Jealousy is the worst possible thing that can happen in a relationship – whether it’s justified or not. I will prove – with a single sentence – that jealousy makes no sense at all!
I could never be really jealous after I realized this: if my partner really wants to leave me, it’s pointless to force her to stay; and if she doesn’t want to leave me, it’s equally pointless to find ways to tie her to me. Naturally, I had times when I had enough of it all, when I felt that my relationship is on the brink of falling apart because I was the one making any effort while my partner was the one draining it, or when I felt I was being replaced by someone else. But in these cases, the only real solution is open communication, and not throwing tantrums. The worst part of jealousy is that in most cases, you yourself are the source of your own ill feelings.
She is so much prettier than I am … / He is so much more handsome than I am ….
She is so much smarter than I am … / He is so much richer than I am …
She is so much more experienced than I am … / He is so much more sophisticated than I am …
That woman or that man is so much more something, simply because I think of myself as someone who’s just not good enough.
In most cases, this is the source of jealousy. Would you be jealous of an old, ugly, dirty idiot? The most you’d do is laugh if your partner was approached by someone like that or if your partner approached such a person! We’re only jealous of others who we see as a threat, who might be better than us, or who we deem a better person, a more exciting adversary!
Photo: Dylan Coulter / Psychology Today
Let’s go back to the previous chapter : Your partner’s commitment to you does not depend on how well you guard him/her, who he/she looks at, or how well you can protect him/her from the advances of others. Just the opposite! Your partner’s commitment gets stronger if he/she feels happy with you, more than with anyone else! And if that’s the case, what should you work on to improve so as to avoid feeling jealous, with or without a cause? Yes, the answer is you!
If you felt confident, attractive, and strong if you felt you’re nothing less than the jackpot, why would you ever worry about being left for someone else? If your partner is not the best man/woman in the whole wide world, why are you even with him/her, why aren’t you out there looking for that person? And if you’re not that person yourself, why on earth would the best man/woman want to be with you?
The way to treat jealousy is similar to how we approach treating an STD/STI: both parties must get treatment at the same time. You must make your partner feel that you see him/her as a wonderful person, while at the same time you must become the person who sees himself/herself as someone wonderful.
Don’t punish your partner if you’re incapable of this, don’t project your lack of self-confidence onto him/her. Instead, work together and ask him/her for help!
Having said all the above, if you have a valid reason, if you’re truly incompatible, if you have no commitment for each other, then, by all means, fix or end the relationship! Whether or not you have reason to be jealous, for whatever reason, it makes no sense!