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Put your hand up, everybody who has never been jealous! At one time or another, each of us has felt jealous of a work colleague, a friend, a brother or a sister, but it’s in romantic relationships that jealousy can build up until it’s obsessive. How can we be sure that the woman or man with whom we share the most intimate moments of our existence really loves us, body and soul? Should I accept that the man or woman of my life seems interested in looking elsewhere? Is it my fault? Should I do something about these thoughts? The problem is that jealousy is a feeling which gnaws at us, and it won’t disappear just because you ask it to. However, you can learn to confine it.
Jealousy as a proof of love?
First of all, let’s dump a belief which has no reason to exist. Jealousy is in no way a proof of love. It’s all about possession – it means that you want to control the feelings of the person you share your life with. However, you don’t own all your partner’s moves and decisions, even less so his or her feelings. The idea of jealousy as a proof of love is reassuring, no doubt, but it’s wrong. It’s just a reflection of your own insecurities, of the lack of confidence that you have in your partner and yourself.
Deal with jealousy
Why should I learn to deal with my jealousy? Well, there’s a good reason. It’s to avoid suffocating your partner and encroaching on his or her free space. Also, it’s so you can put down a burden that you’ve been carrying in your own personal life. Learning to control jealousy is part of learning to know yourself better. “Know thyself!” said Socrates in the 5th century BC, and that maxim is just as valid today. Why are you jealous? The key is confidence, or, to be more precise, a lack of confidence. Possibly you were let down in previous relationships. Perhaps your lack of confidence dates back to your childhood. Whatever the reason, a little introspection is always useful. And if this personal re-examination isn’t enough, there’s no shame in going to see a psychotherapist.
Change your vision of love
Before that happens, this re-examination can produce practical results. Examples? How about arranging to spend some time on your own, and not automatically expecting your partner to go along with all your activities. You aren’t required to share all your partner’s enthusiasms. And also: Change your vision of a loving relationship. Your boyfriend or girlfriend is not necessarily attracted by the sleek beauty of your best friend. You have to learn to trust each other. You can’t control everything, and anyway, have you ever noticed that the things you most fear hardly ever happen? A little work on yourself might help you get rid of this exhausting emotion, or at least reduce it.