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Understanding And Treating Jealousy, The Ultimate Green Eyed Monster in Relationships

Artwork by  Sarah Sitkin

Artwork by Sarah Sitkin

You’ve probably felt it often enough. You’re casually scrolling through your Instagram feed and you see someone post an equally casual “wow” on your significant other’s photo. You barely register it. But two hours later, you’re thinking about it over breakfast. And before you know it, you know that person’s father’s cousin’s aunt’s dog’s name, their favourite flavour of ice cream, and have in all probability, already laughed at their obvious lack of articulateness. At this point, you feel obligated to slip this (casually, of course) in your next conversation with your partner…and instead of them laughing with you, all hell breaks loose. You’re now a jealous, whiny, immature person, and honestly, they’ve “had enough, so will you please calm the hell down?”

Or, you’re probably out with a bunch of friends, and your partner is neck deep in a heated debate about whether or not Donald Trump is a complete jackass – you’re listening, but don’t have much to say… And you feel that wave sweeping over you again. Why can’t they involve you in every single aspect of their lives (until you’re both so sick of each other that you break up willingly?)

Sounds familiar?

Jealously is a strange emotion to understand. It forces you acknowledge your partner’s place in your life, especially if you’ve been used to playing aggressively flirtatious playboy or ice princess. In measured amounts, one could maybe even get away with calling it adorable. Maybe.

One thing is for sure, it feels great when someone cares enough about you to actually show you that you matter, that losing you would be a cause of great pain for them. It’s incredibly brave, in an ideal relationship, for someone to express themselves, when when they know that they will probably be perceived as insecure.

However, it actually is a double edged sword. It stems from low self esteem, trust issues, and a constant need to be in control. It builds on itself, rather like your relationship did in the first place, and eventually leaves you emotionally drained and incredibly angry. Before you know it, you’re fighting over everything, from the colleague who smiled a ‘special smile’ at your partner to the bellboy who was ‘clearly hot for you.’
And sooner or later, the psychological damage caused by this to both the people in the relationship gets too much to deal with.

Unfortunately, unless you have an awfully thick skin, simply letting it go just doesn’t work. Which leaves us with no choice but to address the Elephant in the Room.

The first step, of course, is to weigh your options – do you truly have a reason to be jealous? If you do, what the hell are you doing in the relationship, you idiot? If not, proceed to actually communicating. Wonderfully enough, when you begin to communicate what you’re feeling as soon as you feel a twinge of anxiety, rather than letting the resentment build where you’re hurling accusations at your partner, things begin to fall into place.

There are only two possible outcomes at this level. A) Your partner mocks you for feeling insecure/ leaves you feeling worse than you were before/ shuts down emotionally after letting you know you’re making them feel suffocated (in which case you should pack your bags and set off into the sunset and seek a better adventure, hopefully one where your fellow traveller actually listens to what you have to say) OR B) your partner hears you out patiently, even and especially if they actually are irritated with you, and assures you that you have no reason to be worried (after which you may promptly have wild sex or order an extra large pizza, whatever floats your boat.)

Ultimately, if you’re human and have a heart that beats, you will feel jealous at some point in your life. Or several hundred points, let’s keep it real. What matters is how you deal with it. Shoot the monster in the head before it sinks it’s fangs in you, and you should be just fine.

Tanvi Deshmukh is a nineteen year old girl from Pune, India, with an affinity for words and books, cats and coffee, Nepalese food and hippie music, and the colour green (along with Oxford commas). Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English, she loves poetry, volunteers at an NGO and plays the keyboard in her free time. Along with devouring books of all kinds, unless of course, she’s in the middle of heated discussions on feminism, patriarchy, gay rights, or what to name the neighbour’s new dog.

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