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Friday, September 29, 2023


Othello Syndrome making people crazy jealous

I have a hard time trusting people who claim to never get jealous. It seems insane for someone to deny a completely natural — though sometimes ugly — human emotion. While this feeling is natural, there are boundaries dividing harmless and intense jealousy.

An example of harmless jealousy is being jealous of a friend’s awesome cooking skills; intense jealousy would be if you wanted to strangle them because their food is so delicious you can’t stand it.

However, jealousy in romantic relationships — no matter the kind — can be detrimental. Jealousy tends to be harmful in romantic relationships, because the boundary between being concerned and being crazy is easily crossed. This is especially true in a social media-driven society in which someone can “like” a picture, post or status and be instantly accused of cheating. It makes one wonder how much jealousy can be tolerated in a relationship before deciding it’s time to move on.

This question is put to the test in the relationship between Debbi Wood and her fiancé Steve Wood of Leicester, England. Despite the fact that this couple has been together since 2011, Debbi does not trust her spouse at all. Actually, that’s putting it lightly — Debbi would probably have more trust in a blind doctor about to perform surgery on her than she does in her soon-to-be spouse.

According to an online Daily Mail article, Debbi makes Steve take a lie detector test every time he leaves the house to make sure he isn’t attracted to other women he sees. She also checks his phone, email accounts and bank statements multiple times a day to look for any proof that he might be unfaithful.

If this wasn’t enough, Steve is also not allowed to watch television shows that have women in them or read magazines where pictures of women could be found. Debbi has also placed filters on his laptop and cell phone to keep him from possibly looking at women online.

Now, before the words “crazy” and “insane” start getting thrown around, it should be known that while these actions do sound crazy, obsessive and extreme, Debbi cannot help herself. She has been recently diagnosed with a rare psychiatric disorder called Othello syndrome, in which she becomes morbidly jealous.

According to, Othello syndrome is “the delusion of infidelity of a spouse or partner. It is characterized by recurrent accusations of infidelity, searches for evidence, repeated interrogation of the partner, tests of their partner’s fidelity and sometimes stalking.”

Hearing about this makes one wonder why Steve puts up with this constant scrutiny. While it is understandable that it is a psychological disorder, all of the questioning and parental-like blocking is bound to cause him psychological woes.

Sociology senior Whitney Williams is concerned for Steve’s wellbeing after all of the psychological marathons Debbi makes him endure.

“Although she has a disorder, jealousy affects both people in a relationship,” Williams said. “It’s obvious that she is making Steve anxious when he has shown time and again that he is being faithful to her.”

Steve seems to put aside his anxieties in the name of love.

In the Daily Mail article, Steve said, “I’m willing to put up with it, because I know we’re soul mates. She’s so special to me, and a bit of jealousy here and there won’t change that.”

In my opinion, this is not just “a bit of jealousy here and there.” This is a level of psychological, delusional jealousy that is taking over her life and his. Furthermore, if he is willing to tolerate these extreme demands in the name of love, I have to wonder if he, too, has some insecurity. This particular case of jealousy passes straight through harmless jealousy and intense jealousy and all the way to run-away-as-fast-as-you-can jealousy.

Senior staff columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]


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