Some People say “A little bit of jealousy is good.” Is this true or false?

Dear readers I welcome you.

  1. True for some. Some dig a little of that in the mix. FALSE for others! They hate it! Can’t abide jealousy! Smacks of mistrust, and trust is fundamental!

I’m just not a jealous guy. It’s not in my makeup, apparently. I have felt pangs of jealousy, but always in passing, private moments. A wistful pang that I savored deliciously for its unusual flavor – and it was gone! Never a banquet of jealousy. Always an exotic dish of tapas, quickly consumed then its small plate pushed aside for other more substantial, nutritious dishes. Make way! Yet I have discussed the virtues and heartaches of jealousy with various partners. First, what’s jealousy?

  • Jealousy is a threatened or threatening sense of possession invested in one’s romantic/sexual partner.

Here’s the thing: some people will tell you possession itself is wrong. I say buzz off. Go audit your own relationship! The self can be given, or the self is not owned. And if the self can be given, then we can have possession of each other. Not healthy? Hell if it isn’t. It’s just got to come with a bedrock understanding that a human being’s gift of self is continuous, in each moment – not one moment for all time. A human being’s gift of self is something they can stop giving at ANY moment.

If that happens, you still have all that self they gave. They can’t take back those precious moments and times, all of that THEM they foisted or slathered all over you! That’s still yours.

But they no longer are. That’s how it works. Healthy boundaries, there. Tends to reinforce the advantageousness of never taking another’s gift for granted. They can stop giving – or the gift can continue so long as we live. We can both keep giving. And if we both say, “I am yours” – who shall gainsay such gift? Such yes, possession?

A relationship’s rules are made entirely between those in relationship. I mean okay, they still have the law to contend with, but it’s not typically a problem. What other people think a relationship needs to be does not come into this relationship. Those in the relationship define it’s aspects, agree to what love (or whatever) needs to be; agree to what it cannot allow.

Some people in a relationship find a little jealousy is good. It’s piquant; it reinforces the desirability of each to the other. I say if it works and doesn’t turn into a crappy foundation of wrecked and unsteady trust, cool beans. You’ve got to be careful, but that goes in all things. Playing with love is playing with fire.

What matters is what the other likes, wants, needs and loves, and finding your mutual intersection of compatibility with what you like, want, need and love. That’s how you define your relationship.

I won’t say jealousy’s all bad, or always bad. I’ve known people who could handle it and not let it get out of hand. It’s just one of many kinks people can and do go in for. Tons of dynamics and relationship aspects can be beautiful and thrilling and healthy done right, yet terrible, undermining, even abusive done wrong. You’ve got to respect each other’s needs and honor each other’s self, and ultimately, it’s got to be a partnership.

What needs to be ruled out is what both agree needs to be ruled out.

If we can’t agree, and if the matter where we disagree is fundamental or crucial to one of us, then we have to recognize we may not have compatibility. I may not be the one for you. You may not be the one for me. It’s not you and it’s not me. It’s us.

Or in that situation, it isn’t. It can’t be us, after all.

Sucks to find out, but it’s arguably better than making the one you love miserable when you know you can’t be their match, because neither can they be yours.

Jealousy, hey. I never minded a little jealousy. I was just never any good at it. I make up for it in other areas. I have other piquant ways of reinforcing the desirability of the other.


Psychological research has linked several traits to greater jealousy: At one time or another, we’ve probably all felt the twinge of the green-eyed monster. Is my girlfriend’s / boyfriend’s banter with his attractive, known-each-other-since-kindergarten best friend more than that of “just friends”? Does my boss think more of the other junior associate than of me? Why did my best friend invite him/her to the movies, but not me?

Jealousy is often used somewhat interchangeably with the word “envy.” Robin Stern says the two are different in that envy is about things or a situation or position (someone else has something you want); whereas jealousy is about people (you perceive someone else’s closeness with a friend or lover to be threatening your relationships with that person). You might be envious of a neighbor’s new car or a colleague’s promotion, whereas you feel jealous if you find out your best friend confided in another friend instead of you.

Jealousy is the emotion we feel when we feel fearful of losing someone or a relationship that is very important to us, Robin Stern, PhD, associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence:-

  • Low self-esteem
  • Neuroticism: a general tendency to be moody, anxious, and emotionally unstable.
  • Feelings of insecurity and possessiveness.
  • Dependence on your partner: Even asking people to imagine that they don’t have good alternative partners’ leads to more negative reactions to hypothetical jealousy-inducing scenarios.
  • Feelings of inadequacy in your relationship: Generally fearing that you’re not good enough for your partner.
  • An anxious attachment style: A chronic orientation toward romantic relationships that involves fear that your partner will leave you or won’t love you enough., Research has shown that temporarily causing people to feel more securely attached, by asking them to think about receiving support from a loved one, makes them react less severely to a hypothetical jealousy-inducing situation.

All of these factors that relate to jealousy are really about the insecurities of the jealous people, not about the love they have for their partner.

On the positive side: if not taken to the extreme, it is possible for jealously to ‘rev your motor’ to do better and achieve more than you would without it. In this example; “A little bit of jealousy” DOES “do you good.”

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