Jealousy is a somewhat normal thing when it comes to couples. People that are afraid of losing someone or one another will automatically feel the jealousy rising. According to the article “Jealousy in Relationships: The Gender Factor,” “Both genders become jealousy when they fear losing something or someone valuable to them.” People look for all kinds of reasons to justify their jealousy. One of the abused excuses is “I’m jealous because I care about you,” which, in my opinion, is complete nonsense. Jealousy has nothing to do with caring about someone, but everything to do with being selfish.
Although jealousy serves human survival, it is not always healthy for relationships. According to Robert L. Leahy in the article Jealousy is a Killer: How to Break Free from Your Jealous Feelings “jealousy leads us to focus only on the negative.” This can cause any relationship to end. Jealousy has to do with fear: the fear of losing someone we want to hang on to, the fear that they will find someone better; it has everything to do with oneself and nothing to do with caring for the other person. Jealousy is not the same thing as love. Sometimes, we think that by feeling jealous (by being possessive or wanting ownership over the person), we love them. Jealousy is not love; it’s the fear being abandoned.
If you cared about someone, why would you care if the person is flirting with someone else? You will only care because you feel threatened. “Jealousy is conceptualized as a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response to a relationship threat. In the case of sexual jealousy, this threat emanates from knowing or suspecting that one’s partner has had (or desires to have) sexual activity with a third party. In the case of emotional jealousy, an individual feels threatened by her or his partner’s emotional involvement with and/or love for a third party” (Guerrero, Spitzberg, & Yoshimura, 2004, page 311). For example, if your partner flirts with someone else, you will probably feel ditched and disrespected. You will become jealous because, why do they need to flirt with someone else when they have you? In this case, it has everything to do with one’s pride.You will complain because you feel like you deserve to be treated better, but, again, who is the judge here? You are. You think that you deserve the best and no one else does. You think that you own the person and no one else can have them, which are all selfish thoughts and reasons.
Jealousy is not linked to self-esteem in particular. Jealousy is not an indication of lack of self esteem. In some cases, jealousy can actually ‘reflect high self-esteem: “I won’t allow myself to be treated this way”’ (Robert L. Leahy). In this case, jealousy has to do with one’s high value and ego.
However, jealousy can be linked to self-pity. When one feels threatened one will feel like the victim. The moment you feel like the victim you will start feeling sorry for yourself. Self-pity is a weakness and it will easily trigger depression. Tom Robins once wrote: “All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.” Rise above victimizing yourself in every situation. It will help you let go of things, and it will help with your personal growth.
Before you state: “I’m jealous because I care about you,” ask yourself do you really care about the person or just yourself? Before you state: “I’m jealous because I do not want to lose you,” ask yourself why don’t you want to lose them? Is it for your own selfish reason or does it go deeper than that? Sometimes we are so caught up in our own world and our own wants and needs that we forget to consider what other people might want. It’s always “don’t hurt me,” don’t leave me,” don’t disrespect me,” etc. and all of these things have to do with that person’s own ego and own pride. Being selfless is a tough thing to do. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re being selfish; I experience that with my mom every day. In her mind she cares about her family, but in reality it is always about her. It’s always about how she feels, what she wants, and how she is the victim in every situation. Even though she does not admit it, her image and authority are the two most important things to her; much like a dictatorship. Every day I tell myself: “That’s exactly who you don’t want to be.”
My mom get’s jealous very easily; even to the point where she sees me as a competition. She’s a great example of what jealousy can do to a relationship. Whenever my dad and I talk, she complains that I get all of my dad’s attention. A couple days ago, she told him that she doesn’t like the fact that he’s spending so much time with me. Her reason for telling my dad such a thing was: “I care about you and I need your attention.” Is that the real reason? I think she just contradicted herself with that statement. She cares, but she wants attention, or perhaps she just wanted attention? It had everything to do with her feelings, and nothing with neither my dad nor me.
In my opinion, when you care about someone, you don’t have to be jealous. It helps to realize that you do not own the person, and you cannot tell them what to do because they are not a robot. “We don’t own each other, but we may make affirmations about our commitment to each other” (Leahy). When we realize that jealousy has more to do with our own self-image than with the other person (we think we care about), it becomes easier to realize that jealousy is a selfish act. It’s normal to feel jealous sometimes, but it is also important to acknowledge it. This might prevent us from jealous behavior, which will most likely ruin the relationship. According to Leahy, “It’s important to realize that your relationship is more likely to be jeopardized by your jealous behavior—such as continual accusations, reassurance-seeking, pouting, and acting-out.” However, when we acknowledge the fact that we feel jealous, we can choose how to act upon that emotion.
I view jealousy as a weakness because it ruins so many things, even when we do not realize that it does. Jealous behavior kills so many relationships because it makes the other person feel trapped, unappreciated, and sometimes it might even trigger feelings of not being good enough. Jealousy is a self-fulfilling prophecy and, as mentioned before, a very selfish one. We cannot force people to satisfy us, we cannot force people to care, we cannot force people to be ours, and we surely cannot force people to love us; we can only hope. Don’t love someone just because you want to be loved in return, but love them because you genuinely love them and care about them regardless of the rejection or pain it may cause. Love unconditionally.
Hoyt, Alia. “Jealousy in Relationships: The Gender Factor.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks.com. Web. 24 Aug. 2014. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/jealousy1.htm>.
Robert L. Leahy. “Jealousy Is a Killer: How to Break Free from Your Jealous Feelings.” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. Web. 24 Aug. 2014.