No Apology: Iâ€™m Jealous and Thatâ€™s the Way It Is
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
Iâ€™m a jealous girl. And that is by no means an apology. It is a statement of fact. An acknowledgement Â of a â€œdarkerâ€ Â emotion Â that we, Â as humans Â are supposed Â to keep under tight control or be judged as inferior and that we as spiritual beings Â arenâ€™t Â supposed Â to have Â at allâ€” exorcised, Â I suppose, with anger, depression, loneliness, fear, and doubt Â when we claim a relationship Â with our Gods.
Thatâ€™s bullshit. These emotions arenâ€™t really exorcised so much as buried and constantly undermining Â what we want to be and the value we place on ourselves.
By denying the human existence of jealousy or insisting that Â people are somehow lesser for having an emotion, our society pressures us to tamp down â€œunhealthyâ€ emotions, something thatâ€™s incredibly unhealthy because emotions Â like Â fear, Â anger, Â and Â jealousy, Â when held Â in, morph into something Â fierce. Held in, jealousy feeds on its own Â power, breeds Â until Â it bursts Â outward, Â leveling everything in its path. I believe itâ€™s much healthier to let it show and to defy this idea that it Â doesnâ€™t exist or that weâ€™re terrible for letting it show. There are healthy ways to express the darker emotions, and for me, journaling is one. Catharsis for a writer is most often done in words, just as a musician purges emotion in song or a gardener plants it in flowers.
So Iâ€™m a jealous girl, and Iâ€™ll tell you exactly whyâ€¦as soon as I figure it out.
Iâ€™m jealous when itâ€™s something I want, particularly, the affection of someone Â I want. For the record, I have not, since my divorce, been jealous of anyone my ex has been Â with. Â Unlike Â many Â ex-wives, Â I donâ€™t Â sit Â around seething over the new girlfriend because, well, I just donâ€™t care anymore. Â I was jealous of the affectionsâ€”time, Â energy, emotional supportâ€”that he showered on other people during our marriage but not on me. Now? Psh. Not even a twinge, even when I dig deep to see if oneâ€™s there.
In my next long-term relationship, itâ€™ll have to be with someone I trust. As long as I can trust him and heâ€™s open with me, Iâ€™ll me happy for him to have female (and male) friends because no matter Â who he spends time with, Iâ€™ll know heâ€™s comingÂ home to me and Â making Â that sweet heart-to-heart connection Â with me.Â That Â his Â affections, regardless of his friendships, Â are still for me. And I, as someone he can trust, would expect the same freedom from him to enjoy the friendship Â of others because heâ€™ll know that my affections are for him and that Iâ€™ll keep it that way.
Itâ€™s interesting to watch how people treat jealousy. No woman wants to admit sheâ€™s jealous when her husband flirts publicly with another woman or her date canâ€™t hold eye contact because heâ€™s checking out every other woman in the room. She plays it cool and pretends not to notice or that itâ€™s all right because sheâ€™s oh-so-secure in herself, even if she finds such actions grossly lacking in respect for her. If she confides to a friend, the friend is allowed to become indignant on Â her behalf but if she admits to jealousy, Â sheâ€™s Â told Â she Â shouldnâ€™t Â be because, Â after Â all, envy is one of the seven deadly sins or she must just be insecureâ€”and itâ€™s somehow worse that sheâ€™s jealous than that her lover is paying more attention to another woman or ignoring her.
I find it disconcerting, but I still feel pangs of jealousy when I see someoneâ€™sÂ picture in her ads in the local pa- per, knowing that she got something I really wanted, even ifÂ it Â didnâ€™t Â last Â very Â long. Â The best Â advice Â my Â friends could offer? â€œYouâ€™re going to have to get over that!â€ and a laugh. My confession of envy made them uncomfortable to the point of either discounting my feelings, attacking my â€œinsecurity,â€ Â or Â telling me that all men are alike and heâ€™s likely out with her again. Iâ€™m not sure which felt the worst to me.
The other interesting dynamic to watch related to jealousy is when Â a woman decides to â€œmake him jealous.â€ This is true of both sexes, though Iâ€™ve seen it most often with women in the spot of the initiator. Her man doesnâ€™t seem to notice her anymore, Â so she tries to stir his jealousy to get his attention and bring his affections back to her. Â This never Â works. Â Either Â the Â other Â party Â doesnâ€™t show jealousy, Â which causes Â resentment Â from the Â first party, or the other party becomes insanely controlling and jealous.
