Jealousy can come from many places, some shallow such as the fear of losing the one we love (which we all feel to some small degree) and others more deep-seated such as having been cheated on or watching someone we love be cheated on as an adolescent.
Usually, jealousy is loud and angry. A sharp quip or a loud burst of fury tell you that your partner is pissed and they don’t try very hard to hide why.
Whether at a party with friends, while out having a good time on a Friday night, or when dropping off a birthday cake to you at work and realizing that one or more of your coworkers are more than a little good looking, jealousy can rear its ugly head when you least expect it.
But sometimes, signs of jealousy are more subtle.
Easy to miss, they’re often identified by a quick shift in demeanor from calm and content or distracted by other things to presently bothered, even if the source of the frustration isn’t obvious. This is further agitated if your partner seems perfectly secure in themselves, making it even harder to notice these subtle shifts.
But it’s important in any relationship to know how your partner feels and to talk it through. If you can spot these subtle signs of jealousy you can work through the issue before it really becomes a problem.
Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.
Here are four signs your partner is jealous, even if they seem secure in themselves.
1. They’re more concerned with what you’re doing after having lost weight
When one partner loses weight, the other inevitably feels jealous. Part of this comes from the honest fear that, now that they look better than ever, they’ve “graduated” and will want to move on to someone “better” than you.
It’s completely unreasonable, if for no reason other than the fact that it’s incredibly superficial, but that doesn’t keep us from rationalizing it in our mind.
If your partner seems oddly more concerned with where you’re at, what you’re doing, and what you’re looking at on social then they ever were before– even if they don’t show any clear signs of it– that’s a sign that your partner is jealous.
2. They’re grumpy after you laugh at someone else’s joke
Often, this happens without you intending anything by it. You’re hanging out with a group of friends or at a party, which is incited further if your friends brought friends of theirs that are strangers to you, and you laugh at someone else’s joke without giving a second thought.
You might mean nothing by it, however, your partner takes it as some weird sign of approval directed at the other person, as if laughing at someone’s joke means you’re romantically interested.
Sometimes, they might not react at all to this and simply become quiet for the rest of the night. Maybe they’re just preoccupied with work or have something else on their mind, you think.
Other times, they might visibly become grumpy and give you the slightest bit of attitude. Or, if no attitude is thrown at you, they suddenly appear to have no interest to engage with anything and want to go home, clearly disgruntled by something.
3. They’re distant after you went out with friends or stayed late at the office
According to a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, spending time with your friends can make your partner jealous. You probably didn’t need a study to tell you that, though.
When you go out with friends, your partner feels as though their role in your life is in jeopardy. Logically, that might not make any sense. However, the reality of it is the way we act in our daily life is ruled just as much by illogical emotional decisions as it is rational thought.
Similarly, when you stay late at the office they experience a similar feeling. Work is necessary, however, it appears that it’s encroaching on more and more of your life together which leaves less time for them.
Unlike other forms of jealousy, this is more impersonal, meaning their jealousy isn’t necessarily directed at a particular person or persons and more at the idea of their opportunity for your affection dwindling.
4. They seem offended after you took someone else’s side in a discussion
Most of us unconsciously expect for our partner to always take our side. Not in private, of course, we have our fair share of opposing arguments, but when around others– especially acquaintances or strangers.
After all, a relationship is a partnership and a partnership is a team. By siding with someone else in a discussion, you might appear to them to be hanging out in the other person’s corner and that can make them feel betrayed (even if that’s not at all the case).
These signs might sound frustrating to deal with. After all, most of them have nothing to do with you and entirely to do with how they’re reacting to things. However, by taking a moment to communicate clearly and let them know how you feel, you can quell many of the conflicts that arise from this kind of jealousy.