Jealousy can be a constant worry, can take over one’s life and we can refer to a lot of different psychology of jealousy situations and behaviors.
For Ellen Berscheid (an American social psychologist), jealousy would have to do with the interdependence of lovers. In her psychology of jealousy theory of interdependent emotion, she explains that as soon as a relationship between two people is permanent, there is a dependence between these two people.
Both members of the couple have common goals and/or rely on each other. So, everyone can either facilitate things or complicate them.
According To This Theory, Romantic Relationships Are Built Through Several Phases.
As soon as two human beings are interdependent, the conflict is inevitable: if our couple has shared goals, we remain, distinct individuals, with different desires. Each member of the couple can potentially disrupt the fulfillment of the wishes of his or her partner, which creates a psychology of jealousy and negative emotions.
When our partner begins to “depend” on a third person, interdependence with someone else (or when we imagine that our partner starts to depend on it), the relationship is undermined – if my lover is interested in another, he will be less attentive to my needs.
As a result, our shared objectives are failing and the excluded partner is in bad shape. In this perspective, the psychology of jealousy is a response to a sense of threat to dependency.
Jealousy And Self-Esteem
If the feeling of love goes hand in hand with the idea of the risk of loss of a loved one, we do not always apprehend the risk of loss in the same way. Some of us appear as more “gnawed” by their psychology of jealousy, by the hold of their suspicion, interpreting every sign, and every behavior.
How does one go from mild, banal jealousy to a destructive paranoia? For the psychologist Don Sharpsteen, self-esteem plays a particularly important role in the notion of the psychology of jealousy.
The more we feel our self-esteem threatened, the more we would be jealous – the mere idea of losing the other would cause us to doubt ourselves, to perceive ourselves as less valid, less beautiful, less well.
In the opposite direction, when you have an already fragile self-esteem, we may be more prone to jealousy, because we have a harder time believing that the other loves and esteems us. This leads to us more easily thinking the other might leave us.
And again, in the psychology of jealousy, it would be a question of trust, in oneself and in others, which would be played out.
The Good And The Bad Jealous
Psychologists emphasize (among other things) that the difficulty of the feeling of jealousy is precisely to keep it within the limits of reasonableness. It seems to grow stronger and uglier the more we try to take control of it.
Up to a point, jealousy (moderate and non-destructive) could actually bring couples together and is one of the factors of the longevity of a couple! For example, psychologist Eugene Mathes asked couples to complete a questionnaire assessing their degree of the psychology of jealousy.
Seven years later, he recontacts the interviewees and questions them about their sentimental situation. It turns out that 25% of people still together are those who had a rather high jealousy score, while 75% of those who broke had lower scores.
All in all, this statement works as long as the relationship has not become a hell: sometimes we remain attached to our partners, even if their extreme psychology of jealousy makes the relationship problems and in this case risks loss of self-confidence, the appearance of psychological vulnerabilities.
In other words, staying in a relationship does not necessarily mean our fulfillment!
Other factors that contribute to the Psychology of Jealousy in today’s world
Some studies, with evolutionist tendencies and biologists, suggest differences between the jealousy of men and women. Men fear that their partner will have sex with another, while women fear that their partner will feel something for another.
Other studies link our feelings of jealousy and self-deprecation to our uses of social media, including Facebook (a study said that the more we spend time on Facebook, the more we would tend to think that others are happier and have better lives than ourselves).
The success of others takes nothing away from us and we do not really know what those we envy live and experience. We have little hold on the objects of our jealousy and our jealous phases will not prevent our partners from leaving us if the desire takes them.
What we do know of the psychology of jealousy, however, is that we are in the driving seat and can work on how we feel about others and about ourselves. Nothing can take that power away from each of us.
If you focus on your positive emotions and if you practice gratitude, it will build your self-esteem and help to control the more destructive jealous side that can threaten to come out. The option of seeing a therapist is often helpful because they will help you conquer jealous tendencies by focusing on your positive traits.