Jealousy is what Shakespeare called “The Green Monster,” and while it can make a partner feel flattered when their lover admits to being a little jealous, it can also destroy relationships if not kept in check….like it did for me so many years ago in Springfield, Missouri.
It was the early 2000’s and it was a typical teenage love affair: my boyfriend was three years older than me and though I loved him dearly, I couldn’t get away from this nagging feeling that he was overly flirtatious with other girls. At times I would inquire about his intentions, which was generally answered with a response of exaggerated annoyance. Soon after, my questions, which I had asked with undertones of jealousy, were reciprocated by him. Yes, we had periods of time which seemed blissful, fairytale-like, but they were often interrupted with cycles of nagging, fighting, and jealous arguments.
Personal note: if you would like to see whether or not you are a jealous partner in your relationship, take our little jealousy quiz here.
I would sometimes inquire about his intentions which were replied by him in an overly annoyed tone. Soon after, the questions which were asked with undertones of jealousy were reciprocated by him and though we had periods of time where everything seemed blissful, they were often interrupted with cycles of nagging, fighting and jealous arguments.
After three very dramatic and emotionally unstable years, we split, and while I am convinced it was for the better, the question always stuck with me: what is jealousy and where does it come from? Fast forward a little over a decade, and after working with people from multiple backgrounds in different countries, I have come to find that many couples struggle with jealousy. But, how can you get past it either individually or as a couple? From where does jealousy originate?
Where does Jealousy Come From?
According to psychologytoday.com, jealousy is a complex emotion encompassing many different kinds of emotions ranging from fear to rage and humiliation. While it spans over different relationships such as parent-child relationships, or even friendships, what we are looking at today is jealousy in relationships.
Being jealous can result from many things: it can be the result of feeling not good enough as you are in a relationship and worrying that your partner will find someone better. It could be from feeling insecure about yourself or what you have to offer, or it could stem from being dependent on your partner to the point where you don’t know what you would do without him or her, and let the fear of losing them run your behaviors. In short, it can stem from feeling inadequate, insecure or dependent on your partner.
Sometimes we are given a valid reason to be jealous, such as when you catch your lover flirting profusely with someone else at a party. At other times, we make up scenarios by exaggerating or embellishing what is experienced: for example if your husband gets a late night call and retreats into the other room to have a private discussion and, instead of asking him what it was about, you imagine the worst becoming overly emotional about it. The fact of the matter is you don’t exactly know what happened or what the conversation was… you are allowing yourself to be run by a bunch of thoughts that were born out of painful emotions instead of out of facts.
How can You Work Past Jealousy as a Couple?
There are many ways to work past jealousy, especially when you are the one that is feeling it. While it is easy to point your finger at your partner, keep in mind that you are pointing three fingers back at yourself (my mom used to tell me this and it drove me crazy, but now I see what she was talking about all those years ago).
When You are Jealous
If you are finding yourself blaming your spouse for making you feel insecure, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know all the facts or am I embellishing what I have observed?
- How have I participated in the unfolding of these results (have I pushed my lover away, have I not been emotionally available for them, etc)?
If you stick to the facts, much of what could have been emotional turmoil dissolves itself. As far as the second question goes, this supports people in taking responsibility for what they are experiencing. As easy as it is to blame 100% of what you experience on your partner, it always takes two hands to clap, and taking responsibility can be very freeing and beneficial to your relationship.
Feeling good about yourself also diminishes drama in relationships. One great thing you can do is work on your confidence or self-esteem by getting a coach, mentor or partaking in some personal development classes. A successful relationship is one where both partners keep their individuality and don’t RELY on the other to make them feel whole, complete, beautiful, sexy, wanted etc. In other words, both partners are whole and complete as they are, and when they come together they benefit each other while keeping their individuality intact.
Oftentimes people get into a relationship to escape being lonely, or to validate themselves and this is where relationships can go awry. This could be one of the reasons why many of my relationships didn’t turn out well: I was getting into them for the wrong reasons! Working on yourself benefits you, your partner, and everyone around you because you no longer look outside of yourself for fulfillment: you are already that which you seek!
In summary, jealousy is an emotion that almost all people experience at one time or another. It is a perfectly normal emotion that can be addressed and dissolved when processed and understood.
Wishing you relationship-bliss!
WeDames is an online women’s magazine and women’s network in Springfield, Mo that loves connecting, having fun and empowering women in and around our awesome little city. By putting up articles here on our women’s ezine, and by also hosting monthly women’s events, our favorite being a sort of “girls’ night out”, we do our best to bring women from all backgrounds together. Ladies’ night out is an excuse for us ladies to get dolled up and go out on the town whilst leaving the men at home.
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