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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Can we talk about jealousy?

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Author Topic: Can we talk about jealousy?
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I really need to write a piece on it for all of you at some point, but I'd like to talk it out as a group a bit first.

In short, we see a LOT of presentations here of jealousy as totally normal and healthy, when in truth, some kinds of jealousy, or ways of dealing with it, really aren't either.

Here's something to give you a clear picture: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/romantic-jealousy

I also get concerned sometimes when I hear users talk about trying to manage a partner's jealousy, or feel a partner should manage theirs, rather than talking about how for anyone experiencing jealousy, what needs to happen is for THAT person to manage those feelings and take full responsibility for them.

Now, I want to also be honest and put out something that isn't exactly a personal bias, but is a bit of a disconnect for me that I think can play a part in my simply not understanding certain presentations of jealousy. In short, while I have experienced jealousy around work (like, X person gets this contract that I really wanted, or Y person gets props for doing something I've been doing for years with little recognition), on the whole, I really haven't ever had strong or pervasive feelings of romantic or sexual jealousy. In other words, there really haven't been times that I have felt envious that someone has feelings for someone else when they don't for me, that someone is attracted to others to whom I am attracted, that someone has a certain kind of partnership I really want for myself. It's just not really been stuff I have personally felt very much, if at all, and when I have, it tends to be something I can usually let go of easily and quickly. So, there's my full disclosure.

But I'd love to talk with any of you about this, particularly if you have struggled a lot with romantic or sexual jealousy, or had partners who did.

[ 02-21-2010, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Ecofem
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I'm reading the article now and came across these questions, which I think are interesting:
quote:
Yet jealousy need not be the green-eyed monster that destroys people and relationships. Recognizing it as the shadow of love gives couples an opportunity to examine two key questions:

o What is the essence of your love? What was it that attracted you to each other initially and what is the most important thing the relationship has given each one of you?
o What is the shadow that your love casts when threatened? What is the threat or the loss that the jealous person is responding to?

I find the first point striking although it makes a lot of sense considering that jealousy is about projecting "our" own "vulnerabilities, insecurities and fears" on to the partner. I get how jealousy could arise inside a relationship but I didn't realize that it can start with why you're attracted to someone and that you're liking someone for what you'd like them to be versus who they really are. That just seems so [looking for the right word: immature, elementary, petty?] to me, because I thought that was someone we're supposed to learn while growing up ("like people for who *they* are.")

Edit: Also, I'm not really a jealous person at all, either in relationships or otherwise, although maybe once or twice I've had little tinges that I both recognized as my own stuff and then worked through it quickly. I've *never* had a partner who was jealous, which is totally positive and but also kind of "weird" because a certain amount of jealousy is often presented as a sign of truly liking someone in popular culture, it seems. I'm certainly not complaining but I find it interesting that there seems to even be a expectation of a certain amount in relationships... like, "He does this because he loves me." (Again, echoing societal messages, not my own stuff there. [Smile]

Do you think it's more prevalent in teen or young adult relationships because people often still finding their identities? I remember thinking, "Oh, I wish I were as cool/interesting/etc. as Person A" at times in high school. I got over it with time (and find it really sad when it persists into later life for some people) but I'm thinking of it now. However, that may be a very different thing than relationship jealousy.

[ 02-21-2010, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Heather
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quote:
Do you think it's more prevalent in teen or young adult relationships because people often still finding their identities? I remember thinking, "Oh, I wish I were as cool/interesting/etc. as Person A" at times in high school. I got over it with time (and find it really sad when it persists into later life for some people) but I'm thinking of it now. However, that may be a very different thing than relationship jealousy.
I really don't know. I'm honestly inclined to say no, though. However, I think it's safe to say that older adults who have big jealousy issues probably also had them as young people, too.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Yeah, I'd agree with you about people who have big jealousy issues later on also had them as young people. It seems to me that it'd be easier to remedy why "you" were having jealously issues if you recognized them early on in your life, admitted you didn't like them, and then worked on yourself and the reasons why you felt that way. As in, it'd be part of a relationship maturation process or an (personal) interpersonal skill one can develop over time.
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Ecofem
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One more thing from the article:
quote:
Another version of implosion therapy is the "Dutch Cow" technique, in which the husband of a jealous wife, for instance, is instructed to call her every hour. This means that the wife must tell her husband where she would be every hour so he will know where to call her. (The technique is nicknamed "dutch cow" because the calls serve the same function as the bells the cows carry around their necks.) Eventually, it is hoped that the connection between the husband's absence and jealousy will be replaced with a connection between his phone calls and annoyance.
quote:
The following exercise is aimed at getting both mates to work on a jealousy problem together.
Some of the techniques for overcoming jealousy, like the "dutch cow" one, is making it something for both partners to work on. That seems to be against what you're saying here about jealousy being an individual issue that the individual, not the partner, needs to work on. I'd agree but I'm curious how you feel about such therapy activities.
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September
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I've also never really been a jealous person when it comes to relationships (though, like Heather, I've experienced professional jealousy on occasion). As far back as I can remember, I've always felt that my relationship with a given person was valuable in its on right, and I have not felt threatened by friendships or relationships a partner has with other people, or has had in the past.

