Archives for February, 2010

Envying Your Partner: Is that Allowed?

Most people view envy in a negative way. It has been defined as the feeling one has when another person has a superior quality, achievement or possession that you desire or wish for. Identified as “sin” in some faiths, it has been associated with a constellation of feelings including guilt, longing, inferiority, resentment, and even ill will toward the envied person.

Do partners ever envy each other? Aren’t partners supposed to be happy for each other, proud when the other wins the golf tournament, earns the degree, outperforms her peers? Absolutely, and they are. Most couples operate from the perspective that when one wins, both win. No one looks envious of their partner on Jeopardy – they look thrilled.

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Understanding Jealousy in Your Relationship

For as long as there have been men, women, and relationships, there has been jealousy—the fear of losing the person you love to a rival. Romance and literature throughout the ages have extolled jealousy as the sign of true love. “He that is not jealous, is not in love,” said St. Augustine.

They have also associated jealousy with pain, distrust, anger and anguish. “There is no greater glory than love, nor any greater punishment than jealousy,” said Lope de Vega.

In the actual lives of couples, jealousy is a complex emotion with varied causes and different consequences. While it can re-affirm love and even create enticement, it can also assault self-esteem, reflect betrayal, justify possessiveness and cause violence.

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