Delusions of Jealousy – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Delusions of jealousy

Similar to other forms of delusion, the jealousy delusion is characterized by the subjective certainty that it is the same way and not different The delusional patient cannot be dissuaded from this opinion even by attempts at clarification. He cannot distance himself from his misjudgment, so that these pronounced delusions often necessitate the use of medication.

What is delusional jealousy?

One speaks of a delusion of jealousy when the jealousy assumes pathological proportions. In this case, the person concerned is convinced that his partner is cheating or cheating on him. Even when there is no evidence or circumstantial evidence that the other person is unfaithful, he believes he is. Morbid jealousy can also be associated with schizophrenia , paranoia , and alcoholism .

The jealousy delusion is characterized by the fact that the person concerned experiences a situation very differently than a healthy person. He develops obsessive fantasies over a trivial or no reason. In addition, there are frequent tendencies towards the use of violence, especially among men.


The delusional disorder, delusional disorder, is often associated with mental disorders such as schizophrenia and paranoia, but alcoholism is also a common cause. In the latter, various factors can contribute to the development of delusions, such as a partner’s defensiveness, marital problems resulting from alcohol problems, feelings of guilt, and limitations in potency.

People addicted to alcohol often use the delusions of jealousy to give up the blame and reject it. Not infrequently, a lack of self-confidence is the reason for exaggerated jealousy. If the jealous person does not find themselves lovable, they usually do not believe that their partner genuinely loves them either. As a result, there is a constant fear of losing your partner. Negative experiences and experiences from the past also play a role.

If there has been infidelity in previous relationships, delusions of jealousy can develop. Loss experiences from childhood can also contribute and must be processed, for example in psychotherapy . Factors favoring the development of pathological jealousy are also depressive symptoms. This makes it clear that delusions of jealousy are usually associated with an underlying disorder that needs to be treated.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The jealousy delusion – typical for all forms of diagnosable delusion – goes hand in hand with the inability to move away from one’s own point of view. The thought of a possible infidelity of the partner becomes so dominant for those affected that they work up this fear in their thoughts. This leads to changed behavior, which, among other things, undermines the basis of trust in the partner.

So it happens that the partner’s personal belongings are examined by the person concerned in order to find supposed evidence. This also includes the constant monitoring of activities through control calls or constant desire to be there. At the same time, an explanation of the facts is not enough for those affected by delusions of jealousy.

While it’s clear that his jealous paranoia is completely unfounded, he doesn’t back down from his point of view. This can lead to a reduced inhibition threshold regarding the use of verbal and physical violence, which in individual cases can also lead to severe physical violence against the partner, resulting in death.

Due to his delusion, the person concerned places himself in a permanent stressful situation. Psychosomatic disorders such as headaches and digestive problems can be the result. Signs of delusional jealousy are a disregard for facts regarding the fidelity of the partner.

The idea that a partner might be unfaithful becomes so crucial that more and more actions and conversations revolve around just that one topic. Other people and the partner themselves are suspected of clever camouflage or a conspiracy when it has actually already turned out that the fears of the patient are not correct.

Diagnosis & History

In order to diagnose delusions of jealousy, a few questions that should be answered honestly, as they indicate pathological jealousy, will help:

  • Is a possible infidelity of the partner thought about several times a day or is it held up to him regularly, also with insults?
  • Does this cause more arguments?
  • Are the partner’s personal belongings, such as cell phones or bags, searched for any evidence?
  • Is the partner rarely left alone, is he forbidden from meeting up with friends, for example, or is he spied on?
  • Are there control calls?
  • Are other people asked about the partner’s whereabouts?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, you should consider whether delusions of jealousy are present and whether it might be appropriate to seek out a jealousy consultation or a psychotherapist. This is very important because the morbid jealousy sometimes takes on serious proportions. There is much more to this than “just” a separation and the quality of life being significantly restricted by constant jealousy.

Morbid jealousy can become destructive, which is not without its dangers. After all, jealousy is the number one motive for murder worldwide. Pathological jealousy manifests itself in constant suspicions, feelings of fear, manipulations and loud arguments and arguments up to the use of violence. The pathological jealousy can also end in depression . Aggression , which is initially directed at the partner who supposedly cheats on you, can also develop into aggression towards yourself. This can lead to physical consequences, such as:

When should you go to the doctor?

A delusion of jealousy, as opposed to harmless jealousy, is always a reason to see a doctor or psychologist, because excessive jealousy can lead to uncontrolled actions. The boundaries between increased jealousy and delusion are fluid, but in contrast to delusions of jealousy, increased jealousy is still accessible to an objective reality, while delusions of jealousy only take their own distorted view of things as a yardstick and deny everything else.