However, I've often felt that I was pretty alone in that view. Both some of my ex-partners, as well as most of my friends, experience/have experienced jealousy, and in fact feel that jealousy is a sign of love. I have a hard time relating to that: to me, jealousy is a sign of possessiveness and insecurity. If I am sure of myself and my partner's affection, then I don't need to worry about them choosing someone else over me. And if I respect my partner, then I want them to have interests and friends of their own, rather than wanting to keep them to myself at all times.

In truth, I've felt hemmed in by a partner's jealousy, and I always find it difficult to give advice to friends when it comes to jealousy, simply because I feel that it is a negative emotion, never a positive one.

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Johanna
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EliotDorian
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Well I've certainly never tried to restrict a partner's behavior out of jealousy, or laid any guilt trips, but I've definitely felt jealous of other girls in one ex's life that I knew for sure he was sleeping with and that he had actually pursued a romantic relationship with. It made me angry and offended, because I kept asking myself what they had that I didn't, that made him want more from them than something casual, and only want something casual with me. So there's that. There were probably bigger issues with my perceptions and insecurities, but I definitely felt jealous that they were loved and I didn't feel loved. Does that make sense? Does that count as jealousy?

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EliotDorian
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So I'm guessing it's feelings of inadequacy. I get jealous of other people romantically, professionally, the works, because I just feel like it's a reflection of how inadequate I am.

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TashaMcback
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I get so jealous easily! Even though I know that they are just 'friends', I can't help it. I am really close friends with her to...so every time I talk to her, I can't stay mad or when I talk to him, I can't stay mad either. Its like, I hate her but I love her SO much because she is pretty awesome.
I'm just scared that one day, they would both wake up and realize that they are more then just friends (they've known each other for 5 years). How I over come this...I have NO idea. I just take it as it is and just DEAL with it. I love my boyfriend, I am totally committed to him and she tells me all the time that he is effin' GAGA for me and he tells me all the time that he loves me and I feel like he really does care and love me. Plus, she has a man. lol xD

[ 02-22-2010, 08:45 PM: Message edited by: TashaMcback ]

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eryn_smiles
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Ok. So I've been jealous sometimes. Not romantic or sexual jealousy about a partner because i've not yet been in a close romantic/sexual relationship . But I have felt jealous of other peoples' happy romantic relationships, feeling that I would like the same closeness and intimacy for myself. I've found attending weddings particularly hard. I think when I cry at weddings, its not always happy crying but it can be quite bitter, unfortunately.

As for how I deal with it, I try to recognise it as the negative unhelpful feeling that it is. And to think more objectively about whichever people I'm feeling jealous of and realise that no-one has a perfect life and that everyone carries a burden. I've found it good as well to try and cultivate the opposite of jealousy for me which is to feel some joy and empathy in other peoples success and for their happy relationships. It's not always easy..but dealing with my own jealousy has definately helped me keep my friends.

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ske92
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Ahhh jealousy... I've definitely had issues with this, ever since I was 12 and had a middle-school "boyfriend." We both really liked each other, and we had this close mutual friend who was always around us. Apparently, in the 5th grade, they had both had crushes on each other, and this being my first strong-ish feeling for any guy I was a bit cautious. Well, turns out that I showed that I was jealous, I scared the poor pre-pubescent boy away, who then told everyone in the lunchroom that he was in love with our mutual friend. I didn't get over that for a year.

Later, just a year ago, I had a pretty big crush on this quiet, intelligent French guy who I met through an exchange program with my school. He visited Chicago for a week with his school, and when he left, we began to write each other every couple of weeks. I really started to think that he had feelings for me, by the way he had began to write, and I thought that I was clear about my feelings. Then the time came for our school to visit France. I was so unbelievably excited to see him, especially at the student party that weekend, but it turned out that I couldn't make it. Basically, some girl I've always looked up to as really cool, outgoing, with a "whatever" attitude, made out with him at the party, and he was a total jerk about it with me. That didn't help my jealousy issue. At all.

