Jealousy Could Be Good For Your Relationship

Brilliance | Dec. 11, 2017

Jealousy is a normal, common, and often terribly uncomfortable human emotion. With the rise of social media, there are new opportunities to become jealous around every corner. But it turns out that jealousy may not be the relationship killer we think it is. Admitting jealous feelings could even strengthen a romantic bond.

You And Me, Baby, Ain't Nothin' But Mammals

Evolutionary psychologists think that jealousy is an evolutionary mechanism to help humans ward off "mate-poaching." A 2013 study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships had couples keep diaries of their and their partners' temptations, feelings of commitment, and any "mate-guarding" behaviors taken. It found that people could tell pretty accurately when their partner was tempted. At the same time, however, the couples reported feeling more committed to the relationship when they had taken measures to guard their sweetie from temptation.

"I'm Working Late At The Office"

In small doses, "mate-retention" behaviors, such as holding your partner's hand when their eyes wander or befriending their cute co-worker, can actually strengthen your mate's commitment. It acts as a gentle reminder to notice and appreciate you.

Jealousy can also serve as a wake-up call for couples when greater issues are present. In this case, coming clean with your little green monster can help put your relationship back on the right path. Couples therapist Michele Scheinkman tells Psychology Today that it's better to come from a position of vulnerability when approaching your mate: "It starts with admitting to feeling jealous, and then articulating the emotions underpinning it—your love for your partner, your fear of losing him or her." Letting your significant other in on your feelings means you can potentially nip an issue at the bud instead of letting negative feelings build into damaging resentment.

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