There are some topics that have no definitive conclusion. One of those concerns the feeling of jealousy. It’s frowned upon to express jealousy if your friend got that promotion, or if your sister bought that new awesome car. Yet, in relationships, it’s totally normal to be jealous of someone or over someone, and it’s mostly accepted by both partners. Mostly. Those who try to spot the difference can feel confused. Maybe you’d wonder: what’s wrong with me? Am I possessive? Irrational? Well, you’re not. You’re simply confusing jealousy with envy, and there is a difference. After a conversation with the psychiatrist Dr. David George Mashreqy, we have a better understanding of jealousy, envy, and how jealousy plays in a relationship.
The difference between jealousy and envy
One is benign and the other is… um, not so much. Jealousy is when you feel that someone else has something that you wish you had. You have no hard feelings for them, you basically wish them the best, but want to be like them. Envy is when you wish you have what that other person has, but you wish they’d lose it, and wouldn’t have it themselves. So it’s kind of saying either I wish I have it, or no one does. Whatever the underlying reason there is that makes people envious of others, it can pretty much be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. On the other hand, jealousy? It’s a totally valid emotion that doesn’t harm anyone. Everyone has the right to wish they have things, or to yearn in being like others.
Jealousy in a relationship
Because some people confuse envy with jealousy, there’s a bad stigma around jealousy due to it becoming synonymous with envy. However, how jealousy plays out in a relationship is totally normal. It’s a normal feeling to have, and it doesn’t mean you’re irrational, clingy, or possessive.
In every relationship, it’s important to be comfortable, and you have to speak up about what makes you comfortable and what doesn’t. Whenever there is something that ignites your jealousy, it’s a healthy thing to communicate it to your partner. It doesn’t mean you are telling them what to do, or what not to. It’s not ownership. It simply means that you are not comfortable, and when you speak about it, you both make a pact on what your place is to that person. You will not get that special place from your beloved without their consent. When you speak up, it brings you one or several steps closer to making you feel comfortable and special.
That is why jealousy should not be stigmatized, as it doesn’t harm anyone. It is simply about comfort, and it serves as an agreement that both partners come to, and healthy communication is key. Just make sure that next time, when you have either of these feelings, you’d be able to do a quick spot check and determine if it’s envy or jealousy. Remember that hate and grudges hurt you, and the people around you. Yet, a little bit of jealousy might in fact motivate you to working harder for the things you want.