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Rachel Responds

Conquering the green-eyed monster named jealousy

Rachel Woodman

November 8, 2012

“She said she daydreams about killing you.”

That’s what my high school classmate said to me after Photography II let out. Someone had daydreamed about killing me.

Now who would want to end the life of a loud-mouthed, vivacious, red-head? The girlfriend of my good guy friend.

Jealousy is a powerful emotion and the topic of this week’s column.

Men and women suffer from jealous feelings often because they are afraid to lose someone, or are envious of someone else. Some jealousy is healthy, but mishandling jealousy can cause even the soundest of relationships to fail.

Of course jealousy doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships, but this column focuses on this type.

“Some women struggle with the intensely jealous husband. Some men will try to control their wives’ every move,” said Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist featured on MSNBC article “Jealousy: Is it the same for men and women?” Intense jealousy by either men or women can cause emotional exhaustion that will cause the partner to inevitably leave.

Saltz also says women, and men can often be jealous that another man or woman is looking to end the relationship. This jealousy can be of the partner’s friends, co-workers or the grocery store clerk. This can lead to argument and insistence that their partner no longer talk to these people.

These friends, co-workers or other people in their partner’s life are often innocent of such claims. The danger is all in the jealous person’s mind. They are desperate to keep their partner from straying. They are afraid of being abandoned.

Sometimes this jealousy won’t even be of someone who is the same sex or even a person at all. Fred might be jealous of Sally’s Girl’s Night Out. Fred feels jealous that Sally spends time with her friends over him. Fred might try to keep her from going out, be angry about it or manipulate her view of her friends to get her to not like them anymore.
Sometimes the jealousy isn’t about a person at all.

Anita might be jealous of Bob’s job because Bob works all the time and she doesn’t get to see him very often. This might cause Anita to be upset and mistreat Bob.

In any situation, jealousy causes upset feelings and often can lead to controlling behaviors that will lead to a bad or ended relationship.

So what causes someone to hate the good-for-nothing-two-bit tramp talking to her man? Or that piece-of-crap-evil male friend talking to his girl?

Understanding why jealousy occurs is the key to controlling it, according to relationship-advice-for-all.com. In “How to Control Your Jealousy,” the nature of jealousy is frequently fear.

A reasonable amount of fear is good. Treating someone well so that they don’t stray is a good thing. Treating someone poorly because you’re angry they may consider leaving is bad.
Controlling your jealousy begins first with admitting you have a jealousy problem.

Admitting you’re a jealous person isn’t admitting you have a problem. You must recognize that you need to handle yourself differently when you feel these feelings.

Secondly, verify if your fears or suspicions are real. Do this with an honest talk with your partner. Do it before you are upset and speak openly. Hiding your emotions will not help.

Going through their things is atrocious. Accept their response if you feel that they may be lying you must consider that you may only think they are and that they are not. Trust them until proven otherwise.

If they can’t be trusted then there is a larger problem.

Thirdly, think about the situation and identify why you feel that way. Are you upset because your parents’ relationship ended poorly and this is reminiscent of that? Are you upset because she/he seems to be closer than you are with your partner?

If you identify the root of the issue you can address it differently. Work to be closer with your partner to be closer.

Remember that your relationship is comprised of two separate people and that both of you should have lives outside of the relationship. Other friends, family, activities or hobbies is healthy and not a sign of a poor relationship.

If your partner is compulsively flirtatious and does not respect your feelings then maybe the relationship isn’t for you. Sometimes your jealously is warranted but she/he is just not right for you.

Student Health and Counseling Services offers free counseling sessions for students if you feel you need relationship or other advice. Talking to your partner, your friends and your family is also helpful.

Remember that the key to making your relationship work is communication. It is likely not plotting the death of every other member on campus, in the community or the world.

Send your questions, concerns, or quandaries to Rachel on her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and follow her on Twitter.

Rachel Woodman is a senior majoring in marketing communications and minoring in journalism. She loves to work hard, play hard, and use clichés! Look for her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and email her your questions or topic ideas to QuestionsForRachel@live.com.