Jealousy can be pretty ugly. It can lead to distrust, lower self confidence, and a ruined relationship. For a basic definition, “jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation,” says this Psychology Today article. That being said, it’s clear that jealousy can be a pretty powerful emotion that has the power to make even the most rational person well, irrational.
There is a difference between jealousy and envy which we need to be conscious of when we evaluate how we’re feeling. According to this Psychology Today article, jealousy is when something we already possess is threatened by a third person, while envy is when we lack a desired attribute enjoyed by another.
Jealousy comes in two forms: romantic and friend. Romantic jealousy tends to get a lot of buzz because it’s the most common, but friend jealousy has the power to be equally, if not more, destructive. To contrast the two, romantic jealousy is the jealousy you feel towards potential new romantic interests that your partner interacts with. On the other hand, friend jealousy can be anything from being jealous of your partner’s friends to being jealous of your best friend’s friend; basically, you’re jealous of the person your person is spending time with.
We feel this type of jealousy because we get left out. We keep our partners and our best friends at the center of our universe, and when they choose to spend time with someone else, it’s a terrible feeling. We get jealous of the “friends” because we fear that they’ll steal our partner or best friend away from us.
Jealousy brings out our competitive side, as well as our vulnerable side. But there is a silver lining of feeling jealous: it shows us where we’re too dependent.
We love our partners and our best friends, but when we get jealous of their friends, it’s a signal that we may be too dependent on certain relationships. Jealousy can help you see the value of your connection with others, but it can also show you that it’s time to branch out. Even though you love your partner or best friend, they don’t have to be the center of your life all the time. Take time to go out with your friends or do something that you like.
Another tip for dealing with jealousy is not succumbing to your insecurities. The root cause of jealousy is insecurity. We don’t feel like we’re good enough because our loved on chose someone else. This is just not true! We psych ourselves out and dwell on this thought that just eats us alive. Stay out of your own head at all costs and if the jealousy really is bothering you, chat with your partner or friend about how you feel.
It’s normal to feel jealous sometimes, but if we feel jealous all the time, then maybe we should take a moment to calmly evaluate how we’re feeling (don’t psych yourself out), discuss the feeling with our friend or partner, and keep in mind that we’re the best “us” out there. Friend jealousy has the power to destroy relationships with the people we love the most, but if we can remember where it comes from and how to combat it, we can live happier lives with healthier relationships.
Also published on Medium.