The green eyed monster
Keoni Cabral under CC licence

Jealousy: turning destruction into construction

By Anthony Okoth November 8, 06:00 am
Why does it seem that whenever jealousy rears its head in a relationship, it always ends badly? Does jealousy serve any other purpose apart from destruction?

It happens

Deep down, we’re all a little jealous of the people we’re with. When your friends tell you how attractive your partner is, when you see people checking them out as you walk by, how people in their office always seem to be inviting them for events and get-togethers…

 

Or maybe your partner is getting promotions at work, making more and more money while you seem to be overshadowed by their rising star. It sets off a little jealousy in us. Humans can tend to be very selfish – and jealousy is a manifestation of this phenomenon.

Upping your game through jealousy

Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t try to understand why exactly we feel these spurts of jealousy. If you’re dating someone who is attractive to you, chances are they’ll be attractive to someone else. All this attention can sometimes make us feel like our position in this person’s life is under threat – that we might lose them. But this could be a good thing: because it means you’re with someone who means a lot to you and that not having them in your life means a lesser version of your life.

You can use this to spur you on to be a better partner – to step it up a notch. If you feel like you’re lagging, let the attention your partner is getting push you to outdo yourself and impress them. Take it as an opportunity to remind them that you are happy to be with them, and you will put in the work to maintain the freshness and invention to keep them intrigued and the relationship alive.

Make no mistake: you are the cause.

The dark side

Very often though, we choose to go the other way. This attention or success can manifest itself as resentment and suspicion. Attention from other people must mean that they’re sleeping around or planning to leave you. Promotions at work must mean their bosses are sleeping with them. Hanging out with friends is suddenly a plot to remove you from the equation.

But how often do we stop when we feel this jealousy swelling up and ask, 'What’s making me feel this way?' Once again, make no mistake: you are the cause. Unless, of course, you have concrete evidence – which probably means you shouldn’t be with that person anymore anyway.

Also, learn to take some things with a pinch of salt.

How to win

How many people bother to sit their partners down and articulate what exactly they are feeling? Do we think that they don’t understand jealousy, or that it’s something they’ll ridicule us for?

Humans have a wide spectrum of emotions, and each serves its purpose. Jealousy, like any one of them, is normal. So the next time you feel a surge of jealousy, take a minute to understand why before reacting. If it’s something that needs to be addressed, then do so as soon as possible.

Also, learn to take some things with a pinch of salt. Joke about it with your partner even. Sure, some person in their office might have a crush on them, but they chose to be with you. You won.

Have you had to deal with jealousy in a relationship? Share your experiences. Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook. If you have any questions, visit our discussion board.

Did you learn something new?

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