decision

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS, DATING & MATING, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein37 Comments

I decided today not to be jealous anymore.  Just like that.  I’m not doing myself any favors walking around, talking of childhood wounds or my scary past.  I’ve carried out this me I no longer want to be, this woman threatened by other women.  I’m not a jealous person.  There.  As good as done.

I was afraid if I was okay with his wanting to spend time with another attractive woman or unattractive but talented or unattractive and untalented but fiercely intelligent woman (notice I didn’t mention funny because men never really look for a funny woman, even if they say they do), then, because I was okay with it, I feared.  I feared he’d take advantage of that, feared something might happen, really feared he’d enjoy her more than he enjoyed me, or would think or wish I were more like she was, smarter, prettier, more shapely, more of what I wasn’t or wouldn’t be. 

That’s living in fear and controlling, and I’ve already learned.  I can’t hold on that tight, can’t make things more mine except for me.

So each day, beginning today, I’m going to be aware of my choices, ask why I’m making them.  I will allow someone else to tell me how I’ve hurt them, how what I did made them feel.  I will listen and allow instead of stifle and control and be right because that’s controlling and trying to convince someone of something.  Everyone feels betrayed.  It’s good enough if I know what’s going on.  So, I’m not jealous anymore.  It will be hard to hear he’s seeing her, but the minute I face the fear is the minute I grow and stop living in chaos.  I need to be this way because my inner self says so.  It’s my time to change this part of me, as scary as it is.  Living for the rest of my life, afraid, is far more frightening.

The worst part is when he gives me recognition for it.  When he says, “I know that was really hard–” before he finishes and gets to, “for you,” I begin to cry.  Because then it’s no longer just my promise to me.  Now he knows how hard it is for me, and that’s embarrassing, admitting I don’t like something about myself.  Much bigger than the new stomach roll I found today, or the way when he asked, why don’t you wear those jeans anymore, I wanted to answer, because they no longer fit!  They’re too small!  Far more embarrassing though is admitting I don’t like my insecurity and that I’m working on changing that.  Because then he says he’s proud of me.  But, I’m not doing this for you!  This is my decision and it’s private.  It’s like not wanting to tell anyone you’re on a diet because it reveals you’re unhappy with the way you are and gives someone else the opportunity to assess and weigh in on your weight issue.  It means there’s someone watching your progress.  I’d rather wake up one day and overhear him tell a friend, “you know Stephanie is so confident in herself that she no longer gets jealous.  She no longer digs her heels in, afraid of giving up her power.”  That’s who I want to be, for me.

Comments

  1. I loved this piece. It's very empowering. I've always had issue with jealousy. The perspective towards changing for yourself rather than changing for others is something I need to remind myself of everyday.

  2. why do you live with someone you don't trust?

    When you write about fearing he'd take advantage of time with other women – I can't tell if its him you don't trust – or yourself with him…

    But either way, i'm not sure just deciding to stop a behavior is a real way to understand what you do and why you do it. At least yo know its something that needs changing – as living in a place that doesn't feel safe and trusting sucks.

  3. That's awesome. And by doing that, you're not ever giving up power – you're giving it to yourself, because this choice to change and this effort you are making came from within.

    It's what makes living out our 30's so much better than our 20's – we know who we are, what we have to offer and it's that state of being that is so utterly attractive.

  4. I made this decision not too long ago as well….here's a book that helped me. It's written almost like a childrens book, although it is for adults. Very well done and helpful…..simple advice without all the psycho-babble.

    Jealousy, Taming the Green-eyed Monster by Eugene Schoenfeld

    Good luck!

  5. Here's to doing things for "ourselves." I applaud your recognition and determination. Also, regarding those "funny girls" – don't discount them. If it is true that laughter is the best medicine, then they definitely have an advantage. :)

    Ciao…

  6. I really hope you conquer this. It's a good stage in your life to address these issues and it sounds like you have someone supportive to help you along the way. Be strong.

  7. Your last few posts haven't been easy to read, some lines are actually omitted. I love your blog, although on the outside we have nothing in common. I live on Long Island, married with two kids and living a happy surburban life but I relate to your mental chatter, and feeling not good enough and it helps me to keep trying to improve myself.

    I AM HAVING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH THE LAYOUT OF POSTS WHICH COMPRESSES THEM. I'M WORKING ON HAVING IT RESOLVED. SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.

  8. Good for you. I was jealous up until a few years ago, when I decided I couldn't give all of myself to the guy in my life if half of myself was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    You know how women are so self-conscious about how we look in bikinis or when we first wake up in the morning? He tells me he loves me most when I'm not obsessing over makeup and my stomach. I can't believe him, not because he's untruthful — because he's the most honest person I know — but because I have something wrong with me. So I ruin moments or make something into something it wasn't before, and I am struck with how wrong I am about it all when he shakes his head.

