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Sorry to break it to you, but I lied. Despite the title, there is no “how to stop being jealous.” It is inevitable, you see. There is still good news, however! Jealousy can be understood and, with a bit of practice, its effects can be reduced.
Jealousy has a few critical functions and theoretical evolutionary purposes. But before we hop into that, let me offer some confidence by sharing my journey with jealousy and the basis for lessons from a cuckquean's handbook.
The Antithesis to Self-Esteem
From an early age, I found myself attracted to both men and women but focused solely on romantic/sexual relationships with men. I sum this up to never having same-sex relationships modelled to me. Even so, when I began these heterosexual relationships, from afar, I would enjoy admiring women with my boyfriends.
Before I met James, I was with another man for five years. During the beginning of that relationship, my sexual attraction to women was consistent; however, as time passed, that attraction was snuffed out by uncontrollable jealousy.
In retrospect, I understand that this block towards women was a consequence of my fear – fear of losing my then-boyfriend to another woman.
My jealous feelings were a result of compiling self-esteem issues and a lack of love in the relationship. I had increasing anxiety over my partner's actions as I recognized his need for other women's attention and his decreased interest in me. Rather than focusing on my self-worth, I was overcome with jealous thoughts and behaviours.
The greater his lack of affection, the lower my self-esteem!
My Collapse into Jealousy
I can trace back to my collapse, which occurred as an accumulation of jealous moments. I permitted these feelings access to my life rather than the inquiry over the health of my relationship. The spiralling made me so desperate to be chosen by him, that I fell into a mode of devastating, unconditional love towards someone else, and unsubscribed, entirely, from self-love.
What did this collapse look like exactly? Major weight gain and then loss. An eating disorder. Drug and alcohol use. Profound self-loathing. An in-patient program for a said eating disorder. Months of therapy and sessions with a dietitian. Loss of friendships. Voluntary confinement in my parents' house. A slow recovery.
You see, there's a fine line between destructive jealousy and jealousy that serves. In my recent article, The Cuckquean Fantasy Tell-All, I define the difference as such:
Jealousy, in the right context, with the right person, can be a bonding tool that ignites raw passion for your partner. It works for me because the underlying reasons for that jealousy (i.e., replacement, displacement, betrayal) will never be actualized because I trust James, and in turn I can sit in the fiery realm of that jealousy, without burning alive.
Space to Evolve
When I met James, he gave me the space I needed to evolve, which led me to my sexual self-discovery. Since this moment, I have confronted the darkest parts of myself. You see, for a long time, I let myself burn…
That was until I realized what overcoming jealousy means. My cuckquean journey assisted in just that…
What is Jealousy and Why Do We Need It?
“In evolutionary terms, emotions are adaptive responses to the environment that increase chances of survival” (The Evolutionary Psychology of Envy and Jealousy or EPEJ). Jealousy has been linked to ancestral survival of the self and offspring, mate guarding, paternity certainty, and search for superior genetic quality.
Whoa, that's a mouthful!
In other words, there are theories that suggest jealousy is an evolutionary adaptation to our ancestors' changing worlds. For instance, the shift from hunter-gatherer communities to private properties and agriculture. In the former, paternity was not significant because people had multiple partners, and the “strongest sperm reached the egg.” In the latter society, paternity was required as land and other assets were passed down to male offspring. Some evolutionary psychologists and other experts in this arena suggest that this societal change was the catalyst for monogamy amongst humans.
The Cuckquean Mindset
As a cuckquean, I am intrigued by jealousy for it plays such a powerful role in fantasy. As mentioned above, my relationship allows me to explore this jealousy without feeling its full effects. So, if you're wondering how to stop being jealous in a destructive way, finding pleasure in that jealousy is key for me.
Mate Guarding and Compersion
As evolutionary psychologists theorize, jealousy may also trigger mate guarding. There is something wonderful about another woman wanting James, having James for a moment, and then him returning to me! There's also the thrill of knowing my partner is experiencing pleasure that has nothing to do with me – also known as compersion. I like to equate this desire back to our ancestral non-monogamous societies. With sex being so primal, the cuckquean fantasy helps me shed my hetero-typical, monogamous upbringing, and enter different realms of pleasure – places destructive jealousy doesn't live.
Regardless of its origin, jealousy still comes with pros and cons, and to stop being jealous means to stop being human. So, unless you're part cyborg, keep reading…
The Green Eyed Monster: Cons
The intensity of my cuckquean fantasy was unprecedented, and yet it came with its own underlying issues.
The closer I got to fulfilling my cuckquean fantasy, the hotter the jealousy burned. At first, because my view of jealousy was weighed down by past baggage, I had to take a step back and analyze the situation and the reasons for my emotions. Here is what I found:
It's Four Sided
Destructive jealousy tends to be linked to the fear of being replaced, displaced, betrayed or not having what someone else has. This side of the emotion causes distress.
Created a Prisoner
Destructive jealousy also turned me into a “policeman,” not a partner.
