Jealousy can strike, from time to time, in a relationship, while at the office, or while scrolling through your social media feeds. Sometimes it can even happen when you weren't fully aware that jealousy was an issue. If your partner gets jealous on occasion, it can be easy to feel offended and think that they're overreacting for no reason at all; that the thing that made them feel jealous was completely random. There are some surprising ways you didn't realize you're making your partner jealous, however, which means that, while the situation might be completely innocent, their jealousy still might not be as random and out of the blue as you initially thought.
The real reason for their jealousy might be a reflection on them or a result of their past experiences, but that doesn't necessarily make it all that much easier for you to deal with the fallout that comes from doing something that you know wasn't something that they needed to be jealous about. Still, if you knew in advance that they were going to feel jealous about a night out with your friends or the fact that you had to work late, you might have been able to talk about it before it happened and maybe, just maybe, avoided the jealousy in the first place, or, at least, know how they might react. Just like you, they're only human, so knowing what you each might be doing to make the other jealous without even realizing it can be important information to know.
1. You Lost Weight
You might think that your weight loss, new gym habit, or healthier eating could only have a positive impact on your relationship, but that might not always be the case. In 2013, researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Austin found that in some cases, partners who didn't lose weight felt "threatened and insecure." That can lead to breakdowns in communication and feelings of jealousy, resentment, or other conflicts over time.
2. You Laughed At Someone Else's Joke
This happens all the time on TV shows like Friends and Modern Family, and if you take a gander at Reddit boards or Quora, you'll see that it's not uncommon for male partners to feel jealous when you laugh at someone else's joke or say that another guy is funny. You mean nothing by it and don't even think that they might react to it, but it might not go over all that well.
3. You Defended Someone In Front Of Them
Though you might think that defending another person in front of your partner is no big deal — and might actually be kind of admirable — sometimes, well, it might make them feel a little jealous. In an interview with Men's Health, April Masini, a relationship expert, said that it's OK to defend or stand up for someone else as long as your partner still knows they're most important to you. If they think that you're too supportive of that other person, it could cause some jealousy.
4. You Went Out With Your Friends
A 2014 paper published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science noted that when you're one of the most important people in your partner's life, spending time with your close friends can make your partner jealous, because they feel as though their role in your life is under attack. Making sure you and your partner both know where you stand can help minimize these insecurities.
5. You Spend A Lot Of Time On Social Media
Spending a lot of time on social media, following or being friends with exes, or posting even marginally questionable things online can sometimes make your partner suspicious and jealous. In an interview for the previously-mentioned article from Men's Health, Dr. Vinita Mehta, Ph.D., a psychotherapist, said that even the smallest online interactions or communication can make your partner think that you might be somehow involved in the other person's life. That can be difficult for people to come to terms with and occasionally lead to jealousy.
6. You Worked Late
Work "spouses" are increasingly common nowadays, and it doesn't necessarily mean that there's anything to worry about, but sometimes, knowing that you have coworkers you're really close to can make your partner question what's really going on when you stay late at work. In an interview with HuffPost, Ruth Houston, the founder of InfidelityAdvice.com and the author of Is He Cheating On You? said that if you're hiding parts of your relationship with a coworker from your partner, that's a sign that you might be crossing a line, so it's important for you to also reflect on that kind of relationship and how it might be impacting the one you have with your partner. Feelings of jealousy can creep in when your partner is spending so much extra time with their work spouse, but it really might be totally innocent.
7. You Took Someone Else's Side
Your enemies are their enemies, right? Well, if you take someone else's side in an argument, it can make your partner feel like you're betraying them, which can lead to jealousy. In a piece that he penned for Psychology Today, Dr. Jesse Marczyk, Ph.D., wrote that relationships can form from feeling like you share a common goal. There could be any number of reasons as to why you took someone else's side, but all your partner sees is that you didn't choose them. And that can make them jealous.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherlode, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.