Is Jealousy Always Bad For a Relationship?

Posted by in communication skills in dating, love after 40 | 0 comments


Jealousy…is it always bad for relationships? My guest, Joli Hamilton, presents a new way to see the benefits. Listen in!

Dr. Joli Hamilton is a research psychologist, author, TEDx speaker, and AASECT certified sex educator. She has spent the past two decades balancing a wild entrepreneurial spirit with a deep desire to have a secure, passionate partner (and she raised 7 kids along the way!). Joli is committed to helping women create sustainable, soul-nourishing relationships without sacrificing their career dreams.

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • The difference between jealousy and envy
  • How people can deal effectively when they are jealous in a relationship
  • A four-step process for managing when you’re jealous
  • The opposite of jealousy
  • What’s compersion, and why is it something we should work on in our relationships?

Is Jealousy Always Bad For a Relationship?

What is jealousy and how is different from envy? 

It’s a protective reaction to the real or imagined loss of a love object. It can be real or imagined. It pops up when we imagine an interruption to the love bond. It doesn’t matter if there’s real evidence or not. It is a problem of triangles, someone else interrupting our love bond.

Envy is about wanting to BE like the other person.

What do you suggest people do when they feel jealous?

I did a study on jealousy, where I interviewed people in poly-amorous relationships, because they have to deal with it. They brought it out into the open and talked about it. Jealousy is often connected to shame. We’re taught when someone is jealous, they love us.

  1. Notice that jealousy is happening, and allow it to be true.
  2. Name it. Get specific about what you’re seeing that’s provoking a feeling of protective hostility. Anger? Arousal? Grief? 
  3. Work on nurturing compersion. Compersion is feeling joy for another person’s joy, not in place of jealousy, but next to it. 
  4. Stay with the process, and be with the jealousy. Don’t pretend you’re bad for having the feeling.

Tell us more about compersion.

It’s the opposite of jealousy. When we name it, feeling joy for their joy, we can move towards it. It’s not simple. Think about the feeling you have when you see someone enjoying a dessert. 

How do you bring up jealousy with a partner?

Some people feel everyday jealousy, and others feel archetypal jealousy. If it’s archetypal, sit with it. See if it grows stronger and brings up other deeper emotions. If it does, that would be a good time to speak with a therapist or coach.

Most of us experience everyday jealousy. Having a crafted conversation helps. Figure out what you want and ask for it.

For example, if someone is using their phone all the time, and you are ‘jealous’ of their phone time taking them away from you, what do you need? If you know you need to be heard, ask for that. “I’d like to feel heard and seen, and if you can bear it, to be understood.” At the end, express gratitude for them listening.

What made you so interested in this topic?

When I was 33 years old, I fell in love with someone who wasn’t my partner. I was shocked that it happened. We ended up leaving our spouses and getting married. So, I have been through the ringer with jealousy. I moved toward it, instead of pushing it away.

What are your final words of advice for someone who wants to go on their last first date?

Figure out whether you have a process for dealing with your feelings. Look for clues that the person you’re dating also has a process for dealing with their feelings. You don’t want to be their therapist. We’re worth more than that. 

Prefer to watch the video? Here you go!

The Curiosity Date is Joli’s free gift to help you go on dates that involve sharing more about yourselves.

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