Understanding Jealousy

Getting to know the green monster.

Hey everyone,

It's been a whirlwind of a week, especially since I only left the house once. Yes… One. Single. Time. (I do implore everyone to at least go for a walk every day. For the sake of your sanity and body)

Anywho, I'm working on exciting projects. One of those is a writer's group that my friend Eva and I created. If you're a writer, I suggest you check it out.

But please don't let my sporadic productivity get you down. I spent the entire day yesterday watching The Bold Type and feeling like a bum. But after a convo with my boo, I realized that's silly. There's no right or wrong way to do quarantine. If you're not in the headspace to be productive, that's OK.

Now onto this week's topic—one I've been guilty AF of in the past— jealousy.


Jealousy, turning saints into the sea…

* I'm not responsible for any The Killers lyrics getting stuck in your head*

Jealousy is a nasty feeling, sometimes. You might feel more at ease knowing that a bit of jealousy is healthy. It's a natural instinct people feel to want to maintain the security of their relationship from outside threats. So if someone is sliding into your partner's DMs and that makes your blood boil, it's healthy to feel that way.

Jealously becomes an issue when it negatively impacts you or your relationship.

eyes GIF

It's also an issue if there's no logical evidence to be jealous. So if your partner goes out with his friends for drinks and you spend the night worrying about what he's doing— only to question him when he gets home— that's a sign you might have unhealthy jealousy.

I know because I used to be that kind of girl and sometimes still am. I'd worry why my partner would come home late and whether they were cheating on me. I've been guilty of checking phones in the past. Hell, I one time showed up at my partner's apartment unannounced because I *ahem* forgot something.

But a couple of years ago, when I took a year off dating to figure out why it made me unhappy, including why I felt jealous in my relationships. Along with my trusty therapist at the time, we put a word to what was going on deeper.

Insecurity.

Everything I felt insecure about— my looks, intelligence, self-worth, etc.— created this belief that I wasn't loveable, and therefore, my boyfriend would leave me for someone else.

And there are other reasons people feel insecure: past experiences of being cheated on, your partner acts in ways to spark jealousy, and fear of abandonment. Whatever your insecurity might be, jealousy comes from projecting them onto your partner's actions to validate your beliefs even if there is no evidence at all.

Look, it's one thing to have a solid reason to believe your partner is unfaithful. It's another to assume everyone will be unfaithful automatically.

How to overcome jealousy

  • In my experience, having an open conversation with your partner is best. I bring my feeling up when they arise, just to give them a little less power.

  • Later, I'll ask myself why that feeling came up. It's never about my partner, but insecurities inside me.

  • Know that you're lovable no matter what. If the worst-case happens and someone leaves you, life will go on. I promise. The best gift someone can give you is a chance to leave them if they don't want to be committed to the relationship. If that happens, good riddance.


Friend Zone Lol GIF

Reader Question:

"My girlfriend has a ton of guys friends, way more than she does girl friends. I want to be cool about it, but I worry she'll leave me for one of them. Or that she has feelings for some of them. I mean, she's never told me any of that, but it's always in the back of my mind when we're around them. But she has told me some of them have flirted with her in the past!

We've been together for eight months now, and I tried to be cool with it at first, but now it's gotten so much worse. I checked her phone the other day to see if I could find anything and I felt like an asshole after. No, I didn't find anything, and it was only a few minutes before I put it back. But I still get jealous when her guy friends are around.

What do I do because this is driving me insane!"

Oh boy. I can see the jealousy monster has a pretty tight grip on you. I get that, I've been in the same position.

It's normal for some girls to have more guy friends, though. I am one of those girls. I've always been one of those girls. Guys are easier to connect with for me. I assume it's because of how I was raised, sans sisters, and the ability to engage in things people thought were "girly" back then.

Changing your girlfriend's friend group isn't going to happen. If you love her, you need to figure out how to overcome your jealousy because it sounds like she has given no reason for you not to trust her.

Have you tried being open with your girlfriend about how you're feeling? Have you told her in a calm, were-in-this-together kind of way? The more you pent up these feelings, the more power they'll have over you. And trust me, the actions like checking her phone are only going to get worse if you don't open up.

The next thing I would do is when you're feeling jealous, really think about what the underlying feeling is. Are you worried she'll leave you because you're not enough? Why do you think you're not enough? Do you believe that you're enough?

Jealousy usually has an underlying root, find that root, yank it up, and examine it as much as you can.

And the last thing I would try is focusing on building trust with your partner. Even if she hasn't given you a reason not to trust her.. it sounds like you need extra trust to feel secure, which is OK. Take note of the times your partner keeps her promises. Notice how much she invites you out with her. And keep track if she's a dishonest person elsewhere (with her friends, family, etc.).

That also means you can't do things to break her trust, which includes checking her phone. Your girlfriend is entitled to privacy, just like you are. Resist the urge to snoop because all it's going to do is hurt yourself.

With all of this, cut yourself a bit of slack. It's going to take time to tame the jealousy beast. But being honest with yourself and your partner will be your best route to overcoming all of this.


Some helpful content…

My girl, Esther Perel, did a great talk about erotic wrath (a.k.a jealousy) in relationships. Robert L. Leahy Ph.D., wrote a book all about the little green monster inside most of us. There are people out there that don't get jealous— my current beau amongst them. And I'll leave you with this story about jealousy and ubuntu.


Until next week... stay sane & healthy.

All the love,

Kirstie


This Week's…

Articles I Wrote:

What If All Of This Were Enough?

Bored In Quarantine? Don't Take It Out On Your Partner

Relationship Grief Is Real For Couples Quarantining Together

Content I Loved:

As Long As You're Stuck In Your Apartment, Give Yourself A Story To Live

How To Actually Fall Asleep

The Three Equations for a Happy Life, Even During a Pandemic

12 Free Things to Watch, Listen to and Learn in Quarantine


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