“Is it possible to be in love and not feel jealous at some point in a relationship?” It was this tweet from Bonobology that took me back to the good old days of dating and reminded me of an ancient relationship from my early 20s, which can actually be used as a template for several similarly fated relationships that followed.
Let’s, rather uncreatively, call the guy X. So my affair with X starts off with a bang – intense chemistry, crazy passion, freakish possessiveness – we belong to one another and nothing and no one can come between us. You know, that kind of jazz.
He is all I want, need and desire and of course, I feel insanely jealous every time my share of his time and attention is divided. And by my share, I mostly mean all his time and attention.
Jealousy is at its peak in the ‘idealisation stage’, which is just a fancy term for the time period before you discover that the awesome guy is really not that awesome and that in fact, he is just your average flawed human (gasp!). The jealousy at this stage is almost pathological. I feel a burn when he talks to another girl, or even a good-looking college professor. I get fidgety when he chooses to spend time with his friends instead of me and we often have fights about how a cricket match is more important than me. Once we even had a rather public showdown over some stuff that’s too embarrassing to even mention here. In short, I am the quintessential girlfriend from hell, but the truth is, I want him all to myself and do not like sharing space in his head with anyone or anything, however animate or inanimate. My idea of love may be warped and I’m known to be a little too territorial about my men but hey, we’re talking raw emotions here, okay?
Then comes the end of the idealisation stage – the time when I realise that he is too meh to get worked up over. We settle into a more comfortable relationship. I give him all the space he wants, I warm up to the idea of him being friendly with other girls, we don’t fight over cricket matches or his outings with the boys but in reality, it’s just me not giving a f&*k.
A few months down the line, the relationship matures further and gets more ‘real’. We know each other reasonably well by now and it has dawned upon me that I’m bored with the fellow and don’t want him anymore. But here’s the catch – he’s an overall sweet guy and I don’t want to be the heartless bitch to dump him for no reason. So I hang around a bit looking for plausible reasons to break up with him amicably. But much to my disappointment, he’s been behaving okay and carrying out his boyfriend duties quite sincerely. Which makes me feel worse. Not to mention annoyed.
He tells me he’s happy that I’ve finally started behaving like the cool girlfriend he’d always wanted and that my psycho-ness is on a decline, but I don’t have the heart to tell him that this can only mean bad news.
Related reading: Can we be Friends with our Exes?
I see him talking and laughing with a hot-ish girl and I realise that I’m not jealous anymore. In fact, I find myself rather pleased at the idea of her prospectively seducing him away so that he’s not my problem to deal with anymore. I’m actually wishing earnestly for him to cheat on me just so that I’m spared the dirty work of calling it quits. Of course it is way more ethical and less cowardly to just tell someone upfront that you don’t fancy them anymore, but at 21, you really don’t want to be the bad guy. Counting on another woman to take him away or passing him on to a friend who seems to like him is obviously the next best option.
So in answer to the original question, and speaking solely for myself, jealousy is one of the pillars love rests on, right up there with trust, respect and compatibility. If I am jealous for a man, it is a sign that I want him. If I don’t, I’m probably looking for polite ways to get rid of him.
Bonobology wants to know. Are you the jealous type? Have you ever been bitten by the green-eyed monster? Take our survey here and tell us!