Ex-girlfriends who suddenly resurface when they find out an ex is in a new relationship. ‘Rivals’ who spread rumours about your dating history. A potential mother-in-law who is unconsciously competing with the new woman in her precious son’s life. Women who’re jealous that you make as much money as the men you work with. Men who check out other women when they’re on a date with you. Men who are stupid enough to tell you about it. Men who cheat on you. Men who cheat with you.
Who is to blame? Him… or…Her? Personally, I’d blame him (and throw him out of the house). But I know a lot of women feel differently.
Perhaps he’s done the opposite and massaged your ego. My girlfriend/wife doesn’t understand me the way you do. You’re so much prettier than her. You’re so much smarter than her…Blah Blah Blah. And suddenly you feel superior to some girl you barely even know.
The truth is – why take it out on the ‘other woman’ when the guy is a manipulative idiot? Maybe you even believe she’s prettier than you, smarter than you, richer than you. But do you actually know her life story?
“Let’s talk about jealousy amongst women,” Charmaine Yam suggests on one of our usual weekly Skype dates.
I was stumped by the topic. The last time I truly felt jealous of another girl was in high school. I’ve felt pangs of envy since, but nothing I’ve seriously entertained. I have better things to do – like focus on me and my life. Having said that – I know jealous women. Tread with caution. There’s serious DANGER ahead.
“What is jealousy to you?” I ask Charmaine.
“Real jealousy is personal,” Charmaine says. “It’s when you envy something that someone else has that you don’t have. As a result, it generates a negative feeling towards that person. It stems from your own insecurity, but you also have some deep seated conflict with some person. It’s usually towards a friend. In female friendships, you can become quite close to someone and compete with each other. You can’t be really jealous towards someone you’re not that close to. Someone who cares a lot about what other people think is more likely to be jealous.”
“What role does competitiveness play in jealous, and where does it come from?” I ask.
“It’s a spectrum,” Charmaine says. “I think that to be jealous, you’d start off with being competitive with someone. In your mind, they’ve somehow outdone you. And because of that: they’re superior to you and you’re somehow diminished. It’s almost like if you ‘beat’ this person your self-esteem will be higher. It’s very personal. To be really jealous of someone, you’d have to be close to them.
“You can say you’re jealous of some celebrity, but you’re not really. I don’t know why in certain female friendships there’s more jealousy involved than others. It’s your own character as well. This person is somehow affecting your own insecurity.”
“Why is it dangerous to be jealous of another person?” I ask.
“The truth is, you actually don’t know the facts of the other person’s life,” Charmaine says. “You don’t know what their real situation is. Being jealous is kind of a stupid exercise. You’re making yourself feel really shit and you don’t actually know what’s happening – who they are, what they’ve gone through.”
“Does jealousy stem from the perception that you don’t have enough?” I ask.
“Someone who is very secure about their situation probably won’t be jealous of many people – if at all,” Charmaine says. “When we’re kids we’re more prone to jealousy. I’ve gotten less jealous of people as I’ve grown up. Everyone’s life is always changing and you can’t compare. You can’t keep a scoreboard and keep tabs on ‘success’. It takes a lot of energy to be jealous of someone.”
“Do you think it begins in the family?” I ask. “When parents play favourites?
“It begins in the family,” Charmaine says, “if there are favourites then it’s a bigger problem. It’s natural because when you’re a kid I think the first person you’re compared to is your siblings. Who else are you going to be compared to? When you start going to school, then you have more peers. Siblings that are closer in age tend to be more competitive with each other.
“We’re raised to be the best that we can. If you’re seeking validation from your parents, which tends to be the case in early life, then you feel like you have to be better. Parents who place a huge emphasis on academics are really reinforcing the circumstances that lead to jealousy.”
I think it doesn’t make sense to be jealous of other women. I have friends who are models, doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, housewives and everything in between. Having a good woman in your life is a blessing. Don’t be jealous. Be proud. And if some woman ‘steals’ your man – let him go.
He isn’t worth it. You are.