By Juliet O
If you let it out of its cage, jealousy is the green-eyed monster that can and does cause irreparable damage to your relationship. A little bit of jealousy can be cute and even healthy. You should care if you see your partner flirting with someone else at a bar, but you shouldn’t get into a bar fight. But when it rages out of control, jealousy can damage your relationship with your partner, your friends, your family, and worst of all, yourself.
Fundamentally, jealousy is an insecurity: an inability to trust another person to be truthful to you. At its heart, jealousy stems from a lack of trust. Because jealous people don’t trust that their partners will act honestly, they attempt to coerce their partners with controlling, manipulative, and angry emotions. Nobody enjoys being manipulated or controlled, so often times, jealous behavior has the opposite effect than the one it intended: you end up pushing people away.
It makes sense that the closer you get to someone the more susceptible your relationship might be to issues of jealousy. The closer you get to someone, the more vulnerable you get and the more you have to lose if this person steps out of your life. As you fall in love, you are letting your defenses down and opening yourself up to be hurt by someone. But love means that you have to trust that the other person won’t hurt you and won’t break your heart. If they love you, they won’t. If they love you, they’re also opening themselves to that same level of vulnerability. While the stakes get higher, you and your partner are both on the same team. But jealousy assumes that both parties aren’t on the same team, that there’s a power dynamic, that one person stands to win if the other person loses. This is no way to love. Jealousy is unhealthy and destructive. It is everything that love is not.
How can we control jealousy in relationships? How can we live free of jealousy, let go of our insecurities, and love openly? I posed this question to our Zoosk Community, and the responses I received were thoughtful, accurate, and full of wisdom and truth. If you need advice on how to control your jealousy, look no further than these tidbits of wisdom from our Zooskers:
“Jealousy does stem from insecurity. I think it’s more about how we act when we feel jealous that matters than the idea of trying NOT to be jealous. It’s been my experience that the more we try to NOT feel one way or another. It’s a hard balance to walk, but I think we just need to learn to recognize it when we feel jealous and to keep it at a reasonable level. I also think it’s critical to talk with your significant other when things make you feel jealous. To explain (in a non-confrontational manner) that you feel jealous and explain why you feel that way. Make it clearly understood (if the behavior the jealousy stemmed from was reasonable) that you’re not wanting them to change the behavior but simply sharing your reaction to it so they understand where you’re coming from.” -SemperTry
“I don’t like being jealous, and I am working on it as well. If someone breaks that trust with me, then I do not know what I will do. I have a hard time trusting people. My last relationship, I was jealous and was possessive and controlling. I do not want to be that same person if I were to be with somebody else. It is a horrible feeling to be jealous and have insecurities. Everybody has insecurities but it’s up to you to control them, and establish that trust and do not break it. I feel if I continue to grow as a better person for myself, and feel good about it, then it would maybe work out better in my relationships. Again, trust is a huge deal.” -Reana
“I think that jealousy is normal to a point, then it grows irrational. If you are going to be in a healthy relationship, there needs to be a measure of trust. Both people need to be able to go out with their friends, both male and female, and just do their own thing. Then it makes it that much more exciting to see the other person later on. You get to tell each other the stories of what you both did. And you don’t have to go separate ways all the time. Going out together with friends is good, too. Just not good every single time.” -Artsydoodlebug88
“Jealousy can manifest even if there is not a lack of trust or no insecurity involved. I myself have felt that form of jealousy. I don’t know if you can have a love relationship and never feel any type of jealousy. It sounds strong and noble to say you are not a jealous person and feel no jealousy for any reason, but personally I would have to question the deepness of my woman’s love for me if I flirted around and showered other girls with attention while not showing my woman an equal amount of attention at least, and she didn’t feel a scrap of jealousy that her man gave more attention to other women than to her.” -Voice Guy
“I think jealousy is a human feeling that should be one of the seven deadliest. Furthermore I think jealousy stems from someone having the ability to cheat on their partner their selves. Or perhaps they do not have a fair amount of self esteem or confidence. Meaning if someone is doing something I do not like as in a behavior I probably have that behavior myself. I may be to a greater or lesser degree but it is there. So, it is my belief when someone is jealous they cannot be trusted themselves. I hold to the belief that the more mature a person gets and the more secure they are in themselves they will lose the penchant to exhibit jealous tendencies.” -Chefboy
It seems that Zooskers agree that jealousy is a negative force on relationships and has the power to destroy them completely. Our Zooskers also agree that jealousy stems from insecurity and lack of trust. Rather than controlling people with jealous behavior, we should all try to be more mindful of our own issues. Treat jealousy at its source. Look into your own mind and ask yourself where your insecurities come from. Recognize that your jealousy has more to do with your insecurities than it does with your partner’s behavior. The path to overcoming jealousy is inside you and no one else!
Photo credit: Nifty