Love and Jealousy
August 6, 2016 by Armin A. Zadeh
When we are in love, we may experience feelings of jealousy if our partner spends considerable time with other people, particularly, potential competitors for our partner’s affection. Is this a sign of strong feelings for our partner, i.e., do love and jealousy go hand in hand? People also often wonder if the absence of jealousy is a sign of lack of love. To address these common questions, we first have to disentangle love and relationships. Both can exist independently and – while love should be a critical component in romantic relationships – they are not the same. Love – as the urge and continuous effort for the happiness and welfare of somebody – is selfless and exists independently of whether it is reciprocated. As such, jealousy has no role in love (as the phenomenon) because jealousy is self-directed, i.e., the hurt over our partner’s interest in somebody other than us.
The situation is more complicated in romantic relationships because in contrast to love per se, romantic relationships imply a benefit for the parties involved. When we enter a partnership, we expect a “give and take” and we anticipate that our partner shows interest in spending time together, typically more so than with other people. Jealousy refers to an unjustified suspicion about our partner’s motives. Jealousy often is a reflection of our own insecurity or lack of self-esteem. Jealousy implies that we are fearful our partner may develop more affection toward somebody else than us which indicates that we either don’t think too much of ourselves in comparison to others and/or that we don’t trust our partner to stick to the rules of a partnership. Both scenarios are bad for a relationship. A loving attitude towards both ourselves and our partner should instill confidence in ourselves and in our judgement of our partner.