This is me.

 

This is The Man of Mans. I love him a whole lot.

 

The Man of Mans is a good and awesome dude, who treats me with heaps of kindness, respect, and affection. And while I am the sole recipient of his good husband lovin’, like many people (including myself), The MoMs sometimes finds himself attracted to other people. But I like to think of myself as a chill individual who isn’t prone to jealousy and can take it all in stride

I like to think of myself that way. But the reality is a little different.

In truth, I do get jealous.  I wish I was one of those super-confident people who can be all, “My person is having sexy feelings about some super-fine other lady. Whatevs. I KNOW my milkshake brings all the folks of my preferred gender to the yard, so I’m cool.”  Meanwhile, my reaction is usually something along the lines of “The MoMs is having sexy feelings about some super-fine other lady…

BUH!”

 

Intellectually, I understand that those mean, green feelings don’t do me a lot of good. However, the emotional part of my brain doesn’t always agree with what I think. While my rational side is saying, “No big deal. It’s totally normal to feel sexually attracted to multiple people,” my feelings are screaming “ME! ME! ME! DON’T LIKE OTHER PEOPLE! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! LOVE MEEEEEE!”

Fortunately, my rational side is (usually) loud enough to be heard through above the internal tantrum. In my moment of meltdown, it reminds me that indulging those feelings is a good way put cracks in the foundation of my most cherished relationship. And while I’m rarely able to rationalize my jealous feelings away, I find the following techniques can help to keep those icky feelings in check

 

Friendly Reminders

As I said, The MoMs has always been a wonderful partner. He loves me a great deal. In the seventeen years we’ve been together, he’s demonstrated that love in virtually every conceivable way. And I know this is hackneyed, but we are straight-up, legit best friends.

If The MoMs says to me, “So and so is really cute,” and I feel that little stabby pang in my stomach, I try to remind myself that he and are pals. Pals talk about stuff like this. What’s more, admiring the cuteness of another person doesn’t negate all the loving awesomeness The MoMs feels for me. It actually doesn’t have anything to do with me. or our relationship or anything except the fact that humans sometimes notice when other humans are cute.

 

 Check The Source

‘Hey, girl. What’s going on with you?’

That’s one of the first questions I try to ask myself when the green-eyed monster rears her ugly head. When I do a little digging, I usually find that knee-jerk jealousy happens because some deep-seeded insecurity has been triggered.

For example, I always have a micro-moment of panic when The MoMs tells me he has sexy feelings for a blonde. I grew up during a time when television showed us that California girls with sun-kissed locks were the undisputed queens of beauty and sex appeal. Then came sixth grade, also known as The Year I Read Sweet Valley everything. The Wakefield Twins and all of their fair-haired media cohorts left an indelible impression on my developing ideas about sex appeal – namely, that I didn’t have any since I am about as un-blonde as they come.

 

I’ve since learned that while blondes are very beautiful, they don’t have the monopoly on good looks. Still I spent my youth assuming that only people who could possibly see me as beautiful were my parents – and that was only because they had to. That’s a rough idea to live with when you’re girl living in a world that places so much importance on how women look.

 

When a blonde draws The MoMs admiration, the wounded twelve-year-old in me immediate feels threatened and sad, because how the hell are we going to compete with that. Fortunately the (slightly) more mature 37-year-old can remind her that there is no competition. Yes that blonde may be beautiful, but I can rest assured that The MoMs thinks that I am too.

 Make A Friend

Strange as it may, being friends or at least friendly with my husband’s crushes is one of the best ways I’ve found of getting past jealous feelings. I think it’s that whole thing where the unknown is usually way scarier than the reality. If The MoMs mentions having a crush on someone and I don’t know her,  I tend to imagine an Olympic-level snowboarder who speaks six languages and never farts.

But when I have had occasion to hang with The MoMs crushes, I almost always discover women who are outgoing, funny, kind of dorky and who like board games. Women that I almost always like, probably because we have stuff in common. Which I guess makes sense. Like many people, The MoMs has a “type” that he’s attracted to. And it always helps me feel better to realize that he doesn’t like these women because they aren’t like me, but rather, because they are.

 

Honesty IS The Best Policy

I keep describing scenarios wherein The MoMs tells me that he’s attracted to someone and then I feel jealous. You might be wondering, ‘Whassup with that? Why does he keep talking about other women to his wife?’

He does it because that’s what I want. I’ve been in a relationship where I’d chastise my partner if he mentioned another women or pout petulantly when I caught him gazing after someone as we walked down the street. We played the game where I insisted that he behave as though I were the only woman on earth and he indulged, albeit sometimes in a playful, patronizing way.

We played that game for our entire relationship. It was exhausting. And you know what? It didn’t make me feel better. In fact it made me feel worse. Because I knew he was lying to me and even though I’d explicitly asked for it, the dishonesty still eroded my trust. I also think that on some level I realized that it’s futile trying “keep” someone in that way.  I want a partner who wants to be with me. I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who’s there because I’ve effectively eliminated all other options so I become the choice by default.

So there’s that. And there’s also the part where keeping the crush stuff out in the open makes me feel better because if The MoMs is telling me about it, I know it’s no big deal. It also means that we can chat about the true nature of his feelings, which are generally pretty low-key and non-threatening.

Keeping crushes on the down-low definitely fuels my insecurity. But knowledge has the power to tame that green-eyed beast

 

Trust And Let Go

Jealousy and possessiveness tend to go together. Which makes sense. Jealousy – at least the OMG SEXUAL COMPETITION type – is basically fear that we’re going to lose our partner. That fear can compel us to hold on a little tighter.

Seeking reassurance from The MoMs can be really helpful in jealous times. The aforementioned talking, plus extra cuddles, kisses and “I love yous” go a long way towards calming my anxious heart, when a new subject of attraction enters the mix. That having been said, I try to avoid telling my husband who he can spend time with.

The MoMs and I are married, but I don’t feel that gives either of us the right to dictate who the other associates with. The MoMs and I have a set of mutually agreeable boundaries about which interactions are exclusive to our relationship. Beyond that, I really don’t like to impose sanctions on how my partner interacts with other people. After nearly a decade and half, we have a great deal of trust in each other. For me, that trust is too valuable to discard over the occasional jealous moment.

 

So that’s more or less how I deal. What about you? Do you jealous have moments? Have you found effective strategies for coping with those  lousy, green feelings?

Comments

  1. Rusty Priske says:

    I find that jealousy is a direct one-for-one correlation with low self-esteem. One creates the other (either) which that turns back and creates the first one etc.

    As to what can be done about it… I have no idea. It is one of the worst feelings in the world, and it is compeltely self-inflicted. (Of course, realizing that adss to that cycle above etc.)

  2. Jenn says:

    Thanks for this, Nadine! Awesome, as always. I’m curious, too, how The MoMs deals with *your* crushes?

  3. Chelsea S. says:

    Oh man. This is awesomesauce. I feel validated in how normal it is to feel jealousy, while gaining tools to deal with those feelings in a way that in healthy. You rock.

  4. Wow, this was great. I tend to have these jealous feelings when I think the person I’m dating is more attractive than I am. I mean, I’m attractive enough, but my current beau is smokin’ hot. All my friends say so. Which makes me wonder if they think he’s too attractive for me. And then that makes me wonder if HE thinks he’s too attractive for me. And then I get sad. Being as our relationship is pretty new, this has the potential to be especially rough for me because I don’t even know if I can trust him yet about anything. But, I’m aware of my feelings and aware that they are silly and that’s helped so far. It also helps that he is very complimentary of me. Because yes, sometimes I need that.

    Wow. I wrote a lot. Hmmm.