such a decision for himself, then we are unlikely to stop him with continuous suspicions and reproaches. Such a behavior does not bring any benefit, but only harms the relationship.

Story No. 3. Jealousy as a result of low self-esteem

“We have met already as adults, both of us had an unsuccessful marriage and already grown children. And I still do not understand why he is with me, what keeps him? He is tall, handsome, as people say, of aristocratic appearance. But I’m small, pint-size, my appearance is completely ordinary, and I’m even almost 5 years older than him. I feel next to him like a gray mouse. And everything seems that he is about to find someone younger and prettier and will leave me. I don’t fight with him because of this, I understand that if he decides so, I can’t interfere with anything. But I keep torturing myself. Why wasn’t I born not so pretty? I am old. I am a pale moth. I see that I am not a couple to him. When he is talking to someone, I am ready to torture myself from inside. Is there any treatment for jealousy in women? I am so exhausted, I can’t live like that anymore”.

– Irina, 51

Often such a type of jealousy is accompanied by depression and increased anxiety. It seems to Irina that she is worse than her beloved one – and all her doubts are based on this. Probably, Irina compares herself not only with her man, but also with his female friends, potential “rivals” – and she also feels like a gray monkey in comparison with them, suffering because of this. Therefore, first of all, it is worthwhile to pay attention to increasing self-esteem, and then, most likely, suspicion will become less pronounced and will give in to control.

It is worth noting that Irina’s self-discipline is directed inward, her man may not even know about her doubts. Much more dangerous is the situation when self-discipline is directed outward. A person not only feels unworthy, but also tries to build self-affirmation at the expense of loved ones. Something like “I’m not OK, but you’re the same, or even worse, and now I’ll tell you about it”. Almost always, this is accompanied by humiliating or insulting a partner, constantly emphasizing and inflating negative traits. In the future, such aggression can develop into a physical violence and lead to a crime. [3]

Story No. 4. Jealousy as a habitual model of behavior

“How can I convince my wife that one can love without pathological jealousy? It is some kind of a circus. My wife is convinced that if I am not jealous, then I do not love her. I told her: “Why to be jealous? I trust you. I know that you love me, and that you will not cheat on me”. But she is still offended. And she’s jealous. Sometimes it seems that she deliberately makes herself jealous. It’s a slippery slope. At the beginning of the relationship she could be jealous, but slightly. And now it can get worse out of nothing. SMS came from the bank, and it begins: “Who writes to you? Show me. You managed to delete it. Do you remember, last year you did not show me your SMS? Why can’t you show it to me yourself?” I am tired already, honestly. I did not think that women have such delusional jealousy, I always believed that this is more characteristic of men. But their whole family is like that. Her mother is also jealous, and her aunt as well. They taught her good, damn good”.

– Anton, 29

Sometimes people are jealous simply out of habit or because they consider jealousy a necessary element of romantic relationships, such as hugs. It is difficult to say exactly how such an attitude was formed. This can be a family habit, when parents were jealous of each other, and peeped in movie series and books, where jealousy is often romanticized. As a result, a person believes that he/she must be jealous, otherwise he/she does not love, often overthinking, and then he/she cannot stop. And the more often one is jealous, the easier it is for each subsequent episode. As a kind of stage play, played up to automatism. And if such a behavior model spoils the relationship, then it is worth changing this habit.

Story No. 5. Jealousy as a sign of betrayal

“I had such a husband, he was just a pathological jealous person, a nightmare. It all started in my pregnancy. My belly was already huge enough, and I, in his opinion, was still around another men. I write this in decent words, he said it in a very bad way. In general, I lived with all this for 3 years, and once he left “for a meeting at work” and left the messenger on. And a message came where I read – “Dear, I’m coming late for our date, wait for me”. It turned out that all these years he was constantly cheating on me, but it all began just in my pregnancy. No words, what a hypocrisy”.

– Natalya, 26

Of course, not every jealous person necessarily cheats. Most likely, the proportion of such people is relatively small. But such a reason for doubts about fidelity does exist. A person who knows how easy it is to betray and not to suffer from remorse begins to suspect others. It is difficult to advise something here, because first of all it is necessary to change the attitude of “cheating is a norm”. Roughly speaking, changing the attitude to “cheating is bad” will lead to the conclusions “I cheated – I did wrong”. It takes courage to admit that your behavior was wrong and face such cognitive dissonance.

Story No. 6. Jealousy as a manifestation of a sense of ownership

“I also happened to face paranoid jealousy in my man, and I don’t understand what to do. It’s scary to live with him, and you can’t leave. How many times I tried, all failed. Once he came to my mother, I came from him to her that time, crossed me over his shoulder and took me home in the trunk. And how to break up here? I am in constant fear, in constant, he is generally unpredictable. Conversations do not help, I have already tried everything. He says: “I chose you, now you are mine, and I will decide when it will end.” I am very afraid of him. The police do not advise anything, nothing happened, so no matter he threatens to kill me since hasn’t killed yet”.

