Jealousy generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, and concern over a relative lack of possessions or safety.

It is conceptualized as a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response to a relationship threat.

It can consist of one or more emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness or disgust. 

Jealousy is distinct from envy, though the two terms have become synonymous.

These two emotions are often confused with each other, since they tend to appear in the same situation.

Jealousy is a typical experience in human relationships.

Jealousy has been observed in infants as young as five months.

Jealousy is seen in all cultures and is a universal trait, though some claim jealousy is a culture-specific emotion.

Jealousy can either be suspicious or reactive.

Jealousy is often reinforced as a series of particularly strong emotions.

Jealousy is universal human experience. 

Cultural beliefs and values are important role in determining what triggers jealousy and what constitutes socially acceptable expressions of jealousy.

The color green has been associated with jealousy and envy: expression “green with envy”.

Jealousy is not expressed through a single emotion or a single behavior, rather it is expressed through diverse emotions and behaviors.

Romantic jealousy-a complex of thoughts, feelings, and actions which follow threats to self-esteem and/or threats to the existence or quality of the relationship, when those threats are generated by the perception of potential attraction between one’s partner and a rival.

With emotional jealousy, an individual feels threatened by her or his partner’s emotional involvement with and/or love for a third party.

Emotional jealousy is defined as a defensive reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship.

Emotional jealousy arises from the partner’s involvement with an activity and/or another person is contrary to the jealous person’s definition of their relationship.

Jealousy can be triggered by the threat of separation from, or loss of, a romantic partner, when that threat is attributed to the possibility of the partner’s romantic interest in another person.

These definitions of jealousy imply a triad composed of a jealous individual, a partner, and a perception of a third party or rival. 

Definitions describe jealousy as a reaction to a perceived threat to the relationship between two people, or a dyad. 

Jealous reactions typically involve emotions and/or behaviors that are assumed to be protective for their attachment relationships. 

Popular culture uses the word jealousy as a synonym for envy. 

The overlapping use of jealousy and envy occurs because people can experience both at the same time. 

A person may envy the characteristics or possessions of someone who also happens to be a romantic rival.

People often use the word jealousy as a broad label applying to both experiences of jealousy and experiences of envy.

Distinguishing between jealousy and envy: jealousy involves the wish to keep what one has, and envy the wish to get what one does not have. 

A jealous person perception is that he or she possesses a valued relationship, but is in danger of losing it or at least of having it altered in an undesirable manner.

The envious person does not possess a valued commodity, but wishes to possess it.

Experiences of jealousy may involve:

Fear of loss

Suspicion of or anger about a perceived betrayal

Low self-esteem and sadness over perceived loss

Uncertainty and loneliness

Fear of losing an important person to another


The experience of envy involves:

Feelings of inferiority


Resentment of circumstances

Ill will towards envied person often accompanied by guilt about these feelings

Motivation to improve

Desire to possess the attractive rival’s qualities

Disapproval of feelings

Sadness towards other’s accomplishments

People can experience envy and jealousy at the same time, and feelings of envy about a rival can even intensify the experience of jealousy.

Jealousy involves is a complex narrative, including the circumstances that lead up to jealousy, jealousy itself as emotion, any attempt at self regulation, subsequent actions and events, and ultimately the resolution of the episode.  

Jealousy can originate from facts, thoughts, perceptions, memories, but also imagination, guesses and assumptions. 

Education and rational belief matter very little in jealousy.

One narrative suggests jealousy arises in great part made by the imagination. 

Imagination is strongly affected by a person’s cultural perceptions and context creating jealousy a a secondary emotion in reaction to one’s needs not being met: attachment, attention, reassurance.

Studies have also shown that jealousy sometimes heightens passion towards partners and increases the intensity of sex.

Jealousy in children and teenagers occurs  more often in those with low self-esteem and can evoke aggressive reactions. 

The development intimate friendships can be followed by emotional insecurity and loneliness in some children when those intimate friends interact with others. 

Jealousy is linked to aggression and low self-esteem.

Children are capable of feeling and displaying jealousy at as young as six months, explaining why children and infants show distress when a sibling is born, creating the foundation for sibling rivalry.

Obsessive Jealousy, can be a form of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Jealousy varies across cultures. 

Culture influences the situations that trigger jealousy and the manner in which jealousy is expressed. 

Attitudes toward jealousy can also change within a culture over time. 

Romantic jealousy arises as a result of romantic interest.

Romantic jealousy is a complex of thoughts, feelings, and actions that follow threats to self-esteem and/or threats to the existence or quality of the relationship generated by the perception of a real or potential romantic attraction between one’s partner and another.

Romantic jealousy is triggered by threats to self and relationship.

Sexual jealousy rather is triggered by sexual interest in another person.

As romantic jealousy is a complicated reaction that has multiple components: thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Sexual jealousy may be triggered when a person’s partner displays sexual interest in another person.

Experts often believe that sexual jealousy is in fact a biological imperative, by which humans ensure access to the best reproductive partners.

Male jealousy in heterosexual relationships may be influenced by their female partner’s phase in her menstrual cycle, as the time around and shortly before ovulation, males are found to display more mate-retention tactics, which are linked to jealousy.

More women over men consider emotional infidelity/fear of abandonment as more distressing than sexual infidelity.

Emotional jealousy is predicted to be nine times more responsive in females than in males. 

Due to paternity uncertainty in males, jealousy increases in males over sexual infidelity rather than emotional. 

 Women are likely to be upset by signs of withdrawal to another female than by sexual infidelity. 

Male jealousy decreases as females reproductive values decrease.

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