Those affected then firmly believe that they are being cheated on by their partner, even if there are no signs to confirm this assumption. Rather, they see it as a clever camouflage. For some, this goes so far that they even suspect conspiracies when caregivers credibly assure them that there is no reason for their exaggerated jealousy.

Such cases are anything but harmless, because people who always and everywhere suspect cheating by their partner are under constant tension and tend towards their partner to aggressive outbursts up to physical violence and in the worst case to murder or manslaughter.

Often there is a strong feeling of inferiority and a pessimistic mood behind delusional jealousy, combined with a great fear of loss, which can result from childhood or earlier relationship experiences.

Treatment & Therapy

First of all, it is important that the person concerned recognizes that there is delusion of jealousy, i.e. that his jealousy is exaggerated. Then an attempt can be made to counteract the pathological disorder. For this it is important that independence is regained and that one’s own life is no longer made dependent on the partner. Measures such as searching through personal items such as mobile phones and clothing, control calls and spying must be avoided.

If the jealousy persists and you cannot deal with it alone, it is possible to visit a jealousy consultation or a psychotherapist to clarify the problems and work out solution strategies. It is also important to boost your self-confidence. However, the treatment often turns out to be very difficult, since those affected usually feel completely in the right and do not see themselves as sick.

In many cases, it makes sense to take special medication. If the delusions of jealousy occur in combination with alcoholism, weaning must also take place. For a successful treatment of delusions of jealousy, it is always important that the person concerned recognizes that his jealousy has nothing to do with his partner, that he is responsible for it himself.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis of delusions of jealousy is linked to the patient’s willingness to change. In addition, factors such as the personality of the person concerned and their environment must also be taken into account. People who are open, self-aware about their behavior, and open to criticism have the best chance of recovery.

As soon as they seek therapy and have an understanding and stable social environment, there is an opportunity to work out solutions together. If the patient is suffering from delusions of jealousy, the behavior can be gradually adapted and optimized to the needs of the person affected and the partner. Reactions are practiced in training sessions and tried out in everyday life. In cooperation with the partner, changes can be achieved and trust can be built up in this way.

If the affected person lacks insight into the disease, their prognosis worsens. With a narcissistic personality or highly controlling behaviors, improving the situation becomes difficult. In many cases, without treatment, the symptoms worsen. Relationships often break up and other mental illnesses can set in. In addition to loneliness and isolation, there is a risk of depressive disorders or an anxiety disorder. Compulsions or eating disorders would be possible consequences that contribute to a further deterioration of the situation.


Strong jealousy is always poison for the relationship, especially when it is a case of delusional jealousy. So that it doesn’t come to that in the first place, you can prevent your own jealousy. These include the following options:

  • maintain partnership
  • Ensure a good mood
  • Pay attention to beautiful experiences for two
  • Taking time out as a couple
  • Choosing your own hobby and also meeting others outside of your relationship, i.e. maintaining your independence
  • Talking to each other, also about fears, wishes and needs
  • Avoid control measures
  • Give partners respect, recognition, validation, affection, and love
  • Keeping sexuality alive and being faithful


Possibilities or measures of aftercare turn out to be relatively difficult in most cases or are hardly possible in the case of delusions of jealousy. First and foremost, the disease should be completely cured so that there are no further complaints or complications in the life of the person affected. Whether the disease can be easily treated cannot be universally predicted.

In most cases, those affected with delusions of jealousy are dependent on the help and support of friends and their own family and partner. Intensive and detailed discussions about the disease are particularly useful in order to alleviate the symptoms. If these talks do not help, professional treatment by a psychologist is usually necessary.

In serious cases, the relatives can also persuade the person concerned to be treated in a closed institution. When taking medication to treat delusions of jealousy, care should be taken to ensure that the dosage is correct and that the medication is taken correctly and regularly. As a rule, the disease does not reduce or limit the life expectancy of the person affected.

You can do that yourself

The person concerned is usually not aware of his delusion, but feels completely right. It is therefore important for the partner and the social immediate field to recognize the disorder as such and to react correctly. Under no circumstances should morbid jealousy be played down.

Anyone who consistently observes behavior in their partner that is unfounded or inappropriate to the actual situation should speak up immediately. Since delusional patients are usually completely convinced of their own position, it is important not to let themselves be unsettled and to maintain their own perspective.

The partner suffering from the delusion must be asked to change his behavior, if necessary with the help of a doctor or a therapist. If the patient repeatedly refuses, a separation becomes necessary. Under no circumstances should you persevere out of pity for a partner who is mentally seriously ill but completely unreasonable.

Victims who recognize that they are exhibiting a level of jealousy that is delusional should try to stop all compulsions as a first step. In particular, you must refrain from looking through handbags or mobile phones and secretly following your partner. Those who are unable to break such patterns of behavior urgently need to seek professional help. The first point of contact is the family doctor , and a psychotherapist should also be consulted.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.