by Kate Richlin-Zack
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been jealous. Someone has something you want or someone threatens to take something you have and the claws come out. Sometimes those claws are razor sharp and you flash them with the roar of a mountain lion. And sometimes you respond with a half-assed warning swat like some sleepy house cat. It all depends on the situation because jealousy is an emotion with a spectrum ranging from mild to red hot. Kinda like salsa. And where you land on that spectrum can depend on everything from the circumstances of the situation to whether or not you’re having a bad hair day.
On the more mild end, we’ve got undeniable but loving sibling rivalry jealousy. Like how your little baby sister has always been (and always will be) the hot, skinny, acerbically funny one with a great head of hair. You can’t compete but you love her anyway and don’t hold it against her that she often looks like she stepped out of the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch ad. Genetics can be so unfair!
Moving along to the medium category, there’s the kind of jealousy that initially hits you with pang but simmers down within seconds. Like when your boyfriend is buying drinks at the bar and some woman hits on him but his immediate response is to laugh it off sheepishly. If anything, you’re flattered because in some way this random woman’s advances only validate the fact that you’ve got a sexy man that knows you so well he doesn’t even need to ask you what you want to drink. And besides, she’s got nothing on you anyway.
Now we heat things up a bit with that gut wrenching inferiority jealousy that typically occurs when a supermodel rocket scientists enters the room. Not only is she Photoshopped physical perfection, but she’s also got a sound track, a lighting director, and a wind machine for full effect. And it always happens when you reluctantly venture out of the confines of your home zit faced, bloated, and sleep deprived. You can’t help but hate yourself because this gorgeous creature is everything you think you’re not (especially when you’re covered in zit cream). And you hate her even though you don’t know her, but you’ll do it in total secrecy because people would think you were an insecure lunatic if you admitted it. That’s the last time you let anyone convince you to leave your house when you feel less than up to snuff under the false pretense, “don’t worry, no one will see you.” Famous last words.
Then there’s the jealousy that’s so intense it should come with a warning label like the skull and crossbones that’s slapped on every jar of ghost chili. You can’t contain it and it turns you into a complete psychopath. You can feel it coursing through your veins. It makes your mouth water and your butt sweat with rage. Like when you see some girl getting excessively flirty with your man. Maybe she’s touching him with a frequency and duration that to the casual observer would seem innocent but to you is inappropriate. Clearly. Or maybe she’s literally draped across his lap and he’s too stupid to think anything is wrong with that because, he insists, “she’s harmless.” Or maybe you stumble upon something from an ex-girlfriend, either because you were snooping or because you noticed some random message pop up on his phone as it sat idly on the table. Regardless what triggered it, you’re livid. Someone is trespassing all over your territory and suddenly you’ve got what I like to call Angry Lady Skills. You know how to start and finish bar fights with krav maga-like efficiency. You have NSA caliber investigational skills and can triangulate data based his email address and limited knowledge of his childhood pets. You can easily flip Mack trucks singlehandedly, you’re that pissed.
What sucks is that whether it’s some inappropriately flirtatious dingbat or an ex-girlfriend who’s email got hacked and everyone in her contacts list got the same email about the Nigerian prince who’s looking to hide his fortune, in your head you’re being disrespected and you’re about to launch into the discussion about why your boyfriend can’t afford to buy you an engagement ring because he has to pay child support – why else would his ex be contacting him?
Before you let your Angry Lady Skills get the best of you, how about we take a deep breath and calm down? Inhale. Exhale.
Jealousy, is normal. We all experience it at some point so rest assured there’s nothing wrong with envying your sister or resenting some gorgeous runway model. I’ve had my fair share of jealous rage moments that have catapulted me into an hours worth of forensic investigation through my boyfriend’s email – and yes, I know I can’t get mad at him for things that happened before I even met him but I will anyway because I’m already so damned mad! There have been moments where I’ve gotten so angry over some girl flirting with my boyfriend that I wished I’d peed on him to mark my territory – and yes, I know how disgusting that sounds but it won’t stop me from rationalizing in my fool head that it’s a perfectly viable technique to ward off the competition. But these are certainly not my finest moments which is precisely why I would encourage you to take a deep breath and decide how to you want to react before you allow yourself to get swept up in the rage. Easier said than done, I know, but it may spare you the humiliation you’re about to inflict upon yourself.
And if all else fails, recognize that the only reason you’re jealous is because you care. Heck, he might even think it’s cute that you’re all hot and bothered over some girl making a pass at him. Chances are him downplaying the whole thing and grinning about your cuteness is only going to enrage you further so again, I’d caution you to breathe and think before you strangle him.
Kate’s Dates runs every other Wednesday on Kate-book.com. It is written by the lovely Kate Richlin-Zack, who fully admits to majoring in engineering to meet guys. Her articles have been featured on the Frisky, xoJane, YourTango, and Romance Never Dies. She’s been quoted in Fox News Magazine and featured on Huffington Post Live. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.