What I mean by this is, I was on guard, waiting for James to do something wrong, affirming my jealousy and insecurity. I would become irritable and paranoid, which contrasted greatly with our regular, healthy relationship. I would grow distant, waiting for him to close the gap, only to find my venomous energy repelled him.
Lastly, and most grave, is the impact it has on overall wellbeing.
It doesn't feel good to stress over another person's behaviour or thoughts. It's exhausting and diminishing to all parties. Destructive jealousy, in the end, will put a wedge between you and your partner, as well as you and yourself. It does not serve anyone, rather, it creates insecurity and dependency. Neither of which support romantic relationships.
Envy: The Positive Traits
To better express the difference between envy and jealousy, I lean on this wonderful quote by EPEJ:
“…the whole purpose of envy is to motivate you into action either by independently trying harder (envy) or by coveting and stealing what the other has (jealousy). This is why jealousy has an aggressive component, but envy is more positive, sometimes even being tinged with admiration.”
What I love about this is it very clearly differentiates the destructive from the serving.
In my current relationship with James, and after much trial and error, I now view jealousy as a bonding tool. Something that I, at the very least, can learn from, and at the very best, enjoy. Here is why:
As stated by EPEJ, the serving side of jealousy can be utilized as an expander. What that means is, that emotion can be used as fuel to do and be better, whatever better means to you.
It can help you assess your own capacity to trust, and analyze the validity of the thoughts and stories you're telling yourself. If you find you are the source of your own discomfort, speaking to a clinical psychologist or other mental health professionals can deeply aid in navigating this emotion.
It can help you assess the quality of your relationship. For example, if I had been honest with myself, and took the time to recognize the toxic, albeit emotionally abusive, behaviours of my ex-partner, I would have saved myself a lot of anger and elevated my self-respect by terminating the relationship.
Communication and Connection
It can be helpful in identifying and addressing issues within the relationship that may be having negative effects on you and/or your partner. In other words, when you are cognizant of your jealous thoughts, it can be the impetus to better communication and connection within the relationship.
Where to Start? An Exercise
With any type of behavioural shift, it's important to begin with self-reflection and gratitude. Dedicate thirty minutes to an hour of alone time to review and answer these questions. I recommend you write your responses down or record them in a voice note that can be replayed.
This is an independent exercise and does not require anyone else's presence, including your partner. However, should you wish, feel free to go over these with your mental health professional.
First, admit and accept that you feel (or have felt) jealous. This is okay, jealousy is a normal, common emotion.
Think back to the last time you felt jealous. What was under attack at that moment? For example, did you feel threatened by another person's beauty, wealth, or charm? Did your partner say something that triggered this feeling?
When experiencing this jealousy, what were you telling yourself? Do you recall any specific thoughts that occurred? For example, were you comparing yourself to someone, degrading your own characteristics, or focusing on perceived flaws?
Take a minute to reread or listen to those thoughts, and determine how much truth is in them.
Take a moment to refute those negative thoughts, reminding yourself of your own worth.
Take a moment to reread or listen to those thoughts. Let them sink in.
Now, what is one or two positive things you can implement the next time you start feeling jealous? These should be steps to help reduce panic or personal attacks on the self. For example, take deep breaths and remind yourself that you are in control of you and that you will discuss any feelings with your partner as soon as you feel calm and ready.
Internal vs. External
Remember that there is a difference between projecting your own insecurities versus receiving external instigation, such as a partner gaslighting you or blatantly provoking your insecurities.
If you are in a relationship and are having trouble determining the source of your jealousy, I recommend you speak to a clinical psychologist or another mental health professional to help determine where the jealousy stems from.
“Introspection is unfashionable in contemporary psychology largely due to the lingering effects of behaviorism. Contrary to this view, we will argue…that introspection…can be a valuable source of insights into the internal logic and evolutionary rationale of certain complex emotions like envy.”
– The Evolutionary Psychology of Envy and Jealousy
Where to End? Honour Yourself
No two relationships are the same, but if left unresolved, jealousy could lead yours to doubt, paranoia, and mistrust.
Romantic relationships aren't always a breeze, nonetheless, they should be fundamentally honest and supportive. Relationships aren't supposed to decrease the quality of your life, in fact, I hope they have the opposite effect.
James and I often speak about our relationship, and where each of us could do better for ourselves and each other. Having regular conversations about the maintenance and health of your relationship will only minimize the risk of jealousy and other harmful emotions, and maximize feelings of trust and understanding. For instance, James and I agree that our relationship is our number one priority, therefore, our lifestyles – both independently and interdependently – will honour that commitment.
Each partner should receive the commitment and emotional engagement they require to feel fulfilled. In order to maintain this without surprises, it's vital to speak about expectations. Own life on your terms, knowing you are responsible and in control of you and no one else. If you honour this part of yourself, the right relationships will follow.
Fuck well, friends!
Quean Mo xx