Both jealousy and possessiveness can come in many forms. In some men, it manifests itself as the outright controlling and abusive behavior that we all think of when we imagine a jealous man. However, in the vast majority of cases, jealousy can appear in such subtle ways that you may miss it if you’re not paying close attention. Whether it’s overt or subdued, the result is the same: jealousy and possessiveness slowly erode the bonds of your relationship. There are ways to prevent this, but for that, you’re going to have to learn how to spot it! That’s easier said than done, which is why I thought I’d try to help you get started with today’s article. I’ve been working as a love and relationship expert for a long time, and having met a lot of men with jealousy and trust issues. At this point, even when I first meet a client, I know the subtle signs that tell me if he is jealous and possessive. I want to walk you through them, so you’ll be prepared to catch problems like this long before they cause irreparable damage to your relationship.
What makes knowing how to see the signs of jealousy so difficult is the sheer amount of different shapes and forms jealousy and possessiveness come in. For each person, it’s a completely different story, and the ways jealousy appears in relationships is unique to each situation. To make matters worse, many of these behaviors are so subtle that you may not even read them as jealousy at first. Still, there are some commonalities between the countless types of jealousy, which is why my approach is going to be to point out the undercurrents that run through the emotion in all of its different shapes and forms. That way, you’ll be able to look at your own relationship and check for those same elements on a broader scale, instead of looking for specific moments or circumstances. If jealousy, possessiveness, and control are present in your life, this process should help you see them clearly.
Signs He is Jealous and Possessive
Let’s start with the basics. Where does jealousy come from? I’ve heard this question time and time again, and in virtually every situation I’ve ever seen, the answer is always the same: insecurity. There may be countless ways that jealousy is actually expressed, but no matter how it manifests itself in your relationship, ultimately it’s about him feeling “less than”, weak, and powerless somewhere deep down inside, usually even farther down than he can immediately recognize. Mix that with the way he values your relationship, and you’ll end up with some kind of awful force deep in his mind that’s telling him that he’s at risk of losing you to something or someone better. While it may seem sweet that, deep down inside, your man is concerned about losing you, the reality is that he’s suffering from this feeling and soon your relationship will be suffering from it too. His attempts to ease the pain can lead to increasingly controlling, possessive, and volatile behavior. Unless you help him get a handle on these feelings, you’re both in for a very bumpy road ahead, and it’s a road that typically leads sooner or later to separation. So, now that we’ve talked about the root of the feeling, the first sign that you’re dealing with a jealous man should come as no surprise: the perpetual threat.
The Core of Jealousy In Relationships
For someone suffering from jealousy, everything is a potential threat to their relationship. Even things that are genuinely, and obviously, harmless cause those inner alarm bells to start ringing, and once they do it can be almost impossible to fight the urge to protect the relationship from harm. The problem with this kind of underlying paranoia is that the threats are imaginary, but the body’s response is not. To make matters worse, most men experiencing jealousy don’t take the time to look inside and understand this feeling, so they take the threat seriously and act on it. This is how we end up with possessive behavior: a possessive man is trying to overcome or even prevent imaginary threats to his role in your life. If this sounds like an excuse for the behavior, it’s not. Every single one of us has the power to reflect on our feelings, and recognize when our alarm systems need some fine-tuning. Attempting to control your partner’s life to make up for your own lack of self-reflection is unhealthy, lazy, and wrong. However, when you’re on the receiving end of it, it’s worth knowing how this process works so you can determine whether or not it’s worth it to try to push your partner to fix the problem.
We all know the outright signs of jealousy – when he tells you to stop talking to a coworker, or gets into a fight at the bar. But for the vast majority of women the signs of jealousy in a relationship are much more subtle. Even if he’s not what you imagined as the jealous type, he can still slowly start to suffocate you in a possessive relationship. That’s why, now that we know how this process works, we should take a look at some of the more subtle signs of jealousy.
