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Jealousy: The Friendly Foe

“I’m just a jealous guy.”

Imagine, John Lennon, 1971 

The Jealous Guy

John Lennon wrote the introspective lyrics of “Jealous Guy” during an extended tour The Beatles took with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, spiritual guru to celebrities. After traveling to Wales and spending almost five weeks with Yogi on a spiritual quest in India, The Beatles formally renounced their association with the Maharishi as “a public mistake.”

Ironically, among the reasons for which The Beatles cut all ties with Maharishi was the requirement “they each devote himself entirely to his teachings.” The band mates didn’t respond well to the demands for spiritual exclusivity.

Even in his great state of enlightenment, Maharishi displayed a clear form of jealousy by way of possession over potential other spiritual leaders the band may have become interested in.

Maharishi preached the ridding of oneself from both personal envies and desire for physical possessions, a detachment from the physical self and attainment of inner peace. Lennon, along with the rest of The Beatles (most of the time) loved one another. Loved their partners. Loved love.

Lennon eventually learned Maharishi’s techniques of inner peace did not come without sacrifice. While intriguing at first, Lennon found Maharishi’s teachings denied him the right to an emotion which he felt was necessary in love and life – Jealousy.

Jealousy Like Relationship Oxygen

Although painful and often the catalyst for demise, jealousy is relationship oxygen. We cannot truly connect without it.

Facing you with doubts in love, loyalty and trust, jealousy challenges relationships to either bond or break. Jealousy rarely feels good at the time, but its presence has the capacity to greatly strengthen relationships.

When challenges rooted in jealousy are overcome, relationships flourish. They evolve in admirable unity. Jealousy breeds heightened awareness and often, gratitude. Jealousy opens your eyes to what you have and what you cherish, revealing things you may have taken for granted. 

Without a low dose of healthy jealousy, it would be impossible to devote ourselves to another person. Desire and possession are emotions that fuel passionate relationships.

It can also set them on fire. Either way, a relationship cannot breathe without some amount of jealousy. We need that uninvited third wheel to keep things interesting, to keep us on our toes. 

When you see your partner being admired by another, you’re reminded of your own attraction for them. Jealousy also deserves kudos for uniting people who may have otherwise missed out on great loves.

Close friends who, for whatever reason, never considered a romantic relationship with one another, may need to see how much attention and adoration their friend is receiving in order to recognize their own deeper affections.

In the absence of jealousy, isolation lives. There’s a reason, like Yogi, many spiritual leaders abandon romantic ideals and remain unattached, practicing only inner peace through self fulfillment.

While inner peace sounds attractive, most humans, myself included, want and need to feel the beautiful and agonizing torture of love to feel alive. The great challenge is finding a way to accept jealousy as a natural necessity and not allow the emotion to conquer you or the relationships in your life.

Marcie has been working with couples and individuals for over eight years; helping them start off right and working with them through their time of need. If you want to try phone counseling, check Marcie out today!


Marcie gives a thought challenging perspective on an emotion I’ve always considered to be negative.  A “low dose of healthy jealousy” sounds like a “low dose of healthy cyanide.”  How can something which by nature is bad, be good in even small doses?  

Jealousy is focused on something you want and don’t have or have and you are afraid of losing.  Your fears of loss can drive to act in ways that will practically guarantee your fears will be realized.  

Jealousy in the Blended Family

I remember the first time I accompanied the Pretty Lady to pick up her children from their dad’s.  The moment they entered the car it was like a switch was turned off. 

She went from being 100% focused on me to being 100% focused on her children.  Yes, I understood the need for her and her kids to reconnect, but I still didn’t like the fact her attention was now diverted to someone else even if it was her children.

I didn’t like feeling like a third wheel. Also, I eventually learned stepchildren can be jealous of the relationship you have with their mom.

Here’s what I’ve learned to deal with my jealousy:

  1. Relationship. My partner’s relationship with her children is unique and different from the relationship she has with me. Her relationship with me cannot be replaced or substituted by the one she has with her children.
  2. Entitlement. I am not entitled to all of my partner’s time, attention, resources or love.  The only thing I am entitled to is her faithfulness and loyalty.  I can’t expect my partner to spend all their time and energy on me.  
  3. My Perspective. I changed my perspective. Rather than focus on what I didn’t have, I focused on what I did have with an attitude of gratitude.

 

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