My 8th Cardinal

By Eireen Manikan

It was right after the honeymoon stage, roughly 7 months or so after our marriage ages ago that my husband and I discovered something about myself. Of my attention-seeking characteristics this one probably tops the list and boy was he in for a treat. Working as a public servant entailed engaging people day in and day out and calling on them and vice versa. It took a text from someone I didn’t know intimating a close relationship with him that made me turn into the female version of Incredible Hulk smashing the phone into pieces without me recalling how I did it.

Such my dear friends, is the act of an extremely jealous individual void of reason or meaning. My husband, an intelligent guy (read: can get away with it if he really wanted to) was aghast with such display which he has never seen from me since we began dating. Credit it to my slayer cousins and friends who would forever remind me to temper my emotions since they felt my husband was a keeper.

As I was tempted to check on his phones and emails, I would always be verbally slapped by them reminding me that doing those would be crimson flags if ever. It took all of my willpower to stop myself and reminding me of my value as a woman with assets worthy of any self-respecting guy.

But always lurking underneath me is the need to be validated at all times by my significant other and to be verbally assured that he is deaf, blind and mute when it comes to the other opposite sex.

I read somewhere that jealousy stems from a lack of self-esteem or a poor self-image. I pray my friends do not see this for surely they will be on their knees laughing wildly as I am the least they know who suffer from both, the exact opposite in fact. So why does one get jealous aside from these?

According to Dr. Robert Leahy, author of the book The Jealousy Cure there are some factors why humans get jealous. The first stems from two theories namely the parental investment theory which mainly states that women are sure that they are raising their own flesh and blood while men are not hence, they are more jealous of sexual infidelity while women are of emotional stability. The second theory is limited resource, a jealousy among siblings or friends that has been rooted from the scarce resources in every family since the early days.

Another factor is having experienced a sense of abandonment, loss, or betrayal.  Parents who end up unfortunately severing their marriage will have children who will suffer from this. Another is the depth of investment you have given the relationship, the deeper you are involved the more jealous you will be.

The most noteworthy factor I believe, is the exact opposite of having low self-esteem, which Dr. Leahy disagrees to – it is in fact because of high esteem he believes that one feels jealous. You feel jealous when you feel there is an imbalance in the relationship, and you will not allow to be treated that way.

The last I will share from his book is when unrealistic expectations from the relationship are not met or does not align with the realistic situation.

“Ultimately, jealousy is about the two people who are feeling connected to each other. There are techniques that partners can use to talk about jealousy, come up with a mutual plan for coping with your differences, and build trust. There are strategies you can use to avoid getting carried away by the intensity of your feelings in the moment, which then lead to ruminating and worrying about everything between you falling apart,” Dr. Leahy states.

I am struck by the word trust of course as that is the essence of any relationship and a salient aspect of jealousy. And trust does not necessarily mean that your partner lacks the capacity to give it, it may also mean your deficiency to have it for the other.

In all of these revelations, I have come to know more about myself and why I get jealous. And as I move along caught in the whirlpool of my constant evolution, I pray that I am not too old enough to move past my hang ups or baggage that makes me turn green and hyperventilate when I feel threatened.

It’s a process for me, slow though it may seem. Let me end by sharing a quote from my favorite language of love. “Yo no soy celosa pero lo que es mio es mio.”