Jealousy is an emotion that keeps you from falling out of love, while at the same time it keeps you from feeling love. It keeps you emotionally bound to and dependent upon the person you love.

In the range of human emotions, jealousy strikes primal. Cain, son of Adam in the Bible, slew his brother out of jealous voluntary.

But insecure jealous people may not trust the voluntary nature of the other’s commitment. Under such conditions, the possessive partner may try to make the relationship involuntary, perhaps through guilt or fear. He or she may try to make the partner dependent, too dependent to leave, or may try to make the other feel too guilty to leave, perhaps by threatening suicide or the punishment of guilt through eternity. Or the threat may be more immediate, like the threat of violence or homicide.

These are all efforts to end the voluntary nature of the relationship and maintain bonding through intimidation. The marriage with such a history will be uncomfortable—on both sides—since it is involuntary and inescapable. People don’t take well to being held captive, whatever the bonds that tie them, says Frank Pittman in his book Private Lies (W.W. Norton, 1990).

Jealousy is sometimes the surest way to get rid of the very person you are afraid of losing. Conversation between the r own desire to cheat on their spouse and accuse their partner of cheating instead. Feeling sexually attracted to someone else, they assume the partner has similar feelings about others. These individuals become suspicious and vigilant, even when the partner is entirely innocent.

For example, a man who feels attracted to others may assume that because he has such feelings, his wife or girlfriend must have them too. Anyone who is keeping a delicate balance between loyalty and temptation may suspect that his or her partner is not above it either.

The only really helpful response to jealousy is to reaffirm the bonds of the partnership. If the bonds are indeed being broken—by infidelity, distance or dishonesty—then the jealousy will quickly turn into desperation, despair and rage. The solution to jealousy is trust, and trust is not an act of faith, but the state of the relationship. It takes both people, it takes time and it takes consistent effort, reminds Pittman.

If jealousy is answered by closeness, the jealous response usually lessens.

Has your relationship turned cold and distant? Neil’s book Love, Sex, and Staying Warm can help you rekindle your passion.

Get My Book Today →
  • Did you find this article helpful? Share it with your friends!
  • Want more articles like this delivered to your inbox every week? Sign up here.
  • To make an appointment, call (303) 758-8777 or email [email protected].