Jealousy can be mild and based on observable behavior, or severe and unrelated to reality, according to the "Psychology Today Magazine" website. It can be a toxic emotion, yet some believe that it is a side effect of being in love. A spouse might eventually drive away the person they allegedly love the most--jealousy can become a self-fulfilling proposition.
Jealousy and love are linked by centuries of fictional accounts. Shakespeare's "Othello" deals with jealousy and murder. The character Iago called jealousy the "green-eyed monster," and that monster used to be an excuse for spousal murder in certain countries, such as Portugal and Brazil, in colonial times. A husband had the legal right to kill both his adulterous wife and her lover, upon discovering them in the act of adultery, says Susan K. Besse in a 2001 article she wrote for the "Journal of Social History." Laws changed, yet sexual jealousy remains a leading cause for spousal murder today.
Love and jealousy are both emotions. Both can overwhelm logic and influence behavior. Love is a positive emotion, though, and jealousy involves negative thoughts and actions. Jealousy stems from a perceived threat or behavior, and sometimes occurs when one partner feels less desirable than the other. It also occurs when a person has feelings of insecurity unrelated to the relationship.
Jealousy might have had a place in ancient times, according to the "Psychology Today Magazine" website. Husbands guarded their wives' activities to ensure that any children born in the union were biologically his. Jealousy might have been nature's tool for genetic survival. Today, it rarely benefits the jealous person.
Certain signs indicate jealous tendencies in lovers early on in a relationship. Incessant phone calls at work and at home can be a sign of jealous behavior. Avoiding unhealthy relationships might be easier than avoiding being jealous. Love and jealousy can become linked in a person's mind, so sorting out what the real issues can be a challenge. Therapists can help delve into the insecurities that provoke jealousy and controlling behavior. Couple counselors can help identify issues in relationships that can trigger unhealthy feelings of dependency.
Jealous people often are insecure people, according to "Psychology Today Magazine." Jealousy can lead to manipulative behavior. Rather than controlling irrational thoughts within themselves, lovers try to monitor where their partners go, what they wear and what friends they have.