Confession: I’ve never been the “jealous type”. That’s not to say I didn’t get angry when men I was in relationship with betrayed my trust; that is to say that I believe it is healthy and normal for men and women to have friendships with each other apart from their primary relationship and if someone “left” me for someone else (hey, it happens) that it was for the best. Because, as I have said and written countless times in my life, there should be nothing less interesting to you than someone who isn’t interested in you.
I honestly don’t understand the logic of “jealousy”. Now, ENVY, I get! When I was in elementary school, the three girls across the street all got brand new, candy-colored bikes with floral banana seats and BOY did I want one of those, too!
A new bike is something I can work for, something I can achieve. So envy, unlike jealousy, can serve as a healthy motivator when properly applied. But jealousy?
Jealousy can sometimes be an intuitive red flag, but more often than not is a dark force that creates the very experience you are trying to avoid.
So let’s say you are dating some spectacular girl (or guy) and you observe that because she (he) is so spectacular, OTHER people seem to notice and have an attraction to her/him as well. Do you say, wow! I am such a lucky guy (or girl) to be with this person?
Or do you resent the very sparkling attractiveness that drew you to them to begin with and start to act miserly of their attention and suspicious of their attention to anyone else?
Obviously, it is up to you, but anecdotal evidence suggests that “clingy” and “suspicious” are not super sought-after traits in a mate. In fact, your jealousy could be the very thing that brings about the demise of your budding relationship with the spectacular person. I suppose some people (not me!) might find a little jealousy flattering, but beyond that, you are sinking your own ship.
In case you are wondering why I and so many others do NOT find jealousy flattering, the answer is pretty straightforward: jealousy is actually INSULTING. Do you hear that? When you act jealous or suspicious of my relationship with another person, you are telling me two things:
1) You believe there is a deficiency in our relationship that I am trying to compensate for elsewhere, so rather than talking to me and saying “how can we be better?” you are simply trying to prevent me from getting what you perceive I “need” and
2) You don’t trust or respect me. So why the hell are you in a relationship with me to begin with?
Trust and respect are the bedrock of any kind of relationship; when they are absent, you are dealing with a very fragile structure that is most likely not worthy of reinforcement. Jealousy is a huge red flag telling you that you believe the person you are with is capable of betrayal. And/or that you don’t believe you are worthy of someone’s undivided attention.
These are the only positive, practical applications of jealousy; either as an intuitive sense that you should get out of your relationship because you are with someone untrustworthy or as a wake-up call that you aren’t ready to be in a committed relationship because your self-esteem is so low that you don’t think you are worthy of commitment.
But in either case, your jealousy demands YOU act, not your partner. Either GET OUT of the relationship with the person you don’t trust or OWN and WORK ON your deficient sense of self-worth. Jealousy should NEVER be a call for your partner to change their behavior.
Sorry, I’m right about this.
If you partner’s flirting makes you uncomfortable, for example, there really are only two possibilities: first, as before mentioned, you think she/he is capable of betrayal and therefore is not a good match for you. Second, they are just naturally a flirtatious/vivacious person and you find that threatening, so they are not a good match for you. Their flirting is either them looking around (DUMP ‘EM, in that case) or their personality (and will always be, so if you can’t handle it, they are not right for you.)
Another example: your partner has an opposite sex friend that you feel some jealousy about. Again, either your Spidey senses are correct and there is something more there than friendship (DUMP’ EM, in that case) OR she/he simply has a wonderful friendship with someone who is not you, and if you are so small and insecure that this threatens you, find someone else (preferably with no friends). Love NEVER demands you give up the people or things that are important to you; that is not love, it’s ownership.
See, jealousy is not a state any adult should sit in for any amount of time. If your jealousy has alerted you to the fact that you are involved with someone unworthy of your trust and respect, good riddance to bad trash. But if your jealousy is simply a revelation of your own petty, controlling insecurity?
I hope you are able to take a long look in the mirror (and possibly get some professional help) before you push away the person who cares for you. Jealous rages and hissy fits will drive an insurmountable wedge between you and your partner, not only because you are trumpeting your own low self-esteem, but more importantly because you are literally saying “I don’t trust or respect you” to the person you are supposed to love.
Time to grow up. If you are the “jealous type” you need to figure out if there is a problem with the person you are with or a problem with YOU and act accordingly. If you are what is going wrong in the equation, any and all work you do to change that will not only improve the way you feel about yourself, it will pay huge dividends in both deeper intimacy and security in all of your relationships.
Don’t live with jealousy; it is a destructive companion. Kick it (her/him) to the curb and go forth knowing you deserve to feel safe in your own skin. You are worthy of great love, and don’t let your jealousy tell you otherwise.
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