10 Types of Jealousy, and how to detect them

10 Types of Jealousy, and how to detect them

Jealousy is a set of negative emotions, thoughts and attitudes in situations where we feel that something valuable is in danger.

Let’s look at the different types of jealousy to learn how to detect them.

Jealousy. That great evil of society. In the last almost five decades, experts from various fields, such as psychology, sociology, biology and medicine have begun to give special importance to this phenomenon and to contribute knowledge from their research. Some academics claim that jealousy is the result of a social construct determined by social norms that dictate that a person should feel jealous and respond in a certain way to triggering situations.

Experts comment that exposure to mass media is an extremely important vehicle for passively contributing to the creation of certain patterns of thought and response related to jealousy. The debate is open and various hypotheses have been put forward.

What is jealousy?

Jealousy is considered one of the three most common problems experienced in intimate relationships and can become a major relationship problem. As a fact to reflect on, in the United States, in the period between 2009 and 2013 a total of 433 homicides committed as a result of a love triangle were reported, where jealousy probably played a very important role. And is that this phenomenon can end up linked in some cases to violent crimes, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Throughout human culture and through different forms of expression, such as painting, literature or cinema, people have expressed one of the most universal emotions: jealousy. Jealousy is one of the most famous challenges in intimate relationships. It is a word that is not even remotely unfamiliar to us. However, we often find it difficult to define it precisely and the definition can vary or take on certain nuances depending on the context of jealousy.

According to Professor Jennifer Bevan, jealousy is an experience consisting of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in response to the perception that an external figure is jeopardizing a valued relationship. This definition can be a bit lame in certain situations, so it is more efficient to divide jealousy into different subtypes in order to describe it more effectively.

Below we will address a list-making classification of 10 different types of jealousy. However, before continuing, it is important to note that this is an informative article and that if you need more information or help in this regard, it would be best to consult a psychologist specialized in this subject.

What kinds of jealousy are there?

As we have mentioned before, jealousy is a set of thoughts, emotions such as anger, despair, disgust and envy as well as behaviours. In fact, we often tend to think that jealousy is a synonym of envy, in fact, some people use them equivalently since both terms tend to appear in the same situations.

In addition, feelings of insecurity, fear and concern about the lack of possession or security in certain situations often accompany this phenomenon. Although the main idea that comes to mind is that of envy in couple relationships, it does not only occur in these situations but can also occur in friendship situations and in social situations in general. Sometimes the presence of another person is not even necessary to fall into this category.

1. Material jealousy

This type of jealousy is one of the most instinctive and primitive in human beings and its principle is based on the attachment to certain material objects. They are easy to detect in childhood and in older people, as well as in other animals. In these cases, we anxiously defend our possessions, we will get angry if someone approaches us or lays hands on them and in more exaggerated cases, we may start a fight with other people to keep in our possession such materials.

2. Social jealousy

This jealousy is noticeable in many social situations in which people feel that they must compete with one or several people to demonstrate their success, better abilities in certain activities, or to show that they are above others. The main characteristic or basis of social jealousy is the comparison with other people and the need to defend our social image. It can occur in many types of social environments, such as sports, the world of work, or simply someone you meet somewhere and awakens your sense of competition.

3. Family jealousy

We speak of family jealousy as that which arises between related people, it is linked to the need for security and belonging and can be classified into two types of family jealousy depending on the relationship that exists between them:

3.1. Jealousy between people in the same role.

A classic example is the feelings of jealousy between siblings that we have all experienced or heard about.

3.2. Jealousy in which there is a generational difference between the people involved and therefore they play different roles.

This would be the case of jealousy between the daughter-in-law and the mother-in-law, who feel that they are competing for the affection of the son/partner. Or, the case of parents and children, where the former may feel envious about the childhood and privileges that their children have and that they do not have now or never got to possess.

4. Professional jealousy

This is a type of social jealousy specialized in the world of work and is a fairly common problem in society. It arises both between colleagues in the same position, who feel that they are competing and compare their productivity with that of the rest, and with people with different job positions, such as the employee and the boss, where the employee feels an envy towards the person who has a more important position.