    When I stopped being jealous — OK, when I mostly stopped — when I started laughing off the hot girls I thought I saw him checking out, when I started realizing it was fun to check them out with him, when I could laugh at myself and realize he wouldn't leave me for anyone better — because I know there isn't — and that the only way he'd leave is if I forced him out with my insecurities, that's when I actually had him and could trust that. More importantly, I finally had *me.* It's translated into so much more than men and fashion. There are hotter girls, there are smarter girls, there are funnier girls, but I stand alone, and that's a really cool feeling.

    You know deep down you are different than everyone else, that you bring something interesting and lovely to the table. It's about time you started believing your own truths.

  9. Yes, how dare he support your decision to improve yourself. That's just terrible. I think you should breakup with him immediately. ;-)

    I'm glad your trying to to this for yourself. Good luck!

  10. You can embrace the recognition and still know that, even if he didn't acknowledge your efforts, you'd still be working to better yourself. For YOU. That's what really counts, not whether he sees you working or not.

  11. Wow Steph, this was a powerful post. Jealousy is such a negative emotion. I try not to let that emotion get inside of me, but we’re all human. It’s instinct almost. It depends on what level it is too.

    I always make that horrible decision to let everyone know that I’m on a diet. I thought, “Oh well, if they know—they won’t tempt me.” Wrong! They tempt me even more! (Obviously I need new friends…) I feel your pain with the tight jeans—been there—still there and the gym membership is pending because it expired about a month ago.

    Confidence goes a long way, but the most appealing thing that I look for in a woman is her sense of humor. Maybe you’re right, maybe men don’t look for that, but ‘for me’—personally—that’s a must!

    Hope you’re doing great!

  12. I can’t remember a time when I wondered if my DH was visiting with, speaking with, emailing, or otherwise focusing on someone other than me. It might be the fact that we have 20 month old twins in our home and when we aren’t chasing, diapering or feeding them, we're deliriously exhausted– but with that being said- I do remember a time (at the first of our marriage) when I would ask him "have you talked to "A" lately? Have you run into "B" lately? He would always answer "no"… reaffirming that I was insecure and he is not. Not purposefully- to hurt me, but more in a "ARE YOU CRAZY– YOUR the only woman I have eyes for" kind of way. I remember having a conversation with him once about whether he thought going to lunch with old flames was okay- and we both decided together- that it probably wasn’t for the best. Additionally- we decided that acts of inner office "Adultery" such as instant messaging and calling, emailing and going to lunch with people were really just acts of psychological adultery. It’s giving rope on an already slippery slope. It’s doing a "dance" with people that shouldn’t be done. I'm not saying we don’t have relationships with people of the opposite sex- but they are rare. We have too many friends who ARE the same sex to hang out with that don’t upset the other person. On the flipside- I have a few gay-male-friends who he has no problems with me hanging out with. Weird, huh?

  13. Great Post! All the things I've always felt … put into words.
    I'm gonna try to do the same ;o) Not to be jealous anymore…

    grtz from Belgium

  14. Great post. Jealousy is a tough one to conquer. It's so primal, borne of that moment when we first had to share our mommies with the rest of the world. "only me, only me!" The ache is so solid. Man, it's a tought one to let go of. If you can do it, to the extent you can do it, bravo. And I agree that one thing that can make a big difference is to will it, to say "I'm not going to be jealous anymore."

    Good luck.

  15. I always wonder too, how much it has to do with my confidence that I let my boyfriend spend time with other women without feeling very threatened. I mean, you're right to say that it can easily be something he can take advantage of, but I'd like to think that I don't have to worry about that, because he has me. Sometimes I feel like I should be able to let my insecurities show, because I can trust him with embarrassing information, but at the same time…I'd rather be admired

  16. why can't you let yourself feel a little green sometime? why is it a bad thing to feel a little bit of envy once in a while?

    don't just let jealousy go — roll with it, and don't punish yourself for feeling. feelings are gorgeous. all of them.

  17. Sometimes being brave is allowing the "winder" winds to blow you where they will, even if you have to close your eyes. Brave move, Stephanie. And you're right. It's for you, no one else.

  18. While I completely understand how you feel about the privacy needed in resolution for self, I think it is nice that your man sees you – warts and all. I think it is also nice that he uses supportive language to you….that is called partnership.

    The other thing to ponder is that if he wants to know about your jeans….he hasn't noticed that you have put on a few happy pounds….he sees you through a lovers eyes – as the beautiful, strong-willed, sensitive, insecure lovely mess that you are.

    I like that man more all the time.

