We all know the feeling. Having a nice dinner with whom we think is our soul mate and suddenly some hot girl in a short skirt walks by and his head does a complete 180 degree turn. Rude, yes…and we immediately feel like some enraged jealous monster who could throw up our appetizer right at the table. The scene in the movie where the woman jerks the tablecloth off the table and all the food lands right in the guys lap runs through our head and if we weren’t so hurt, mad or whatever it is we feel, we would probably follow suit. Of course Mr. Wonderful returns to the normal conversation like nothing has happened and when he notices the tear or anger in your eyes he nonchalantly asks what is wrong. Ughhh! Jealousy can be an all encompassing emotion, especially while dating -but the truth is it doesn’t have to be.
To a degree, feeling jealous is normal and perhaps even healthy. Jealousy can keep us trying our best in a relationship and can be the first indicator that we are dating someone we actually kind of care about. Jealousy regardless of how or when we feel it- is rooted first in fear. We may be afraid we are going to lose someone we like or love to another, or we are afraid that our attributes or qualities are less than those of someone else’s. Either way, jealousy speaks volumes about how secure we are with ourselves and how secure we feel in our present relationship. If an entire relationship can be in question because a pretty girl walked by your man than quite simply the relationship was in trouble long before she waltzed by! Similarly if you are never able to speak directly to another man while in your beau’s presence without him flipping out you may want to look elsewhere for companionship. It is unrealistic to think in any relationship that either partner will ever be quarantined from the opposite sex and surely as long as both of you have been faithful, the jealousy may be misplaced.
Probably the best idea when we feel jealous is to keep our mouths closed so that we can internalize exactly why it is we are feeling threatened. If we cannot be happy for another person or secretly covet everything that other people have than we are looking at other people’s gains and their accomplishments as direct insults to our own. Just like that woman who walked by your man at dinner didn’t somehow belittle or insult you, even though temporarily that’s how you may be feeling. Both of these are inaccurate assessments of the situation and it would be wise to admit that we probably have some issues with self esteem. No partner can fix that for us. Maybe not looking at that girl with bulging eyeballs would have helped it; but it wouldn’t have fixed the situation.
Coming into a relationship with self esteem intact is definitely ideal and searching for a partner who will “make us feel whole’ is unrealistic. This is not to say that we should forever be stymied from dating simply because we have a tendency to act jealous. Understanding why and when we feel jealous and being able to control it can make the feeling a healthy indicator of areas in our life that we need to personally develop more. At the first pang of jealousy try to understand why you are feeling it. If your partner is feeling jealous try to understand why he is feeling it. Somehow you or him are feeling threatened. Often simple words of reinforcement to how we feel about one another or a gentle gesture can eradicate the little green monster in all of us. Just admit “I am afraid of losing you and I don’t want that to happen!” You will feel better afterward.
Jealousy if continued and persistent can also lead to your partner doing exactly what it is you were afraid of. If he can’t spend a night out with the guys without you calling him 12 times; if he can’t go to work with out you worrying about his secretary hitting on him; there is a really good chance you will drive him away. If your boyfriend is treating you the same way chances are you would find a way out of the relationship and it would have nothing to do with the cute checkout boy at the local grocery store. If either partner becomes enraged, physically violent or controlling through jealousy take the relationship as a live and learn situation and get out quick! Jealousy can cause a partner to begin to lie to you or vice versa simply so you won’t be subject to the irrational reaction that you know is coming next. As much as we would love for people to change for us, it rarely happens.
In small doses jealousy can be a passionate reminder of how much we care about our mate. Even couples in vibrant healthy marriages feel threatened from time to time and quite possibly that can lead to not taking our partners for granted. If you notice that your boyfriend tends to always look at girls in mini-skirts go out and buy yourself a few. This way he will be looking at you instead of the others. Sometimes lightening the situation and pointing out the habits your mate does that make you feel insecure can help him or her to understand your feelings. You could also just land a big kiss on him so he knows how much you care about him and it will take his mind and eyes off anything and everything else but you. Either way be realistic and examine your jealousy or his without turning it into an explosive argument. This way you can learn from it and move on.
Dating is supposed to be a cumulative effort that leads to us finding the perfect mate in life. As painful as a break ups or a bad relationship can be there is always upon always a lesson to be learned. When it comes to being jealous whether it is you or him - first ensure that the jealousy is not seriously damaging the relationship. If it is a fleeting feeling that doesn’t seem to loom over the two of you like rain clouds, then chances are all is well and you quite possibly are with someone you really love. Take cues from your own jealousy and his to decide when both of you may be in need of some extra TLC and act accordingly.