I’ve been pondering about the damage jealousy can cause in relationships, mostly in romances but also in friendships. It’s one of those poisonous things that never makes anything better… Quite the opposite in fact.
I was reminded of this last night when I was rooting through old photos on my computer. I found a lovely one at a little garden / dinner party a friend threw. It’s a lovely photo of a newly formed couple, both parties very clearly and very much in love. I look at it now and I can’t help but feel very sad about it because that was the night it all went wrong, because that was the night the jealousy started.
I haven’t had many romantic relationships in my life, I guess mainly because I am a very atypical man. I was brought up by women and have always got on far better with them than with most men. I respect women, I don’t see them as sex objects, I like talking about how people feel rather that regurgitating facts and figures about cars,sport and stuff and I am bloody good to go clothes shopping with and I can even alter what was bought. Most women I spend time with become my friends, nothing more and they appreciate a male perspective on their love lives.
It can’t be easy being romantic partner walking into that but there is a point where you have to trust people, I mean, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?
I was jealous once in my life, back in my early twenties and I learned the hard way not to ever be again. To my knowledge, I haven’t been since but I try and stay aware of it, just in case.
There is a danger, past a certain age, for single people to maintain friendships with almost solely other single people or those whose partners are so ineffectual that they may as well not exist. This leads to the misery loves company, “crabs in a barrel” scenario where the second one person actually meets a potentially promising new partner, it is scuppered by subtle and not so subtle hints from their ‘friends’ that they are changing, not seeing their friends enough and other such things. Then, inevitably, things go wrong and wedges are driven, problems are magnified until everyone is back where they started, only a little bit sadder. This, of course, is another form of jealously, your friends can’t be happier than you are, they must sink down in the mud and the misery until everyone ends their days all sad and lonely.
I do not subscribe to such poisonous theories, I want my friends to be happy and successful and well cared for, even if that means I never see them ever again. Shouldn’t that aways be the case? I dunno, maybe I’m just weird… I guess that’s why I’m single. If you are happy to help your friends of the opposite sex it can cause friction in relationships if your partner is even slightly jealous. I’ve never really understood any of that. I mean, I could have a secret gay lover, I could be seeing prostitutes in my lunch break, I could have a deeply perverted relationship with a donkey called flossy. (Please note! I do none of these things). People can get up to all sorts of things, the point is that you should know them enough that they don’t.
Jealously becomes a constant erosion, it lessens us as people. It chisels away at the jealous person and the relationship they are so obsessed about protecting until it’s either crushed, smothered or worn to the bone by all the unnecessary pressure on it. Jealously never ends well, the person on the receiving end either accedes and lessens their contact with their friends and even the outside world in general until the person the jealous party fell in love with is barely a shadow of their former self as they become frightened that any action that they take will be viewed by their hyper aware jealous partner as anything they do being a choice between them and the imaginary version of the world that they have cooked up. Sometimes they get to a point where they are so sick of the lack of trust that they just walk out or away. There is a third option though, where the accused just thinks “sod it!” and has an affair because they are already being treated as if they are having one.
What makes matter’s even worse is when the jealous party refuses to acknowledge their own jealous feelings and they spend all their energy trying to find excuses for their actions that do not properly match what they are feeling inside, all that anger, all that mistrust, has to find a point to ground and comes out as pettiness and spite and forcing people to make ridiculous choices and comparisons, just so that they can find something more legitimate, however petty, to be angry about. It’s easier for people like this just to find partners they don’t love and don’t care about, perennially shallow relationships of convenience where their buttons aren’t pushed. It’s a way to get through life, but a sad, shallow and pathetic one, but that is all that some people can only cope with. It’s a life, but only just.
Like I said, jealously, it never ends well. All you can do is hope that next time around the jealous party doesn’t do the same thing again with someone else… They probably will though.