November 16, 2021 |Gideon Hanekom

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This post discusses how to get over jealousy and possessiveness in a relationship, two characteristics that frequently result in toxic behaviours and relationship failure.

Have you ever found yourself battling feelings of jealousy and possessiveness?

These are the two key culprits for the demise of love relationships, although being conscious of your behaviours and making the decision to change is half the battle!

After that, adopting the strategies below can relieve you of these bad feelings so you can enjoy healthy relationships.

Defining possessiveness

A possessive husband, according to Jenni Jacobsen of, can make life extremely difficult for the woman who is married to him.

Perhaps you are unable to spend time alone or pursue interests apart from him, and you may feel trapped in this situation.

how to overcome jealousy

In some cases, you may even believe that he does not recognise your worth as a person deserving of your freedom.

What is the definition of possessiveness?

In essence, it occurs when a spouse’s behaviour crosses the line from being caring to being jealous and distrusting of one’s actions.

A possessive husband will exercise control over his wife.

What you wear, where you go, and who you spend time with might be controlled by him.

Ironically, the fear of losing you lies at the heart of possessiveness, despite the fact that controlling behaviour tends to elicit resistance from the person being controlled.

Jealousy and possessiveness essentially both stem from the same place: an excessive desire for affection and approval.

Purposiveness in relationships is often accompanied by a number of distinct signals, according to Jacobsen.

In essence, possessive actions are characterised by the appearance of being controlling and the presence of a high level of jealousy.

Here are ten signs of possessiveness that are commonly observed:

  1. When the two of you are apart, he texts you regularly.
  2. He wants to exert control over your appearance.
  3. He persuades you that he must safeguard you from persons who are “bad for you.”
  4. He insists on being aware of your whereabouts at all times.
  5. He even goes to the extent of forbidding you from seeing other people.
  6. Your social media and e-mail accounts may be accessed by him without your permission.
  7. He has extremely high expectations that are practically impossible to achieve.
  8. You observe that he obstructs your life ambitions and dreams.
  9. He is enraged or irritated when you wish to pursue an activity independently of him.
  10. He is not interested in making his own plans.

Jealousy versus envy

While these names are frequently used interchangeably, they refer to two distinct feelings.

Envy occurs when you desire you could perform at the same level as another individual.

However, when one is jealous, one wishes to be the only one doing well.

One’s goal in being envious of another’s achievement is to take it away from them.

Differently put, jealousy is frequently associated with relationships, particularly those between spouses whereas envy is more related to desiring what someone else has or has attained.

how to overcome jealousy

However, when used appropriately, jealousy can be beneficial.

It can serve as a catalyst for self-improvement and situational improvement.

By being aware of and understanding what motivates your jealousy, discussing your individual triggers, and honouring each other’s inherent vulnerabilities in a relationship, you can utilise jealousy as a catalyst to strengthen your relationship in the long run.

Defining jealousy and its common signs

A jealous individual is characterised by a severe inferiority complex and self-centeredness.

While we may perceive a jealous person as self-centred, we may miss the fact that he suffers from an inferiority problem.

This is due to the fact that he conceals his insecurity with a display of assurance.

When your partner expresses even the slightest interest in someone or something other than you, selfishness rears its ugly head.

You dislike not being the focus of attention and are overcome with jealousy.

You won’t be concerned about anyone else’s well-being except your own at such moments.

If you have these feelings, it is critical to recognise that they are indicative of jealousy.

According to, signs of jealousy can include the following:

  • You lack trust in your partner when you are apart.
  • You become anxious when they make reference to other persons.
  • You’re continuously monitoring their social media accounts to see what they’re up to.
  • You believe they’re being unfaithful to you.
  • You’re seeking to exert some sort of control over your partner’s actions.

When someone believes that another person is attempting to gain the attention of their lover or partner, jealousy, according to Rachael Pace (, can manifest itself as feelings of anger or resentment.

According to her, jealousy, as opposed to envy, is the desire to have control over something or someone that is already yours.

how to overcome jealousy

In this case, it serves the purpose of protecting your attachment while also demonstrating complete dominance over someone or something.

Many of the most common signs of jealousy in a marriage are also very similar to the signs of possessiveness, like the following:

  1. Constantly keeping tabs on you
  2. Following you all over the place
  3. Angry when you do something without their permission
  4. Intervening in the lives of your friends and acquaintances
  5. Putting your friendships with other people in jeopardy
  6. Advising you on how to dress
  7. Ignoring your inherent worth
  8. Following you around
  9. Tendency to erupt when another person is mentioned
  10. Making false accusations against you
  11. Making you feel uncomfortable about going out
  12. Maintaining control over your actions
  13. Having you defend your actions
  14. Becoming upset when others compliment you

Why do we get jealous in a relationship

According to an article on by April Eldemire, jealousy in a relationship can be more about your own weaknesses than your partner’s behaviour.

For instance, if you’ve experienced traumatic events in the past, you may be prone to jealousy.

It is critical to discuss these experiences with your partner so that you can be aware of and respect each other’s triggers.

Additionally, she suggests that jealousy may be motivated by low self-esteem or a negative self-image.

According to her, if you are not confident and attractive, it can be difficult to think that your partner actually loves and cherishes you.

Additionally, jealousy can be triggered by unreasonable expectations about the partnership at other times.

It is unhealthy for spouses to spend their time together exclusively.

how to overcome jealousy

Eldmire emphasises the importance of remembering that feelings are not facts and urges her clients to examine the facts underlying their feelings.

Additionally, she argues that jealousy can become an issue if it affects your actions and your feelings about the relationship in general.

According to Tony Robbins, the root cause of jealousy in relationships is a lack of self-esteem.

This view is consistent with research indicating that heightened jealousy is associated with lower self-esteem.

It is natural to project your insecurities onto your partner when you do not feel confident in yourself or believe that you deserve their love.

Limiting beliefs are false beliefs we have about ourselves and our true natures that prevent us from reaching our full potential.

Tony Robbins

Robbins continues by stating that if you learn how to replace them with empowering thoughts and confidence, you will learn how to quit being jealous.

How to get over jealousy and possessiveness in a relationship

Even though you possess certain characteristics, they do not have to be permanent.

There are strategies that you can employ to help decrease or remove these negative feelings completely.

With some practice, you can begin to enjoy your relationships without being harmed by jealousy or possessiveness.

Here are some suggestions for how to get over jealousy:

To begin the process of overcoming jealousy, I agree with Tony Robbins’ advice to begin with honesty and awareness:

Be upfront with yourself about the true impact of your jealousy

The refusal to accept a problem makes it impossible to find a solution to it.

Rather than pretending you aren’t feeling jealous or your jealousy isn’t a problem, be honest.

Are your insecurities making you feel uneasy, and how are they interfering with your romantic relationships?

It may be difficult to accept the difficulties that envy is bringing in your relationship, but take heart in the fact that you are taking the first step towards a more fulfilling one.

Become aware of what your jealousy is revealing to you

According to, a family therapist’s opinion on how to avoid being envious says that instead of perceiving jealousy as a problem, view it as a solution.

Jealousy (or any other relationship difficulty) is a window of opportunity we can gaze through to acquire clarity.

Humans have a strong sense of emotion, which is the source of both our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows.

It is for a reason that we have formed these emotions: they are there to inform us of something.

how to overcome jealousy

To begin with, rather than attempting to shut down envious behaviour outright, try to understand it.

What problem is your jealousy aiming to solve or achieve?

Working your way backwards from there will assist you in figuring out how to quit being jealous of others.

The only way to get long-term relief is to pinpoint the cause of the problem and develop new and better ways to address the same fundamental needs.

Additionally, you must begin modifying or addressing some of the negative jealous feelings you are experiencing by doing some of the following…

Claiming your own self-worth

What exactly is self-worth?

To find out, answer the following question: How much do you think you’re worth?

