10 Causes of Jealousy in a Relationship

Updated: Sep 1, 2021
By Abu Hafsah
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Jealousy could result from being suspicious towards your partner; resentment towards someone for a perceived advantage or superiority they hold, and envy towards another’s possessions, or a close concern for someone. Arguably, jealousy is something everyone is born with; it is one’s inert ability, funny. In some cases, jealousies are advantageous while in some cases, problematic, which could even result in a breakup. There are different reasons or causes of jealousy in a relationship, some of which are: 

Causes of Jealousy in a Relationship

1. Keeping in Touch With Your Ex

Some relationships end between partners due to incompatibility, disagreement, infidelity, and the likes, while some are as a result of external forces outside of those in the relationship. If the latter is the case, there is a proclivity that one will feel the need to see, talk to, or mingle with their ex because the love is still there. Now when this happens, the present partner, be it the guy or the lady will start to feel jealous.

Also, in a situation whereby a couple is divorced and both are happily married to different people, there is a need for the ex to communicate with each other most especially if there are kids in between; the wellbeing of their children is their responsibility. Now as a partner of either of the two, jealousy is something you will feel. You can’t help it.

2. Having Friends of the Opposite Sex

This is one of the common causes of jealousy in a relationship, only a few persons will disagree. Most people like the feeling of “I am the only for my man/woman and so, no one from the opposite sex should come close to my man/woman”. 

In Northern Nigeria, it is evident that men and women hardly engage in boy/girl friendship and so, when you see your partner with the opposite sex, jealousy will set in. On the contrary, this is not true among the educated Northern Nigerians, majorly.

3. Inadequate Attention

Everyone by nature needs attention – attention from the opposite sex, be it your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife.

When you care about someone, you will require lots of attention from them. If that attention you crave is channeled in a different direction, jealousy will set in. In the case of a boy/girl relationship, a partner (married couples including) feels jealous when the other is busy concentrating more on other stuff or devoting most of their time in, maybe sports, work, studies etcetera.

Married couples, especially husbands, complain a lot. Most women tend to give more of their attention to their children than their husbands. The attention decreases as the number of children increases. They kind of feel their husbands are grown-ups and so can take care of themselves, but their kids are vulnerable. This results in jealousy on the side of the husbands.

For instance, I once read a story online by a whore saying, a man asked for her hands in marriage simply because he doesn’t get the attention he wants from his wife. She (the whore) eventually turned him down because she doesn’t want to be in any committed relationship. How absurd!

4. Feeling Insecure

This is the fear of been replaced due to one’s incompetence, complacency, or inability to do certain things for their partner. This comes into play when you feel you are not exactly what your partner wants in a man or woman, or when you are not self-confident.

Insecure feeling tends to make you feel jealous whenever you see your partner with someone who has what they want or need that you don’t. This feeling can be blood-sucking; one needs to find a way to do away with it.

It might interest you to read on Improve Your Self-Confidence With These 6 Proven Ways and The Feeling of Insecurity and How to Avoid It.

5. Competition

In the Northern part of Nigeria, sometimes siblings find themselves living in the same house or compound with their wives.

Oftentimes, women tend to disagree on things amongst themselves by default – things that may not even matter at all. This causes jealousy in a situation whereby one of the siblings happens to be richer, more handsome, has a sense of dressing, etc. than the other. The latter’s wife may sometimes get jealous of the former’s wife. This gives birth to an ‘unhealthy competition’. In some cases, this jealousy or rivalry is stronger and fiercer than one between or amongst co-wives.

6. Trust Issues

Trust is something partners need to earn between themselves, not demand. In a situation where a partner is making frequent calls or being visited regularly by a colleague of the opposite sex from the office or workplace, this causes jealousy; or a situation where partners have been engaged in pre-marital sex (in the case of married couples and boy/girl relationship), it is easy for jealousy in regards to that surface.

Whenever your partner is not with you, you feel they are with someone else. Avoiding premarital sex and unnecessary communication between you and the opposite sex will play a huge role in eliminating jealousy between partners.

7. Perfectionism

This is one of the causes of jealousy in a relationship. Perfectionism is an unwillingness to settle for anything less than perfect. Some people are perfectionists; a brother of mine is like that too. Everything and everyone has to be perfect or else, not significant.

People like that get easily jealous when they see you (their partner) with someone better than them.

Loosen up a little, and you will find everyone perfect in their own way, you perfectionist! Lolz.

8. Stalking Your Partner

Another cause of jealousy is when you keep following or stalking your partner; knowing his/her every movement, monitoring their phone calls or text messages, unnecessarily meddling in their affairs, and the likes.

No one is perfect; we all make mistakes. By so doing, you will find things that are hurting and make you jealous – things that you will later wish you never saw or heard.

9. Complementing on Other Peoples’ Attractiveness

Some people are fond of doing so, most especially men. Do not do this to your partner most especially in their presence. Not cool!

Everyone needs to feel they are the most attractive person their partner’s eyes have ever seen (even if obviously, the reverse is the case), anything short of that could be a disaster.

Guys, STOP IT!

10. Not Telling Your Partner What Makes You Jealous

If you are feeling jealous in a relationship, chances are your partner already knows, or they don’t. In either case, let them know what makes you jealous through effective communication means, and help them know how to avoid it.

Keeping it all to yourself won’t solve anything. Trust me. If they probably haven’t noticed you are jealous, telling them will be a good idea.


All the above-mentioned causes of jealousy and more could result in nullifying a relationship.

A jealous partner is oftentimes too busy to see the reality of things around their partners; they only tend to see what their hearts or minds want them to see.

The best and ultimate thing to do is to TRUST your partner more than anyone, and it’s a GOAL!

If you find the article useful, kindly comment on the comments section, and also, tell which of the causes of jealousy do you think was left out?

Related: 7 Reasons Why Relationships Fail

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