Pathological Jealousy and Signs that You Have to Detect

Pathological Jealousy and Signs that You Have to Detect

Is your boyfriend jealous? It is a normal feeling that occurs to everyone, but you need to know what is pathological jealousy and what is considered normal and healthy jealousy.

Although jealousy is not a feeling we should be proud of, the fact is that we have all felt it at some point, especially when it comes to jealousy in a relationship. It is quite normal to feel a certain amount of discomfort and envy when you see that your boyfriend is having a great time in the company of an enchanting blonde who is just his friend’s girlfriend, a friend from school, or something like that. This kind of jealousy is completely normal and acceptable because it is a sign that we care about someone and that we do not care when there is a danger of losing him.

Pathological jealousy is something more than that. It can be very dangerous to be in a relationship with such a partner, and that is why it is good to know how to recognize her in time and how to deal with your partner’s possessiveness.

What makes pathological jealousy so dangerous

As we have said, normal jealousy will occur in situations when there are at least some indications that the survival of the relationship could be in danger due to the appearance of another person.

Pathological jealousy does not need a motive, signals, or visible evidence of infidelity.

Such persons seek evidence where it does not exist and in that way mentally, and sometimes physically, they exhaust and harass their partner.

Male fist

Pathological jealousy is also known as Othello syndrome [1]. This disorder is named after Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello”, in which the main character, due to jealousy and envy, strangles his mistress Desdemona at the end of the story.

Love with Othello syndrome is sick love!

People who are pathologically jealous are overwhelmed and preoccupied with the thought of their partner cheating on them. At the same time, they have no evidence for such a thing at all, and often no real reasons, but their jealousy is based on wrong beliefs. They justify their care with an excessive love for their partner. However, it is more than clear that it is not about love, but possessiveness and a serious disorder that is not to be neglected at all.

Jealousy of this intensity is a psychological disorder, and in addition to these obsessive and possessive thoughts and delusions [2], it also includes some unacceptable and abnormal, overemphasized actions that disrupt the stability of a relationship. And more than that – they can turn it into a real hell. Othello syndrome is a serious diagnosis, just like schizophrenia or any other psychosis that makes the brain see or hear something that is not there.


Men and women express pathological jealousy differently:

  • Men with this disorder are more prone to violence and to injuring and even killing someone with their own hands. In this case, women resort to some kind of weapon, and most often it is a knife.
  • Men are mostly jealous of the status of potential and imagined lovers, while women are jealous of the youth and physical attractiveness of a potential mistress.
  • For men, sexual infidelity is the trigger for this kind of behavior, while for women, emotional infidelity is on their minds when they have jealous scenes.


What they have in common is the fact that they are looking for an occasion in everything and everywhere, where it could be and where it does not exist at all. Life with a partner like this can be worse than life in prison because, in addition to isolation, it involves psychological torture that requires you to constantly invent meaningless reasons and justifications for everyday moves.

What are the signs of pathological jealousy

What are the signs of pathological jealousy

Have you ever complained to a friend that your boyfriend is jealous? This is the first alarm signal! If his envy has reached that stage that you have to complain to someone, because his behavior bothers and suffocates you, maybe you should pay attention to the signs of pathological jealousy.

Normal jealousy is not of strong intensity. While it can lead to some outbursts, misunderstandings and scenes, it can also be kept to itself. Mostly there is some grain of doubt that justifies such behavior.

Pathological jealousy is not hidden, it does not stick to itself and it is very clear, and you will recognize it by the following signs:

  • Your partner often accuses you of cheating and falling in love if you look at someone, talk to someone, look at the phone…
  • It examines your behavior in the smallest details – where you looked, what you said, what you thought
  • Checks your phone calls, phonebook numbers, missed and sent calls as well as text messages
  • Does not allow you to hang out on social networks and open an account on Facebook, Twitter or similar for fear of meeting online
  • It doesn’t allow you to hang out with old friends and family, it doesn’t allow you to get a job. Slowly but surely it begins to isolate you from people
  • It does not allow you to engage in hobbies, sports or any activities outside the home
  • He claims that you have a lover as soon as you try to defend yourself and withdraw from such a sick relationship.
  • He denies jealousy and the fact that he has a problem
  • He admits jealous behavior and apologizes for it, but over time he repeats things that hurt you.
  • He lies and invents situations that did not happen. For example that you said someone’s name in a dream or that in those rare situations when you are able to see someone (say in a store), you are seen talking and flirting with someone.


All this is actually psychological violence against you, and if you do not recognize and solve this problem in time, it can damage your health.

What makes pathological jealousy especially dangerous and why it differs from acceptable jealousy are the threats of physical violence or suicide, but also the real physical and verbal violence you can experience.

Pathological jealousy in marriage is often an introduction to domestic violence. It often develops into strange, intricate, and complicated, violent relationships that can end in a marriage in which one side is the victim and the other plays the victim. Jealousy in marriage and in a relationship can be complicated, especially when the victim is financially dependent on the partner and has children.

Over time, the real victim seems to have nowhere to run because she has no job, no money, no friends, and has an obligation to the children and the only thing left is to suffer and believe that all this is really just an unusual way to express love. Often such relationships end in tragedy.


