Service member hugs his wife

Understanding Jealousy, Preserving Trust: Keeping Your Relationship Strong

A little jealousy is normal, even in the healthiest relationships. You might feel twinges of it if your partner seems more devoted to work than to you, or when a former love interest comes up in conversation. However, excessive jealousy can be a red flag of controlling and unhealthy behavior. Learn how to distinguish between typical and excessive jealously and behavior that could escalate into abuse.

The importance of trust

Trust is an important part of a fulfilling and safe relationship. Although trust builds over the course of a relationship, trust between two people can suffer when there are unresolved feelings of jealousy.

How you and your partner deal with jealousy is crucial to maintaining trust and avoiding more serious problems. Some healthy ways to deal with jealousy are to:

When jealousy is unhealthy

Jealousy becomes unhealthy when it starts to define a relationship. For example, it's a problem when you or your partner become preoccupied with jealous thoughts and constantly worry about losing the relationship. This kind of intense jealousy can lead to controlling or violent behavior as one partner tries to control the other in an attempt to feel more secure in the relationship. Some red flags of excessive jealousy include:

  • Trying to keep your partner from spending time with others
  • Spying on your partner
  • Looking through your partner's belongings
  • Insisting on knowing every detail of your partner's activities
  • Constantly asking questions about past relationships
  • Threatening or intimidating your partner
  • Becoming physically violent

Getting help

If jealousy is a problem in your relationship, you don't have to manage the situation on your own. Help is available for you and your partner. A professional counselor can provide individual counseling to help you sort through your feelings, or work with you as a couple to rebuild trust. Find confidential, non-medical counseling through:

  • Military OneSource
  • Your installation Family Advocacy Program (visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS for contact information).

If you're fearful for your safety or if your relationship has become abusive, there are people who can help you get safe and stay safe.

Reach out for the support you need to keep your relationship healthy and safe.