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Should I Feel Bad About Feeling Jealous When My Wife Flirts With Others?

Maybe these feelings of jealousy aren't such a bad thing.

By Chai SteevesPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Should I Feel Bad About Feeling Jealous When My Wife Flirts With Others?
Photo by Isaac Ordaz on Unsplash

I've always had an uneven relationship with jealousy. As a sexually open person, I've tended to think of jealousy as a bit of emotion, born mainly of insecurity. The Moliere school of thought — "he who is jealous loves more, but he who is not jealous loves better."

On the other hand, I remember saying to a friend once that I thought jealousy was a useless emotion. He paused and said that he thought jealousy — and laziness — were the only reasons people ever got anything done. We strive to keep up with others. Your neighbor gets a nice new car; you work hard to get one too. Your neighboring country sees GDP growth of 4 percent; you want 5. Jealousy is a reflection of our competitive spirit. Your wife gets hit on by another guy, and — hopefully- you hit the gym a little more and buy her some flowers every once in a while.

With these two perspectives in mind, while I can see the positive aspect of using jealousy as a motivator for being our best selves, it is a little irritating and generally counterproductive in a romantic relationship. My wife and I feel very little jealousy of each other's little crushes and flirtations with others. Instead, we think it brings spice and a dash of realism to our relationship. It makes it stronger.

But I wanted to test this a little. Are there reasons why jealousy in a relationship may be a good thing?

Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo argues that feelings of jealousy can remind us to appreciate our partners and make us more mindful of the things we like about them. So, when we feel that negative ping of emotion when your partner is getting attention from another person, try to see that it is that's drawing that attention. Maybe it's the way they look that particular day. Or the way they engage in conversation. Allow that to serve as a reminder of why you love them too.

A neighbor of ours — she had a very charismatic husband. He was a professional photographer who had an annual gig doing shoots at significant art awards. Fascinating people constantly surrounded him. It drove her nuts. The way he glowed in their presence and the way they responded to him. But then she dissected it. Her husband was a fascinating guy, and she came to appreciate why all of these artists enjoyed spending time with him.

Similarly, jealousy can open the door to communicating what you need in a relationship. If you see your wife light up when the sexy barista draws a little heart on her latte, use it as an opportunity to talk about how you can invoke that same reaction in her. Or… just make her a latte once in a while.

At a more base level — and I'm only half sure on this one — jealousy can be a gateway to some fun fantasy play. Friends of ours are pretty into cuckolding — where she goes out and picks up a guy and takes him home and has sex with him. For the husband, this feeling of seeing his wife lusted after and pleasured by another guy… turns him on. He says he truly does feel jealous, but that feeling arouses him. I'm not sure this is the power of jealousy, but I can appreciate the kink.

Like most things, jealousy is not a black and white issue. But it's certainly one that must be managed. We can make some pretty rash and self-destructive decisions when these feelings come up. So it's worth thinking it through.


About the Creator

Chai Steeves

I'm an eclectic guy - I like writing about sex, relationships, parenting, politics, celebrity trivia - the works. I'm happily married and a father of 2.

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