Handling jealousy

by Rod Smith

Green-eyed monster!

Jealousy abounds. “My girlfriend won’t let me talk to my childhood girlfriends,” or “My husband won’t visit my family. He says I ignore him when I am with them,” are frequent themes in my inbox. One man I know is jealous of men his wife reads about in novels. Here are broad principles to apply if you face the “green-eyed monster”:

There are reasons you found each other attractive. So while your partner might play host to the virus of jealousy, somewhere in the mix you may have some limited responsibility for fostering its success if jealousy is an issue between you. First examine your contribution (how have you fed the monster?) before you point fingers at your partner for any expressions of jealousy.

A virus, jealousy is an emotional virus, must have a host to survive. Once hosted, having no capacity to self-monitor, it will run wild within the host. The only effective treatment for the virus of jealousy (as is true with any virus) is starvation. So do not allow it to succeed. Bring it into the light (it hates exposure) every time it shows its ugly, borrowed face. Do not try to work with, understand, or appease jealousy. You cannot reason with a virus so don’t waste time trying.

You do not cause jealousy (by ANYTHING you do) and it is never an indication of love.

2 Comments to “Handling jealousy”

  1. When you say you cannot “cause” jealousy, I’m not sure I agree.

    Three years ago, my husband started acting secretive about his cell phone, and it turned out he was considering leaving me for someone else. He decided not to leave, but although I have never once checked his phone before then or even suspected anything, I certainly checked it after that. That went on for a little while and then I stopped checking.

    Last summer, he had an affair, and again he became secretive with the cell phone.

    Things have gone downhill from there, he is now on internet dating sites, alternately claiming that he is just looking for friends, or that he jsut wants to see if he’s still got it. We have separated – I’m extremely hurt but I have two kids to take care of and I have to keep my sanity. He says he just needs time but somehow it seems he doesn’t want to be alone during that time, and he says what he does isn’t my business.

    So I don’t know – when someone destroys your trust and basically everything you worked for years to build, does that not CAUSE jealousy? I believe there are two types of jealousy – the kind that is the direct result of facing the fact that the one you married turned into a cheating scumbag, and the kind that is unwarranted but becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Just my two cents.

    • Thanks for your comment. Please read down a few posts to “How NOT to use my column” and you will see that I am very open to learning and seeing things differently. Let’s see how the discussion grows and I’ll write again on this topic.

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