eJealousy: a word that provokes a tidal wave of emotion
Some people will say that jealousy isn’t “real,” but typically what they mean by that is that jealousy is not a thing in and of itself, but a sign of something else. Jealousy is a manifestation of insecurity, fear, anger, etc.
What they don’t always say is that something is LOSS. Whatever the other feelings which are inspire jealousy may be, it ultimately comes down to loss.
Jealousy, I believe, can be boiled down to a simple statement:
“I am worried if my partner gives time, effort, or affection to another person, they will give less to me. Perhaps even nothing at all.”
(Perhaps it isn’t always the case, but I find most stories of jealousy I hear about revolve around such a sentiment. If we can eliminate 90% of cases through a change in perspective, we can have more time to worry about the outliers. Therefore, for the moment, focusing on loss.)
Understanding the relationship between loss and jealousy, I hope, helps healing and moving forward.
Maybe jealousy isn’t so incomprehensible. What if it’s rooted in real circumstances? Say that we’re used to being abandoned for the next new shiny. W’re just told too often that if our partner is interested in another, they’ve lost interest in us. Or it’s something else altogether.
Don’t always fall for the logic trap. Feeling you need a “good reason” to feel jealous. The reason isn’t always logical.
Maybe we simply have an irrational fear. Irrational doesn’t mean that the emotion is invalid. Or that we’re terrible. We simply have this feeling. Perhaps all we have to do is talk it through with our partner, and realize they will be there for us. That their love for someone else doesn’t mean less for us.
Only maybe it is logical.
This may sound terrible and painful, but it doesn’t have to be viewed as such. Maybe this is the kind of person that will leave you, if given the chance. I’ve had that happen. I felt jealous, too. But ultimately I could not force him to stay with me, so my feelings subsided. If they want to leave you, you cannot stop that. No matter how wonderful you are. It’s not about you, but about them.
It might not even be about them, but rather about your personal history with lovers. Have previous partners abandoned you when you let them talk to other people? Do you have trust issues that were given to you?
Perhaps this person feels less for us than we do for them. And, very likely, they will eventually find a partner better suited and spend more time with them- even end our relationship altogether. That makes sense that one might react with jealousy, possessiveness, and fear.
Or maybe we’ve never had that feeling at all. It’s possible.
Maybe you’ve never had a partner you feared losing. Maybe it’s because you don’t actually care about them that much. I’ve never known someone to feel something as powerful as jealousy towards a person they’d be happy to see the door hit on their way out. After all, would you feel jealousy towards your cashier at your grocery store? If you don’t care about them enough, you typically will not feel jealousy, either.
This is sometimes confused for “If I really love someone, I’ll feel jealous. Jealousy is proof of ‘real’ love.” Nope. But it is true that any depth of emotion is connected to someone you have deep feelings for.
Perhaps the reason you didn’t fear losing them wasn’t because you “didn’t really love them,” but because you were securely attached. Like how we’re supposed to feel about our mothers and fathers. Do you worry about your mother not loving you? If so, you might be jealous when they remarry or have a new baby. But if you’re older, had a good relationship, and understand the new person in her life does not detract from you (it’s different if past experience has taught you otherwise!), you probably feel happy for her. Compersive. Not jealous and scared.
Whatever the case, it’s not uncommon to suddenly feel it out of nowhere. It feels weird, strange, bad. Are we a bad person? It’s possible. I’ve known a lot of shitty, jealous, possessive people.
You never really know, I suppose. But it’s always possible we have a reason for feeling this way.
So when that feeling pops up? Consider where the feeling comes from.
From feeling like we didn’t have enough and now we’ll have less? From an unrealized fear that we’ve never felt secure with them and have always worried about them leaving us? Or even a legitimate knowledge, such as knowing that our partner left their previous partner for us…?
Jealousy is a complex emotion, but it doesn’t have to control us. Nor does fear.