You might feel it when that hot stud across the room at the gym gives your lover the look.
You might experience it if your ex-boyfriends ever cheated on you and then you project it onto
your current man. Whatever its form, jealousy can take on many different
faces and it can kill your relationship if it’s not managed appropriately. If you’re the
one who’s afflicted with jealousy, it can torment and consume you, zapping you of
all security and contentment. If you’re the partner of a jealous lover, your
frustration at having to walk on eggshells and constantly reassure your
guy of your commitment to him can be maddening. Counsellor and coach Brian Rzepczynski
looks at ways to conquering the green-eyed monster.
Jealousy is not bad in and of itself. It is just a feeling and all our feelings are ok; it’s
what we do with them that can mean the difference between relationship calm and
relationship storm. Jealousy can actually benefit your partnership in its mildest
form. But if it is a recurrent, pervasive theme that seems to dominate the climate
of your relationship, it can sabotage your future together and lead to a lot of
hurt and grief.
Jealousy can be defined as a feeling that arises from a perceived threat to your
relationship. It almost always involves fear — fear of loss, of abandonment or losing
your partner, fear of being replaced with someone else, fear of not being important
enough anymore and being excluded. This significantly impacts one’s self-esteem
and leads to insecurity and using self-defeating behaviours to ward off these painful
feelings and gain a sense of control (although it never really accomplishes that and
creates vicious cycles of the same dysfunctional behaviour over and over again).
Self-defeating behaviours might include spying on your partner, excessive clinginess
toward him, constant questioning of his whereabouts and activities, among others.
Jealousy & Its Causes
What are the causes of jealousy? There are “inner” and “outer” causes. Inner causes
might include low self-esteem and confidence (believing one is unattractive or
unworthy of being in a healthy relationship), a past history of experiences that
created distrust, and beliefs that one will be single forever if he loses his partner.
External causes might include how one’s partner acts (expressing interest or flirting
with someone else) or the actual involvement of a third person in the relationship.
Low levels of jealousy can actually be positive for your relationship. It can be
a signal that something’s not quite right between the two of you. It can help partners feel cared
for and be an indication to not take each other for granted. It can also increase
communication, commitment, and sexual intensity. The
major consequence is that it can also lead to a severe break-down in the level of trust
and intimacy between the two men, core ingredients that are necessary for a healthy
relationship to last. And the other paradoxical effect of jealousy is that it can
create the very outcome that is feared and dreaded the most---the ending of the relationship.