5. Pre-emptive or possessive romantic jealousy

Now we come to the most famous type of jealousy and those that first come to mind when thinking about the word “jealousy”. These in turn could be classified into three distinct distinctions, which are emotional, cognitive and behavioural.

This refers to whether we simply have a feeling of discomfort when we feel that our relationship may be threatened, or whether we develop thoughts and develop such emotions of jealousy in our head, or whether having done both, we take action and engage in certain behaviours in response to our feelings and thoughts.

The case of preemptive or so-called possessive romantic jealousy refers to the efforts a jealous person makes to prevent his or her partner’s contact with people of the opposite sex. For example, individuals with possessive jealousy do not consider it acceptable for their partner to have friends and/or socialize with people of the opposite sex. On extreme occasions, the jealous person may resort to violence or harassment in order to limit his or her partner’s autonomy.

6. Reactive or emotional romantic jealousy

Reactive jealousy consists of the range of negative emotions we experience, such as anger or discomfort, when our partner has been emotionally or sexually unfaithful. For example, people may experience anger or feel hurt when their partner is flirting or kissing someone. This type of jealousy is normal to feel because a real external threatening situation is the trigger.

7. Anxious romantic jealousy

Anxious jealousy refers to the process in which jealous people have obsessive thoughts and images in their head about their partner committing infidelity, which leads them to experience feelings of anxiety, suspicion, worry and distrust. It is important to note that, in contrast to reactive jealousy, both possessive and anxious jealousy may not only be motivated in response to partner behaviours that generate distrust but may also be experienced in the absence of such behaviours.

8. Retrospective romantic jealousy

Although we have all heard of or even experienced different varieties of jealousy, this type of retrospective jealousy is also well known. It is based on obsession and preoccupation with our partner’s past. Thus, sometimes the jealous person wants to know everything, in great detail, about their partner’s past relationships, both flirtations and more serious relationships, both day-to-day routines, as well as specific moments in sexual interactions or the type of language used between them. Retrospective romantic jealousy in many cases stems from feelings of insecurity and lack of self-esteem, in which the jealous person tends to compare themselves and feel inferior to previous partners.

9. Projective romantic jealousy

Another very interesting type of jealousy is projective jealousy, these consist of the existence of fears and concern for our partner committing sexual or emotional infidelities that we wish to commit. An example of this would be when, even having a great relationship, we begin to develop in our mind sexual fantasies with people other than our current partner. One way of perhaps freeing ourselves from this self-conflict is to blame the other person for these desires that belong to us, even if it is a somewhat irrational mechanism.

10. Pathological jealousy

Jealousy is a very human set of emotions, thoughts and behaviours. However, we must be careful with the magnitude and development of the same, because in extreme cases they can become dangerous for our mental and physical health, as well as that of our partner. Sometimes, it is pathological jealousy that devastatingly ends long relationships.

In pathological jealousy, there is a distortion of reality and a combination of ideas and obsessive attitudes. In pathological jealousy, the person with pathological jealousy compulsively seeks evidence or facts that confirm his or her theories and oppressively controls his or her partner, sometimes following him or her all day long. This type of jealousy is found in psychological diagnostic manuals and is categorized as delusional disorder.

These delusional disorders include obsessive jealousy, anxious jealousy, paranoid jealousy, separation anxiety (the person is unable to accept that their relationship may have an end) and post-detachment jealousy, jealousy that arises after a relationship has ended.

In conclusion, jealousy has existed and has been represented in culture throughout the history of mankind and sometimes it is necessary to go through it. However, care must be taken so that it does not develop and reach pathological extremes in which it is highly advisable to seek professional psychological help. As we have seen, nowadays there is some confusion between the words “jealousy” and “envy” and they tend to be used synonymously. We find different types of jealousy, being able to be material, social and, the most known, romantic. With this article, we hope to have entertained you and to have shed some more light and clarity on the interesting subject of jealousy.

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