In the beginning, Christie loved it when her boyfriend, Joe, got jealous. His jealousy made her feel special. Every time Joe spotted Christie talking to one of the other guys in school he would wince, and she would delight in the power she had over him.
“He must truly love me to get so freaked out whenever I get near another boy,” she thought. “That is just so sweet.”
Little did Christie know that chatting with other boys would freak Joe out so much that he would eventually forbid her to have any male friends at all. Little did she know that soon after that he would force her to quit the volleyball team because it took too much time away from their “couple time”. And little did she know that after a few months he would command her to stop meeting her girlfriends at the mall on Saturday afternoons even though they were her GIRLFRIENDS and no threat to him.
“You don’t need them,” he would say. “You’ve got me. I am your boyfriend and I am your world.”
He was an attentive boyfriend. He gave Christie a pink carnation every Friday to celebrate the end of the school week. He called and texted her all the time. Literally. ALL THE TIME. Christie’s voice mailbox was always full of sweet messages from him. And her fingers couldn’t type fast enough to return all his texts. At first she thought he just wanted to stay in touch, but after a while she realized he was calling and texting just to check up on her. He had to know where she was EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY. If she didn’t answer a call or text he assumed she was with another boy and he would fly into a jealous rage.
Before long, Christie didn’t feel powerful at all. She had given her power completely to Joe and now she was under his control. This did not feel like love. This felt like prison.
Christie was right. Jealousy does not equal love. Sure, it’s normal every once in a while to feel a little uneasy when you see the one you love being friendly with someone else. Maybe it makes you feel like you are not number one anymore. But a mature, healthy person knows how to deal with that uneasy feeling. A mature, healthy person knows that the uneasy feeling is your own problem, not the other person’s. If your relationship has been built on trust, which is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BUILDING BLOCK FOR ANY RELATIONSHIP, then you should be able to get over it and move on. And your partner should be able to do the same with his or her jealous feelings.
Jealousy is a powerful emotion. If not kept in check it can take over a person’s life. It hurts and humiliates both people in a relationship, and it leads to aggression, unhappiness, and unfortunately, even abuse.
Don’t let this happen to you! No one should be threatened by your independence. No one should be allowed to control you. Here are some signs that will alert you that your boyfriend or girlfriend’s jealousy has crossed the line into scary, controlling behavior. If you see any of these signs in your relationship, BEWARE. It’s probably not going to get any better.
If your partner:
- Demands your attention all the time.
- Constantly needs to know where you are and whom you are with.
- Flies into a rage and makes you scared to upset them.
- Controls your social life or whom you talk to.
- Makes you feel bad for wanting to see your family or friends.
- Texts you all the time to check what you are doing.
- Constantly accuses you of flirting.
- Makes you give up working, studying or hobbies you enjoy.
- Tells you whom you can and can’t talk to or be friends with.
- Hurts you or abuses you because they are jealous.
- Blames you for their problems.
- Reads your messages online or on your mobile phone.
It is time to free yourself from the imaginary chains that bind you. A person who exhibits even one of these behaviors has some serious problems. You will not be able to help a person who feels threatened so easily by innocent things.
It will hurt at first. The breakup of a relationship can make you very sad. But saving yourself from what could be months or years of being under someone else’s control is even worse. Trust us on this.
The famous poet Maya Angelou wrote,
“Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.”
She was a very smart woman.