Ahh yes, jealousy! What relationship is complete without it? If you have ever been in an intimate relationship then I can bet you have encountered the green-eyed monster creeping in your thoughts at some point of time. Jealousy is undoubtedly very common in a serious relationship. However, based on its intensity, jealousy in relationships can severely damage the bond you share with your partner if you do not address it. Although a bit of jealousy can be healthy for your relationship, when it comes to feeding your ego, jealousy can be a real relationship killer.
“LOVE SEES SHARPLY, HATRED SEES EVEN MORE SHARP, BUT JEALOUSY SEES THE SHARPEST FOR IT IS LOVE AND HATE AT THE SAME TIME.” – ARAB PROVERB
A result of sadness, envy, suspicion and frustration, this intense human emotion can tempt you to behave irrationally. It can not only hurt your partner, emotionally and psychologically, but affect your mental wellbeing as well. Most of the times we don’t like to admit that we are jealous. Not even to ourselves. It is a negative feeling that makes us feel weak, helpless, insecure, bitter, detached and leads to immature behavior. The problem is, even when we realize that we need to control it, jealousy can get the best of us and make us act out against significant other. It makes us blind to the truth and accuses our partners of something that we found hurtful, even if they are innocent. This can lead to lack of trust and disconnection between couples.
What is jealousy?
“JEALOUSY IS THE JAUNDICE OF THE SOUL.” – JOHN DRYDEN
It is a complicated and intense feeling that can result in dysfunctional behaviors and despair. However, jealousy should not be confused with envy. Being envious means you want what another person has but you don’t. It’s a natural reaction to lacking a trait or possession. You can be envious of a friend who has a new car or a person who is more attractive than you. On the contrary, you feel jealous when someone tries to take away what you already have. You might feel jealous of an attractive ex-girlfriend that your boyfriend has started talking with recently. The more they communicate, the more jealous you will be, even though they might just be platonic friends now. As this new platonic relationship threatens your existing romantic relationship, you might feel jealous.
Jealousy in relationships is an instinctive and natural reaction that can often strengthen the bond that you share with your partner, as long as it is healthy and mild. However, when you do not communicate your feelings of jealousy with your partner and start creating imaginary scenarios inside your head, feelings of jealousy can quickly rise like a mushroom cloud and make you act controlling, selfish and destructive in the relationship.
Jealousy usually stems from low self-esteem, insecurity and fear. However, it can be hard to admit that you feel insecure as it makes you vulnerable. But if you don’t start working on controlling your jealousy, your relationship will crumble sooner than you can imagine due to repeated conflicts and emotional overreaction.
Jealousy: The relationship killer
“JEALOUSY IN ROMANCE IS LIKE SALT IN FOOD. A LITTLE CAN ENHANCE THE SAVOR, BUT TOO MUCH CAN SPOIL THE PLEASURE AND, UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING.” – MAYA ANGELOU
Jealousy in relationships often results from real events and experiences and may feel justified inside your mind. Sometimes we feel hurt due to certain unexpected behaviours and actions of our partner, and we often act out of that pain. Feeling insecure about the relationship, we become more possessive and act overbearing. However, this can transform a loving, supportive relationship into a toxic one that is ruled by control and fear. Insecurity has destroyed countless relationships and it will not spare yours if you let it. Not only does it make you feel jealous, insecurity also makes you doubt your significant other and sabotage your relationship. The more you get consumed by jealousy, the more you will push your partner further away, even though all you want is to love them and build a stronger, more intimate relationship.
By trying to control the relationship and trying to ‘fix’ it, you will smother your partner and compel them to break free from this suffocation. What you need to understand is that there is nothing to ‘fix’. If your partner loves you and you love them, you need to accept them as they are. You need to trust them and allow them to be. And if you feel that love is missing from the relationship, then you need to let them go and walk away. However, it is easier said than done. No matter what, you can’t force your partner to love you the way you want and conform to your wishes, values, and beliefs. That’s not a partnership. That’s not who you are. It’s simply the jealousy speaking.
Unless you have experienced something in your relationship that can make you feel jealous like infidelity, there is no reason for you to indulge in this negative emotion. And if you have been cheated upon by your partner and you spend most of your time feeling insecure and jealous, then you need to walk away right now. Is this the relationship you want? Is this the type of person you want to be? Either learn to trust your partner or learn to let go. This kind of thinking and behavior is toxic for you, your partner and your relationship.
How jealousy affects your relationship
“JEALOUSY, THAT DRAGON WHICH SLAYS LOVE UNDER THE PRETENCE OF KEEPING IT ALIVE.” – HAVELOCK ELLIS
Jealousy is an expert at destroying relationships once you allow it to get out of your hand. It can silently create cracks in your relationship and result in problems which not there previously. Jealousy in relationships has a way of manipulating you into believing that what it’s doing is right by feeding off your insecurities.
Here are some ways toxic jealousy impacts you and destroys your relationship:
1. Jealousy makes you insecure
“JEALOUSY IS NOT A BAROMETER BY WHICH THE DEPTH OF LOVE CAN BE READ, IT MERELY RECORDS THE DEGREE OF THE LOVER’S INSECURITY.”- MARGARET MEAD
We can’t control how jealousy manifests in us or in our relationships. It can occur subconsciously or even consciously. When you start feeling jealous consciously, you may tend to think that you’re not good enough for your partner or that they may deserve better. However, if it’s subconscious, you will experience low self-esteem and feel insecure. You may act just fine in front of your partner but inside you will have the sinking feeling that you don’t deserve to be happy. As you convince your mind that your partner deserves much better than you, you will start doubting them unnecessarily. You will start believing that they are cheating on you and wait for something wrong to happen. Even though your partner will love and care for you, you will feel there is no love left between you two.
2. Jealousy makes you afraid
Your fears about the relationship ending will grow exponentially. You will live in a constant state of fear that he or she might be cheating on you. This can be worse if you have experienced infidelity previously in a relationship. You will be afraid you being hurt again and of being left all alone. Jealousy grows on your fears regarding your relationship and once it grows, it controls you completely. As you start believing the lies jealousy tells you, you prepare yourself for the inevitable failure of the relationship. But what you won’t realize is that you yourself will be sabotaging the relationship and wrecking it single-handedly, manifesting your own worst fears.
3. Jealousy makes you doubtful
“JEALOUSY LIVES UPON DOUBTS. IT BECOMES MADNESS OR CEASES ENTIRELY AS SOON AS WE PASS FROM DOUBT TO CERTAINTY.” – FRANCOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD
The more jealous you become, the more obsessed you will get with spying on your partner. The fear of being hurt by the person you love so much will force you to observe and find out every single detail about your partner. You will get obsessed about what they are doing, where they are, who they are spending time with, what they do in their free time, who they are with when they are not with you, why they are working late etc. Can you feel that anxiety? This will be your 24/7. You will check their smartphone, texts, and emails at every opportunity you get. You will stalk their social media to see who is commenting on their posts the most. You will become obsessed with your partner and ignore yourself.
4. Jealousy makes you suffer
Being insecure, afraid and obsessed with your partner all the time will drain you mentally, emotionally and physically. You feel hurt, ignored and neglected even though your partner might be genuinely busy with work or their personal lives. You feel confused and frustrated as you don’t understand the situation and make it worse by creating imaginary scenarios inside your head. Your anxiety levels rise and you feel highly stressed. This leads to insomnia and lack of appetite and soon you start suffering physically as well. All of this because you gave in to the devil called jealousy.