For as long as there have been men and women and relationships, there has been jealousy: the fear of losing the one you love to a rival.
Romanticism and literature throughout the ages have praised jealousy as a sign of true love.
“He who is not jealous is not in love” -Saint Augustine.
They also linked jealousy, pain, mistrust, anger and anguish.
“There is no greater glory than love, and no greater punishment than jealousy.”Lobby de Vega.
In the actual lives of married couples, jealousy is a complex emotion that has diverse causes and different consequences. While it can reaffirm love and even tempt, it can also attack self-esteem, reverse infidelity, justify possessiveness, and cause violence.
Where is the jealousy in your relationship? Are they tested constructively or destructively?
Get to know the facts
According to David Boss in Why is jealousy as necessary as love and sex?Both men and women are predisposed to be jealous as a solution to the problem of reproduction and survival. The older man had to forbid his partner from having sexual activity with a competitor to ensure ownership of the offspring. Women physically “know” their children (that’s for sure). They needed to keep their man’s attention and love from a competitor to ensure protection and survival.
The modern translation appears to be correct. Buss found that in studies of men and women in sexual relations, men reacted more jealously to sexual infidelity; Women responded with even more jealousy to emotional infidelity – the belief that their partner could “love” someone else is the most annoying aspect of women’s infidelity.
This is a culture that heightens jealousy and fear of the perfect rival through the endless bombardment of icons and images of sexual perfection and opportunity. Against the backdrop of rising divorce rates, we are constantly reminded that the things that belong to us can be discarded and replaced. “Not worth the fix!
Call and confirm
In this cultural context, communication, as well as confirmation, becomes invaluable. At a workshop for several couples, everyone reacted to the husband’s vignette as he browsed through a mail-delivered lingerie catalog and his wife’s reaction to his comment:
“Hey, some of this looks cool. You should apply.”
“What looks cool? Girl, or what she’s barely wearing?”
While addressing this, it was very helpful for women to hear many of the men in the large group confirm “Yes, we like to look — but we like and want to be with our partners.”
Understanding the source
If you find that you often feel jealous of your partner but there doesn’t seem to be a concrete reason your partner has given you to make you feel this way, you may want to think to yourself.
in her book, Mating in captivityEster Perel suggests that too often we shift the focus on the object of our love rather than our capacity for love.
- Do you believe in your ability to love your partner in a way that makes you and your partner feel loved, admired, desired, and safe?
- Are you threatened about your partner’s relationship with work friends, neighbors, or fellow athletes?
- Is your anxiety driven by feelings of self-criticism, boredom, or discontent?
- Are you suffering from extreme fatigue because the child, lonely after retirement, is isolated from work from home? Does your partner know?
Understandably, all of the above may lower your self-confidence and increase your bossy anxiety about losing your partner to someone else.
When a partner is not the only source of affirmation—when you are able to feel support from friends, get advice from a professional, or generally re-engage in activities in your own life—there is often a positive emotional translation of the sense of self that changes your feelings towards you and your partner.
Something is not right!
While most of us have an inner denial of the possibility that someone we love is cheating on us, it can sometimes be hard to ignore the constant feeling that “something isn’t right” and that “someone” is between the two of you.
- Some people interact indirectly: They use avoidance, negative digs, criticism for other things, and even competitive flirtation – none of which call for clarity or more closeness with the partner.
- Some collect evidence and external backers: They try to ease the fear of losing. This is understandable, since people often need a soundboard; But getting too involved with too many people can complicate reality and a bond that needs to be examined and possibly reconstructed.
- Some decide to use their suspicion as an information point: They move to restore relationship and intimacy. Sometimes, without much talk, their proactive efforts to engage the other, planning something different, etc., bring about a mutually positive response. If the relationship gets life back, they won’t look back. It is already happening.
- More confrontation with the partner: Confronting your partner with your doubts and fears can be frightening and upsetting. Some warn that if you do not want the answer – do not ask the question.
In terms of true relationship and healing, it is usually in the best interest of both to clarify reality.
Facing the source of jealousy
- When confronted as a blatant accusation, it offers little besides making your partner a victim.
- When confrontation is met with procrastination and deception from a partner, it is only a matter of time before you make a decision to do something or live in an unhappy way.
- When jealousy is the collateral damage of a partner’s previous infidelity, confronting it again can be a source of pain and discord for both or an opportunity to remind each other of what is different now, what has been learned, and what has been modified.
- When confrontation makes dialogue possible, it can be a step toward evaluating, repairing, or rebuilding the bond.
A woman is jealous of a married couple
Source: Highwaystarz / iStockphoto
When is jealousy devastating?
Whatever its excitement, when jealousy becomes an obsessive vigil and a threat of possessiveness that prevents you and your partner from living a free and healthy way, it is detrimental to any relationship.
- If your partner is not free to choose to be with you – you do not have a partner, you have a prisoner.
- If you can’t help checking out your partner endlessly, you’re not in a relationship – you’re stalking.
- On the other hand, if you keep cheating on your partner while accusing him/her of jealousy – assess your need to be wrongly connected at the cost of hurting others.
- If you are in a relationship built on the fear of losing to an opponent, the relationship may not have much to do with love and much more to do with a lack of true connection and happiness.
Professional assistance and outside support are essential and crucial resources for both partners.
When is jealousy constructive?
The pride and possessiveness you feel when you see others noticing or wanting to interact with your partner is constructive jealousy.
It’s the inside joke and the fun in seeing your partner recognized as important and desirable. It’s mutuality that comes with trusting each other’s love.
Constructive jealousy feeds on communication and trust. Unfortunately, if there is never a feeling of jealousy in either partner, he may feel apathetic.
Reducing destructive jealousy and building constructive jealousy
Avoid captivity: If the way to avoid jealousy from your partner is to stay glued together, this is an expensive solution. It’s worth considering that it’s hard to build trust or daydream around a partner who never leaves your side.
Increasing psychological inclusion: If your relationship is precious to both of you, there are ways to stay close with friends, colleagues, neighbors, and colleagues outside of your relationship.
- Your partner might not be at work, on the tennis court, or at a political rally with you, but when you’re in a strong relationship, people who know you know you have a significant other.
- In turn, your partner often gets to know the people you work with through your involvement, your interests in them, and even the difficulties you have with them. This way, your partner feels on the inside with you and the people in your life.
On the other hand, if people in your outer world never hear about your significant other or only hear criticism or disappointment in that person and your significant other never hears about what happened funny, interesting, or tragic in other corners of your life there is separation, loss, mistrust, and room for jealousy devastating.
Use the power of touch: experience and Research Emphasizes the power of touch to calm, regulate, and reduce feelings of social and physical exclusion Buffer feelings of jealousy In partners with anxious attachment suffer from jealousy.
Holding a partner’s hand, holding both arms, or placing a loving arm on their shoulder, sends a message to the world and to each other.