Distinguishing Jealousy from Possessiveness

Jealous vs Possessive

Jealousy and possessiveness are two normal human emotions that God has created within us. We can’t bear to see others being smarter, cleverer, happier, faster, richer, or more attractive than ourselves. If you’re happy to see your neighbor buy the latest and most expensive car while you continue to drive that old family car, then you’re a saint and not a human being. Possessiveness is a similar feeling that can turn a relationship sour. If you feel that you’re not getting the attention that you should get from your spouse or girlfriend, and she’s attracted to, or admiring another man, you’re being possessive. But, how do you draw a line between jealousy and possessiveness? Let’s find out by highlighting the difference between jealousy and possessiveness.


Do you remember when your mother bought a new dress for your elder sister and you were so angry and upset that you shouted and yelled at your mother and didn’t even eat your dinner? Or the time when the teacher praised your friend’s project and just gave a passing look to your model? You had feelings during these times that are best described as being upset by the favors being shown to another person and not you from someone who is important in your life. You’re jealous of your friend, not a person on the road whom you don’t know. You’re jealous of your neighbor when he buys a new car, even though you congratulate him on his new possession with a big smile on your face. You’re jealous when it’s your best friend who gets the attention of a beautiful and sexy girl at a function in school. Jealousy is a feeling that consists of hurt, dejection, anger, and sadness, even though you’re not supposed to exhibit it.


Possessiveness comes from possession and reflects the tendency of human beings to accumulate and feel proud of the things they own. These could be buildings (homes, properties), machines (gadgets and cars), valuables (ornaments made of gold and diamonds), and even people. It’s possessiveness in the case of human beings that works like poison in a healthy relationship. Possessiveness doesn’t allow breathing space, a space to grow, in addition to remaining committed to the person in the relationship. A person who’s possessive about his girlfriend or spouse would express his feelings by calling up many times a day to inquire about the friend’s wellbeing (when he’s actually snooping on her and desiring to know whom she’s with and where). A possessive individual seeks reassurance from his partner all the time that he’s liked and loved by her. A possessive person is very suspicious by nature, especially in matters relating to a potential rival or another male. Such a person demands a lot of attention from his partner or spouse and, in fact, kills a healthy relationship by not allowing breathing space to the partner.

Key Takeaways

  • Jealousy means being upset about another person getting attention, respect, or love from someone who matters.
  • Possessiveness comes from a feeling of ownership and can lead to jealousy in a relationship.
  • Both possessiveness and jealousy are traits that we have inherited from our ape ancestors.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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