Jealousy. We are all afflicted with it at some point. It’s a terrible, dirty thing. Jealousy is that emotion that rips your guts apart, makes you want to cry from anxiety, growl in anger, makes you swallow your own tongue and direct a great deep burning wad of pain at (more often than not) another person. I can’t remember a time or a story of someone being jealous of an actual thing, it’s usually something another person possesses. It’s not even the other person themselves, it’s just something that they have that you don’t.
There are of course different kinds of jealousy – the jealousy you feel when your sibling does better than you is different to the one you feel when a friend wins the lottery or has a better pay cheque, which is also different to the (possibly worst kind of) jealousy which is that you feel with your partner.
Sometimes people don’t even have the “possession” you want, sometimes, especially if you are already in a relationship you have the “possession” yourself (I have used quotation marks here as it doesn’t quite seem right to call our partner a possession but you know where I’m going with this).
Why is it when we already have someone to ourselves a lot of the time, we find that burning jealousy bubbles up at mere mentions of said loved one even being in proximity of another person?
Perhaps jealousy in a relationship is the worst as it is born of fear. Fear of losing the other person. Fear breeds more fear which breeds more jealousy. Fear that someone else is going to take what is ours away from us. Perhaps we fear it so much because people aren’t ours to possess or to keep, even if they have previously said that they are ours and we can, therefore the possibility of them walking away from us is so real.
But what about trust in all this? Isn’t the saying that without trust you don’t have anything? I can also hear the cries of “it’s not him/her I don’t trust, it’s the other women/man I’m worried about.” What exactly are you worried will happen? Does your mind immediately think of the worst – your partner locking lips with some other being, far superior to yourself? Do they ride off into the sunset on horseback holding hands and laughing at their great ploy to devastate your life? Why are you thinking like this?
If your answer is that you have been cheated on before, perhaps we should bear in mind that to inflict the past relationship outcomes onto our new relationship only serves to bring about conflict and resentment in a situation that is most likely completely different – it’s unfair on the new partner and the relationship. The most IRONIC thing is the more jealous you get, and the less you trust them, the further and further you push your partner away and make the possibility of your fear becoming a reality more and more likely!!!
It’s a pretty ugly emotion, lets be honest. At first when your partner is being a little jealous you can cutsie it off, you know “awww baby, you jealous? Don’t be silly! You’re beautiful!” etcetera etcetera. It’s a sign that they care enough about you to fear that someone will steal you away, and a little jealousy can at times be endearing. But some jealous people can get clingy, needy, angry, truly possessive, controlling, petty, anxious, paranoid, irrational and down-right scary. It’s a horrible thing for both the recipient of jealous attention and the jealous person.
Once a partner lets this kind of soul-destroying emotion anchor into their hearts, it’s a) hard to get them to release it, b) so unattractive in them that they become quite ugly because of it (hence leading toward the aforementioned increasing likelihood of relationship failure). Jealously really can rip people insides apart as well as their relationships.
The irrational part of jealousy is one of the most common and easiest to see. Let’s take Marcus Copeland and his wife Gina from the 2004 flick “White Chicks”, albeit by the end of the movie the odds were not in his favour, however when we first meet the couple Gina is freaking out that he has been out all night (it’s 8pm…), and that he may have another woman on the side in between the 3 minutes or so of unaccounted for time on his trip home. Or there is the scene in 2003’s “How to lose a guy in 10 days” where Andie and Ben are at the movies and she accuses him of thinking about another girl while they are in the theatre together. These scenes are hilarious….when you are watching them in a film. And why? Because they reflect the reality of some peoples behaviour. But when they happen in real life they aren’t so amusing.
Even after the breakdown of a relationship the jealousy can continue, you can be jealous of your ex-partner and their new partner. Also a very shitty feeling. If your break-up led to the ex becoming a better person for this new partner, it can tear at you that this treatment should have belonged to you. Yes even if you know you are not meant to be together, it almost doesn’t matter.
We can even be jealous of our partner being with other people. Not alone in some dark room with a Russian beauty, but just with people. They may just be enjoying a night out with other people, men, women, whatever, and you are at home feeling sorry for yourself. Feeling the irrational tears filling your eyes as you lie in bed waiting for them to come home, realising you are stupid but perhaps unsure of how to let it all go.
You try to squash these feelings down and I can feel the icky feelings rising up in you as you read this, I certainly feel them as I write them. They are feelings that are dirty, they hurt you and you feel almost shame that you even have them. Especially when your partner is so good to you, and doesn’t deserve to be treated like they have done something wrong when they haven’t.
What can we do? It seems the answer to this is as simple as it always was, there is no new answer to this, as far as I’m aware there is no magic pill to wave off jealousy (and quite frankly if there were I would be frightened of it), it is of course TRUST. There is no other way to get rid of some kinds of jealousy.
The jealousy you have in your heart over a sibling doing better you – well that you just have to let go, be proud of them and support them, maybe your jealousy is just your soul saying it is disappointed in you for not trying harder yourself, maybe you can be your own success story and aren’t giving enough to it. If you’re happy with your success you should be happy with theirs.The jealousy you have over a friend, well depending on what it is you are jealous of maybe you should ask yourself why – be content with what you have or if you can change it, get out there and do it.
The jealousy you have over an ex-partner and their new life, well this one isn’t really jealousy…it’s almost more like grief. Acknowledge that you feel this way, let it bubble up and take you over for a moment and then release it – if they weren’t right for you, and they have found someone to treat well and give themselves to well isn’t that a good thing? There has to be a point of you being together and if the point was to have learned from mistakes with you and now be giving more of themselves to this other person well isn’t that a good enough point? Everyone has to learn something, from everything, and yeah sure it’s unfortunate that you were a guinea pig, but think about it- they were a guinea pig for you too. You’ve learned something, even if you don’t know what it is yet. Don’t be harbouring negative feelings for them and their new life, be happy that someone that you cared about so much is doing well. Acknowledge the feelings and let them go.
Jealousy over the person you are with now. Hmm. *Pause for dramatic effect* This person is waking up every day and choosing to be with you. You should feel it in your bones. Everyday they wake up and no matter where they are a part of them is happy because you are apart of their lives. You should be able to feel it. Because you should feel the same way. If you don’t… then that is another blog post. Trust them. Trust that if some delectable being comes up to them, they appreciate the person for what they are but have so much love for you and are happy in their life with you that there is nothing that this being could do or say – your partner wants you. If they wanted someone else, they would be with them. If you weren’t in this very moment meant to be with them then you wouldn’t be.
Throwing down the trust gauntlet and accusing them or questioning them when they are just getting on with their day will do nothing but push them further away. If you don’t have trust, you may as well end it now. You have to trust them.
It’s a well known fact that relationships have two endings – they work out in the end, or they don’t. Why create needless pain and resentment by putting up barriers? Appreciate what you have, hope in your heart that what you have will keep you together. If it’s not going to work then it’s not going to work, but if you push them away then you have no one to blame but yourself.
Trust goes both ways and taking a moment to give back to your partner will go further than you think. Tomorrow when you wake up, maybe you should let that person know you appreciate them, and that you are happy they are in your life. Sometimes they need to hear it too.