Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Redefining Jealousy

Jealousy is ugly. I’ve been thinking about this emotion in the last couple days. I’ve only ever been in love with two men. Angus was jealous of the idea of me with other men. Robert actually accused me of cheating on him. I’ve had other men express jealous thoughts. But what occurred to me recently is that I’ve never had a man jealous that my mind was going to something else or jealous that my heart was going to someone else. Men only get jealous of my sexual desire, or more specifically, who has access to my kitty. It’s not the essential Jen, my mind or my heart, that they are jealous about. It’s a body part. What is crazy is that both of these men had ample access to my kitty and for a variety of reasons didn’t take advantage, but boy, were they mad when the idea of somebody else getting it popped into their head. And thus it dawns on me that jealously is NOT a loving emotion.

I know, I know. It seems obvious right? Well, I’m a slow learner, ok? There was a time when I thought jealousy was flattering. “He loves me so much! He doesn’t want anyone to have me!” Oh, hell no. The reality is that he is so insecure that he can’t take anything that threatens his manhood. It’s all about him and his own ego. It has nothing to do with me what-so-ever. If anything, it’s damaging to me. When a man is jealous and dumps it on me, he is punishing me emotionally because he can’t handle his own inadequacies. Jealousy is not a man expressing his love for me. It’s an expression of his own fear and pain about himself.

Sheesh. I wish I had realized this a loooooooong time ago.


  1. Though I'm not discounting the idea of jealousy being about a person's own narcissistic insecurity, I think there is perhaps a greater culturally determinism than seems evident in the posting. Consider the fact that our culture, as a way of exerting control, portrays women as beings that need emotional connections to be physically intimate (phallacy), and men as "capable" of divorcing the two things from one another. Might I suggest that the jealousy over your sexuality (or anyone's for that matter) is based on a subconscious pairing of sex to female emotion. Of course, logically, men will naturally refuse to recognize this in some conversations (with male friends) and use it as a defense of jealousy with their partners as it suits them. There is, of course, also a much larger and more complex anthropological argument to it, but there is a character limit on these postings and I haven't the space.

  2. Ok, I agree with you that it's a cultural belief that women only have sex when they are expressing emotional intimacy. I can see the argument that men are assuming that sexual desire equates to romantic feelings. Ultimately, jealousy is still a control mechanism that is about the controller feeling inadequate.

  3. I agree with that statement, but the frequency with which this criticism is directed only at jealous men, rather than at jealous men and women, leads it to be a very sexist criticism. That type of focus suggests that male jealousy is the negative kind, while female jealousy can remain untouched. Though I am in no way suggesting that you meant it to focus only on a particular gender in relation to jealousy, I think that the androgynous nature of jealousy itself must be noted. Not only do insecure people use jealousy as a control and self-validation mechanism, but other likewise insecure people deliberately inspire jealousy as a means of manipulation. In fact, this ability to inspire jealousy and exert control is often mistaken for affection. Jealousy as a means of control definitely works both ways. Let us never forget that. One cannot, after all, make a car with four flat tires road worthy by fixing only the two on the left.