Dating and Jealousy… Why Bother Being Jealous?

| 02/23/2017 | Comments (2)


I never get jealous. My Dad gave me a good talking to on the issue one time and told me “baby girl, men don’t know what to do with a woman that doesn’t get jealous. Men interpret that as you don’t give a shit about them otherwise you would care more about where he was and what he was doing and who he was with.” 
I remember feeling shocked because HE was the reason I didn’t get jealous! He raised me to be highly competent, wonderfully confident, and quite self-motivated. And now here he was telling me my cool, calm demeanor was not gonna work in relationships?!  Sheesh Dad, talk about a mixed message!
 Jealousy has no place in a loving relationship. Jealous behaviors jealousy causes problems
But here it is some 20 years later and I am still not possessive. I continue to believe that if someone wants to be with me more than he wants to be with someone else, then with me is where he will be. The moment he wants to be elsewhere, that is where he will be. I am not the type of woman that is going to go out of my way to try to convince a man to love me, ya know? Either love me just as I am or get on to the woman that will make you happy. I’m so nice, I’ll even help you pack so you can get there faster!
So that is why I never get jealous. Well, let me take that back…
I did get jealous ONCE. It was the worst 5 minutes of my life too! Really, I felt stupid because I’d broke things off with a guy I really cared for, but he was making me sick with his refusal to commit fully. I didn’t want to play the game anymore, so I dumped him. 
Lo and behold about a week later I was at the Calvin Simmons Theatre in Oakland (with another guy!). I felt a sensation on the back of my neck. Turned around and about 30 rows back I locked eyes with the Ex. He was with some girl that was pawing and clawing all over him while he sat stiffly in his chair staring back at me with steam shooting out of his ears.
I turned around quickly and tried to gather my thoughts, but I couldn’t breathe. I felt light headed. I broke out into a sweat and felt sick to my stomach all at the same time. What the heck was going on?? I didn’t want my date to know what was happening, so I told him I had to go to the bathroom.  I raced off.  Once I was in the ladies room lobby, I paced around and tried to get myself together. That is when I figured out that I was jealous. 
Though I had to laugh at myself, I was still scared to go back to my seat because I wasn’t sure how I would feel if I saw that mess again.  Yet, I couldn’t stay in the ladies room forever! So I crept back to my seat and was happy to see that Ex and his octopus date were gone. He sent me a card in the mail apologizing and letting me know he’d seen me too. We got back together a few days later. That was my one experience with jealousy.
As I grew older I realized that what my Dad said was true… some people don’t feel loved unless their Significant Other shows some sign of jealousy and possessiveness. If the jealous behaviors are not given voluntarily, many will go so far as to intentionally incite a reaction by doing or saying things that they hope will push their partner’s buttons. These personalities truly believe that having a mate show jealousy is a GOOD thing.
Others are afraid of anything that remotely resembles psychotic attraction or attachment, and flee relationships at the first sign of jealous behaviors! Why are some people very jealous in nature and proudly announce what I see as a major character flaw, while others rarely if ever feel jealous about anyone or anything? Does it mean that one type cares and the other doesn’t? Or could it mean that one type is ridiculously possessive while the other is just “normal?”
Let’s start with an official dictionary style definition of “jealous”…
1:  (a) intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness; (b) disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness
2:  hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage
3:  vigilant in guarding a possession
Looking at these definitions, how, on any level, could people think that exhibiting jealousy can be positive in any way? 
My opinions (backed up by scientific fact): 
  • Jealous people are often lacking in both self-confidence and self esteem.
  • Jealous people are usually unhappy with their own lives in one or more major ways.
  • Jealous people are trying to be around and a burden to be involved with in any way.
Many women think it’s cute that their man exhibits jealousy. Some of those women ultimately turn up dead too, which ain’t so cute. Would you want to be in a relationship, be married to, or even be friends with a man that meets the descriptions above?
I think it’s foolish to assume that your partner does not love you, does not care about you, or does not want to be with you just because they don’t act a jealous fool. And for those of you that ARE the jealous fool in your relationships, I have a few suggestions. 
When you start to feel jealous stop yourself from taking it further. Don’t check our cell phones or email accounts, don’t show up to “surprise” us uninvited, don’t stalk us (drive by to make sure we are where we say we are), or sit outside of our homes to see who comes and goes. Don’t call us incessantly firing a volley of interrogative questions about our whereabouts and social contacts. Don’t sniff underwear, smell breath, or ask trick questions to try to elicit answers to questions you are too scared to ask directly. 
Instead, when you start to feel those jealous feelings, stop and head for the nearest mirror. Look at the person staring back at you and ask yourself:  What the hell is wrong with me?  Where is my self confidence? What happened to my self-esteem? Why do I feel I must control other people when I can’t even control myself? Why am I so unhappy with who and what I am? Why am I doing things to make myself and my partner miserable? Why am I being a burden to others around me? Why do I behave in ways that bring others down, even the ones I love?
What can I do to change?
When you truly believe that you deserve to have someone that loves you just as you are, and believe that anyone would be lucky to have you in their corner, you won’t get jealous. You won’t feel threatened by people that try to get at your lover, because you are confident that your mate is truly all about you. You won’t be worried that he or she will leave you, because you know that is something you have little control over. Certainly you should try to work things out if you really care and their requests for change are reasonable. But one should stop short of chasing after someone and begging, pleading or whining to convince them to love you back if they are ready to move on!
Controlling, jealous, possessive behaviors have no place in loving relationships; and neither does disrespectful flirting, threatening your partner with abandonment, or cheating. Love must be given freely from the heart and soul to others, right along with your respect. Never give love with strings attached… with the expectation of reciprocation or the demand for it either. 
Whether your beloved chooses to love you back is their choice, not yours. If you don’t like their choice, you have to decide whether to stay and be unhappy and insecure, or go on and find the love you seek elsewhere.  Either way, there is no need to be jealous.

(Originally published 7/16/2009)

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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Category: Date Smarter, Not Harder

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  1. Razzy says:

    It’s human to ‘feel jealous’ the key is how you show it.  When you show jealousy that is when you give the other person power over you.

  2. guest says:

    I think it is unrealistic to expect that people won’t experience jealousy with the things/people they care about. Jealousy is a normal human emotion just like sadness, happiness, and anger. The kicker is how we handle those human emotions. Euphoria can drive people to do crazy things just like excessive jealousy can. Too much sadness leads to depression. we should accept that it is actually ok to feel jealous about something, that it isn’t a character flaw to experience jealousy.

    Now if we are in a situation that constantly stirs the jealousy in us, we need to examine that situation and take steps to rectify it. Just like if we’re in a situation that constantly made us sad. People shouldn’t limit themselves to thinking they can only experience ‘certain emotions’ that’s not a healthy way to think. people experience a wide range of emotions. It is our ability to productively handle the emotions that lead us to do what is best to take care of our inner selves.

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