jealousy in a relationship?

Amanda asks: “Hey Mr. Kate! I am in a new and wonderful relationship with a great guy. He’s everything I’ve been looking for and I’m so happy, but since starting this I feel crazy insecure and jealous. It’s a feeling I never felt before and frankly, it blows! Do you ever deal with insecurities and if so, HOW!? HALP!”

Answer: Of cooooourse I’m jealous! I’m human!…a jealous human. I think a healthy level of jealously is good because it shows how much you like/love the person and are invested in the relationship. But those are the key two words: “healthy level” an unhealthy level of jealousy is the kind born out of insecurity that can damage a relationship, sometimes beyond repair. The best cure for jealousy is a calm and confident sense of self so when that girl walks by with the itty bitty waist and that round thing in your (man’s) face you don’t get sprung…with jealousy… because your self esteem won’t let you go there! Okay, I’m quoting Sir Mix-A-Lot which means I’ve gotten off track… let me tell you three stories about my experience with jealousy and how I’ve now gotten myself to a healthy level.

Jealousy 1: The kid-friend kind

One of my first experiences with jealousy was in third grade over another girl’s retainer. I know, a retainer is not a man, but I reached an unhealthy level of jealous rage over the fact that this girl had teeth that were crooked enough to allow her to have a glorious pink retainer that she’d flaunt my clicking it in and out of her mouth. Boy, did that make me boiling mad! I was 9 years old and had a gosh darn, straight-ass smile and even though I tried to fake an over-bite, at the orthodontist I made my mom take me to, I remained retainer-less.

It just so happened that  one day in the school bathroom, my clinical-level of jealousy led to me slapping this girl in the face. With a soapy hand! I’m not proud of it, and may I say, it’s the only time I’ve ever slapped a bitch, but my jealousy got the best of me. We got into a heated discussion while I was standing at the tiny sink, dutifully washing my hands after I tinkled, and I was telling the retainer-smacker-girl that I really disliked how she flaunted her goods. She responded that I was “one to talk” and that I flaunted other things like “how I knew how to make the cute boy laugh” who sat next to me in the 3rd row…apparently she was jealous of me too! This fact didn’t sink in and instead I got so boiling mad, I swung around and slapped her across her pretty, crooked face with soap suds still on my miniature hand.

We both stood there stunned. Then she started to cry, through her retainer. Then I started to cry. I apologized and begged her not to tell on me. We went on to finish 12th grade together and be great friends. But I never got a damn retainer, even though I asked Santa for one…two years in a row!

Jealousy 2: The young relationship kind

My first serious boyfriend relationship was when I was 17 and lasted until age 19. He was a super sweet guy and was loyal, etc. However, he had this girl friend – see the space between the words? – he had a friend, that was a girl and she was a reaaaaalllly good friend and had been for a long time. So long, and so good, that at one point, before our relationship, they’d slept together. Okaaaay, like, ew. This was a sticking point in our relationship because I was insanely jealous of her and he insisted on maintaining his friendship with her. He never hung out with her without me around, but he did still hang out with her, and I hated it. She was really nice, but whenever she was around I’d be fake nice while at the same time boiling in my seething sea of jealousy and watch her every move. I’d also analyze the fact that she was a tall brunette girl and I was (and still am) a short blond girl…how could I be enough for him if he had had a “thing” with her before I came into the picture? This was the question I tormented myself, and him with allll the time.

That’s really what jealousy is; self torture. If it’s unfounded jealousy, meaning: you’ve created this delusion that isn’t the reality of your situation and obsess over fiction, that’s crazy making! Ultimately, it’s a toxic feeling that leaves you feeling bad, and looking bad to your partner. If it’s jealousy that is coupled with suspicion, because you have a gut instinct about a situation ex: ‘my boyfriend is actually cheating with this girl he claims is his good friend,’ then by all mean, be jealous, get out and get even!…okay, don’t get even, just get out.

Moral of the story, with this first relationship of mine: we were both too young and I was too insecure for it to last. My jealously and obsessive behavior over my self-manifested angst and other things in my life did drive our relationship down a rocky road. We fought a lot, I cried and gave him a hard time. I manipulated him, because let’s face it, girls are smarter in arguments and pretty good at twisting things to get results – and I think I just beat him down. I beat him down so much to the point where I lost respect for him and didn’t like him anymore or myself in the parameters of that relationship.

I broke up with the sweet dude, who never actually cheated on me with his best (girl) friend. I actually caused him to separate from her more than I’m sure he wanted to, during the course of our relationship. In hindsight, I’m sure I would have felt like the way bigger person if I’d said, “It makes me uncomfortable knowing that you once had a romantic, lusty exchange with her. But, I don’t want to be the cause of the end of your relationship with an old friend. So, if you’re telling me that you don’t have feelings for her, in that way, I’m going to trust you and not make a big deal out of this. Just know, that if you’re lying to me, I will chop your balls off.” …right? Waaaay more mature and a lot more calm and rational.

Jealousy 3: The healthy kind

I’ve been with Joey for 6 years now, we actually just celebrated our 6 year anniversary…woooot! It is by leaps and bounds, the healthiest and most effortless, wonderful relationship I’ve ever had. It’s also the longest. I credit many things for the success and functionality of your relationship and among them, our healthy level of jealousy.

In the beginning of our relationship, Joey was really jealous. He was a touring musician and I was living in LA and working as an actress. In the first couple months of our relationship, I booked a movie where I was playing a sexy role and had a couple flirty scenes with two different well-known actors. Joey wasn’t able to be around all the time because of his touring schedule and was really jealous and worried about these other dudes. As much as I felt bad that Joey was tormented, I secretly liked it because it made me feel so special. Joey had a rather large fan base of adoring, female fans but he was getting all worked up with jealousy over me! When the jealousy almost led to a fist-fight on the film set I realized things might have gotten a little too intense for Joey. Fortunately, the filming ended with no punches thrown and no saliva swaped with my co-stars and Joey and I settled into nurturing our budding relationship.

Now-a-days we are healthy jealous. My hackles get raised when he’s speaking a little too fondly about some girl he met, but rather than simmer in silence I voice my concern and he reassures me right away. We have a very respectful relationship and treat each other the way we want to be treated in return. I still secretly like when he get’s a little testy about a guy that he thinks is flirting with me inappropriately, but only because it makes me feel loved and special. If his questioning turned into raging jealousy, I wouldn’t like it anymore and I’d tell him to ‘knock it off’ – same goes for me.

I would say the secret to having a healthy range of jealousy is self-esteem. Have the confidence that you are a gem and your partner is lucky to be with you. There will always be the girl with the better body or the more impressive resume or the glossy brown locks but she’s not you. He’s with you for you, not for your tendency towards jealousy. If you feel that jealous nag come up, voice it right away before it festers in the land of delusion and you’ve convinced yourself of fiction. Guys like when girls are direct and not overly emotional, that’s usually a fact. Hopefully you like yourself best being calm and rational – so, attack that jealousy while you’re in a rational mood and I guarantee you it will be diffused surprisingly quickly. Then give him a kiss and snuggle down to watch a movie…and don’t worry if that movie has a hot girl in it, you’re in the flesh right next to him and she probably has a stinky coochie or something…hey, nobody’s perfect!

I hope my experiences can help you with your new and wonderful relationship. Bon voyage Amanda!

How do you deal with jealousy? How do you cope or conquer? Comment below and let us know!
xx
- kate