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What is jealousy?

Jealousy is an emotion based on insecurity, relating to the belief that a relationship isn’t stable. This leads to fears of losing someone that’s precious to you, or that she’ll find someone better than you, and so on.

Degrees of jealousy

It’s perfectly normal to have reservations about your girlfriend going to a strip bar with friends, or not enjoying how much they drool over some guy in a magazine. That kind of jealousy is harmless and normal.

Expressing concern about your girlfriend going out with a bunch of guys is often just looking out for her wellbeing. She might even be insulted if you don’t say anything. If you see her flirt with another guy it’s quite ok to feel jealous and tell her it’s inappropriate.

When aggression or violence become part of the jealousy, there’s a big problem. The person who is obsessively jealous has very little tolerance, and any look at another man or woman is enough to set them off. They demand to know where he or she is at all times, or they won’t let their partner go anywhere without them. Just the mention of another man or woman’s name sends them off the deep end.

Sources of jealousy

Jealous behavior can come from past experience with partners who have cheated on them. And if you’ve had more than one partner cheat on you, it can cause you to be more possessive and controlling, to try and make sure they have no opportunity to cheat on you again.

There’s also the possibility that it’s you who has cheated on your partner, and because you can’t even trust yourself, you might place the same feelings on them, believing they could cheat on you too, simply because you cheated on them. Your guilt tries to make sure they don’t have the opportunity to do to you what you did to them.

However, most jealousy comes from a low self esteem and lack of confidence. You might feel you’re not good enough for them, and so any interaction by them with someone of the opposite sex makes you feel that they could find someone better than you. Most guys or women might be better looking than you, and you feel threatened by that.

If you watch her interact with other guys, you might be worried that they’ll ‘steal’ her from you. If you’ve been with him for only a short time, you might feel threatened by the close bond he has with his female friends, who he’s known for much longer than you.

Jealousy is dangerous

Jealousy is quite bad for relationships because it destroys a very important component that holds it together – trust. To tell her she can’t have lunch with a co-worker is the same as telling her you don’t trust her. If you restrict them too much, they’re going to wonder why they’re with you. No one wants to be controlled or ‘imprisoned’.

It also leads to more arguments and reduces any quality time you might have together. All you end up doing is focusing on each other’s negatives.

On top of all that, you spend most of your time worrying about what they might be doing when you’re not with them. When all you’re thinking about is how they could be cheating on you, then that’s all that becomes real for you. You start expecting them to cheat on you.

You need to control yourself

Here’s a few ways to learn how to overcome your jealousy – before you lose control and do something you’ll regret:

  1. Learn from past experiences
    Look at how past relationships – and even your current relationship – has been affected by your behaviour. You might realise that your tantrums are the cause of the troubles, and that they actually haven’t done anything wrong. Understand that getting upset or angry at them won’t help the situation.
  2. Deal with reality
    When you realise that it’s your tantrums which have been the problem, you realise that it’s all based on what you perceive to be happening, and what you fear is happening. You don’t need to let your imagination dictate what kind of person she is. Treat her according to what she does, and not according to what goes on in your mind.
  3. Respect yourself
    You have to understand she chose to be with you for a reason. There’s no need for her to be tempted to go elsewhere – unless your actions start to drive her away. You need to avoid that by understanding that you deserve her, and she deserves you.
  4. Get someone else’s opinion
    Ask a friend to tell you what they think of your behaviour around your girlfriend. It can help you understand the full extent of your actions, as well as hers, by getting their perspective.

Avoid overreacting

It’s ok to feel a bit jealous as long as you can channel it in a positive manner. Remember that having others flirt with your girlfriend is normal. Think of it as flattery for both of you. As long as she looks but only touches you, there’s no harm in it.

Trust is important in any relationship, and it wil be better for both of you to avoid letting your insecurities destroy your trust. Show her the same respect that you want her to show you.

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