Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's not me

“To cure jealousy is to see it for what is it, a dissatisfaction with self.” Joan Didion

Jealousy as Insecurity
It’s easy to see how jealousy can stem from personal insecurity or a lack of self-confidence or lack of confidence in the strength of a relationship. Jealousy may also stem from feeling insecure about how the future will play out with someone.

Jealousy as Dependency
Jealousy as dependency is fueled by jealousy as insecurity, envy and power. You show your jealousy in a relationship because you want to be provided reassurance for future security purposes. You want someone to validate you and you don’t want to lose them because you’re not confident enough to be self-sufficient.

One Solution
To avoid jealousy in relationships, first you should choose a partner with a good track record in the trust department. You may also need to be up front with your partner about any doubts or fears you have and discuss whether they should be founded or not. If they are valid, then your jealousy will never subside and the relationship is not for you. However, constantly giving false accusations about what you think your partner’s intentions may be will push them away quickly.

I found the above information on-line. I was really bothered by what occurred last week in Naples and thought I would do a little research. Most of the responses I received said the girlfriend was jealous and I replied that I thought she was insecure.

A few things surprised me about the whole situation. The girlfriend had heard about me for months. We even had short conversations via the phone. Those conversations were always friendly and pleasant. While her relationship with my best friend is not on solid ground she still is his girlfriend. He has told her that while they may not be living together he also is not interested in dating anyone else. He still speaks to her several times a day and now has the opportunity to "ask" her out on dates - which he has done every week since he moved out. Perhaps I was a bit naive to think that I would be treated just like my best friend's sister. We have never been intimate. It's not like she was meeting an ex-lover who he had maintained an amicable friendship - which I could see making someone uneasy.

Now that I can take a step back and take a look at the situation and with the assistance of the information above, I can see how what I was calling insecurity is a form of jealousy. It wasn't that she was jealous of me per se. Just being insecure of her relationship with my friend contributed to her actions toward me and others. She needed to find a way to gain back control but it backfired on me as well as it continues to backfire when the girlfriend interacts with the rest of my friend's family.

In many ways, she has never been secure with her relationship with my friend. The relationship started off being long distant. When my friend took a job even further away she kicked it up a notch chasing him to his new home. He wasn't even settled a week in his new city and she was already on a plane. She then made trips every two or three weeks until family issues had to be dealt with and he had to move back to Naples. When she offered up one place to live and then at the last minute suggested the living together scenario would be so much better for their relationship I had a very bad feeling of how this relationship was playing out.

Now you could offer up that he could have said no and stuck with the original plan. Some men are very strong when they feel like they are being manipulated. Other men are known as caretakers - where they take care of other people's needs before their own. Just so you know women exhibit these same type of actions - strength and caretakers. I believe a person who is insecure is very adept at manipulation when they are involved with a caretaker personality. I have spent many, many hours with my best friend discussing current and past relationships and how we constantly work on trying not to make the mistakes of the past. I knew he is more of a caretaker when put in very stressful situations. Between taking a new job, moving to a new city, then having to move again to take care of his elderly parents he has been under a lot of stress in the last 10 months. All he wanted was for something to just go easy without much drama. That was not to be.

When he moved back to Naples it was very difficult to have conversations with him. Now I could have become the jealous one except for one difference. I am not insecure about the state of our friendship. Our friendship was formed over many months of very open and intense conversations about feelings and understandings. We worked out a communication system that worked for us. What I didn't realize was the depth of his unhappiness. It is hard to gauge unhappiness through emails and phone calls. We have a policy of not asking questions like = "how's the relationship going" or "what are the next steps in the relationship". We have always taken the position that if one of us wants to talk about our current relationship that involves more than surface stuff then we bring it up on our own. It wasn't until he moved out of living together when he finally told me what he had been going through. I told him I needed to reserve judgment until I saw them interacting together. I thought that was the fair thing to do.

I think every one - my friend, his family and myself - all saw the same thing. She is insecure about the state of their relationship and the direction it is taking and has been from the very beginning. It's not me she's jealous of. She is jealous of any and every one that takes my friend away from time with her - family or friend. I think at some point she would become jealous of even a job that might take him away from her.

Now I could offer up my conclusion to my friend; however we have already had a similar conversation. While rationally he has accepted the end of the relationship, he still has to emotionally accept the end. Emotionally in regards to accepting that feelings are going to hurt no matter how soft you try to make the landing. Insecurity makes the breakup more difficult. It's just nice to know - it wasn't me. Now then my job is to be there for the "soft" landing. Best friends are just like that for each other.


Karitown said...

It's awesome to have a best friend when you need them. Lord knows I've relied on mine.

Two Roads said...

Sometimes best friends know you better than you know yourself and can reflect the honest perspective back so you can finally see what you are doing. They also have great shoulders to cry on and warm hugs to make you feel better.