    Hugs from Atlanta,
    Ladybug

  19. That is so great Stephanie, thank you for sharing your victory with us!
    For those of us still fighting that, it helps to have a great example that it can be done. I've been dealing with insecurities the last few days (depression and anxiety disorder not withstanding, that I've beat but still creeps up on me once in a while), I hope to one day come to that point where I can just kick it's ass.

  20. I like this post very much.

    The line about not wanting to tell something reminds me of my relationship with alcohol. Of topic, but that's one thing that I like about your site. Thank you.

  21. I printed this out…it is going up on the fridge to be read every morning.

    I have been an anonymous visitor to your site for some time – an admirer from afar – and this post couldn't have been more appropriate in my life than at this very moment. I have to say it was somewhat unsettling, amazing, shocking to see your words reflect my life so closely in this post.

    Hold your head up, girl…its funny what you can see when you do.

  22. I find that it's easy NOT to be jealous when your man gives you no reason to be. Sadly, I had past relationship where I was given reason to be concerned (not jealous, but concerned – key differentiator) when a girl put the moves on my boyfriend right in front of me. It was a bit of a powertrip on her part, alpha-female move, but what I didn't understand was that the dolt guy just sat there and let it happen, excusing the behaviour later (oh she's just like that).

    So his solution: he would still hang out with her, just one-on-one so that she wouldn't offend me. But when I would try to point out that this bothered me, suddenly *I* had the issues, not him, not his friend. "You shouldn't be jealous".

    This came to represent to me a way for the guy to turn the situation around – he knew that it was disrespectful to hang out with this girl after the way she had treated him, after the way she had treated me. But by turning it around to say I didn't trust him… this made ME the bad girl in the situation.

    And of course, what do you do when a boyfriend tells you these things? Well, in my case, I endeavoured to show him I wasn't that girl, I wasn't the jealous girl, I was cool, really. He would ask what my problem was with the situation. And I would again feel like I had to defend, I had to sound like the whiny girl. But I realized it wasn't my problem. It was his.

  23. Polly,

    If a man or woman is going to cheat, they are going to cheat. There really is not a lot you can do about it. I think you let him manipulate you when what you probably should have done was cut him off, or breakup with him. He sounds incredibly disrespectful. I just hope you don't punish all future boyfriends for the actions of the one.

  24. Good for you! Might I recommend Max Stirner's _The Ego and its Own_ for helping overcome emotions tied up in the perceived-worth of self and others?

  25. I read you off and on and over and over I find myself thinking the same thing – really regardless of whatever your post is about – the same vibe comes through from you. And that is, that you're extremely fucked up. And then I think, "but she has a boyfriend" which leads me to think "what the hell is wrong with him that he wants to be with someone like her?"

    I am sure that there are a lot of people out there who feel the way you do and just don't write for the world to read, but I really can't understand or identify with women who think this way. Jealousy may be a human emotion, but I have never in my 40 years of life come across a woman who is so self-absorbed yet not confident all at the same time. Feigned confidence is not quite the same. Real confidence is obvious and almost quite tangible to all those around.

    And saying that men don't look for funny women confirms to me that you don't know a lot about relationships. Shared humor is one of the things that connect people in a relationship, and while a man might not want to date someone outrageous like Margaret Cho or back in the day, a Roseanne Barr type, humor is always something that is a good part of a relationship.

    And based your noting that you think that attractive, unattractive/talented or unattractive/intelligent women are less of a threat somehow makes me know that you obviously judge people based on appearance. There ARE women out there that get cheated on regardless of what they look like. Some of the most beautiful women we know have unfaithful partners…Halle Berry (GORGEOUS, rich, successful, talented, etc.) and Jennifer Aniston (same) are just two prime examples. And that's in the media where it's reported…imagine all that goes unreported.

    You should take less trips to Brooklyn and out for dinner/drinks with the "chiclets" and spend your money on therapy.

    I've never come across someone who needs it more than you.

    Seems to me that your faithful commenters (DELETED NAMES) abide by your word as almost law. They probably feel good about themselves after they read about what a wreck you are.

    But oh, good thing you "conquered" that jealousy thing.

    POSTED WITH A FAKE EMAIL ADDRESS

  26. Opinions are like @$$holes "Sporadic Reader". I don't always agree with everything written here (I'm from Brooklyn and took marginal offense to the recent post), but I so admire Ms. Klein's courage to put everything out there. Acknowledging one has a problem, is the first step towards resolving it. Sporadic, you suck.

  27. I'm sorry you didn't like my comment, Rubberlips.

    I'm also sorry you are from Brooklyn.

    Yes, I do not include my real email address since last time I did, I got several emails from Ms. Klein's "readers" defending her lunacy.

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