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?

 

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women’s Studies in Religion and mother of three.

You may also like...

41 Responses

  1. BethSmash says:

    This makes me wonder a bit if jealousy denotes a level of passion or focus that my husband and I just don’t have.

    Never say that. What this means is that you have a healthy relationship. Sure, jealousy may work for some couples – but you apparently don’t need it in yours, and that’s a wonderful thing. Seriously… how much energy would it take to make sure that your DH was never alone with another woman ever, and how annoying would it get reading through ALL those emails?

    So yeah… the point is never think jealousy DENOTES passion or focus. Are you passionate people? Do you focus on each other? Do both those items fit in with how you want to live your life? Then don’t worry about it.

    Don’t ever think less of your relationship because it’s not the same as someone else’s. We’re all individuals and we need to do what’s best for us.

  2. Diane says:

    I think my brother’s wife is very jealous. I can never talk to my brother with out talking to her. To be fair, even he’s always been like this when we were in foster care I would have to talk to his foster mother because he would not come to the phone and talk.

    Now, we don’t talk at all, I’m just not interested in the games and gymnastics that I have to go thru to have a relationship with some one who clearly doesn’t want to have a relationship with me, even though he swears he does.

    I don’t know that I’m jealous about this, so much as I’m angry because he serves as a stake president so he talks to everyone, yet, he can’t talk to me. Makes no sense

  3. Emily U says:

    I think jealousy is rooted in insecurity. The fact that you’re not jealous means you’re both secure with yourselves and with each other’s love for you. That’s great!

    I would never want to share an email address, but my account is open on our home computer so my husband could read it any time if he wanted. Same with my facebook account. But, my sister tells me her bishop told her ward that he was counseling quite a few couples in the ward on the brink of divorce because the wife had fallen in love with someone else through facebook. Seems a bit hard to believe, but I guess it could be true. However, I think if someone is lonely or unhappy enough in their marriage to seek intimacy through online interactions, having a spouse spy on their internet use is probably not going to stop it from happening. That would be like chopping off the tree but leaving the roots (see yesterday’s very nice post at fMh).

  4. Corktree says:

    I’ll admit it. I used to be the jealous type. Early in my marriage I would concoct all sorts of wild scenarios in my head of my husband’s work life, so that when he would casually mention a female coworker (that he had worked with for a good while before I came along) I would blow it out of proportion in my head. It wasn’t good for anything, most of all the passion in my marriage, and I eventually was able to see that it stemmed from my own insecurities about work relationships in general and my lack of them, because surprise! it only started becoming a problem when I had a baby and stopped working myself. And I had many guy friendships at work that my husband never said squat about! So I personally see jealousy as an indicator of a larger issue that needs to be unwrapped and seen for what it is so that it can be seen *through* and given less weight.

    • Corktree says:

      As an aside, I’ve never considered that joint email accounts stemmed from jealousy. I always saw it as more of a way to remove the wife’s autonomy (as in the couples I know that do it the husband always has a separate work email as well) It bugs me to no end.

      • Lorraine says:

        I was going to remark on this as well, thanks Corktree.

        Of course couple internet autonomy also seems to happen plenty the other way around- how many “family blogs” do you read that are Mommy, Daddy and our Babies that the husband has never contributed to? In the end, everyone ought to be entitled to our own internet identities.

      • Paul says:

        My wife and I share an email account, only because she hates computers person and she would never check her’s on her own. She also does not have a facebook account. So, if anybody wants to contact her by email or facebook, then it comes to our email address or my facebook account and I have to be checking it. This has nothing to do with her autonomy, she just doesn’t want to be bothered with it.

        Also, we are both very non-jealous people. Neither one of us becomes overly concerned about conversations or otherwise with members of the opposite sex.

      • James says:

        I’ve seen that cut both, ways, Corktree, where the husband’s autonomy was removed. Depends on the dynamics of the individual relationship, I guess…

      • DefyGravity says:

        I know a lot of young couples with a joint Facebook account; as though neither of them has any kind of individuality since they are married. I always thought that was slightly ridiculous. Strikes me as the same idea, loosing your personal identity to a relationship.

  5. Janell says:

    Nope, not much jealousy here. We don’t have any requirements on the monitoring of each other’s interactions with the opposite sex. I’ll usually give my husband a head’s up when I communicate with an ex-boyfriend, but that’s not a requirement so much as a courtesy. Further, it just doesn’t seem practical to require stringent report on every time he talks to a friend who happens to be female or for me to report any time I interact with one of my numerous, male coworkers.

  6. Joint e-mail and facebook accounts are so irritating. I hate them.

    I also hate it when people institute ludicrous rules about interacting with members of the opposite sex. Stop sexualizing non-sexual situations, people!

    /Rant.

  7. Vicky says:

    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.

