Jealousy in romantic relationships can come in many forms: concern that other people are pursuing your significant other, fear that your significant other is in love with someone else, or even unhappiness or anger over the feeling that your partner is devoting more time and attention to their friends, their job, or their hobbies than they are to you. Nagging feelings like this can slowly eat away at a healthy relationship, and too often, jealousy is based on simple misunderstandings or on nothing at all – except, perhaps, for certain predispositions in our personality traits.
To explore the possibility that romantic jealousy may have some basis in personality type, we asked our community whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “You are a jealous partner.” With 45% of readers agreeing, the results were fairly neutral overall, but a closer look at individual personality traits reveals some big differences, especially between Energy and Identity.
Why might some personality types be more prone than others to jealousy in their romantic relationships? Let’s dig into the data below.
Analysts and Diplomats (51% and 49% agreeing)
Readers, take note: if your significant other is an Analyst or Diplomat, there’s about a fifty-fifty chance that you’ll be dealing with jealousy at some point in your relationship. It’s not that these personality types are inherently distrustful or possessive, it’s just that sometimes, despite good intentions, their Intuitive trait gets the best of them.
The Intuitive personality trait gives Analysts and Diplomats an open-mindedness and creativity that makes them engaging, enthusiastic romantic partners. Unfortunately, it can also get them carried away imagining all sorts of possibilities for what their significant other might be up to, especially if there has been tension in the relationship or if they feel they aren’t getting enough time or attention from their partner.
Even Analysts, who usually reason things out logically and objectively, may rush to the wrong conclusion when their Intuitive suspicions are in overdrive. As Thinking personalities, Analysts tend to avoid acknowledging or dealing with their emotions, which can boil up and manifest in more extreme forms, like jealousy, as a result. Empathetic Diplomats, guided by their Feeling trait, are somewhat better at seeking mutual understanding and resolution with their partner before things get out of hand.
Explorers and Sentinels (41% and 37%)
Observant personalities were 12% less likely than their Intuitive counterparts to agree that they are jealous partners (38% vs. 50%, respectively). Down-to-earth Explorers and Sentinels are much more interested in staying grounded in the present than they are in wondering about the future or imagining possible scenarios that involve a straying partner. This helps them avoid unfounded speculation.
It’s possible that Explorers, as Prospecting personalities, sometimes project onto their partner some of their own tendencies that could cause jealous concern – especially their inclination to keep their options open and their hesitations about long-term commitment.
For the most part, though, Explorers and Sentinels are in tune with what’s going on around them: Explorers make the most of every moment, while Sentinels focus on their responsibilities and obligations. If they truly believe that they can’t trust their partner, these pragmatic personalities may be more likely to confront the issue and, if necessary, end the relationship, rather than continue on in an unhealthy state of constant jealousy.
Social Engagement and Constant Improvement (60% and 56% agreeing)
The most significant personality aspect in this survey proved to be Identity: Turbulent types were 30% more likely than Assertive types to say they’re jealous partners (58% vs. 28%). Turbulent Social Engagers and Constant Improvers can be relentless in their efforts to improve their life – including their romantic relationships. They may assume that their significant other has a similar mind-set – always on the lookout for someone better – leading to feelings of insecurity.
Social Engagers in particular are constantly measuring themselves against others, and as Extraverts, they’re better at picking up on subtle social cues that might cause them to worry about their partner’s behavior. Whether such concerns are warranted or not, Turbulent personalities are more likely to let their stress, worry, and self-doubt build into feelings of jealousy.
Of all the personality types, Turbulent Debaters (ENTP-T) agreed with our statement the most (73%). Creative and enthusiastic, these Social Engagers can be energetic, growth-oriented romantic partners. But Debaters also love to play devil’s advocate, questioning everything and arguing for the fun of it, and when they apply that approach to their intimate relationships, it can seriously backfire. That’s especially true when the Turbulent trait is in play: lower self-esteem can convince them that their jealous suspicions are true. What’s worse, they may be completely oblivious to how they hurt their partner’s feelings when they throw around accusations or get too possessive.
People Mastery and Confident Individualism (29% and 28%)
Only a small minority of People Masters and Confident Individualists indicated that jealousy often characterizes their romantic relationships, showing what a difference a little Assertive self-confidence can make. These personalities are much less likely to worry about the faithfulness or devotion of their partner in the first place, and if a legitimate problem in the relationship does arise, they’re confident that they can handle it.
As open communicators, People Masters are likely to be honest with their partner about how they feel and to work on their issues, rather than allow them to stew into feelings of jealousy. Confident Individualists, who need some degree of solitude and independence to really thrive, are happy to grant that same space to their partner in return, without becoming possessive of them.
Three personality types tied as the least likely to agree with our statement: Assertive Mediators (INFP-A), Assertive Defenders (ISFJ-A), and Assertive Consuls (ESFJ-A) (23% each). Mediators are idealists who always look for the best in people, and they approach romantic relationships with an inherent sense of trust. Defenders are generous altruists who consider committed romance to be something sacred, and they take care to select significant others who share that belief. Consuls are loyal, devoted partners who expect the same support, security, and stability in return.
The Assertive trait enhances these qualities, giving these three personality types the confidence to treat their significant others with respect rather than jealousy. But a bit of vigilance might do these types well, lest they fall victim to less honorable individuals who could take advantage of their trust and faith.
Anyone can experience romantic jealousy from time to time, provoked in any number of different ways, like when there’s uncertainty or tension between partners, if interest is waning between them, or out of the fear that a “better” partner is out there. Regardless of how it starts, when jealousy begins to corrode a relationship, steps must be taken to address these feelings.
For those who are more susceptible to jealousy, it may help to realize that these feelings can be irrational, and that some of us, especially Intuitive and Turbulent personality types, are naturally more imaginative and insecure than others. Sometimes, of course, our suspicions turn out to be true. But to acknowledge the possibility that our fears are not rational and to communicate openly with our significant other can help us sort real relationship trouble from out-of-control suspicion, and that’s a start toward overcoming jealousy.
Would you describe yourself as a jealous romantic partner? How do you deal with jealous feelings when they arise? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.