Many of us will have experienced jealousy and its associated behaviours. Somehow we know that jealousy is not a positive, desired feeling without being able to explain it in words. Indeed, jealousy is hard to define. Its closest feeling is envy and therefore differentiating between jealousy and envy brings us closer to understanding jealousy.
Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation. It strikes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or imagined.
Not limited to romantic relationships, jealousy can also arise among siblings competing for parental attention, among co-workers, or in friendships. Jealousy is distinguished from envy in that jealousy always involves a third party seen as a rival for affection or attention. Envy occurs between only two people and is best summed up as, "I want what you have."