    I think I should point out that not all couples who do this do so because of jealousy. Some people put these limits on themselves because they know themselves well enough to realize that they are susceptible to temptation. Some personalities, particularly those that have gifts of empathy or sympathy or warmth, are more susceptible to becoming intimately emotionally involved with others, which is a first step to other involvement that they know that for them would be unwise to take. I know this because I am one of those people who is in wonderful marriage and still I have to set boundaries that are a little stricter than some of my friends because of my penchant for caring deeply. My friends who have personalities with other good gifts may not have this challenge. It sounds like you don’t. But I do.

    Jealousy isn’t part of our marriage. Neither my husband nor I are inclined to it nor do we feel it’s romantic or helpful (either in real life or in novels). Our marriage involves deep levels of trust and love. And no, we don’t share facebook or email accounts. I set the boundaries I have for being alone with someone of the opposite sex not because of my husband’s perceptions, but because of my knowledge of myself and my own susceptibility. I would be seriously displeased if someone watched the precautions I take and attributed it to jealousy.

    • April says:

      Vicky, I love your self awareness. I agree that people should set their boundaries based on their individual strengths and susceptibilities.

  8. Frank Pellett says:

    In what I’ve seen/experienced, jealousy in a marriage, or any relationship, is part of a fear of the other person leaving you. I agree that personal responsibility and communication with your partner go a long way toward keeping jealousy out of a relationship, but some people seem to think that you’re setting yourself up to fail if you dont have at least a little distrust of your partner. That way if(when) they do cheat on you, you wont be completely devestated.

    That tends to cause its own problems – “Those who go looking for trouble will most certainly find it”

    My wife and I have easy access to each others email, though neither of us really cares about reading each others correspondance. The only reason we even have extra, individual banking accounts is so we can surprise with gifts or splurge on something for ourselves without it affecting the family finances.

    I’d think you would want to have complete trust in a relationship. Yes, its terrible when that trust is broken, but the time with trust is far better than time wasted on jealousy.

    • BethSmash says:

      About the finances thing. I always thought it would be a good idea to have “the money” not your money and my money – but “the money” which could be deposited into one joint account and used for groceries and rent/mortgage and all those joint bills and such. BUT THEN give both of us an equal allowance for that discretionary spending. Is that what you guys do? Or do you just have your individual accounts?

      • Frank Pellett says:

        Yes, we each have our own discretionary spending accounts, that gets funds after we’ve managed to pay all the household bills. We’ve felt it was important to have that little bit of non-accountability and non-guilt spending for each of us, so we could pursue hobbies, interests, personal spa days, etc, without having to worry about it impacting the household budget.

      • Janell says:

        DH and I have separate bank accounts. It mostly has to do with we each have very different money management styles and we don’t consider it necessary to be of one-mind on the topic at this time. His paycheck goes into his bank account. Mine goes into mine. Then we have a joint bank account both of us contribute into for joint and household expenses. The division is not so much “his” money and “my” money as it is the part of our money he manages and the part of our money I mange.

  9. Lorraine says:

    for both my husband and me, we have remarked that this relationship is the least jealous and most trusting we’ve ever been in- not because of great effort, just, naturally. I think it’s inherent to the calmness and lack of “drama” in our relationship.

    And I have to admit that I think these obsessive rules (including ones encouraged by the church) actually breed a certain mistrust in ourselves, our marriages, and in our inherent natures. dare I even say that obsessing over it may in fact encourage it? For a religion that puts so much on faith in the unseen, why shouldn’t that faith also extend to good faith in all our dealings a little more?

    • Amy says:

      I guess you can see the “rules” as obsessive, but I’ve seen enough infidelity that didn’t start out with that intention. My husband and I don’t have jealousy issues, but we follow those guidelines ( I see them as guidelines because not following them won’t keep me out of the temple)because they just make sense. I don’t think it is something to be anal about. My husband has taken the babysitter home before instead of and without me because I needed to nurse the baby immediately upon our return. I just think that by following the guidelines, we make it clear about where we stand. I also think that those guidelines wouldn’t be there unless there was a significant problem in the past. In the end, it comes down to what you and perhaps your spouse feel is appropriate. And, like someone mentioned above, it will keep you safe from any sexual allegations- if, heaven forbid, that should ever happen.

  10. Diane says:

    I have to insert a funny here, just because it is funny,

    I have a friend and I tell her all the time that I’m not just jealous, but, I covet her washer and dryer, I’m really willing to go to hell for being jealous and coveting my neighbors washer and dryer. If you knew how much I hate doing laundry you would understand that. But, we always have a good laugh and tease one another about it So, really its no big

  11. Erin says:

    My husband is a psychologist, and he spends all day every day talking about sex with beautiful women.

