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Is Jealousy Ruining Your Love Life? Green Ain't Easy to Match

How jealous partners behave

I'll start with a story, and I will call the players Jean and Frank. Jean had been married to Frank for 50 years, since her early twenties. Jean was now 70 and becoming conscious of the uncomfortable reality she had created. Jean and Frank had been each others first boyfriend and girlfriend and at the tender age of twenty, had married. Jean knew no other from of relationship as her reality had never changed. Frank had forbidden Jean to have a male doctor or male hairdresser. If she ever left the house he would call at the time she was expected to arrive at her destination, under the guise of "concern". He would then call her every 30 minutes until she arrived back home, just in case she had "gone off with another man". Female friends and groups were not allowed in case they introduced her to "someone else". He accompanied her to all the parties and events they attended. Once in her 60s she stayed over with a female friend, this made him feel deeply uncomfortable and he called constantly during the evening, and after a couple of glasses of wine she requested that he stop calling. This triggered a torrid of abuse and the accusation that she was with another man. Early the next morning Frank called to say he had fallen, but was not hurt, please could she come home. Frank clearly had jealousy issues.

More common jealous behaviour

This is an obvious and extreme case, but jealousy can be displayed other ways. I see this more regularly. Lets call the next couple Jess and Tim.

Jess may say to Tim on a night out, "do you think that girl is pretty," Tim is now on the spot, he decides to be truthful, "yes I think that girl is pretty"

Jess: "Prettier than me"

Tim: "No, not prettier than you"

Jess: "But you find her attractive"

Tim: "Yes I do"

Jess: "Do you want to sleep with her then"

Tim: "Ah, no"

Jess: "But you would if you could"

Jess and Tim live in a world where Tim cannot engage another woman in conversation without Jess becoming suspicious, he is forbidden to remain friends with ex girlfriends, nights out without Jess are difficult as she may follow him to "check up." Jess will then angrily, tearfully and dramatically confront Tim about the imagined infidelities he knows nothing about.

What underpins jealous behaviour?

Jess and Frank both display jealous characteristics. Although they give the impression of being extremely self confident, they tend to act like generals about to charge the enemy. They appear to know what they want and will fight to get it. Nothing you say seems to affect their reasoning. They will stay up late into the night, arguing the point and needing to be "right". The personality trait that lies behind jealous behaviour, is an inferiority complex of mammoth proportion. One of the most amazing characteristics is they seem to be bright, sophisticated, schooled and beautiful yet when it comes to a partner, they behave as if emotionally and psychologically stunted.

Is jealousy natural?

We assume that jealousy is a natural behaviour in humans, because it is so widespread. No matter where you go, professors, teachers, schooled, uneducated, American, Italian, skinny, sophisticated, all seem to suffer this affliction. Not only does it occur between men and woman but between brothers, sisters and friends. In fact the oldest and potentially most famous story of sibling jealousy was between Caine and Abel.

Groups without jealousy

I have however encountered and been a part of groups with no jealousy. Tantrics who have agreed on open relationships may consensually invite other partners into their relationship, for short or long periods of time, sometimes for the purposes of healing, sometimes for pleasure, sometimes because there may be a missing dynamic they would like to invite in and then emulate. No jealousy exists here, only love. There was a group in San Fransico called the Kerista Village which started in the 1970's and I believe ran until the early 1990's. They consisted of a group of people practicing polyfidelity (a form of polyamory) the rules stated that they did not form exclusive relationships and members were voted in or out according to group dynamic. They even appeared on the Donahue show in the USA in July 1980, the shows title was " Beyond Jealousy", from audience comments it seem like they struggled with this new structure of society as they seemed to feel jealousy was just another emotion. In Africa, the tribal tradition dictates a Chieftain should have more than one wife and they appear to live harmoniously and jealously seems not to dominate.I am not flying a flag for polygamy or monogamy, I am however referring to small groups of people who have mastered the art of living without jealousy. If 20 people can, why not 7 billion? How did they reach this level of sophistication? This is not an invitation for your psyche to point out you are different in some way from Tantrics, Kerista Villagers or tribal African leaders. Do not let your mind judge lifestyles or religions that differ from yours.

This is an invitation to answer the following questions:

Who would I be without my jealous thoughts?

How would I relate to my partner if my jealous thoughts were absent?

Makes you think

As within, so without


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