A Jealous Man Can Quietly Isolate You
It may seem almost impossible to notice at first, but a possessive person will inevitably drive a wedge between you and the circle you had before your relationship. Many people don’t catch this, because their partner doesn’t forbid them from seeing their friends and family outright, and if confronted would swear up and down that he has no problem with you seeing whoever you please. However, just because he’s not literally locking you in the house doesn’t mean it can’t happen. He may seem dejected when you leave him alone, he may seem uninterested in seeing his own friends or pursuing his own hobbies, meaning that you can never slip away without feeling guilty. After a while, you may even limit yourself or step away from your friends and family to avoid making him feel bad. The thing about this is that, often, this type of possessiveness is unintentional! He simply doesn’t like it when you’re away, and he doesn’t understand why, even though if he looked deep enough inside he might find that the root cause is jealousy, and underneath that, it’s insecurity. He doesn’t want to lose you to anyone else, real or imagined. Unfortunately, even if it’s benign, it’s just as corrosive to your relationship as openly jealous and controlling behavior.
A Possessive Relationship May Get Between You and Your Dreams
When you and your partner first got together, I bet you had plenty of your own personal hopes and dreams for the future. As time has gone on, you may feel like you’ve put some of them on the backburner. But be careful! Here’s where many people miss one of the subtle hallmarks of a possessive relationship: did you put it on the backburner, or did he? All too often, I’ve met women who believe their partner is supporting them by talking them out of taking chances on their passions. “He’s helping me be more realistic,” or “he’s helping me avoid disaster later on”, are common refrains.
The thing is, there’s a fine line between helping you be strategic about achieving your goals, and talking you out of them altogether. If you’re in the latter category, you’re dealing with passive possessiveness: he’s afraid of losing you to your goals and passions. To an insecure man, wherever lofty places those dreams might lead can’t possibly have room for him too, so it’s safer to keep you from going there at all. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster, because sooner or later you’ll resent him for it, which is one of the many ways that jealousy can ruin relationships. Remember, someone who truly loves you and values you will always push you to pursue your passions, even if they’re afraid they might lose you. Ironically, it’s exactly the people willing to let you follow your dreams that you’ll never let go of.
A Possessive Person Can Have You Second-Guessing Yourself
One of the biggest challenges facing you as you keep an eye out for signs of jealousy in a relationship is this: you’ll think you’re going crazy. Every instance when a red flag flashes in front of your face has its corresponding excuse from a jealous man. The truth is that most people don’t understand themselves well enough to know what they’re doing, or why they’re doing it. So when you try to point out the problem, they’ll convince you that you’re making the whole thing up. Deflecting, denying, and disagreeing is all you can expect, and this will happen regularly enough to where eventually you’ll doubt whether there actually is a jealousy issue or not! Gaslighting is a real thing, and it’s also one of the most common signs of a toxic relationship. Inevitably, it ends up with you feeling like each time he’s upset is your fault. That’s why, the next time you’re asking yourself “is he jealous?”, take a step back and ask yourself how many times you’ve asked yourself that this year. If this question is always on your mind, there might be something to it!
Can You Overcome Jealousy in Relationships?
So, if you’ve spotted the signs of jealousy and possessiveness in your relationship, what happens next? The next step is different for everyone, but I’d suggest that before anything else you try to honestly gauge how likely it is that you can change the situation or not. For that, you’ll need to know how to communicate openly with your partner about this: talking it through, and hearing that he’s willing to work on himself, is key.
The problem is, of course, that since insecurity is the root of his jealousy, it’s possible that he’ll have a defensive reaction! If you’re scared about this, let me tell you that the people worth keeping around are the ones who can overcome their worst tendencies and respect you enough to listen to what you have to say. At the same time, knowing how to communicate is vital, because if your partner perceives your words as just another threat he needs to stamp out, it’s hopeless to even try. Of course, communication in these types of situations is tricky, but it’s never too late to learn. I’d recommend checking out our course in communication by clicking here, where you’ll find some tools and tricks that can help you out!
So, to recap what we’ve gone over today, here’s are some of the subtle signs of jealousy in a relationship:
1. A Jealous Man Quietly Isolates You
2. A Possessive Relationship Gets Between You and Your Dreams
3. A Possessive Person Will Have You Second-Guessing Yourself
Remember, each situation is unique, and if your gut tells you that you’re being limited or hemmed-in by your relationship in any way, it’s worth listening to it. It’s never a bad idea to try to make sense of the feeling with professional help either, which is why we welcome you to reach out to any of us here at Happily Committed by clicking this link. We can work with you to determine whether or not you’re dealing with a possessive man, and if you are, what you can do about it.
I really hope this article was helpful for you, and that you’ll be better prepared to spot those subtle signs of jealousy now and in the future!
Your coach when you’re looking for signs he is jealous and possessive,