Jealousy is not always a bad thing
Jealousy-the green-eyed monster – rears its ugly head in many relationships and can cause a lot of strain. Everyone has felt jealousy at one point of another — you know that feeling of rage, suspicion and/or outrage that just takes over. It is never pleasant, but it does not mean that all jealousy is bad.
It’s a monstrous, possessive feeling that makes us feel forgotten or ignored, but humans are not the only ones to feel jealousy. Animals have also been documented to feel jealous. The dog, man’s best friend, experience jealousy when not given a treat like the dog next to them. There was also a case of the tigress killing her philandering mate in an El Paso Zoo.
Often the emotion pops up when it comes to someone close to us like a partner or a friend, and can lead to stress in the relationship if not dealt with appropriately.
In small quantity, these feelings can be fun. They can make you appreciate your partner, want them more rekindling that fire again. But jealousy can also make you feel inadequate and bring up other insecurities. Therefore it’s important that you look at yourself to see if those feelings are coming from insecurities, or as a legitimate fear that your partner will do something to lose your trust.
Dr. Patrick Keelan, a registered psychologist in Calgary, says that there are two types of jealousy that usually occurs: reactive/emotional — the good, and cognitive/suspicious — the bad.
“Reactive/emotional jealousy occurs when there is an actual threat to your relationship from another person,” says Keelan. “If it’s the cognitive/suspicious jealousy, that’s more universally negative in its impact, in a sense that this occurs when there isn’t an actual threat.
“It’s more in the mind of the person who’s jealous and that could be because of personality factors such as low self-esteem.”
In a reactive/emotional situation you are not imagining it, there will be someone else trying to get between you and your partner and the most important thing is to recognize that, work it out and talk about it with your partner. Communication is most important tool to prevent anything from happening and talking about it in a way that you don’t attack each other is best.
“If you can address it with them constructively, that’s good, you get your concerns addressed. So if there is a genuine threat to the relationship, have that jealousy emotion as a signal to you that you have to act on that information,” says Keelan.
The reason why cognitive/suspicious jealousy is thought of as bad because often times it is just suspicion, sometimes even leading to violence.
“Bringing that to the attention of your partner and they aren’t actually doing anything wrong — it can cause more problems,” says Keelan.
Whether positive or negative, the best way to deal with jealousy is to have good communication with each other. Talk to your partner or your friend about what you’re feeling, but don’t make assumptions about what the other person may or may not be doing.
Tell your partner if you have been previously cheated on, or abandoned — explain to them that when they do certain things it will bring up feelings of jealousy and distrust. Also work on yourself if you have had bad experiences in your past that might damage your self-esteem and self worth.
Jealousy is natural and everyone feels it at one point or another. It is not always negative and can actually be positive. Don’t make assumptions or accusations towards the other person, instead keep the lines of communication open. That should keep the “green-eyed monster” at bay.