Remember in junior high school when you started noticing the opposite s*e*x and tried to figure out ways to become attractive to them?
One of those attention-getting ways was flirting with another boy or girl to make the object of your affection show a little jealousy.
Maybe–at that stage in our lives but not so harmless when it turns into a life-long pattern of manipulative behavior, especially in our committed relationships.
University of Texas psychologist David Buss, who’s done extensive research about jealousy, reports that “40% of women deliberately provoke a bit of jealousy in a partner to get a reading on the strength of the bond.”
Men apparently do it to but not as often.
It’s like a litmus test of the level of commitment to see if it’s safe to invest emotionally at a deeper level in the relationship.
This “test” might show up in a number of ways–like talking about an ex, talking to another man or woman at a party, flirting, dating other men or women, dressing highly provocatively when going out, or failing to answer a phone call to give the idea that you’re out with someone else.
What is really wanted from this “test” is a strong show of commitment and love–something similar to Edward’s “obsession” with Bella in the film “Twilight.”
If you haven’t seen the film, the look in Edward’s eyes and his protective hold on Bella is certainly seductive–especially to teens who can get themselves into trouble when it’s carried too far and gets into aggressive behavior.
Dealing with jealousy and figuring out how to stop it can always be tricky and …
If you’re dealing with jealousy issues and you want to make sure you know the best ways to deal with it, you’ll find many excellent ways of dealing with your jealousy here…
Psychologist Steven Stosny says, “The paradox of jealousy is that we all want some of it. In small doses, it’s an expression of caring.”
Okay, so if a little expression of jealousy from our partner is what we all want–(and we’re not really arguing with this idea)–what’s the problem in using a little manipulation to ignite it?
Plenty–and here’s why…
Trying to evoke jealousy, even a little, is like turning on a water faucet and walking away.
Pretty soon there’s a flood if no one turns it off.
And you can’t be assured that jealousy can be “turned off” once that seed of doubt and mistrust is planted.
If you feel like you have to manipulate someone to try to get them to show their commitment to you, it’s usually one of two things going on…
Either the person has a different idea of expressing commitment than you do–or the level of commitment you want isn’t there.
And manipulation never works–or if it does, it only works in the short-term.
This goes for committed, married relationships as well as casual dating relationships.
Even if you’re the jealous one, what it usually
comes down to is the same thing–
You fear that your relationship will be taken away from you and you want an expression of commitment and caring from your partner.
You may consciously or unconsciously go to great lengths to get this commitment by constantly asking questions and checking up on his or her whereabouts.
In doing this, you are trying to control or manipulate also.
We’ve found that there’s no place for control or manipulation in a truly close, connected relationship.
So what can you do to discover your partner’s level of caring–without all of this manipulation and control?
Here are some ideas to help you…
1. Find out what you truly want.
You may not really want to be with this person but you want to be loved by SOMEONE! Be honest about what you want–and don’t pretend that you want something you don’t.
2. Look at the evidence without making assumptions and making up false stories about what’s happening in your relationship.
Often, if you just stop and be present with what is happening right now, you’ll get the “evidence” and the answers that are there for you to see.
Start keeping track of how your partner shows that he or she cares.
If you want some help in deciding if you can get what you need from this relationship, check out our process for helping you decide whether to stay or go.
3. Discover your expectations of the relationship.
When there’s jealousy, you may be expecting your partner to fill all of the empty spots in your life.
It’s far easier sometimes to look outward at what another person is doing or not doing instead of looking at your life–your interests, your passions.
If you’re looking at this relationship and this love to fix all of your past problems, shift your focus to yourself and your healing.
Proactively take charge of making the changes that you know you need to make in yourself.
So is a little jealousy okay?
We think that “little” expressions of jealousy are like eating food from a drive in window at a fast food restaurant when you can eat food that’s so much healthier and more satisfying from a better restaurant.
These “little” expressions of jealousy can feed you in the moment but there can be a “crash” if this is all there is.
In order to have a long-lasting, vital, alive relationship, you have to begin doing things that create a strong foundation of trust and love in your relationship.
And this usually doesn’t involve jealousy.
For more tips to create more passion, love and connection in your relationship, or for some great ideas for overcoming jealousy, get our free ebook “7 Jealousy Stopping Secrets.”