Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Jealousy Is A Cry For Help

Look up how to deal with jealousy in any search engine, and we’ll find a bunch of articles and videos telling us how to overcome our feelings. That it’s our fault for feeling this way. And that it’s our responsibility to keep it to ourselves and away from others.

Although it comes from a good place, it’s not always sensible. Because it suggests that jealousy is wholly bad.

As if we weren’t already struggling enough, this good-hearted disapproval just makes the weight of our tricky situation even more difficult to bear. 

Pointing out the obvious doesn’t work. Everyone going through emotional troubles already understands that their feelings aren’t helpful. Especially if it was caused by something minor.

If sound reasoning could correct our inner turmoil, mourners and mental health sufferers would simply tell themselves not to be sad.

In reality, we don’t take grief and despair so lightly. We understand that these are complex emotions that can’t be fixed so easily and that anyone going through agony deserves our highest sympathies. 

Jealousy is obviously not of the same magnitude. But much like heartache or sorrow, it can also do a tremendous amount of damage to someone’s well-being if ridiculed. 

If we’re at a party and see our partner have a better time with an attractive stranger than she’s had with us in the past month, that hurts. 

If we bring it up, our lover might argue that it was harmless. That she didn’t even talk with him that much. That we don’t own every second of her life. And that we’re being childish.

And she’d be right.

We’re acting like children who see their mother play with another baby. But calling it out does nothing to improve our situation.

We’re still stuck with our feelings of abandonment. Even if we rationally know our partner isn’t going to leave us, our emotions don’t seem to have got the memo.

So all the online advice saying we can overcome or conquer our jealousy is a bandaid solution. It can at best put our feelings in perspective, but not stop us from getting hurt again in the future.

Jealousy is there to stay. And depending on its severity, stoically muscling our way through isn’t always the best solution.

Even when we don’t expect our fears to be real, that nasty cocktail of loss, insecurity, and worthlessness is still scaring us. And it would really make us feel better if our partner could take our fright away. Just like a mother might console her crying child after she spent a little too much time playing House with the neighbour’s toddler.

Although our bodies might be large, our faces wrinkly, and our responsibilities adult, we still turn into children when we’re hurt. Never lose sight of that.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach