I recently wrote a piece for Digital Romance dealing with the topic of jealousy. We all experience this feeling in our lives at certain times, some more than others. Maybe you’re jealous that a co-worker got a promotion you thought you deserved. Maybe your sister seems to get all the attention and praise in the family. Or maybe your last boyfriend flirted with every woman in the room when you went to parties together.
I’ve noticed that my jealousy spikes when I’m scrolling through Facebook. Sometimes it feels like everyone else has so much success or exciting news to report, but I’m somehow being left behind. I have to stop myself sometimes, because it drives me nuts. It’s like when I was a teenager – if I stayed home on a Saturday night, I assumed everyone else at my school was out at some secret party that I wasn’t invited to. Well, maybe that was the case back then (teenagers, y’know?), but it’s not what’s really happening now. Facebook is not an accurate depiction of anyone’s real life. It’s smoke and mirrors.
It’s hard to admit feeling jealous.
Most of us brush it off. Sometimes we do this by blaming the other person: “I worked so hard for that promotion – that should have been me. She must have slept with our boss or did someone a favor!” Other times we turn our backs and pretend nothing is wrong, causing feelings to fester: “My boyfriend is just a friendly guy – he can’t possibly be interested in HER!”
But has this helped you overcome your anger, your fear, or your jealousy? Probably not.
Jealousy is a good and bad thing. It keeps us motivated to do better. But it can also get in the way. How can you move forward in your career if you’re always glancing over your shoulder? How can you build a relationship with someone you don’t trust?
When you feel jealous of your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s a good idea to check yourself. Are you worried about your current boyfriend cheating because your last boyfriend did the same?
It’s good to separate the truth from the story you tell yourself.
That is, instead of moaning that all men are the same and can’t be trusted to keep their pants on, ask yourself: how does your boyfriend actually treat you? Is he honest with you, or do you find that you can’t count on him? His behavior tells you what you need to know. If he’s flirting with other women, on his phone texting at odd hours, then you should listen to your gut and confront him about it.
On the other hand, if he’s treating you with respect and yet you find yourself searching through his text messages, it’s a good idea to take a step back and see where this jealousy is coming from. Is it based in truth or fear? I’m afraid he might leave me for someone else is definitely the fear talking.
Bottom line, trust your gut. If jealousy has become a relationship pattern, then it’s time to understand where it comes from and how to move past it. If something does feel wrong, don’t you owe it to yourself to be honest?