Understanding Jealousy
by Frédérique Herel
Let's talk about jealousy. Jealousy is generally based on a feeling of inadequacy in a specific area, which is usually the basis of the jealous person's identity. And this area is different for everyone.

Here are two examples:

1) A woman, Jennifer, has a wealthy male friend, Mark. Jennifer's boyfriend, Bob, is great-looking, smart, and caring, but Bob is feeling insecure about the fact that he doesn't have much money. When Jennifer chats with Mark, Bob feels that Mark is "better" than him because Mark is rich.

Jennifer keeps telling Bob how much she cares about Bob, and how great he is, but it doesn't seem to work. Reassuring Bob on those levels doesn't help because this is not where Bob is coming from.

However, when Jennifer starts telling Bob that she couldn't care less about Mark's money, suddenly Bob's jealous feeling disappears.

2) Sandra is Kevin's second wife. Bunny - Kevin's first wife - has never shown any jealousy towards Sandra, even though Bunny seems to be jealous of so many people in her life. Sandra has always been puzzled by Bunny's acceptance of her. It seems to her that an ex-wife is ordinarily not so accepting of the new wife.

When Sandra studies Bunny's specific areas of insecurity, she realizes that above all Bunny wants to: A. have money; B. be perceived as a good mother.

Sandra is financially independent and has no use for Kevin's money, who has never missed a child support payment. So Bunny doesn't feel threatened by Sandra on a financial level.

Sandra doesn't have - and doesn't want - children, so Bunny has no competition there. Bunny is the only one with "Mother Status". In the past, Sandra has even told Bunny she admires her as a mother. Again, Sandra is not a threat is Bunny's Mother Status.

Besides, Bunny has never had any interest in sex, so Sandra and Kevin's sex life carries no meaning and no importance to her.

Therefore, Bunny has no reason to be jealous of Sandra.

The above examples should give you an understanding of where jealousy comes from.

If your partner is expressing jealousy, try to identify where is the competition with the person he or she is jealous of. Looks, intelligence, popularity, parents' attention, women or men's sexual interest, the list is endless. What kind of past does your partner have with this person?

Once you have a better idea, you can reassure your partner on this level. Do not hesitate to downplay what the other has that your partner feels he or she doesn't have. Show your partner that it has no importance to you, and insist on what he or she has that this other person doesn't have.

Also, we have to be very honest with ourselves. We are sometimes flirtatious without even being aware of it. Or we may say something casual that sounds very sexy to the person hearing it. Or we may like to have the attention of someone else - usually of the opposite gender - even if we have no intention of going any further...

Realizing that may help you do something about it before it is too late and often staying away from the other person may be beneficial to your relationship.

So be very honest with yourself and if you really love your partner, he or she is the one you need to give your attention to, not the other person.