Within our romantic relationships, we often equate jealousy with love. We justify defensive and envious behaviors by linking them to positive emotions like love, protection, and friendship. As a society, we have mislabeled jealousy and interconnected the green-eyed monster with love. We incorrectly assume that jealousy exists because it would hurt to have our significant others give their time and affection to another. We link the word jealousy to an overabundance of devotion and have deceived ourselves about its true connotation. While protectiveness can exist in any relationship, it has been greatly distorted from where true jealousy resides and the powerful negative impact it can wield in our relationships. As a result, jealousy has presented a commanding presence in the social norms and typical confines of our relationships. In order to truly breakdown the significance and true representation of jealousy and the dangers it poses to our relationships, we need to break down the miseducation of what jealousy truly embodies.
Jealousy is about control not love
In most of our romantic relationships, our partners are regarded as our best friend, soul mate, support system and confidante. When feelings of insecurity overwhelm these positive emotions, jealousy can quickly enter, and take-over, the relationship. This can result in negative emotions of distrust, fear, diffidence and bitterness. Jealousy at its core, is about possession. Controlling and dominating one another becomes the focus and maintaining that influence becomes more paramount than ideal relational foundations like trust, loyalty, support and attentiveness. The basis of jealousy is fear. A fear that their partner will relinquish and utilize all their love and attention on others. Those who exhibit jealous behaviors use them to manipulate and keep their loved one close, crossing a dangerous line. Jealousy has been connected to insecurity, partner dependence, possessiveness, inadequacy, anxiousness, and unhealthy attachment. Notice none of these attributes radiate positive, beneficial emotions.
Healthy alternatives to jealousy
Rather than justifying and standardizing jealous behaviors as characteristics of a loving and protective relationship, experts encourage partners to exemplify their love in healthier ways. Instead of tracking and retracing a significant other’s every move, contemplate these messages of amity: Clean up around the house; pick up a special gift on an outing or vacation; ask how to be of added support during times of stress; cook a delicious meal after a difficult day at work; or give accolades. The list of healthy relationship boosters goes on and on and is only limited by your imagination – just leave jealousy out of the equation and the sky is the limit! Communication is one of the most advantageous weapons against jealousy. Be open and honest about feelings, insecurities, and treat one another with empathy. By communicating with your partner, jealousy can be avoided on both sides of the spectrum. Positive communications will most likely extinguish feelings of mistrust and possessiveness and develop the foundation of trust and integrity within the relationship. Jealousy and love aren’t companions. They are not even in the same wheelhouse and in a loving, trusting relationship, reactions like jealousy will cause the inevitable mortality of a healthy relationship.