– Sofia, 27

Living together with such a person is dangerous. He perceives the partner as property, as a personal thing. A personal thing does not have the right to own opinions and independent decisions. Any rebellion is brutally suppressed. Psychologists do not give advice, but it is worth making an exception when it comes to a threat to life and health. There is practically no chance of correcting such a person. If your city has crisis centers for women, try to apply for help. They can provide temporary anonymous shelter.

Story No. 7. Jealousy as a manifestation of mental illness

“I understand, couple should be together in times of joy and times of sadness, but when my ex-husband started to chase my imaginary lover with a knife around the apartment, I got scared, packed up my things and left for another city. Fortunately I had money. I still don’t understand what happened. Either he went completely mad from his jealousy, or such suspicion woke up because of schizophrenia. It isn’t fairy tales about schizophrenia, doctors made him such a diagnosis along with delusional jealousy and prescribed a treatment. Now I read the news sometimes, when husbands kill women so that they won’t be with other men, I remember my nightmare and I think that I was very lucky – I stayed alive and was able to escape”.

– Inna, 34

Another situation where the behavior of a partner is life threatening. If pathological jealousy in men is accompanied by mental illness, psychology will not help. A psychiatrist consultation is needed, and medication is likely to be required.

One cannot say for sure why this extreme form of jealousy with hallucinations arises. The reason may also be in constant thinking, when from a light suspicion a person works himself up to pathological forms. Or suspicion arose against the background of an existing anxiety disorder, developing dementia, or other disease. [4] Alcohol may also act as a catalyst. [1, 5] There can be only one advice – if your partner threatens you, take care of yourself and try to distance yourself from the jealous person.

In what cases can you change the situation and get rid of jealousy, and when there are actually no chances?

How to cure pathological jealousy in men and women?

pathological jealousy in men and women

The pathological form of jealousy is accompanied by neurological and mental illness in about 30% of cases. [4] Usually people say pathological, or delusional jealousy, implying a strong suspicion that spoils life and nerves. But in most cases, jealousy is a behavioral problem. You can try to cope with jealousy, but for this it is important to verify that in your case 2 conditions are met:

  1. A jealous person is not aggressive, does not use violence, does not threaten your health or life.
  2. A jealous one understands that his/her behavior is a problem, wants to get rid of it, makes efforts to change.

We cannot secretly influence other people and force them to stop being jealous. We can try to behave more accurately, advise our schedule, patiently respond to all suspicions, but this will work only if our partner is ready for the dialogue. For paranoid jealousy of a man or woman, all facts are powerless. A jealous one will find a reason, will catch on the slightest word or inconsistency – and will make a very big problem. In the end, why are we responding in such detail? Probably hiding betrayal?

Crimes, including jealousy killings, are real and common. The statistics on domestic violence are terrifying. So, in 2013, about 28 thousand women suffered from the hands of family members. [6] But statistics on crimes committed on the basis of jealousy are not kept, since this feeling is not any special, mitigating or aggravating circumstance. Therefore, only the most high-profile stories made of jealousy reach us. For example, the case of Margarita Gracheva, whose ex-husband cut off her hands. Or the murder of Natalya Basova in the playground in front of her own daughter and other children. Or the story of Yana Savchuk, who was beaten to death by a former lover. Therefore, first of all, it is important to assess the risks. Your life and health are much more important than illusory happiness or love, which may not be.

We will teach you to develop relationships without jealousy

Make for consultation

If a jealous one is not aggressive, aware of the problem and ready to change, he/she can start by changing the model of behavior. Instead of jealousy and suspicion, a person can learn to rely on facts, believe more in himself/herself, trust himself/herself and calmly discuss any worries emerging. A good tool for this would be the 7Spsy behavior modification technique. This is a remote and anonymous program, during which a jealous person will be able to understand why he/she is jealous, will find the triggers that “trigger off” jealousy – and will be able to change his/her behavior, become more calm and confident. Such changes in the behavior of the former jealous person will affect the relationship between the spouses. The family will finally become a very safe and supportive environment where you can trust each other and not constantly wait for a scandal due to excessive suspicion.


  1. Faroian G. D., «Faktory, vliiaiushchie na proiavlenie revnosti» (statia v zhurnale).
  2. Revnost u podrostkov (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27863267).
  3. Sevostianov R. A., «Revnost kak motiv soversheniia prestuplenii» (statia v zhurnale).
  4. Psikhicheskie prichiny revnosti (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23066764).
  5. Alkogolnyi bred revnosti (https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2005-915641).
  6. O semeinom nasilii (https://meduza.io/cards/pochemu-dekriminalizirovat-poboi-v-rossii-eto-plohaya-ideya).