What Role Does Jealousy Play in a Relationship?
The other day, I said to my husband. “You know how there are some couples that share an email address, so that they can keep an eye on the online interactions of their partners? Would you ever have any desire to do that with me?”
His response, as he looked with distaste at the 3000 messages in my inbox: “Ugh. I don’t want to sort through all your emails.”
And there you have it. I guess he’s not that worried about me flirting by email with old high school friends or whatever. Not that I’m surprised. We’re just not jealous people.
I know some couples who decide that they will never be in a room alone with a member of the opposite sex, or that they won’t go out to lunch or dinner with them. That’s not a rule my husband and I have felt the need to instutute. He gets lunch with female colleagues. He meets in his office alone with them (though he does keep the door open when he’s meeting with students, in case someone decides to accuse him of sexual harassement.) I don’t happen to have any male colleagues, but if I did, I have no doubt that my husband would be totally ok with me meeting with them or getting lunch with them.
I suspect that our lack of jealousy denotes a pretty healthy relationship in a lot of ways — we’re pretty sure the other isn’t going to flirt or cheat. But as a consumer of romantic literature, I do kind of wonder if it does mean that something is lacking. In the novels, the partners are often jealous when someone of the opposite sex is interacting with the love interest. This makes me wonder a bit if jealousy denotes a level of passion or focus that my husband and I just don’t have.
What role does jealousy play in your relationships? Are you or your partner the jealous type, and what does that add to or detract from the relationship? Do you experience jealousy in friendships as well as romantic relationships, and how does that affect the friendship?