Jealousy Is Not Love

July 16, 2016

Jealousy is caused by insecurity, possessiveness, and fears that distance us from love, contaminate our relationships, and destroy our freedom. This is why it cannot be synonymous with love. Rather, it’s necessary to untie the knot of jealousy.

It seems to indicate a particular fear of loss, like it’s trying to call an important fact to our attention. It serves to inform us that we’re in danger of losing the affection and attention of a loved one in favor of another person.

“We shall know that state of love only when jealousy, envy, possessiveness, domination, come to an end; and as long as we possess, we shall never love.”

-Krishnamurti-

When this kind of distrust arises, it’s common to feel abandoned, rejected, and excluded in the presence of a third person. It’s a painful feeling that provokes distress. It signifies that something is not working in the relationship that must be taken care of.

How does jealousy arise?

girl sitting on rock man walking on beach

Jealousy initially serves to indicate that there is something that must be resolved in our relationship with another person, outstanding issues that we’ve neglected, that make us feel insecure and distrustful. It may just be a warning that disappears when the matter is resolved, or it can become problematic and pathological.

A widespread erroneous belief is the idea that jealousy is synonymous with love. Feeling jealous doesn’t mean that we love that person more; it simply activates our fears, which are often related to emotional insecurity. As people, relationships, and love mature, jealousy decreases.

Healthy and adaptive jealousy

Jealousy can be handled maturely, and like all emotions and feelings, it can be taken advantage of in a way that contributes to reestablishing and strengthening the relationship, so that you can advance together and overcome your difficulties. This type of jealousy is not imagined, it’s triggered when a real distance is felt from the other person.

When we feel like the person we love is neglecting us and focusing their attention on other people, jealousy comes naturally. The alarm is activated, which serves to mobilize us and shed light on our fears.

For a moment, we return to our childhood. What normally happens when there are two children in a household and the adults pay attention to only one of them? When an only child realizes that they’re not the only child anymore? This is how it all starts, with the intention of guaranteeing our survival.

Jealousy is healthy when we pay attention to this alarm and try to use it to mature. Being aware of our fears – which only we are responsible for – and being able to express them in words, can help us to integrate jealousy with intelligence in the situation or context that provoked it.

Problematic and pathological jealousy

This type of jealousy is more related to a lack of self-esteem, feeling insecure in a situation, whether it’s real or imagined. It becomes a problem when you start to interpret and assume, which inevitably leads to misunderstandings, because you’re constantly reinforcing the state in which you find yourself.

You don’t seek to resolve the situation or mature through becoming aware of your fears. Pathological jealousy traps you in fear, and makes you react disproportionately to any action you interpret as a lack of attention.

“Jealousy is a fear so flimsy and so subtle that if it weren’t so vile, it could be called love.”

– Lope de Vega –

couple questioning each other

Jealous people who make others jealous

Many people try to make their partners feel jealous as a way to measure their love. These people strongly believe that this feeling will unite them and that without jealousy, there is no love. Jealous people maintain this belief, and they justify the characteristics of childish love.

The need for attention and continuous displays of affection can lead to this kind of situation through manipulation. They try to make the other person worry, to make them feel like the relationship could end at any moment if they’re not constantly paying attention to them.

People who create distrust end up damaging the bond and creating distance in the relationship. Love based on worry and the continuous fear of losing one’s partner cannot be sustained.

If we’re able to understand the function of jealousy, what it does, what it tells us, and how we can resolve it, we will understand why it happens. And more importantly, we’ll know how to use it to our advantage, we’ll be able to control it, and we’ll avoid falling into its destructive grasp.