Have you ever been jealous? I mean… really jealous. So jealous you fantasize about someone’s demise, or about hurting someone? Jealousy is powerful. It can be petty – I wanted that solo! Or, it can be severe – He stole my woman and I want her back… I will get her back! Jealousy, if allowed to grow, can be potentially dangerous!
The Flattery of Jealousy
When a relationship is new, it can be flattering to have your boyfriend or girlfriend act jealous over you.
“He loves me so much, he can’t stand the thought of losing me.”
“She is so into me, it just drives her crazy to think of me going with someone else.”
But jealousy grows… and when it does, it is no longer cute or flattering.
At first, Jim may give evil eyes to Sadie’s guy friends. It seems harmless, but something deeper is brewing. Later, Jim becomes very agitated that Sadie is still hanging out with her social circle. Viewing them as a threat, Jim tells Sadie if she wants to keep seeing him, she’ll have to give up her friends. Sadie, believing her relationship with Jim is more important than her friendships, walks away from her friends… but, Jim is not satisfied. Now he is concerned that she is too chummy with her male co-workers. Jim begins showing up at Sadie’s job more and more. He threatens to “take action” if she does not stop talking to her male co-workers. Additionally, if she does not answer her phone, he begins driving around looking for her. A few times, he found her in the mall or at her favorite restaurants, dragged her out, and yelled at her for making him “worry.” Once, he got so angry he punched her. Then, of course, he felt terrible and said the only reason he gets so crazy is because he is terrified of losing her.
Jealousy Tug of War
Jealousy, the way humans practice it, is evil. Even petty jealousy seems to stem from us wanting what someone else has (i.e., discontentment). When jealousy grows, we become tempted to take what someone else has, or at least attempt to keep him or her from having it. When jealousy grows into paranoia, it can even be fatal. Jealous boyfriends or girlfriends can be hard to get rid of and they can cause physical and emotional harm. They can get into your head so deeply that you feel like you are going crazy.
“Surely, it can’t be right for him to sling me around and smack me; but, then he cries and tells me he just can’t live without me. Part of me thinks I should run and another part thinks it would destroy him if I left.”
When your boyfriend or girlfriend is insanely jealous over you, it can leave you with an internal war. “He should not act this way, but he seems to need me so much.” “She should not throw fits when she sees me talking to another girl, but she’s been hurt so much in life. Maybe she can’t help it.” This is easier said than done, of course, but I would suggest that you back out of the relationship if your boyfriend or girlfriend is overcome with jealousy (assuming he or she has little or no good reason to be jealous). Jealous “lovers” are always suspicious. No matter how close you think you have become, or how connected you feel to him or her, all it takes is one missed call, or one kind glance in someone else’s direction, and the anger, anxiety, and paranoia begins again.
Trust: The Missing Link
Trust is vital for relationships. If you have read PreEngaged for any length of time, you have probably run across statements we have made about the importance of trust. Without it, you can never fully let go and live in peace with someone else. If you don’t trust the person with whom you are going to share your life, you are going to hold back your heart and either be incredibly lonely, or seek out companionship elsewhere (i.e., risk having an affair).
Jealousy is a connection-killer because it assumes the partner will fail and treats him or her as though betrayal has already happened. How well can you connect to someone who is always one breath away from accusing you of a misdeed?
Some common characteristics of jealous people include: excessive anger at a perceived threat, anxiety over the idea of losing someone, a controlling nature, temper tantrums, intense insecurity, a sense of ownership over the people in their lives, obsessiveness, paranoia, distrustfulness and suspiciousness. Connecting with someone like this would not only be difficult, but unwise. The more entangled you become with a jealous person, the harder it will be to leave the relationship. Mind games are powerful, and they can make a traditionally, coherent person believe insane lies.
If you are in a relationship which is saturated with jealousy, run. If you are afraid to leave your boyfriend or girlfriend because you think he or she may harm you or himself/herself, seek help from a pastor or law enforcement officer. You should approach the situation gently, but don’t tarry in a relationship that is becoming increasingly damaging by the day.
If you are experiencing jealousy in your heart, examine your feelings. Is your boyfriend or girlfriend giving you any good reasons to be jealous such as: flirting, acting mysterious, or talking about other “interesting” people in order to get a rise out of you? If that is the case, let your significant other know how it is affecting you and insist (gently) that he or she stop taunting you. If the negative behaviors cease, then great – continue getting to know him or her. If not, this is not the person for you – at least not as long as he or she is playing petty, childish games with your heart.
However, if you find you are jealous and you have no good reason to be, you need to take a good look inside and find the root of your jealousy. Insecurity? Past memories? Fear of not having him or her all to yourself? When you discover the root, take steps to remove it. If you need counseling, do not delay – seek it out. If you need to spend time in prayer and fasting, do it! If you need to grieve a past relationship that crushed you, you should grieve. If you want to save your relationship, and build a strong and lasting connection, you have to put your jealousy to rest. A healthy connection cannot be sustained if there is no trust. You can’t move on together with suspicious minds.
Has your connection been tainted by jealousy?