WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF NORMAL JEALOUSY?
1) Motivation to Improve.
As with any emotion, normal jealousy tells us to examine a situation or ourselves more closely. It may help us to become more aware of our own
insecurities so that we can address them.
2) Motivation to Resolve a Problem
Or, it may tell us that someone is treating us in a way that is hurtful. For example, every time a woman is out with her husband, he is checking
out other women and flirting with them. The woman may find that she is jealous of the other women. But if she examines the situation, the
jealousy may be telling her that she is hurt that her husband isn't wanting to give her attention and that he's not concerned about her emotions.
This recognition gives her the opportunity to discuss her feelings with him and hopefully resolve the problem.
3) A Warning
Another purpose of jealousy can be to warn us about a potential loss. Throughout the history of humanity, it has been necessary to develop social
relationships so as to survive. In that framework, it makes sense that people would develop jealousy as a way of warning them to protect their
resources to improve chances for survival. As with many evolutionary behaviors, jealousy may not be as necessary for survival but it is still a
thriving force within our social groups.
In terms of warning, if we look at the above situation again, the woman's jealousy may have been trying to communicate the possibility that her
husband might leave her. However, we have to be careful with this interpretion because without additional evidence it could easily become
irrational jealousy. Therefore, it may be advisable for her to check out her emotions with him,"I fear that you might leave me when you give
other women so much attention." His response may give her an idea as to the accuracy of this emotional warning.
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Introduction--When Is Jealousy Irrational?--page 1
What Is Jealousy?--page 2
When Is Jealousy A Normal Emotion?--page 3
What Is the Purpose of Normal Jealousy?--page 4
What Is Irrational Jealousy?--page 5
What Are the Problem Behaviors That Occur With Irrational Jealousy?--page 6
Causes of Irrational Jealousy--page 7
What Can Be Done About Irrational Jealousy?--page 8
Copyright © 2011 by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D. and www.excelatlife.com
Permission to reprint this article is granted if it includes this entire
copyright and link.
"The main risk of trying to do
something about your partner's jealousy is that you
to risk the relationship itself."
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PARTNER'S JEALOUSY THREATENS TO DESTROY YOUR RELATIONSHIP
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
I had had some good questions on my website regarding handling a partner's irrational jealousy.
The reason I wrote the article
What to Do When
Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage
for the individual with the problem jealousy is because until that person decides to make changes
nothing can be done to eliminate their jealousy. That article has been very popular and many
people have indicated to me that they are trying to change their behavior after reading it.
However, there are many other people who are not recognizing their jealous behavior and so their
partners are writing to me asking what to do.
WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO RISK TO STOP THE IRRATIONAL
Just because the person with the jealousy problem is the only one who can change it doesn't mean
that there is nothing that you, as the partner, can do about your partner's jealousy. However,
the steps you can take may be very challenging and don't come without risk. If you truly want
a chance for your partner to change, the best place to start is with yourself. By changing how
you respond to your partner's jealousy you will develop a greater understanding of how difficult
it is to make changes. This increases your empathy for your partner especially if he/she is
trying to make changes. However, it may also make you less tolerant of someone refusing to
recognize their problem or do anything about it. This could be a healthy thing for you because
you are less likely to remain in a destructive relationship.
Usually jealousy is a problem for the non-jealous partner when the behavior gets out of control.
The jealous individual may engage in excessive questioning, make accusations, seek excessive
reassurance, and may even control their partner's activities. Of course, no matter how much
reassurance is given, faithfulness can never be proven, only disproved. So the jealous
person's behavior continues and tends to escalate. The first thing that the recipient of
this behavior needs to recognize is that the behavior is controlling and abusive. However,
sometimes the recipient of the jealous behavior believes that it just shows that his/her
partner is deeply in love. Jealousy is not a sign of love, it is a sign of insecurity. Love
is not controlling. When we love someone we allow them to grow independently of us because
by doing so they are with us by choice, not by demand.
The main risk of trying to do something about your partner's jealousy is that you may have
to risk the relationship itself. Before you go any further, you must ask yourself, "Why am
I willing to take this kind of abuse? Do I deserve to be treated this way?" Just as the
person who is jealous has a problem with self-esteem, if you are willing to tolerate this
type of relationship, it indicates that you have a problem with self-esteem. Another
question you need to ask yourself is, "Am I willing to risk everything in order to try
and improve my relationship?" The answer to this question needs to be "Yes." If it is
not, there is no need to read any further.
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