September 15, 2013 / Jealousy: Accept it, and Control it
We all get jealous. The best solution is to accept it and control it.
Human beings get jealous. We get jealous of those who make more money than us, who look better than us, who are stronger than us, who date more beautiful women than us, etc. etc. Jealousy is in our nature. Just about everyone gets jealous.
Yet somehow, when it comes to dating and relationships, the focus of this article, many people out there insist that they "are not the jealous type." They insist that they "do not care" if their woman flirts with another man (or some, even if she sleeps with another man) etc. While there may be a few people out there who genuinely do not feel jealousy, most men who pretend they do not get jealous are simply repressing their feelings, lying, or in denial. Don’t repress or deny your feelings, learn to accept the reality of jealousy and learn to control it.
Jealousy regarding relationships is ingrained in us. It is driven by evolution and the innate pressure within us to reproduce. Without DNA testing, which did not exist for the majority of the time that our natural instincts developed, there are very little ways to know who the father of a child is. This is the fundamental driver of jealousy in men and a large component of the societal construct which frowns on (and often severely punishes) women for promiscuity and generally labels sex outside of marriage as taboo.
What this means is that it is highly unlikely that one can learn to "not be jealous" or that one "does not get jealous". Instead of trying to pretend to not be jealous, to deny jealousy, it is much more effective to accept that you will always be jealous if, for example, a girl you are interested in is flirting with another guy, and instead focus on controlling your feelings and behavior during these moments.
The difficult moments are not the blatant moments, for example, a girlfriend having sex with another man. The difficult moments to control are those where it is not socially acceptable to be jealous but yet the event naturally makes us jealous. For instance, one of your girlfriend’s co-workers (or even worse, boss) flirting with her in a subtle manner. It is very hard to throw a fit over something like that, despite it being obvious to you the man’s intentions. It is also counterproductive to simply pretend it doesn’t bother you because suppressing our instincts over the long term is untenable.
So, what are we to do? My approach is two-fold. One approach is to avoid situations where jealousy will likely come up; for example, I generally do not like to go to night clubs with girlfriends. Why would I want to be in a situation where there is a virtually guarantee many men will be hitting on my girlfriend and most likely she will respond kindly (even if likely just out of politeness) to them. Unfortunately, one cannot easily avoid situations that will produce jealousy if they are in denial about ever feeling jealous in the first place. Hence, accept it.
The second thing I like to do is pick my battles. I will not simply ignore ever situation that makes me jealous (even if they are all situations where I am not "supposed" to get jealous) but I will pick one or two and express some concern, even if only in a joking manner. This provides me with a release and also makes my partner aware that actions she may not think would make anyone jealous may actually do so. I never get aggressive but I do not completely repress what I feel.
These two simple tactics will help you both control any jealous feelings you have and also allow you to communicate them to your significant other without an argument and without "cracking". The end result will likely be that you will encounter less jealous moments by following my first tip. With my second tip, you will both relieve yourself of "jealousy buildup" by communicating your feelings and most likely, also make your girlfriend more aware of her behavior that may unwittingly cause you to be jealous (she will also likely do less of it).
Remember though, be reasonable and in control! It is not reasonable to flip out anytime your girlfriend wears something sexy when you are not around. It is not reasonable to confront a significant other anytime a man approaches her, or anytime she looks at man, or says a word to a man. Besides sending a message that you are insecure and lack confidence when you behave that way, you risk coming off as controlling and may end up losing your partner over something as stupid as a guy saying "hi" to her and her saying "hi" back.