“Jealousy is a useless emotion.”
I heard these words from a friend of mine years ago and it stuck with me. For one thing, to suggest that emotions carry value was strange to me. If you’re on the outside looking in, emotions are uninvited, often unpleasant, and rarely purposeful. Having feelings on purpose is what drugs are for.
Jealousy in particular gets a bad rap. I’ve already talked about love and hate, and Jealousy seems to be the green eyed, red headed step child of both. It’s safe to say that no one considers jealousy to be a good thing. Relationships are built on trust, right? So a jealous person doesn’t trust you, therefore your once-thought sturdy relationship is apparently founded on cool whip and ice cubes.
But it’s an undeniable, inexplicable, and often inevitable part of being in a relationship. Jealousy is often viewed as a response to a perceived threat, real or imaginary. This makes it close-kin for the knee jerk protective response we identify as hatred. Jealousy is a tear in the armor of our identity, a crack that exposes our vulnerability. It is through exposing vulnerability to someone that nurtures, respects and cares for it that we come to form bonds and love each other. When this raw part of ourselves is exposed without permission, however, the feeling of betrayal runs high. Seeing someone put you in a position of insecurity does exactly that. I think few of us want to admit that we’re jealous or mistrusting of our mates, but no one can deny that at least once we’ve thought about doing something we shouldn’t.
Here is where I tell you that I am an unbelievably jealous person. I have no distinction between my boyfriend’s casual acquaintances and people I’m totally fine with murdering when necessary.
It is not an attractive side of me.
One time, my boyfriend became friends with a coworker who was younger than me and female. I have a plethora of male friends, many of whom I’m very close to. Sometimes I choose to spend time with them over Jay. It never occurred to me that would be hard for him to do, because I assumed that I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
I was so, so wrong.
And here’s why, in its frustrating simplicity; Jay never did anything to suggest he’d hurt me in the past, certainly never intentionally, but I had. I’d done stupid things that we’d been forced to deal with, and I was left shaken knowing I was even capable. I knew that it was a lot easier for a moment to take control than we let ourselves believe, because, you may recall, we don’t have our emotions on purpose.
Good things are rare hatchlings of our negative feelings, but it’s not impossible. Jealous behavior, facebook stalking, sorting through someone’s phone, whichever rabbit hole you prefer, will not lead you to a greener pasture. The best (or worst) case scenario is that you’re wrong, and you’ve just destroyed your relationship. You’ve asserted that your partner took that vulnerable thing of yours and planned on abusing it. No one wants to be seen that way, especially if they also plan on giving you their vulnerable thing, because hell if they know what you’ll do with it.
It’s hard to face the emotions that make us uncomfortable; we try to believe we may be incapable of them. But to assume you’re infallible is setting yourself up for failure. And if there is any reasonable way to make sense of our jealous tendencies, for me, that’s it.
I hope this will seem clear to you, because it’s not fully transparent to me yet. For one, jealousy could be viewed as a device to keep ourselves in check; seeing how painful your partner’s betrayal could be helps inhibit you when faced with similar situations that maybe, you’d like to act upon. In another, it allows you an opportunity to be wrong. Admitting to your significant other that you’re jealous pretty much means you’re coming at the argument from the losing side, at least in my experience. You know your feelings can be dismissed, and it’s up to you to find a way to express yourself while admitting that what you’re feeling isn’t their responsibility. That’s barely an easy sentence to write coherently, let alone present to another human in a non-DSM V kind of way.
Jealousy isn’t useless, neither is hatred. Emotions are potent experiences we have and without them, life can seem pretty bleak. Don’t try to be above emotional fault, because no one lives up there; no one will know how to deal with that person anyway. You will make mistakes, my friend, you and so the many people that you’ll end up hurting, or that may hurt you.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.