Most of us have experienced jealousy. But while mild expressions of it can be healthy for a relationship, it is when it is taken to the extremes that it becomes a deadly killer of relationships.
Once upon a time, I met a guy and we started out as friends and then fell in love. While that may sound wonderful and in many ways it was, we both carried baggage from our previous relationships. We were both cheated on but each handled it differently. I didn’t internalise the infidelity so I entered the relationship in a much more positive note than my ex did. He had low self-esteem which began to manifest in our relationship in a heavy form of controlling behaviour. He would control whom I could be friends with (no one, though a few girls from work were ok) and how many times we should see each other and most importantly whom I could talk to. I understood where he came from, so I allowed him that control because I wanted him to see that I loved him and I wanted him to feel secure with that love. I didn’t allow myself to shine in any way because I didn’t want it to seem like I was competing with him or doing things to draw attention to myself. And while I wasn’t encouraged to have friends of my own I encouraged and pushed him to make friends of his own.
We fought a lot if I liked a guy’s pic on social media or if the guy commented in a flirtatious way. He would accuse me of wanting them or something along those lines. And it became so draining emotionally that eventually I just stopped connecting with people.
The turning point in our relationship came when I discovered his infidelities. Only the lord knows how many they were. I insisted we try to mend our broken relationship because I loved him (I never stopped to consider that he didn’t feel the same way). But the infidelity brought about a transformation in me: I became determined to better my appearance so I joined a gym began; I began taking pictures and being more social online, all in attempt to show him how desirable I was. In the hopes that he would show me the same affection he showed his lovers.
With knowledge of the infidelities came the knowledge of how affectionately he treated them and how sexual he was with them. And in my desperation to please him and win some affection from him, I even suggested that we open the relationship so he could feed his sexual hunger. He declined saying he only wanted me, but continued his behaviour on the side thinking I would never find out.
But by then my jealousy morphed even further, to where I was stalking his profile, hacking his messages, going crazy at every picture of a guy he liked. Wondering whom he was meeting when we weren’t together. I looked at every guy who he referred to as a ‘nice guy’ with a new pair of eyes, to see if they were one of his ‘hoes’ (in all cases they were – I hate when my detective skills are right). I looked suspiciously at every guy who wanted be his ‘gym buddy’, because that seemed to be code for something else.
I kept asking myself, what do I have to do to make him love me? To make him treat me with love and respect that one is supposed to treat their partner?
Do I have to look like a model? Do I have to post an endless amount of selfies or have bulging muscles? Or must I cheat on him like his ex boyfriend – for whom he wrote long pining essays and poems for all to see online?
I had become a cesspool of toxic emotion and I felt poisonous inside. And with every guy he sexually engaged with, my self-esteem took a knock and with every ‘hottie of the day’ he posted, I would die further on the inside, because I wasn’t like any of those supermodels and I would never be.
Venomous and unhealthy on a spiritual level did I become. I hated myself – I hated my skin. Hated everything about myself. On the inside I died a million times, wishing, praying I could just be the guy he wanted.
On the outside I kept nagging him to treat me better, to treat me with love and respect, until one day I realised that he would never do so because he just didn’t love me in the first place.
He loved the idea of being with me in the beginning but that had faded now and therefore he wasn’t in love with me. He couldn’t give me what I wanted… simple things like ‘I love yous’, pet names, or hugs, because he just didn’t have any love in him to give me.
He couldn’t make any of the compromises I’d made in the beginning of our relationship or show me the same maturity I’d shown him, because he just didn’t care about me enough.
Related reading: Confessions of a jealous girlfriend
But by the time I realised this, I’d become someone I wasn’t. I had become him, a green eyed monster on an extreme level. And that wasn’t who Waseem was. So I ended the relationship, something which he was deeply yearning to do but couldn’t bring himself to do.
And I began a long walk to healing and finding myself again. To find the old Waseem, the person I was before all the drama and complications of jealousy happened. I am told this is called self-care.
Extreme levels of jealousy are a SIGN of insecurity. Insecurity over one’s looks, over the position that one plays in the partner’s life, insecurity about the relationship itself. Jealousy can consume you. That’s the reason it’s referred to as the green-eyed monster in the first place.
And while jealousy wasn’t the main cause of the demise of that relationship, it certainly helped speed it to the graveyard much quicker.