The Jealousy Factor
Jealousy is like nausea. Nobody wants it, it feels terrible; but it is there for a reason. It must come from deep, long-ago, ancestral genes that are designed to keep the home fires burning and the family intact. In general, if you are involved in a loving, happy relationship, and you have good reason to trust your partner, jealousy should not even be an issue.
But, we are humans with all the emotions that go with it, and sometimes jealously does rear its head. It is not a horrible emotion; it is how it is handled that gives jealousy a bad rap. There are ways to manage jealousy, to tolerate it, or to ignore it altogether.
However, if you are in a rocky, unreliable relationship, jealousy is telling you to do something for yourself. It is not the “other woman” who is at fault in these circumstances. And the “something you should do for yourself,” is not hit him over the head with a frying pan. It is to find a good person with whom you can and want to develop a relationship.
I can only speak to the female perspective on this issue, but I firmly believe maturity plays a big role in jealousy factors whether you’re male or female.
The following breakdown is how jealousy plays out in a maturing, happily involved, woman’s life:
The Female Perspective on Jealousy at 10-Year Intervals:
Age 15: “I love you and I can’t live without you!”
Age 25: “I love you,” she says, but she thinks, if you talk to that other woman at the party, I’ll just fantasize about ripping her eyes out.
Age 35: “I love you, and it’s so very interesting to watch you talking to that tall brunette over there.”
Age 45: “I love you, and why sure, you can invite that old girlfriend over for dinner some time.”
Age 55: “I love you. I need a few hours to myself, why don’t you go have lunch with that old girlfriend of yours.”
At fifteen, a girl is really too young to have a crush, to handle those boy crazy years, but alas, it happens. And the jealousy that accompanies it can be ferocious. If the boy she yearns for is not interested in her, but another girl, she will learn to hate other girls. She will learn to gossip and hope the worst for other girls. Between the hormones and emotions, the young female is on a nightmarish, endless carnival ride. She will have trouble even considering appropriate expressions.
There is a lot that a parent can do for a young girl when they first notice the “crush.” Keep her busy and active and athletic. Discover her passions besides boys. Help her create her dreams beyond the age of fifteen. Keep assuring her that she has many, many years to come before she even needs to get romantically involved. Take her mind off of her object of affection by spending good family attention on her at home and on family outings. Keep emphasizing the importance of school and her future. She needs an overabundance of parental support and supervision at this time in her life.
The twenty-five year old has had just enough of “life” to know that the world does not stop or start at a particular moment in time. If she has enough self-confidence and has chosen her mate wisely, she can withstand an evening where her sweetheart has taken some time (not a whole evening) to talk to another woman. Jealousy can enter her mind. But she knows that he will go home with her and not the “other” woman. Hopefully, she knows better than to throw anything into his face. She knows to shake it aside with a big smile and not to pick a fight. At twenty-five, a woman can feel jealousy as somewhat uncomfortable, and admittedly, really want to fantasize about ripping that woman’s eyes out. But hopefully at this age, she has learned to go do a good workout, write a love poem, watch a romantic movie, or even make a passionate night of it without giving her man a hard time about talking to another woman.
The maturity of the thirties is a wonderful and miraculous thing. Women in their thirties can see their man talking to another woman and either not think a thing about it, can join the conversation and can even take the moment to objectively watch their man relating to another woman. I think women in their thirties see it as a compliment if other women want to talk to their man. Even if a woman in her thirties is bothered by her man talking to a woman, it has to become a really hot, tall, gorgeous thing before she would consider wasting her energy on getting upset. Women in their thirties, who, as I have said before, have chosen a great guy, will not only tolerate jealousy, they’ll invite it in for tea and make friends. (If not, see some of the things a 25 year-old could do to ease her discomfort.)
The forties and fifties are maturity incarnated! Women have been married quite a while at this point, and are comfortable and secure in their relationships.
If women are jealous at this age, the only appropriate expression is laughter and joy. If her husband has been a great guy, a good provider, supportive, loving, etc., etc., then this woman should be happy that he is finding a little excitement talking to another woman. Women can take pride in their own sense of comfort and love in a relationship that has been good to her. She has probably worked hard over the years nurturing the marriage. Now is a great time to relax and enjoy life. She can sit back and think how lucky she is that other women find her mate attractive.
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