Tuesday, June 24, 2008

That's Mrs. Jealousy to you...

...Wife to Mr. Insecure, daughter of Anger and sister to fear.

Around here I try to be pretty frank with my feelings, my emotions, my thoughts - what you have never heard about though is my take on jealousy. Recently, another woman brought to my attention some jealousy issues they were having with me - I was shocked.

Seriously, is it possible to be 'jealous' of me when I am not involved in their life outside of the Internet?

It made me stop and think - and yes, it is possible because I have faced the exact same thing, a while back. Let me recap a bit...

I met my husband roughly 5 years ago (I'll spare you the sordid details, but he was getting separated from his wife, mother of his child when we decided to get together) and we started on a rocky road. It was a friend thing, meant to be not much more than something fun while it lasted (who knew we would end up here.) I was a mom and she was my priority - he had a son and an ex-wife he still was very close to. Over time our 'friendship' evolved into a relationship, but I never made that cross into his personal/family life. Translate, I never met his family, he had conversations with his ex-wife and I was usually in another room. He saw his son often, but rarely (if ever) was I around his child. A year and a half into this relationship, I was transitioning out of the Navy so I moved in with him to save on housing costs...moved into the house he and his ex once shared. This is when Jealousy reared it's ugly head.

I couldn't help but think every time I looked around that she had been here, she had painted this or that - it didn't help that I repainted some things, changed out the carpet, rearranged furniture - it was still part hers. During this time she became pregnant and my hub was a "listening ear" for her. Oh boy, did I struggle with that one. Not only did she have his son (I wanted to have his child and he did not) but she got to have another one and he was very sympathetic to her cause. She even got to talk to his mother and sister - I'd been with the man for 2 years and never been allowed to do that. (*note, neither had I asked to) Basically I had built this woman into everything I was not during that time and she was one amazing person.

What I had failed to realize was that she was flawed just like me and because I didn't know her - I could make her out to be my worst enemy. Was she, No. Once I realized this, life became much simpler. Was it done over night - no. It's taken us 5 years, but each day it is a little stronger.

In an effort to combat the issues I delt with, when I realized DQ's bio-father was married and having another child - I offered to her a chance to get to know me, it was also a chance for me to get to know the person who might, one day, be apart of my child's life. Oddly enough, she too has faced/is facing her own issues - "I was jealous of you because you had something with him that I did not. You had experiences with him first, that I got to have second." Sound familiar?? I could have written those words myself once upon a time.

Wikipedia lists jealousy as:
Jealousy typically refers to the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that occur when a person believes a valued relationship is being threatened by a rival.

I asked a few friends for their thoughts on jealousy in their lives
Jaysey: in long term relationship

Jaysey said she she had not been jealous of any previous women in her boyfriends life, but had experienced it with a previous relationship of hers.
  • And I was jealous of the women in his past--pretty much all of them--even though I'd never met most of them.

When asked: Do you think jealousy becomes more of an issue or less of an issue with age?
  • I don't really think age matters. Well, I sorta take that back now--I think some of it may be maturity, but I think most of it is trust and respect and whether or not you're truly with the right person.
Jenn: Married

Jenn said when asked if she had experienced jealousy with women in her husbands past
  • I wouldn't say I was jealous, but his ex-wife definitely made me uncomfortable.
When asked: Do you think jealousy is something that can be overcome in a relationship or do you think you either have it or you don't?
  • It can definitely be overcome! I think some people get jealous when they feel insecure. If their partner can take steps to make them feel secure and loved and special, I think the jealousy usually goes away for those people. I think it's much harder for people who have an innately jealous nature. Those people have to make a conscious decision to change, and that's tough.
Apryl: the hubs ex-wife (who has been kind in helping me expand my views on extended families)
Said she doesn't remember ever being been jealous of another woman

When asked:
What is your take on extended/blended families?
  • Extended families RULE!!! More to Love!!! Yes, I've always felt this way!
Three women, three very different view points from three different experiences and they've all had to deal with their own 'issues' of insecurity. Not each one was jealous, but they learned to accept it for what it was worth and continue on. I'm not saying all women are jealous, but I think jealousy is linked largely in part to the unknown.

It's easy to create images of the 'perfect' other people who came before us and even though we know they weren't perfect (because the relationships didn't last) I think we secretly measure our own insecurities against what we perceive about them. Jealousy is not a friendly person - but if you are brave enough to face it, then you are surely going to defeat it.

Have you dealt with Jealousy in your life?


Kellan said...

What a great post! I have never been much of a jealous person and my husband isn't either - it works for us. I have been jealous in my life, though - a lot in my youth, for sure!

Have a good Tuesday, Kel - see you - Kellan

Jojo said...

Wasn't one of your very first posts about jealousy too right? Anyway I'm a very jealous person...sometimes I take it out of proportion (I admit) and sometimes it's ridiculous, but I can't help how I feel. It's definitely our own insecurity unless the partner is doing something really inappropriate to cause the jealousy. I can only not be jealous if I'm the one and only AND BEST too, oy I should grow up!

Semi-Charmed Wife said...

This was really interesting--I think the biggest thing I'll take away from this piece is that everyone deals with these feelings at one point or another. I was feeling uncomfortable about my husband's ex, but she was also very uncomfortable about me. I think it would help me to remember that the next time those emotions arise...

Jenn said...

I would like to add that I think ex-wives create more jealousy than ex-girlfriends.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I can't say that I was jealous of my hubby's ex. I definitely feel some jealousy directed at me in life though. I do agree that it stems from fear and insecurity.
I also believe that maturity helps a lot.

A Buns Life said...

I was never jealous of my hubby's ex. SHE left him and never looked back. I am and was very thankful for that, otherwise I wouldn't have my life......

What I find interesting, while I am not normally a jealous person, since moving into our new neighborhood last year where 90% or more of the moms stay home, I seem to really want to stay home more and more. BUT, I know and have admitted multiple times, that I am a better mother because I work. I readily admit that I do NOT have the patience that it would take to be home with my children all day.

I need to go to work a few days a week, and yet when they all talk about going to the pool all day and getting together for lunch and I feel a bit like an outsider, then I the green eyed monster creeping in.....