Jealousy in couples: a healthy reaction in small doses
When it is not pathological, jealousy, in small manifestations, is not necessarily harmful to the couple. It can be a sudden lucid look, when you detect the desire for someone else in your partner's eyes. And it would be absurd to deny that these sparks of desire, or desires to seduce other people, are an integral part of a couple provided they remain at the stage of fantasy.
Jealousy, in these cases, puts the fusion of the couple at a distance: it reminds us that we are not everything to the other. The person experiencing jealousy remembers his or her own independent existence outside the duo. This slight feeling of jealousy or rivalry reminds us of the need to make an effort for the other person, the desire to please them. Jealousy in a couple exposes the doubts and fears of not being seductive enough, of not being enough... These are all normal, lucid and balanced feelings.
Jealousy and feelings of insecurity
For some people jealousy is pathological, for example when it is obsessive or systematic. Does your partner see you flirting everywhere, with everyone? Does he or she denounce looks and words that you may have uttered without your realising it? It may be a matter of personal insecurity, which leads him to interpret all your relationships by comparing them to your relationship.
This behaviour reflects a permanent lack of self-esteem which can be very hard to deal with in everyday life. For example, if your partner catches you looking at another man/woman, then he/she compares himself/herself and feels threatened. This tendency to devalue oneself is psychologically exhausting and puts a strain on the couple every day, especially as no amount of talking and attention will be enough to ease this narcissistic pain.
While reassuring a jealous person may sometimes be enough, it is usually necessary to communicate in order to highlight the problem. Indeed, the person who suffers from jealousy on a regular basis must engage in personal development work in order to gain more self-confidence and better live the relationship on a daily basis.
When jealousy borders on paranoia
Jealousy sometimes takes on the appearance of paranoia, especially when it is completely unconscious and therefore unacknowledged. This feeling can manifest itself without the jealous person realising it. Let's take a concrete example: as soon as someone approaches you at a party, your partner shuts down and doesn't say another word.
When you confront him/her afterwards, he/she pretends to be upset for this or that reason, without ever mentioning a feeling of jealousy. It is possible that he is telling the truth: in some cases, indeed, the denial is too strong. Freud was convinced that feelings of jealousy are inevitable in a couple. According to him, some people are more successful in repressing this feeling, but no one is free of it. Indeed, apart from erotomaniacs, who are convinced that everyone loves them for exactly what they are, one would have to be mad with pretentiousness and vanity to imagine that it is possible for one to be loved for what one is, that everything about one is lovable.
The friction between appearances, representations of oneself and what one imagines oneself to be in the mind of the other contributes to creating a feeling of insecurity.
Fear of losing the other person
Jealousy is a strong sign of a lack of trust in everyday life. Do you frequently imagine that your partner is cheating on you, and will therefore leave you? If, objectively, your partner is not endangering your relationship, it is essential that you analyse the causes of this jealousy that is tearing you apart. Ask yourself what frightens you the most in this scenario: is it loneliness, betrayal, rejection? Try to dig into your feelings to understand the cause: is it a sadness that you feel when the jealousy erupts? Or is it more an erotic anger, a strong impulse? It is only by going back to the causes of your jealousy that you will be able to get rid of it. If this feeling is too cumbersome or too destructive for you and your relationship, it may be useful to seek professional help. Therapy can help.
Jealousy has many causes, which are above all the expression of a psychological condition on the part of the jealous person. Jealousy is not necessarily a negative feeling. It becomes so when it is uncontrollable and disabling.
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