Jealousy: From the inside out

 

In a champagne induced epiphany, my friend decided that it was time to end her single-hood and join a dating website. I listened in as she filled out the profile questionnaire, although mostly because she insisted on reading each question out loud. Having been one of the authors of Queendom’s “Matchscale” questionnaire (currently being used on some dating sites in different languages), I entertained myself by trying to map each question in my head to determine what it was trying to assess.

“‘I lose my temper’,” she pronounced out loud. “Hmmm. Sometimes. ‘I get to appointments on time’,” she continued.

“Let me answer that for you,” I said. “Never.”

She laughed. “Fine!”

“Next question. ‘In some cases, jealousy is OK.” She pondered it for a moment, and then said, “Yes.”

I looked up. “Really? In what sense?”

“Well let’s say you’re out with a guy and he meets his ex and starts flirting with her. Jealousy would be justified in this case, don’t you think?” she asked.

I shook my head. “Jealousy is never justifiable. If a guy does that to you, it’s a sign you should dump him. That’s not a decision based on jealousy, that’s self-respect. You deserve better than that.”

“You don’t find jealousy a little sweet though?” she asked.

“Not really. Think about it: Jealousy is never an ‘out there’ factor, caused by someone else. It comes from within – and 99.9% of the time it’s related to self-esteem and security issues.”

The truth is, when our self-esteem is out of whack, it leads us to think things that usually have no basis in reality, like “If I am my true self, no one will like me” or “People find me boring to talk to.” The other downside of low self-esteem? It could also color your view of other people, as is the case with jealousy. Here’s what statistics from our Jealousy Test reveal:

  • 51% of jealous women and 61% of jealous men believe that it is not possible for a man and woman to be friends.
  • 62% of jealous women believe that it’s not possible for a man to resist the temptation to cheat; 45% of jealous men believe that it’s impossible for a woman to resist the temptation to cheat.
  • 35% of jealous women and 36% of jealous men don’t think they are good enough for their partner.
  • 59% of jealous women and 52% of jealous men believe that given the chance, their partner would leave them for someone “better”.
  • 40% of jealous women and 29% of jealous men are not willing to trust their partner.
  • A whopping 71% of jealous women and 68% of jealous men would have their partner followed or their phone tapped if they suspected infidelity.
  • When we asked test-takers what they would do if their partner received a call from a member of the opposite sex (or same-sex in the case of gay/lesbian couples), 48% of jealous women and 64% of jealous men would insist that their partner detail exactly what the conversation was about.
  • When we asked how they would respond if they came upon an open email that their partner was writing, 96% of jealous women and 100% of jealous men said they would read it.

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Given that the source of jealous often comes from within, here are some tips to address that:

  • Separate intense jealousy from love. Many people falsely believe that strong feelings of jealousy or possessiveness indicate a deep and passionate love for a partner. Unfortunately, the truth is that jealousy only reflects an intense need and desperation to keep what you want; it reflects self-interest and self-love, rather than mutual love. You can love someone very strongly and not feel intense jealousy.
  • Heal from past hurts. Possessiveness and jealousy can sometimes arise as a result of residual feelings from past relationships, when someone we cared about rejected, abandoned, or betrayed us. Many of us continue to carry the sadness or anger inside, and our jealousy serves as a form of protection to prevent the same thing from happening again. Dealing with these past scars is necessary for building a healthy relationship in the present. Unfortunately, this is something you must ultimately do on your own. However, once you’ve made the decision to do so, you’ll have taken a major first step.
  • Don’t make your partner the center of your world. I usually just breeze through Facebook posts from family members, but one from my cousin caught my attention. She’s dating her first boyfriend and wrote this, “(Name) is my life!” Cute? Yes. But a little worrisome too. Having said much the same myself with my first boyfriend, it concerned me. What also concerns me are these random quotes I see on social media promoting unhealthy beliefs like “Jealousy shows that he loves you” or, according to this quote “Jealous means: Just because I love you so much.” Jealous love is not healthy love. Period.

When we are completely wrapped up in someone, their every action and every word can either lift us up (compliments or praise) or drag us down (criticism). The fact of the matter is, we simply cannot be everything to each other; we need to develop our own individuality in order to bring more to the relationship. As Kahlil Gibran writes in The Prophet, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” Now THAT’s a Facebook-worthy post!

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. You may look at someone and think they possess some quality or advantage that you don’t, but the fact is they may be looking at you and thinking the very same thing! Someone may be, according to your standards, more intelligent than you, but you may have street smarts (which I can honestly say I value much more than IQ). And when it comes to attractiveness, it’s very much in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone wants a size 2 runway model or a guy with six-pack abs. Remember, everyone has something special about them. Judge yourself by your own standards, because you are a unique individual.
  • Associate with people who affirm who you are. Do you have toxic relationships with people who criticize you or make you feel small? Take a good look at the people you surround yourself with and how they affect your self-esteem. That being said, keep in mind that there is only one person who has the power over how you think and feel about yourself – and that person is you. Take your power back.

 

Insightfully yours,

Queen D

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