Remember Alia Bhat’s character Safeena in the movie ‘Gully boy’ ? Safeena is an extremely possessive girlfriend of Murad (played by Ranveer Singh). She even gets to the extent of getting physically violent with any girl she sees with her boyfriend.
Let’s take another example. You’re dying to know who your partner was out with last night. When you ask, this is the reply you get – ‘Just some friends’. But you are not convinced and feel restless.
What Safeena or you’re experiencing is jealousy: thoughts, feelings, or actions that result from believing your partner is attracted to someone else or cheating on you – whether or not that’s actually true. Jealousy is a very common emotion for couples.
If you’re like most people, you’ve been jealous at some point in your life. And if you’re someone who tends to feel anxious in a relationship and who worries about whether your partner loves you, or will reject you, jealousy may be particularly tough for you to deal with.
Root cause for many problems
Yes, we all know jealousy is common but it doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Jealous thoughts, feelings, or actions can be a major problem in a relationship, leading to everything from regular fights to a break-up. Murad feels so suffocated because of Safeena’s jealous behaviour in the movie that he breaks up with her.
Now let’s look at the science behind feeling jealous. A group of U.S. researchers figured they’d look into what people can do to help their anxious partners feel less jealous.
First, the researchers tracked down 64 young couples and asked them questions about how anxious they felt in their relationship. The researchers then proceeded to make one half of the couple jealous. They did this by having the other half rate pictures of guys or girls as very attractive and say they’d be willing to date most of them - all in front of their boyfriend or girlfriend!
While this was going on, some of the participants were instructed to touch their partner in an affectionate way, say by putting their arm around his or her shoulders. Afterwards, the partners filled in surveys to reveal how jealous they were.
Just a little touch
Simply touching a partner who’s feeling jealous or threatened can really help, the researchers learned. This is especially true for people who tend to feel very anxious in a relationship and often worry about whether their partner is into them or will break up with them.
Why is touch so effective at getting rid of jealousy? It’s a pretty clear way to show your partner you accept them and to communicate intimacy and warmth, say the researchers.
So if your boyfriend or girlfriend is the anxious type and they tend to get jealous, touching him or her in an affectionate way– say by holding their hand or rubbing their back – could go a long way to putting them at ease.
Reference: Touch reduces romantic jealousy in the anxiously attached. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Published 2018.
To protect the identity, persons in the picture are models.
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