“Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretence of keeping it alive.”

Havelock Ellis

I have often heard people talk about how they tried to get the attention and interest of their crush by acting close to someone else and making them jealous. I don’t know how that “technique” really works or whether that works at all because I haven’t done that myself and the very, very few people who have had interest in me were quite straight forward like me. I might have liked it if someone tried to “woo” me probably. But whichever way, I’m sure that trying to make me jealous would have been an epic failure.

There is something else though that goes over my head totally – why some people try to make their partners jealous. I mean, forget about whether it works or not and how; why on earth do you need to make your partner jealous at all??? I’ve seen many supposedly “Aww”-worthy posts glorifying jealousy and possessiveness in relationships. And in the comments section if at all a poor soul has asked the question I’ve always had in mind – how does this qualify for an “Aww”?, there would be a hundred people defending the post and explaining how jealousy is “Aww so sweet” in any relationship.

Maybe I feel this way because I’ve always been a free spirit who does hold relationships of any kind (friendship, family or love) sacred, but at the same time, can’t take it if someone tries to hold me too tight and not give me my space. You should understand here that it doesn’t mean that I am not loyal to the people in my life or that I don’t love them. It just means that there are so many people in my life and I don’t cut anyone off for anyone else. There have been people who have tried to make me exclusively theirs and failed miserably and walked off. There have also been people who have tried it and later realized how stupid they were and ended up being very close friends of mine. If I feel so strongly about it in friendship, you can probably understand how important it is to me in love and marriage.

I’m sure at least some of you would be thinking now, “If two people in love are to be loyal, shouldn’t they be exclusive to each other?” For them, let me clarify what I mean by “exclusive”. Of course you should be exclusively each other’s in terms of being lovers and partners. There would be a million things that are totally yours; things that the both of you should never share with anyone else. But having a problem with your partner being friends with someone else, feeling irritated with them making new friends, discomfort only because they spend time with their other friends – that’s just plain stupid. You might be possessive about things that belong to you. But a person is not really a thing that you can own. Just because you are in someone’s life, you can’t expect them to ditch their entire life and other people in it and have their life revolve around you. What does that say about them anyway? That they have no respect for the other people who have always been there for them? That they have no individuality to decide whether they want to be friends with someone else? Forgive me if I am brutal here. But even if they choose to do that for you “in the name of love”, that would only make them losers. And that doesn’t really make you look all that good, you know?

And then again there would be some people who think, “But isn’t a little bit of jealousy sweet?” I really don’t know how to answer that. I mean, what I keep thinking is this. Why would I be jealous at all if Hari is close to another girl or shares a good equation with her? Why should that make me insecure in the first place? I am happy with the fact that of all the women he knew in his life, he fell in love with me and chose to marry me. I was the one he decided to spend the rest of his life with and come home to. And that definitely does not mean that that surety is something only married people can claim. Honestly, even if we were just dating I would have felt as secure as I am now, simply because that’s how I look at relationships.

In every relationship, there is a trust factor that gives you a sense of security. That sense of security gives you a sense of belonging. And more often than not, that sense of belonging keeps the relationship intact and strong. There is no place for petty jealousy or insecurities there, and that, to me, is the key to a happy relationship. For me, knowing that someone feels that kind of trust, security and belonging with me is flattering. On the other hand jealousy is nothing but an insult – an insult to my love, an insult to my loyalty and an insult to me as a person – because even the slightest jealousy stems from doubt, no matter how miniscule it is. And even such miniscule doubt is something that would break me. I can’t imagine why anyone would want that and how that is in any way sweet.

Of course, it is never going to be a bed of roses all the time. You need to put in your efforts constantly to make sure that you don’t take each other for granted and keep spicing up your life. Little things that you do for each other, simple surprises, anything to make sure that you don’t get too comfortable and end up being bored with your everyday life. But when you have that sense of belonging, no work seems like hard work. When you are so busy making each other feel special, where would you have time to feel jealous anyway?

I know all this ‘idealism’ would sound stupid to many, considering the number of relationships that fail owing to partners betraying each other and manipulating the trust factor that I talked about. I really don’t know how someone can go ahead and do something like that, because for me betraying a person who loves and trusts you without a tinge of doubt is equivalent to killing a part of them. That is simply the most ruthless thing you can do. And to trust someone after you have gone through such torture or seen it happen to others? That’s not easy either.

But we can’t live our lives thinking of “What ifs”, can we? As someone has rightly said, if you don’t love with all your heart, it is not love. If you are going to stay insecure and jealous and try to hold on too tight, you are only going to suffocate them and in the process, get exhausted yourself. Either way, I really doubt if it will work out in the long run. The suffocated partner might want to get out at some point because no one can live their life with someone breathing down their neck and not trusting them. Or you might break at some point and end up doing what you were scared would happen to yourself. I’m not talking about what people call “blind trust” here. Even if you are feeling insecure for the right reasons and you know for a fact that your partner is not completely loyal to you, ask yourself the big question? Do you deserve a life of paranoia, monitoring your partner all the time, feeling jealous every time he/she talks to someone because you know they have strayed or will stray for sure? At the end of the day, is it really worth putting yourself through that and holding on, when you should be living a life that makes you happy, helps you find peace, and gives you at least a shot at finding someone who will share your sense of belonging.

I’ll leave you with a quote that you can use to piss people off the next time you hear them say jealousy is sweet. You can thank me later!

“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy – in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.”

Robert A. Heinlein