ASK THE DOC: The green-eyed monster that causes relationship torment

Dr Eddie gives his expert views

Dr Eddie Murphy

Reporter:

Dr Eddie Murphy

Email:

editor@leinsterleader.ie

ASK THE DOC: The green-eyed monster that causes relationship torment

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Are you green-eyed with jealousy? Are you tormented when your partner looks at someone else? Do you live in constant fear that your partner will leave you for someone else?

Jealousy is a serious issue that plagues many relationships, turning even the strongest of them sour. In fact, I think extreme or morbid jealousy unchecked is one of the most destructive things in a relationship, and is a serious safety issue as it can be associated with stalking, cyberstalking, sabotage or violence.

Morbid jealousy, is a psychological disorder in which a person is preoccupied with the thought that their spouse or sexual partner is being unfaithful without having any real proof. It is combined with socially unacceptable or abnormal behaviour related to these thoughts.

When extreme jealousy is activated, a person typically makes repeated accusations that their spouse or sexual partner is being unfaithful, based on insignificant, minimal, or no evidence, often citing seemingly normal or everyday events or material to back up their claims.

Jealousy Test

Take the test. If you score three or more, then it’s time to work on that jealousy.

Do you find, or have you ever found, yourself:

l Accusing your partner of looking or giving attention to other people?

l Questioning your partner’s behaviour/

l Interrogating their phone calls, including wrong numbers or accidental phone calls, and all other forms of communication

l Not allowing them to have any social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter etc?

l Going through your partner’s belongings?

l Always asking where your partner is and who they are with?

l Isolating your partner from their family and friends?

l Not letting your partner have personal interests or hobbies outside the house?

l Controlling your partner’s social circle?

l Claiming your partner is having an affair when they withdraw?

l Accusing your partner of holding affairs when sexual activity stops?

l Engaging in verbal and/or physical violence towards your partner, the individual who is considered to be the rival, or both?

l Denying the jealous behaviour unless cornered?

l Threatening to harm others or yourself?

Six Tell Tale Signs Your Partner has unhealthy jealousy

1. They Want You Alone

It can feel romantic and passionate when your partner wants to spend every waking moment alone with you, especially when love is new, but that kind of intense isolation is often a red flag.

They might come out with seemingly nice statements such as ‘You’re so amazing that I believe everyone loves you as much as I do and I can’t bear to share you’.

Essentially, however, these statements, while flattering, show an underlying insecurity and attempt to control.

2. They Suspect The Worst Of You

They look through your phone and social media. It’s great to have a partner who wants to know about your night because they care. Not so for the partner who needs to know every detail about your night because they don't trust you.

3. They Are Too Emotionally Dependent

The sign which could reveal extreme jealousy is emotional dependency. In this case, emotional dependency means that one of the partners wants to keep the other for themselves. Even if he or she is unhappy in the relationship, they feel that it’s too risky for them to be alone, and they are afraid of the unknown.

4. They Want To Control You

Not allowing you to be true to yourself, and your growth, is an inherently dysfunctional form of jealousy. The bottom line is, you know your partner is unhealthily jealous when they try to control your life. Jealousy can cause people to behave in a scary and controlling manner. Whatever the behaviour may be, it’s not acceptable if it’s done out of jealousy. If he or she is checking your phone, accusing you of cheating or flirting, or is demanding to know your whereabouts, it is time to have a serious conversation about what is really going on.

5. You Have To Give Detailed Accounts Of Your Whereabouts

If your partner constantly questions your whereabouts, it’s a sign your partner is jealous in an unhealthy way.

6. They Want You To Act A Certain Way

Your relationship partner crosses the line into unhealthy jealousy when they start making demands regarding your behaviour. Are you afraid to confront your partner about these demands for fear of conflict or physical response? A yes to any of these questions means you’re in unhealthy territory. When you don’t feel respected in your relationship for the choices you make and actions you take, it's time to move on and take back your life and autonomy.

Finally, I don’t think there is any type of jealousy that is good jealousy. It’s one of the most destructive and corrosive emotions in relationships.

In fact I believe if your partner demonstrates the behaviours outlined above and has extreme or morbid jealousy, then you seriously need to consider your relationship status.

Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychological and counselling service in Portarlington, Co Laois. If you are organising a speaker or training for school, community, voluntary, sporting or work groups, call Dr Eddie on 087 1302899 or go to www.facebook.com/ dr.eddie.murphy.psychologist