Whence Ariseth Jealousy?

nicoleI‘m told that being jealous is normal. It follows then that I’m quite abnormal.

Last month, an ex-girlfriend got married, and she and her husband invited me to the wedding. Six months prior, they had visited me in Tokyo, and the 3 of us hung out for a fun weekend without so much as a scowl between us. I had not even a hidden pang of the emotion that many feel is normal.

The lack of jealousy can be ascribed to only one of two possible causes.

  • There is no real love. The person would not be missed were the relationship to end.
  • There is real love, but in addition, there is understanding, trust and goodwill.

I still care about my ex very much. She is a beautiful (the girl in the photo), talented and all-around wonderful woman. I would do nearly anything for her should she ever be in trouble. Except marry her. But that is only because, at this stage in my life, I could not marry anyone. And of course she’s already married.

I play this game fairly. Whenever I have a girlfriend, I have no problem letting her hang out with her exes. I prefer to date girls that are intelligent enough to make their own wise decisions. If they were to ever decide to return to an ex, while disappointed and sad, I would feel little or no jealousy.

I was living with another ex whom I told at the onset that I had no desire to marry. I thought my relationship with her would have no matrimonial complications as she was 1) already married, and 2) had a French boyfriend. Within six months she had divorced, shaken the French boy, and moved in with me. A few months later, she proposed. I told her that I had not changed my mind about marriage, but promised to help her find a guy who did want to marry.

So she began to date another French guy. After a few weeks, she asked me to meet the guy (who had no idea we were living together) and give my assessment. I met them at a restaurant, chatted with the guy, and later gave a thumbs-up.

Admittedly, my emotions towards her were a mixture of romantic and paternal. However, many if not most of my guy friends can not so much as entertain the idea of meeting their girlfriend’s date, even though they would never marry the girl themselves. Now this I don’t understand. A girl wants to marry, you don’t want to marry her, someone else does, and you stand in the way? Is this what it is to be normal?

For me, normal is knowing well the girl you’re with, give her sufficient focused affection so she does not want to stray, then trusting her when she spends time with other men. The lack of such understanding and trust is a symptom of an diseased relationship that will at sometime succumb to other pressures.

In many cases, persons who cannot trust their partner are over-projecting from their own lack of commitment to the relationship. They cannot trust themselves with persons outside the relationship, and therefore cannot trust their partner. A person who trusts can be trusted.

Jealousy is at best a stopgap, a temporary and insufficient substitute for trust and understanding. It may have worked well in high school. It does not work well in mature long-term relationships. Unless it gives way to trust, there is little hope for a happy relationship. I’ve seen it incapacitate individuals to the point that they have forfeited their careers, health and sanity.

In contrast, among my friends there are 2 married couples who have no problem allowing their spouse to spend an evening out with someone from the opposite sex. They are so in-tune with each other that the possibility of infidelity does not exist in their minds, and as a result, are immensely happy in their relationship.

If your partner tries to make you jealous, the relationship has no real future. This childish tactic is employed only by the grossly insecure. I’ve walked away from several girls who thought that this was somehow desirable.

Some, who don’t feel the real emotion, still feel the need to employ the mere appearance of jealousy to make their partner feel secure. There are far too many other ways to make someone feel secure in the relationship other than pretending to be jealous. If your partner knows so little about you that they need to see you jealous to feel secure, you’re headed for drama.

Jealousy is human. It is normal insomuch that it is common. But I would argue that it is seldom productive. It is indicative of not really knowing your partner due to an inability to communicate honestly and effectively.

So let me concede that I have not the normal tint of green. However, let me suggest that the abnormal among us are usually happier.


3 thoughts on “Whence Ariseth Jealousy?

  1. Danii says:

    I would argue that being jealous or feigning jealousy does not make your partner feel secure at all but rather causes them to feel manipulated, controlled, harried and miserable. The “jealous strategy” will often backfire and cause your partner to mistrust you, bite the bullet and just “put up” with you, and then when it all gets too pathological, just walk away wishing they’d done it years earlier.

  2. Hasegawa says:

    Amen, brother!

    For the longest time I thought I was the only one who had reached this conclusion.

    I’ve applied and integrated this reasoning into my behavior and had one such long lasting successful relationship. Any such relationship is bound to persist and evolve into solid friendships even after the romantic fire has cooled off. Whereas the opposite is bound to produce resentment as Danii mentioned.

    However there is some arguable value to following the “jealous strategy.” The pushing-and-pulling effect that comes from using jealousy does exert control over some, especially when the target has lost the distinction between need and want. I believe the effect that follows is that the fear of loss brings about the perceived feeling of loss and then by reacting to the jealousy, the agent rewards the target with renewed affection–providing a temporary high to the target as well as approval to the agent.

    As implied by my vocabulary, this is temporary gain and usually cyclical. Therefore requiring constant energy to maintain. When maintenance is ignored (i.e. either party doesn’t participate), that’s when people say “He/she has lost passion.”

    I would say that most relationships have such a cycle, some simply vary on wavelength and amplitude. To a varying degree, it is responsible for why the relationship persists–for better or worse.

    That being said, I’ll walk away at the drop of a hat from anyone using such techniques.

  3. whynotkay says:

    You chould check out the polyamory community, which pretty much entirely agree with you on the topic of jealousy (but recognizes that some people irrationally feel it anyway, and tries to help people get past it). For example, see: http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolyjealousy.html

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