Now, I'm in a really fantastic long-distance relationship with another French guy (we've been "together" for about half a year, and we're both 18, so I'm surprised and really pleased). However, about two months into the relatioship, I saw a bunch of pictures on Facebook with him holding hands/cuddling/kissing (on the cheek) a really beautiful girl, who I found out was his best friend. Now, I really wasn't ready for the cultural differences, and I hadn't thought of them until I saw those pictures. I was so upset, and didn't talk to him for a few days, and when we did talk I pretended like nothing was wrong. But after a few conversation with other french friends, they all told me that that's just how the French are with their close friends, and that it was no big deal. So I feel that now (especially after I visited just this last week) that I've met this girl, most of my suspicions are gone, but whenever I saw them hugging in front of me, or lacing their fingers together and leaning close to each other when they talked, I still felt a bit... jealous. I WANT to talk to him about it, and I've brought up the issue (generally, as in the difference between Americans and the French and their social habits), but he shut down the conversation and said he saw nothing wrong with it, and said that everyone should be able to express their feelings for their close friends.

I think this, in a happy relationship, is because of the past, and I feel like it will happen again because of past insecurities, regardless of the guy OR the situation.

So, saying all that (thanks to anyone whose read this far), I don't want to pressure him into not being friendly with his best friend. Right now, he doesn't even know it's an issue to me. Should I talk to him about it directly? Even though most suspicion is gone, should I even bother to bring it up? If it's a cultural difference, should I learn to fully live with it, or should he learn to be a little more understanding?

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ske92
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Ahhh jealousy... I've definitely had issues with this, ever since I was 12 and had a middle-school "boyfriend." We both really liked each other, and we had this close mutual friend who was always around us. Apparently, in the 5th grade, they had both had crushes on each other, and this being my first strong-ish feeling for any guy I was a bit cautious. Well, turns out that I showed that I was jealous, I scared the poor pre-pubescent boy away, who then told everyone in the lunchroom that he was in love with our mutual friend. I didn't get over that for a year.

Later, just a year ago, I had a pretty big crush on this quiet, intelligent French guy who I met through an exchange program with my school. He visited Chicago for a week with his school, and when he left, we began to write each other every couple of weeks. I really started to think that he had feelings for me, by the way he had began to write, and I thought that I was clear about my feelings. Then the time came for our school to visit France. I was so unbelievably excited to see him, especially at the student party that weekend, but it turned out that I couldn't make it. Basically, some girl I've always looked up to as really cool, outgoing, with a "whatever" attitude, made out with him at the party, and he was a total jerk about it with me. That didn't help my jealousy issue. At all.

Now, I'm in a really fantastic long-distance relationship with another French guy (we've been "together" for about half a year, and we're both 18, so I'm surprised and really pleased). However, about two months into the relatioship, I saw a bunch of pictures on Facebook with him holding hands/cuddling/kissing (on the cheek) a really beautiful girl, who I found out was his best friend. Now, I really wasn't ready for the cultural differences, and I hadn't thought of them until I saw those pictures. I was so upset, and didn't talk to him for a few days, and when we did talk I pretended like nothing was wrong. But after a few conversation with other french friends, they all told me that that's just how the French are with their close friends, and that it was no big deal. So I feel that now (especially after I visited just this last week) that I've met this girl, most of my suspicions are gone, but whenever I saw them hugging in front of me, or lacing their fingers together and leaning close to each other when they talked, I still felt a bit... jealous. I WANT to talk to him about it, and I've brought up the issue (generally, as in the difference between Americans and the French and their social habits), but he shut down the conversation and said he saw nothing wrong with it, and said that everyone should be able to express their feelings for their close friends.

I think this, in a happy relationship, is because of the past, and I feel like it will happen again because of past insecurities, regardless of the guy OR the situation.

So, saying all that (thanks to anyone whose read this far), I don't want to pressure him into not being friendly with his best friend. Right now, he doesn't even know it's an issue to me. Should I talk to him about it directly? Even though most suspicion is gone, should I even bother to bring it up? If it's a cultural difference, should I learn to fully live with it, or should he learn to be a little more understanding?

Posts: 3 | From: Chicago | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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