The Green-Eyed Monster
Everyone’s felt the sting of jealousy at one point or another. Researcher Christine Harris studied jealousy and found that it was evolutionarily beneficial. It helped individual ensure their mates remained theirs... survival of the envious.
If we’re not living in hunter-gatherer try not to get eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger before you can reproduce societies anymore, why do we still feel jealous? (Ahem, we've got some ideas.)
Modern jealousy may be caused by some of the following:
- Unrealistic expectations about relationship
- Unreasonable feeling of ownership of partner
- Past experiences of abandonment
- Poor self-image or insecurity
- Fear of betrayal
- A desire for control
The idealized sense of perfect, soulmate-love can lead to feelings of possessiveness and toxic jealousy. When you feel yourself morphing into a green-eyed monster, here are some expert tips on how to rationally handle jealousy:
- Put their behavior into context. Jumping to conclusions can lead to jealousy. Consider rational explanations to behavior that sparks your possessiveness.
- Put your feelings in context. Ask yourself where your fear is coming from. (See above list).
- Calmly address fears and insecurities. With feelings and behavior in context, allow yourself a moment to feel. Unless there is true evidence of betrayal, remind yourself that these feelings are normal but irrational.
- Trust your partner. Relationship require faith in each other. Commit to trusting them.
If your partner is acting jealous, you can also try to put their feelings and behavior in context. Showing empathy for their fear can help them break the cycle of possessive behavior.
Can A Little Jealousy Be A Good Thing?
While toxic jealousy can destroy a partnership, relationship expert Esther Perel believes a little bit of jealousy is normal and even healthy for a relationship. She calls it “an intrinsic element of love and of lust and of passion.”