By NICOLE BURROWS
THE worst thing women do that ruins their romantic relationships is … get jealous of other women.
Now, I realise this problem extends to men, too, but I’m speaking to my sisters now. When you demonstrate anything greater than or more frequent than a fleeting amount of jealousy, with respect to any of his female friends or co-workers, even his family, you immediately risk your romance with a man.
Note: I said “man”.
Boys and man-boys do not qualify as “men”. Boys and man-boys may actually like a woman to be jealous because, in their grossly immature minds, they think that’s love. But jealousy is not love. And there’s no such thing as a healthy amount of jealousy. Jealousy is symptomatic of fear and insecurity, mostly about oneself. And none of that lends itself to a healthy relationship.
An authentic man, in body and mind, will appreciate a woman who is minimally and coyly curious about his interactions with other women, but who knows her rank and value in his life, and is secure in their relationship. Note: I said “secure”, not “oblivious”. (Security in a relationship does not mean blind trust or sitting with your eyes closed so that you don’t see what you don’t want to see, in case anything makes you feel jealous).
When a woman shows jealousy, she shows her fundamental insecurity, or the many insecurities she has about her relationship and, worse, about herself. She is not confident about her romance. She’s not confident in her love relationship because she’s not confident about or comfortable with herself. If a woman is secure with who she is, she is confident about her appeal and her ability. Moreover, when she’s confident, she’s not even concerned about whether or not a man really likes or loves her, or if his attention could be diverted to someone else he finds more attractive. She knows herself, she knows what she has to offer, and she knows that if that doesn’t suffice for him then she hasn’t lost a thing by moving on from that situation.
One of the biggest reasons relationships fail – at any point in time and to any degree – is because someone gets jealous of their partner’s involvements with the opposite sex, and this happens because we have been socialised to think of relationships in the worst possible way … we think we own the person with whom we’re involved.
A relationship is not ownership of a person. Last I checked, we were long past the years of legal slavery in our hemisphere of the world. You cannot own a person. And, even if you could, having documents that say you do will never control them if they don’t want to be controlled. The nature of most human beings is to be free, so when one exerts control(s) over another, the natural reaction is to at least oppose and/or resist, or to break away altogether. The only time this isn’t the reaction is when the mind has already been broken to the point of not knowing the difference between being free and being bound.
I think it’s what Bob Marley called “mental slavery”. And all the years, decades, centuries of mental slavery have led to warped socialisation and caused people to buy into the counterproductive notion of human ownership in a relationship.
Most people miss this one, crucial detail and enter into relationships for all the wrong reasons which tie back to this one thing: relationships are about partnership, not ownership. If you live in a modern world and you want a modern relationship that works for your health and happiness, you need to drop the notion that a relationship should be about possessing another human being.
Women suffer greatly as a result of this complex, because they’ve been taught for centuries that a man is supposed to want to own them and if a man does not want to own them then they are not worthy or complete. But a fruitful partnership involves complete, functional parts of one joint whole. If the parties coming together are anything less than complete, they will be dysfunctional. And their dysfunction will breed dysfunction amongst their children and their children’s children, and the cycle will forever continue.
This attitude of owning another person – my man, my woman, my husband, my wife, my boyfriend, my girlfriend … my things – as easily as it rolls off of our tongues in this era, is at the root of intense conflict including domestic and sexual violence; physical, emotional, and psychological abuse; and crimes of passion. If someone didn’t think they owned someone else, aka “territory” another person encroached upon, these particular types of conflict wouldn’t even exist.
And given our unhealthy socialisation, women suffer even further, because, when women get jealous, they start to make the man feel as though there must really be something for her to be jealous about. He must be something extra special if she’s getting so bent out of shape, so special in fact that his specialness is wasted on her and her insecurities. And by showing her weak hand, she has just given him the tools to do exactly what it is she doesn’t want him to do.
Because she has demonstrated jealousy, she has now compromised her own relationship. She has pointed out to him why other women should find him attractive, and why he should find them more attractive than her. She has shown him the door and the reason he should walk through it.
Worse still, a partner who is not confident is very unattractive, especially when that lack of confidence makes her act out and do and say crazy things which further compromise the relationship. And that gets added to the list of reasons why, in his mind, at least, he should head in another direction.
Let’s be clear: no one says you should have no feeling whatsoever about other women taking an interest in the person you’ve partnered with, but you should be so confident so that those other women don’t even matter because your partner has partnered with you. And he’s so enthralled by your confidence that he is not about to let anyone else get a chance with you. It is you who’s sharing a romance with him, not another woman. He chose you. And if he chooses to partner with someone else, then so be it; let him be on his merry way. And you go on your merry way.
There are some men who will, because of their socialisation, share simultaneous romances with more than one woman, but you will be clued into this far enough in advance to decide whether you want to have a relationship with him in the first place. And, if you proceed, knowing his tendencies, then the fault is your own and you have no one to blame but yourself when you don’t get what you want, like, or deserve.
A lot of people will tell you that relationships are hard work, but I’m going to burst that bubble right here and now. Be mad if you want, I don’t care.
No, love is not easy. Love is not painless. But, in and of itself, love is blissful. It is the challenges of life that make it difficult, not what it is. If that were the case, no one would want it.
Love need not be painful to be successful. Too many people measure the quality of someone’s love by how much hurt they feel and that is ridiculous. It is also the reason why people end up bitter and twisted and hurtful to others.
Contrary to what your society has taught you thus far – and, again, get mad if you want to, I don’t care – relationships are not supposed to be hard work. If you enter into one with that mindset, then you’ve already started off on the wrong foot. What do you want a relationship for? You are the kind of negative person no one wants to be with, not for long haul, anyway. You don’t bring joy and love; you bring baggage and dependency, and you haven’t gotten your life and your mind sorted yet. You are looking for assistance, help, salvation … not love or romance, and certainly not partnership. You have no business trying to be someone’s partner. Be your own partner first.
Life is challenging for everyone, and it brings its own set of challenges when you decide to pair up with someone. But, if your relationship is what you describe as hard work, what are you doing in it? If you have to fight for love and attention, why bother? If you find yourself in this situation, it’s because you made a bad choice. You chose to be with someone who was not right for you. And because your society did you a disservice and made you think that relationships were supposed to be hard work, you settled and stayed longer than you should have. And now, because someone has broken or is breaking away, emotionally or physically, jealousy is creeping in? Well, that’s your fault – and the fault of anyone who may have encouraged you or coerced you into it.
If, as a woman, you constantly find yourself getting jealous of other women when they interact with your romantic partner, then you need to check yourself. You have some self-love issues that you need to resolve. And, if you can’t resolve them on your own, you need to ask someone scientifically qualified to help you as an individual, because, if you keep exercising those insecurities, you will push your partner so far in the other direction that he will eventually find someone who is more confident, more secure and every other thing that you are not.
• Send comments via Tribune242.com or politiCole.com.