Your self-worth, or the value you place on yourself, is the answer. 

Now, crucial to understand is that even if you have ups and downs or times of jealousy, your self-worth as a person is unaffected.

Whether we believe it or not, we all have worth.

This value is derived from our very being, as well as from our unique set of skills, talents, ideas, and strengths.

What does this have to do with getting over jealousy?

Unless trust has been destroyed in a relationship at some time, jealousy usually stems from a lack of self-worth, which we try to obtain through force, such as controlling another person or thing.

However, when we let go of the idea that we need to exert ourselves on others or establish our worth in some way, and instead claim our own self-worth, jealousy becomes null and void.

When I no longer have to prove or prop myself up, I can be free and allow others to be free as well.

Being kind to yourself

This idea obviously flows on from the last…

When we face challenges or a breakup in our relationships, we might experience a variety of emotions, including self-blame, which can lead to feelings of guilt and inadequacy, which can contribute to depression.

The same can happen when we’re jealous.

Despite knowing that it’s hurting us and our spouse, we cannot help ourselves and continue being jealous or possessive.

However, berating yourself is pointless.

Instead, if appropriate, place blame on your actions or behaviours rather than on yourself.

Never doubt your own self-worth; rather, question your actions and habits, which can be changed.

Rather than wallow in self-pity, list your blessings and become aware of your chances, and you’ll feel instantly more hopeful about the future.

That of course leads to…

Believing in the possibility of change

You might think that jealousy and possessiveness are innate parts of you that cannot be changed.

However, one need only consider the thousands of people throughout history who have successfully changed their life to see that change is possible.

You have the ability to change if they can!

If your marriage is important enough, you WILL make the change.

But keep in mind that only actions matter when it comes to transformation.

You can start with…

Letting go of the notion that anyone can be “owned” by anyone else.

Couples often have the illusion that they “belong” to each other, which is common.

But it’s also a myth.

No matter how strong your grip on your spouse is, they will eventually leave at the first opportunity.*

Being a jealous and possessive person is one of the most damaging things one can be in a relationship.

The sooner you let go of the idea that you can “own” or control your spouse, the better your chances of repairing your marriage and having a happy relationship.

But, if it’s too late, you also cannot think of them in the same way that you would your car or home.

Allow them to leave if that is what they have grown to desire, because “incarcerating” someone who is no longer interested in you serves no purpose.

Harmony is impossible to achieve in such a partnership.

All you can do is change your own ways and hope and pray for a change of heart on the part of the other party.


Developing a healthy sense of independence

The underlying concept of this point is that people who make another person the centre of their existence are naturally more possessive and jealous.

Of course, this is not always the case, but it serves as a starting point.

As a result, one sure-fire way to stop focusing your life on your partner is to develop or discover a healthy sense of independence.

Develop your talents, find an outlet, and join another tribe, and you’ll realise you don’t need to burden your love connection with the full obligation of providing all of your wants.

Developing healthy independence is a wonderful approach to overcome jealousy since it broadens your life and viewpoint beyond the confines of a single relationship.

Of course, this does not imply growing apart from your spouse but rather growing independently as individuals.

Take away idea

Healthy intimate relationships are one of life’s greatest pleasures, offering us company, laughter, and passion.

When your relationship is founded on trust, it acts as a safe haven that can give your life meaning.

However, when jealousy erodes your partnership’s trust and respect, the relationship frequently becomes a hindrance to personal growth and happiness.

Yes, every partnership has its own set of difficulties, including jealousy at times.

And, while some jealousy is appropriate, excessive jealousy may be devastating for everyone involved.

So, if you feel your partner is jealous or possessive and want to know how to detect the warning signs and how to get over jealousy, start by paying attention to the information in this article.

Because the more we understand about jealousy and how to stop being jealous in a relationship, the more likely we are to have a healthy and intimate love relationship.

*Note: I write from a Western cultural perspective, and I recognise that this may not apply in the same manner in other cultures or countries.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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