It’s Not Easy Being Green…

…especially when it’s green with envy. (A tough color to accessorize.)

Jealousy happens in all kinds of relationships. People often seem to feel guilty about feeling it, and attach value judgements that they may not apply to other emotions. But jealousy happens. The question is, how do you respond to it?

When I feel jealousy, I take it as a sign to ask myself two questions:

The first is, “Am I feeling this way because the other partner is getting something I’m not?”

Sometimes, I realize the answer is no — that I actually am getting the same thing the other partner is getting. If we’re both getting it, and I’m getting enough of it, then it doesn’t matter how much they get. And if I’m not getting enough of it, then it’s time for a discussion with my partner.

The second question is the more important one. “Is the thing they are getting something I actually want?”

And when the answer is no, I don’t want that, jealousy often falls away right there, because the fact that they’re getting something I’m not getting is irrelevant if I don’t want it. They can have all they want! Being given the thing I don’t want in the name of fairness would be worse. (Especially if it’s liver and onions.)

But what I don’t do is tell myself I shouldn’t feel jealous. The feeling is natural; it’s what you do with it, and how objectively you look at the situation, that can make a difference in whether it lasts — and how it affects those around you.

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