Where does this behavior come from?

Did you recognize in this behavior the jealousy of your boyfriend or does your friend have a relationship like this? You may think that it is karmic love and debt that you draw from the past and that you have to repay, justify it with passion, temperament, destiny, but that is not the right opinion, and it can in no way be called love.

Such persons are not only prone to jealous scenes in a relationship, but often persecute their victim, both in person and over the Internet, and thus cause fear.

The causes of possessiveness and jealousy in a relationship are most often the following:

  • some bad experience in life
  • family history of pathological jealousy, schizophrenia or some other mental illness
  • growing up with overly strict and demanding parents
  • bad role models in life
  • certain cerebral injuries
  • alcoholism, drugs, and consumption of substances that affect the mental state
  • sexual dysfunction
  • low self-esteem

These people are not confident in themselves and their qualities, so they cast the shadow of their doubts on their partner. Very often, pathological jealousy goes hand in hand with other mental personality disorders. This way, it can happen that this type of person is kind, sociable and charming in front of everyone, and that in a relationship he turns into a real envious monster and an energy vampire who will finish you off.

Studies have shown [3] that 27-34% of pathological jealousy can be associated with alcoholism.

How to deal with a jealous partner

How to deal with a jealous partner

Being in a relationship with a person who has Othello syndrome is not at all easy and it can seem insane to someone on the side trying to save a sinking ship. Such relationships can be dangerous, violent, and fatal, and the best option is to escape from them. It is not at all easy for a participant in such a relationship, even in the role of a victim. There are mixed feelings of closeness, love, hate, understanding, fear.

This type of jealousy is not easy to cure and requires the involvement of a professional and appropriate psychological and psychiatric cognitive therapy.

Is there any way to overcome jealousy?

If your boyfriend is very jealous, you should do the following:

Separate love and jealousy. Although there are beliefs that it is normal to be jealous when you love someone, excessive love does not mean excessive jealousy and possessiveness. Love is both in giving and receiving, not in complete control of one’s life and behavior.

Make a decision to set boundaries. Let your partner know clearly and loudly what bothers you in his behavior and what you will not tolerate. Be specific. “I want to listen to all your doubts and help you overcome them, but I will not allow you to prevent me from talking to other people.” If he doesn’t respect the boundaries, don’t respect the ones he imposes on you. Leave him.

Think about your actions. Are you doing something in self-defense that causes additional anger in your partner? For example, when a jealous boyfriend calls you for the 78th time today, you don’t answer. This is not a solution, because, for a person who is pathologically jealous, it immediately arouses suspicion and creates nervousness and aggression. If you care about saving a relationship like this, get used to the fact that you should always be available and that there is no room for games and mysteries.

Do not accept accusations of acts you did not commit, just to calm the situation. By doing so, you are just digging an even bigger pit in which anything can fit. Explain in a calm voice that talking to a friend on the street is just a conversation that does not involve sexual attraction or such intentions. Don’t accept accusations that you may have looked at someone, touched him, or did something else.

Talk to your partner, but not in the sense that you are trying to dissuade him because that is impossible. If you really care, try to persuade him to seek professional help together.

Be open and accessible. Talk to him about his fears and insecurities, but don’t overwhelm his feelings. Let it be known that you understand how he feels, and then explain how you feel.

Show love. He does it often and in any way. This can mean that you will always answer his phone, because why would you avoid someone you love. In such situations, there is no place to force spite. You can also simply, out of pure peace, let him know that you care. Say it. Send a message. Give him a hug.

Seek professional help. Pathological jealousy is a disorder that requires treatment, and you will find it difficult to deal with it yourself. Not only your partner needs help, but you also need it too. Such relationships can shake your faith in other people and other men and leave lasting consequences on your emotional life.

If even after all this, your partner does not show the intention to change and does not understand that his behavior makes you feel bad, it is clear that there is no love because love is not selfish or narcissistic. In that case, it is best to go and break up with him.

When infatuation still lasts and when the chemistry in our body still stirs the flames, awakens flowers in the head and butterflies in the stomach, jealousy and possessiveness can seem even tempting – as a sign of great love and attention. Then when infatuation ceases and a bond needs to be established between two people based on trust, love, and connection, possessiveness becomes a great burden and can tear down the built foundations of love.


Love and jealousy are not the same

Love and pathological jealousy have nothing in common. Both in words and deeds are huge differences that are sometimes difficult to reconcile. Tightly connected, they grow into a strange, sick, malignant relationship that cannot have a happy ending. It will either disrupt your relationship, or it will disrupt your health, and most likely both.

Pathological jealousy is a mental illness, and this kind of relationship is something we can understand as the cancer of love. Just as cancer lets its metastases take root, so jealousy spreads its tentacles and exhausts love, trust, tolerance, hope, and that is not naive at all.

Very often, the end result of such a relationship is fatal, both figuratively and literally. That is why it is important to recognize your Othello in time, no matter how skillfully he disguised jealousy in love and attention. Our advice is to leave him. Whether you fight or run – that decision is still up to you.

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