Tierra Encantada

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hey, Jealousy!

A guy I know got into some legal trouble over a day of fighting with his girlfriend. They're young, 20 and 21 now, been together since they were 14 and 15 years old. Despite the dysfunction, I think the sentimental attachment to the "first" has kept them in a bad relationship far too long. From my understanding she grew up in a house with domestic violence and I suspect on some level she feels like fighting all the time is a normal relationship. Her jealousies run deep, stealing his work cell and calling every number on it, approaching girls he comes into contact with for work, discouraging him from going to college because he'd only be going to meet other girls. She is more afraid of him meeting someone new that she cannot see how bettering himself through education would be a benefit. Certainly she likes the expensive gifts he has managed to buy her on a $9/hour salary.

I don't get it. Aren't relationships supposed to be based on trust and honesty? How does jealousy show any trust? People are riddled with insecurities, I suppose. Perhaps I suffer from an unhealthy sense of confidence. I know who I am, what I'm worth and what I have to offer. Maybe I'm just incredibly arrogant?! The way I see it, if a guy isn't smart enough to see what he has in me, then he really doesn't deserve me anyway. If he doesn't trust me to be loyal to him, then he doesn't know me at all and will never know me. Once someone has earned my loyalty it's forever regardless of the nature of the relationship (romantic, platonic, professional), unless that person does something to make me lose respect for him or her. Add to that the fact that I am very independent and do not like anyone trying to control me. I can compromise and make concessions, but it has to be my choice. Am I so abnormal in these respects? Perhaps, I am, but I just can't see myself living in that kind of situation.

Maybe part of the problem is that some people equate jealousy with caring. I know some people feel this. If their romantic interest isn't jealous or possessive, it means they don't care. When did suspicion and lack of trust become signs of a healthy relationship? They still aren't as far as I'm concerned. This seemingly not caring bit only breeds distrust - he doesn't care 'cause he's got something else going on the side. Most times giving someone space is just trusting and respecting them. Sure they care, but they aren't paralyzed by their own insecurities. It's not healthy for anyone to be paralyzed by their insecurities and fears; life is too short for that.

My parents are my relationship role models and I've never seen either one act out toward the other out of jealousy. They are both intelligent, friendly, outgoing people, they both go places and pursuit interests on their own sometimes. I've never heard one deny the other the opportunity to go somewhere or do something or have friends of the opposite sex. To me that's normal. Earn each other's trust and respect from the beginning and there should be nothing to worry about. Show your love for each other everyday, even if it's as simple as saying please and thank you, saying I appreciate you or I love you, holding doors open, serving them their morning coffee in bed, asking how their day went. Try to understand each other's feelings and respect them. Be willing to compromise. It's really not that hard.

I know an occasional twinge of jealousy or some amount of insecurity is normal, but I think we always have to ask ourselves if it's rational in any given relationship. Is jealousy the result of our own issues or is our intuition trying to tell us something? If you've got issues, work on them, or they will be relationship killers. Otherwise follow your gut and see where that leads, play it cool though, or your jealousies will come back to bite you, if your gut is wrong. If it's valid, confront the person head on and then decide if you can live with it or not. If you can't live with it, get out of the relationship because really who wants to be in a relationship with someone that cannot be trusted?.