It’s just not where my head goes. Or my emotions.
It’s not my style to dwell in a place of comparisons and doubt. To journey to the domain of jealousy where so many men and women flagellate themselves in crises of self-esteem, in insecurity, in lost trust and a trail of inane actions that lead to acting out and then, sometimes, feeling foolish.
Are you the jealous type?
Are you jealous only if your romantic partner gives you reason to be?
Fight or Flight
If someone attempts to position another potential suitor at the ready hoping to get a rise out of me, it’s going to backfire.
If anything, keeping company with a jealous man, or one who tries to make me jealous will send me screaming into the night. Well, withdrawing quietly, anyway.
I will not fight. Instead, I will express the belief that adults will do what they want when they want more often than not – and nothing I can do or say will change that.
Efforts to make me jealous?
I take them as signs. Perhaps my concupiscent cohort in crime is crying out for more (or different) attention. Perhaps he is emotionally needy in a way that I am not, and a way I am not prepared to deal with.
Dictionary.com defines jealousy as:
mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims
Given Weinergate (and ArnoldStrasse?), I suppose that if I have suspicions that a lover or spouse is being unfaithful, that would certainly incite “mental uneasiness” and even fear. Fear, if my family life is built around belief in the other person. Even more so, if my finances are tied up in that union.
Yet I do not live in expectation of being deceived, or in fear of it. I return to the premise that men and women will do what they want in sexual matters, sometimes exercising good judgment, and at others, quite the opposite.
Catnip and Comparisons
For some, the thought of a rival is like catnip; recently a friend disclosed that now that he’s happily involved with a woman, an old girlfriend popped up – wanting to get back together. She explicitly referenced his new paramour, clearly part of the jealousy jukebox pushing her buttons.
I thought of the film I saw earlier in the week, and wondered about the psychology (and dynamics) of wanting what we cannot have. The fact that some value an object – or a person – only when they perceive that others consider it worth possessing.
Ah, the concept of possession. You can “own” an object, but can you ever own the object of your affections? Would you really want to?
Not only am I not jealous by nature, I am not possessive. When I love, I do so ardently, but not possessively. And jealousy, to me, is all about possessiveness.
I admit, I’ve been stung by my lack of jealousy (or “a man will do what he wants to do” attitude); in my marriage, my spouse traveled a great deal. I have no idea what he did and with whom. I have my suspicions, but it’s immaterial. I resented the amount of time he was away, but that’s a very different state of affairs.
Realistically, I had no control over who he saw or what he did, so how could my doubting that he was working make any possible difference? He also had many women friends, and I wasn’t jealous. It never even occurred to me to be concerned. I still don’t know what he did – or didn’t do. I never will.
During the marriage, I never suspected anything. Call me crazy. Better yet, call me Gullible.
Mostly, call me Tired. I was the textbook case of “married single mom” before I officially shed the Missus before my name.
Of course, I won’t say that I’m not hurt by the inevitable comparisons that can arise in any relationship. When you’re dumped, when you’re not loved, when sexual intimacy is breached by knowledge of another woman (or man), it’s painful. Trust is broken. Bridges require reconstruction.
Envy By Any Other Name
Dictionary.com provides another definition of jealousy:
resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.
To me, this variation is more familiar. It is recognition of competition (or its potential) in both professional and personal domains, but it has nothing specific to do with the arena of love, lust, or marriage. It is envy.
I envied the insouciance of my traveling spouse for his apparent lack of guilt at being absent from so much of the marriage. Yet that doesn’t mean I aspired to living that way, myself. And I am far more likely to envy the accomplishments of others rather than romantic rivals, and yes, to be jealous – particularly if they are achievements that I value.
So what about you?
- Are you the jealous type? Envious? Resentful?
- Can jealousy help a marriage?
- Is jealousy a relationship killer?