Jealousy is a perfectly natural feeling within limits, but it can also turn pathological, excessive, stifling and unbearable, and can endanger a couple's mental health and lives...
According to a Canadian study, a group of adults put jealousy in second place on a list of the most significant problems out of 37 marital situations. And although controlled jealousy is an integral part of a loving relationship, when it gets out of hand, it becomes especially harmful for the couple. There's nothing pathological about feeling a twinge of sadness when you see a (far too) pretty woman go up (far too) close to your husband... but although you shouldn't be too easy-going or naïve, spying on him as a matter of course is harmful for everybody.
"Where were you? Who did you have lunch with? What was that dull bloke saying to you, and why were you smiling as you were listening to him? Who are you phoning? Who's that dumb blond who's making cow eyes at you?" Pathologically jealous people make their own lives, and those of their partners, a living hell, as uncontrolled and uncontrollable jealousy quickly becomes a danger to the couple.
Between suspicion and passion
Over-jealous people are paranoid and extremely possessive, and quickly become obsessive. Their only goal in life is to try no matter what, and by all means possible, to find out the terrible "truth", which will break their heart and tear their life apart: that their partner is being unfaithful. This aggressive reaction, full of animosity, to a loss (or simply the threat of a loss) is generally accompanied by a drop in their self-esteem.
Although jealous people readily persuade themselves that they're being cheated on, they may be thinking that they don't really deserve the love they're given: "my wife (or my husband) is younger than I am and I think he/she"s having an affair with someone his/her own age,' is something psychologists often hear.
They live in a state of permanent suspicion, trust no-one and can make a huge drama out of the simple fact that their loved one isn't answering their mobile. Locked in their own bubble, they twist things that are said to them and turn the tiniest detail into a big deal. These constant suspicions make them extremely unhappy and they can go as far as destroying their relationship.
Trying to live with jealousy?
Although jealous people do suffer, unfortunately they make their partners suffer as well and a couple's relationship can turn into a nightmare. In fact, jealousy completely distorts conversations and can actually drive people to do what they're being accused of. What could be more awful and more demoralising, when you've done nothing wrong, than feeling that your partner doesn't trust you and to hear them constantly say, "I'm sure you're cheating on me. I know you're going to leave me"? As the days go by, you might have enough of being harassed innocent victim...
Even though jealous people's attitudes are very hard to put up with, don't fall down with them in your day-to-day life by pretending to flirt, or trying to provoke your partner because the game could degenerate very quickly... Don't forget that some jealous people can do things that can't be undone... So don't drop any hints, make jokes or use words with double-meanings, which may easily make them fly into a temper. Try and do the opposite and reassure them by telling them over and over again that they can trust you and that you love them.
A word of warning, however: anything you say to them during their jealous outbursts, whatever it may be, "could be used against you" and could feed their jealousy since they twist everything. In that case, explain to them that you are not going to answer their incessant questions and don't pay any attention when they harass you; you mustn't give in either, unless you want to get caught up in a terrible spiral. A lot of jealous husbands insist that their wives to stop working, who, when they agree, often end up paying dearly for it. In fact, all overly jealous people will try to alienate their partner's freedom, wrap them up in cotton wool and be in complete control.
Suggest consulting a psychologist or relationship counselling to find out the origin of this awful lack of trust in others and themselves.
Copyright © 2010 Doctissimo
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