You fear your lover will run off with another, you are resentful and you feel
jealous. Because this is so hurtful and unfair, you also feel
- Feeling unlovable [laz]
- Threat to sexual access.
- Resenting another for your loss of affection or other favor you consider
- Displeased about an event desirable for another [OCC]
Jealousy and envy are closely related, and some
writers regard them as synonyms. In envy you want what you never had. In
jealousy, you are threatened with the loss of something you have (or thought you
had). Envy is a two-person emotion; I want what you have. Jealousy
is the three-person love triangle, I want who you have.
Origins and Benefits
Jealousy promotes monogamy in sexual relationships. Monogamy makes it easier
to identify the father of each conceived child. Clearly identifying the father encourages
participate with greater involvement in the child's upbringing. Pair-bonding in
humans forms an alliance of commitment and cooperation between mother and father
that benefits the child, while satisfying the parent's need for sex and other
resources. However, human pair-bonding is not perfect. The phrase “mama's babies
but daddy's maybes” is supported by DNA tests conducted in Western hospitals.
The results suggest about one in fifty children were not sired by the father of
Studies show that men are typically more upset by their partner’s sexual
relationship with another person, and women by their partner’s emotional
involvement with another person. The statistically measured difference is quite
Violent sexual jealousy is a distinctive characteristic of males observed in
practically all known human societies. The majority of battered women attribute jealousy as the motive for their
Jealousy Portrayed in Art
In Shakespeare's play Othello, Iago convinces Othello that his wife
Desdemona has been unfaithful. As a result, Othello kills his wife in a jealous
rage before killing himself.
When Helen of Troy left her husband Menelaus for her lover Paris, Menelau's
jealousy lead directly to the Trojan war.
Paths of Jealousy
Understanding what can trigger our jealousy, what separates envy from
and how we can resolve our jealousy helps us to cope with our feelings. The
following figure illustrates choices we have and paths we can take to either
prolong or resolve our jealousy. Use this like you would any other map: 1) decide
where you are now, 2) decide where you want to go, 3) choose the best path to
get there, and 4) go down the chosen path.
You may wish to print out this one-page version of the
Paths of Envy and Jealousy map.
This diagram is an example of a type of chart known by systems
analysts as a state transition diagram. Each colored elliptical bubble represents a
state of being that represents the way you are now. The labels on the arrows
represent actions or events and the arrows show paths into or out of each state. You
are at one place on this chart for one particular relationship or
incident at any particular
time. Other people are likely to be in other places on the chart. This is
similar to an ordinary road map where you plot where you are now, while other
people are at other places on the same map. Begin the analysis at the green “OK”
bubble, or wherever else you believe you are now.
OK: This is the beginning or neutral state. It corresponds to yourself
being free of envy or jealousy.
The green color represents safety, tranquility, equanimity, and growth
I want the affection you attract: Another person has attracted the
affections of someone you are romantically interested in. This confirms
your fears that you are unworthy of affection and you resent it.
Jealousy: Someone else is attracting the affection of the person meant
for you. This is unfair, humiliating, and enraging. If you can't have her, you
will make certain he won't have her. You will break this up at any cost.
The yellow color represents the discontent you feel.
Insult: The jealousy often turns quickly into anger, known as a
“jealous rage” This can happen especially quickly and dangerously. Choose a
constructive path out of this anger.
Needs not met: It is likely that your needs will not be met. Perhaps
the affection you are seeking can't be transferred to you. Perhaps it was never
lost. Staying stuck here is destructive, reappraise and move on.
Reappraisal: You reappraise the situation and recognize you have been
mistaken in some way. Perhaps your lover has remained true to you, or perhaps
you are better off apart. In any case, you are now content and OK.
- “Men who were indifferent to the potential sexual contacts between their
wives and other men are not our ancestors” ~ Buss
[laz] Passion and Reason: Making Sense of Our Emotions,
by Richard S.
Lazarus, Bernice N. Lazarus
Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life, by Paul Ekman
The Cognitive Structure of Emotions, by Andrew Ortony, Gerald L. Clore, Allan Collins
Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, by Daniel Goleman
Prisoners of Hate: The Cognitive Basis of Anger, Hostility, and Violence,
by Aaron T. Beck
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values, by
Marshall B. Rosenberg
Our Inner Ape,
by Frans De Waal
Evolution of Human Jealousy A Just-So Story or a Just-So Criticism?,
Relationship dissolution following infidelity: the roles of
attributions and forgiveness, Julie H. Hall, Frank D. Fincham,
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2006, pp.