Is jealousy ever healthy in a relationship?

Close up of shadowy face and eye that looks jealous and menacing.
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You asked us, so we asked The Line community...

"Is jealousy ever healthy in a relationship?"

There were plenty of different responses, but a common theme was that if jealousy bubbled up, that can be OK – but it’s what you do with it that counts: 

  • DON’T justify being a control freak by calling it jealousy or love.
  • DO recognise what your feels are doing and talk to your partner in a way that aims to move beyond jealousy.
  • DO remember there are a helluva lot of healthier ways to show how much someone means than crossing the line into jealousy or fear of losing them.
  • DO listen to your intuition and talk to your partner if you are experiencing doubts. In a healthy relationship both partners should be able to openly communicate about their concerns.

If you find that you're trying to make your partner jealous, it could also be a sign that you're feeling insecure – talking to someone about this might help.

  • David: No. Though other commenters are right to say one shouldn't be ashamed of their own emotions, that doesn't necessarily mean the presence of a particular emotion in a relationship is healthy. 
  • Kitty: I think jealousy is a learned emotion and usually comes from a fear of loss. I don't believe that jealousy is healthy at all. One can envy someone, sure, but jealousy is often misrepresented as a sign of love... it isn't... its fear of loss, controlling behaviour and mistrust... none of which builds a healthy relationship.
  • Luke: Jealousy and envy can be in a lot of situations. Using them as justification for doing crappy things is what is unhealthy. 
  • Jordan: No, jealousy is a negative emotion. Acknowledge it, talk about it, then move on. This doesn't mean you can't learn things from jealousy.  
  • Nikki: I don’t think it’s healthy but I do think it’s normal and natural. What’s healthy is talking and working through it.
  • Patrick: Emotions can't be helped, they're part of why we're human. Acting on jealousy is what causes problems.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone about how your relationship is making you feel visit kidshelpline.com.au or 1800RESPECT .

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