Or they do what I do. Walk away.
If a man decides to make me jealous by flaunting a new woman in my face or letting me know about all the other women he is currently dating (I can overlook past dates, girlfriends, and wives), Iâ€™m gone. I expect men who are still Â healing Â from Â a divorce Â to talk about Â their Â ex- wives on a first date or two or even the string of bad dates heâ€™s had, though if we donâ€™t go out again, Iâ€™m going to wonder if somewhere sometime soon heâ€™s having dinner with another woman and including Â me Â in his list of bad dates. But as long as itâ€™s all in the past and Iâ€™m now the Â focus Â of Â his Â attention, Â it Â doesnâ€™t Â really Â bother me unless heâ€™s contemplating going back to one of them. I donâ€™t expect Â to Â have to listen to a man describe all the other women heâ€™s sleeping with. Youâ€™d think that rocket scientists would be intelligent enough to get that, but so far, nope. I donâ€™t want to hear about the woman my date kept up all last night so that heâ€™s too zonked to be very perky Â today. Â Bragging, Â while Â wooing Â me, Â about other womenâ€™s attentions do not make a man more attractive to me whatsoever, and if anything, it repels. Iâ€™d rather him feel like Â bragging because Â Iâ€™m interested Â in him, Â rather than me being just one of the many admirers,Â and none of us particularly special.
Maybe it goes back to biology and maybe Iâ€™m just territorial. I wonâ€™t Â mess with a married Â man and I wonâ€™t mess with a man with a girlfriend Â or in a relationship. I will be friends Â but I wonâ€™t Â pass the boundary Â into romance or mixing my energy with his. I likely wonâ€™t go beyond Â dinner Â with Â a man Â whoâ€™s Â dating Â even Â one Â other woman on a regular basis once I find out. I want him to be done with the others and free to be in a relationship with me and me alone. Iâ€™ve asked men out before whom I never would have asked if Iâ€™d known they were dating someone else at the time, even if they didnâ€™t considered it â€œserious.â€ Â (Often, Â the Â woman Â does Â consider Â it serious even if he doesnâ€™t, and I know how that feels.) Iâ€™ve discovered that a man I Â went Â out with went back to the woman Â he Â was Â datingÂ Â previouslyâ€”thoughÂ Â not Â really â€œseriouslyâ€â€”and though I was playing it cool, I was hurt and jealous because the time he spent with her could have been spent with me. Though it was still friendly between us, it felt like Â rejection Â because Â it made Â him more Â her â€œterritoryâ€ than Â mine. Â Iâ€™m Â just Â not Â going Â to Â play Â with other womenâ€™s toys. Heh. Or menâ€™s.
Metaphysically, connecting Â intimately with too many people at Â one time fragments the focus of that kind of energy,Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â which Â has Â its own ramifications physically, emotionally, Â and Â spiritually. Â Iâ€™m Â at Â a place Â in Â my Â life where I want the full wattage, thank you very much.
Iâ€™ve been given all the intellectual Â arguments Â of how itâ€™s just great that a man might be sleeping with a couple of women on a regular basis Â or dating around. How he needs to â€œget it out of his systemâ€ before deciding which one he wants to be with in a monogamous relationship. How Â itâ€™s Â okay Â to Â date Â around Â and Â sleep Â with various women until he decides which one. Iâ€™m aware of the intellectual arguments but they Â donâ€™t touch my emotions. On an intellectual level, I really do understand Â the need for Â a Â man Â to Â shop Â around Â or spread Â himself Â around. Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I refuse to â€œcompete.â€
Thatâ€™s it. Compete. I wonâ€™t compete for a manâ€™s affections. I wonâ€™t grovel. I wonâ€™t beg. I return love cleanly and honestly and with all my heart. Blame it on my Venus in Pisces, but I donâ€™t want to love 100% and Â get back whateverâ€™s left over today. Iâ€™ll be jealous if I want his affections and he gives them to someone else. Iâ€™ll also take myself â€œout of the running.â€
Biologically? Iâ€™ll give up on the â€œterritoryâ€ Â before Â I claim it and later discover itâ€™s being marked by someone else.
Because I donâ€™t like being jealous. I like having a man all to myself romantically, though heâ€™s welcome to have plenty of friends and other interests, as many as I do (if he can!). I wonâ€™t fight for territory and I wonâ€™t claim or keep what smells of someone else. I want to walk the territory freely, nurture it, and enjoy its seasons.