Our collective imagination tends to think that jealousy is an emotion attached to love. This romantic attitude towards jealousy, that it proves the intensity of our feelings for someone and our fear of losing them, is far from uncommon. But though we come across it time and time again it just doesn’t correspond with reality. The truth is that jealousy rather than being any mark of true love shows a lack of confidence in yourself and in your partner.
The Jealousy of Unreciprocated Love
Without a doubt, this is the most romanticized kind of jealousy. This jealousy is experience as a belief that the one you love is in love with someone else. This person is envied for the importance he or she has in the heart of your loved one, whether they’re aware of it or not. The jealous heart envies the third party’s privileged position, because he has not had any such experience with the one he loves.
This is the most common kind of jealousy. We see it when someone harbors an unfounded suspicion that their love has something going on with somebody else. This person is usually real – but can even be imaginary! The jealous heart constructs all sorts of elaborate scenarios and possibilities as to how they could be betrayed by their partner. The jealous heart is eaten up by his or her imagination and ever-growing doubts.
Comparative jealousy comes about when two people are very different from each other on a matter considered sensitive or important by one of them. The couples who suffer the most from this kind of jealousy: couples with hefty gaps in age, beauty, intellect or simply with little interests in common. Comparative jealousy shows itself by the apprehension that one half of the couple will abandon the relationship for someone with whom they have more in common. This outside party is envisioned as more likeable, young, beautiful, cultivated etc.
This particular brew of jealousy comes about when a relationship dissolves because one party leaves with someone else. For the partner that is left behind, a feeling of abandon mixes with one of possessiveness, because to be loved is always to effected despite separation. The third party who “stole” the jealous heart’s partner is the focus of a lot of negative emotion. This is without a doubt the most harmful kind of jealousy, which you must move past as quickly as possible in order to heal yourself.
Provoked jealousy stems from the behavior of certain seductive partners. The loved one wants to feel that his or her seductive power remains. They might be ambiguous about their intentions or the fact that they are in a relationship, which allows them to flirt as if there is no tomorrow! By playing with their charm and being vague about their relationship status, they can lost for a bit in a game of seduction. Even if they don’t necessarily go as far as betrayal, their behavior makes their partner worry about it potentially happening down the line, making them anxious and jealous.
For more on the dangers of jealousy check out Jealousy Is a Killer on Psychology Today.
Learn from Jealousy
In summary, the particular kind of jealousy you are experiencing depends on the way you experience your relationship. In one way or another, jealousy is an emotion that reveals our true personality and our way of conducting ourselves. In this way, jealousy can be constructive in that we see the reasons making us jealous: it is a sign that allows us to work on ourselves, carry out some introspection, taking conscience of the difficulty that is stopping us from developing calm, mutually supportive bonds with the other and ourselves, and to face them.
Jealousy proves the strength of your feelings towards someone.
Jealousy can be too much to deal with when it's a constant in a relationship.