Relationship insecurities. Sometimes when you have been betrayed in a relationship, it becomes hard for you to trust again. For some people, this distrust springs into jealousy, while some people just get jealous. because of low self-esteem. But do you know that being over protective, obsessive and not trusting your partner can ruin your relationship? So, if such signs begin showing up and jealousy is on the verge of eating up your relationship, how do you deal with that?
Christopher* is a married man with two other women on the side, in fact he has children with both of them. His wife knows about his escapades, but she chose to stick by him. Theirs is almost an open relationship but Christopher, more than often, wants accountability for his wife’s whereabouts. He has placed spies on her to inform him whenever she steps out of their compound. And indeed when information reaches him, he returns home and sits to wait until she returns home. If that is not the epitome of a jealous man, then what is?
From the perspective of John Mark Tusubira, a private computer programmer, not many things are as much a turn-off as a jealous lover.
A year ago, he broke things off with his ex after realising that her jealous ways were quickly turning him into a hostage of sorts.
During the initial stages of the relationship, Tusubira had noticed her somewhat possessive character. He had met her through Sharon*, their mutual friend. But shortly after they started dating, he noticed how uneasy she became every time he talked to Sharon. Soon she would start wearing a gloomy face each time he received a phone call in her presence, often questioning whether it was Sharon on the other end of the line or some other girl he was making passes at. And all this happened way before their relationship was officially defined.
“Clearly, the signs were there, I just did not take them so seriously. I brushed them off. Of course, it puzzled me why a girl who was not officially my girlfriend was trying to keep tabs on me. But, I thought she was just an interested girl trying to be somewhat dramatic to seek my attention. And there was no problem with that, since I was also interested in her,” Tusubira narrates.
He thought what he was up against was simply the usual drama queen — the kind of girl who will paint her hair blue if that is what it takes to grip a man’s attention. But he was wrong!
This princess was not just trying to be dramatic. She was jealous that other possible candidates would try to take away what she believed was hers — her man.
“A few months later when our relationship took a step, it was as though I had hired the CIA to keep track of my every move. To her, each phone call I received was from a mysterious woman I was sleeping with. Each time I did not pick her call was because “that other woman was keeping me busy”. At first I ignored all her accusations but a man can only be patient for too long. Soon I started putting her in her place. And just like that our relationship became a verbal battlefield — from one outburst to another, all arising from her imaginery multiple lovers,” Tusubira narrates.
Soon Tusubira’s friends had to put up with the wrath of his jealous lover. Some of his female friends were on a few occasions confronted too. She would either call them up or physically reach out to them demanding that they keep off her man lest they get themselves into trouble.
On time she found his sister at his place and exploded, calling her all sorts of names before she came to learn of the fact that she was only his sister. Even then, she remained as unapologetic as always, blaming Tusubira for not having introduced her to his sister in the first place.
Sick of all the drama, it was not long before he called things off.
“Her actions were obviously not funny. If anything, they were downright embarrassing. My boys would bully me about it often referring to her as my “husband”, given the way she constantly demanded that I explain my whereabouts. I was losing female friends — those who did not want any part of the drama. Clearly this relationship was not adding any value to me. I had to end it. She gave me the worst 10 months of my dating life,” Tusubira says.
The green-eyed monster
Some of Shakespeare’s later romances — The Winter’s Tale and Cymberline, are wrapped around jealousy and the unimaginable plight it inflicts on lovers. And much as these pass the edge of tragedy to go on and end with the defeat of jealousy, this is hardly the case in Othello, arguably Shakespeare’s most vivid portrayal of jealousy’s ugly face.
Polly Nuwagaba, a relationship counsellor at Family101 Uganda, says Shakespeare’s portrayal of the downside of jealousy is not far away from reality, because sometimes when extreme jealousy comes into the picture, events can turn tragic.
“Jealousy is a combination of insecurity, anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust and it is among the leading causes of spousal homicide worldwide. So it is not as light an issue as some people may want to think,” Nuwagaba says.
He follows the same verbal stride to note that before the insecurities get to such tragic extremes, all the peace the partners ever shared will have been eroded.
“Of course the victim will be emotionally drained. Your jealous spouse keeps questioning your faithfulness and raising suspicions at your every move, even when you have done nothing to bring your faithfulness under scrutiny. Funny enough, the more you try to defend yourself the more he or she will find reason to think you are lying. And nobody wants to find themselves in a position where they always have to prove they did not do something,” Nuwagaba explains.
Worse still, the burden of the green-eyed monster does not leave the jealous partner at peace either. Soon, worrying about their spouse’s whereabouts and who they are with will become an almost full-time job, interfering with their normal life. Somebody even starts losing sleep because they heard their spouse talk nice about a workmate of the opposite sex.
“You lose concentration at work, worrying about someone your partner is supposedly sleeping with. Jealousy is like a chronic anxiety. It leads to constant stress and eventual exhaustion, to both partners. It can even cause depression and before you know it, the relationship will sink into a bottomless pit,” Nuwagaba adds.
Needless to say, the moment jealousy comes into the picture, it should be quickly dealt with to prevent any kind of damage in a relationship. But before one deals with a problem, they must understand where it stems from.
*names have been changed
Causes of jealousy
Sarah Mirembe, a counselling psychologist at Adonai Counselling and Training Services, points to negative life experiences as one of the major reasons some people end up enslaved by the monster.
• A person who has ever been in a relationship that crumbled as a result of unfaithfulness may end up abnormally jealous. This is because they have seen a partner they were with cheat before, and tend to imagine the current partner will also cheat.
• Sometimes it actually goes back to family background. A child who grows up in a family broken by infidelity may grow up to be a jealous lover. They think the likelihood of their own family being wreaked apart by the same evil is high, which creates the need to become overly protective of their partner.
• Jealousy could also stem from insecurity. If one feels that somebody else of the opposite sex who their partner is spending time with is more good looking, dresses better and perhaps is more educated, they become jealous because they feel their position is threatened.
Mirembe says this kind of insecurity is often as a result of low self-esteem. In certain instances though, being jealous is borne by dependence. If one partner finds that he or she is so overly dependent on their spouse, both emotionally and sometimes financially, they tend to attempt keeping their partner away from any possible competitors.
Dealing with jealousy
According to Joseph Musaalo, a counsellor at Adonai Counselling Services, the first step to tackling jealousy is personal awareness. If it is something to do with your troubled past, involving relationships that have fallen to unfaithfulness, then begin by acknowledging the fact that your new partner is not the old one.
• Each relationship is different so it will be unfair both to you and your partner if you keep judging them basing on fears from a past relationship. Relax and give your partner a chance to prove your fears wrong.
• Learn to constantly question their feelings and intuition before you pin your partner for imagined infidelity. Learn to shun the false and baseless beliefs that may be fuelling your jealousy. This should quickly be followed by a heartfelt apology to your spouse, apologising for your past jealous conduct and giving an honest promise to change.
“Communication is important in any relationship and for clear communication lines to be open one must start with an apology. And make sure not to apportion blame for any of your actions. You may, however, tell them the kind of things they do that make you jealous. This could be important going forward as they may refrain from such actions, or better still bring to your attention how such actions widely differ from your preconception, which may help you understand your partner better.”
• Musaalo emphasises transparency in a relationship as an almost sure way to keep the relationship jealous-free. “With transparency there are no suspicions as every move that could have raised questions in one partner’s mind is quickly explained.”
SOURCE: Daily Monitor