    Kidding. Kind of. I don’t know what he talks about with them, since there is a little thing called “client confidentiality”.

    When he first started his profession, I felt jealous. He could be having all sorts of intimate conversations that I am not privy to, and I have to allow him to do it. Then, I realized that it is probably just draining for him. Because we keep an honest, open relationship (he is much more willing to talk openly than even I am), I have no concerns in our relationship.

  12. charlene says:

    I agree with everyone else that jealousy stems from insecurity. I was wildly jealous of my now-husband’s ex-girlfriend when we first started dating, especially since she was a friend of his family so they still kept up with her and how she was doing, but also because she and he had history and we didn’t. By the time we got married, I was no longer jealous — now the two of us are the ones with the history.

    There’s a related question about what kind of boundaries you set after marriage, which I am more unsure about… I had a number of guy friends I considered very close friends, though we never dated; we’d stay up really late talking, do a lot of things together, etc. Since I have married, although I’ve hung out with these guys without my husband on occasion (and even stayed at one’s place once or twice), I haven’t had that sort of– almost intimate friendship. A lot of that is situational; I don’t live in the same city as any of these guys anymore. Even if I did, I would rather be talking to my husband and child until 2am than to them, if I were able to stay up that late anymore, which I’m not. But some of it is a sense of boundaries, too: even though I want to say I would never, ever betray my husband, I also don’t want to be in a situation where that could even have a chance of happening.

  13. In my last relationship, I was just jealous of his time towards the end. I felt like I was never the priority anymore and that really stunk. But as for being jealous of other women, I think that only happens to me after a breakup. Is that weird?

  14. Anon-o-bot says:

    The man I currently see is very, very, very attractive. This is great! I’m not jealous (or complaining). I’m happy. He’s the goodlooking one in our relationship.

    However, it is incredible to me that every waitress in the world will flirt with him IN FRONT OF ME. I don’t own him, I trust him, I don’t really have a lot of insecurities about it, and if he did end up cheating on me, I’d be just fine as a person because I’m me. But, seriously, I makes me upset that one woman would do that to another.

    • Whitney says:

      Maybe they’re just trying to get a bigger tip. They are probably assuming he’s paying.

      • Amelia says:

        That may be part of it, but when I’ve dated men who were extraordinarily good looking (and, by the way, I’m not extraordinarily good looking–I’m just middlingly good looking) I’ve seen the same behavior. And it’s not limited to servers. There’s just this mentality that somehow if he’s that hot it’s okay to flirt with him. And I think it has something to do with my not being as hot as my partner. Having never been an extraordinarily good looking woman, I can’t comment on that instinct definitively, but I somehow think it’s less likely that a server would flirt with a hot man if he was out with an equally hot woman.

  15. Steve says:

    The sentiment of Gibrand provides a foundation on which to build a relationship of mutual respect. That being said, we are but human beings.

    On Marriage
    Kahlil Gibran

    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

    Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

  16. Amy says:

    In my experience, any jealous feelings I have had stem from my own insecurities. And like many things stemming from insecurity, it really has power to ruin a relationship. I think many times books and movies romanticize jealousy as a way that you know how much someone loves you or has passion for you. To me, it screams, co-dependency!! That doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye to obvious problems, but in general, I believe jealousy is a relationship destroyer. To love is to be vulnerable and to trust. Can be tough, but it’s worth it!

  17. Janell says:

    Drifting the topic slightly, I do try to be very good about respecting the boundaries of others’ relationships when I perceived they have their own definitions of appropriate interactions between men and women. As a teaching assistant surprisingly often I had men cc their wives or girlfriends when they’d send me a message. When I noticed the attached email address I’d just shrug and hit, “Reply all.” (Actually, now that I think about it, I think significant others were cc’d on emails to me more often than the professor.)

  18. CG says:

    Thank you for this post. This is like… an answered prayer. I’ve been pondering this issue deeply. I appreciate the post and all of the responses.

  19. Amelia says:

    I just have to say that I find obsessive transparency and avoidance behaviors bizarre. CC’ing one’s spouse when emailing your TA? Having a rule about never being in a room or car alone with a member of the opposite sex (even if there are some exceptions)? Sharing a facebook account to prevent cyber-cheating? These kinds of things (and others) just seem so nuts to me. I am a professional. I sit down in men’s offices all the time to talk with them about professional matters. I often drive to and from meetings with male colleagues. I had lunch or breakfast with a handful of male colleagues when I was in our NY office–just me and one male colleague on several different occasions. I never felt even the slightest hint of an urge to behave inappropriately with these men, even when it registered that they are attractive. I have no idea if any of them have ever felt any urge to behave inappropriately with me; and I have no idea if they have precisely because they are grown ups who know how to behave appropriately in a professional situation.

    I have close, emotionally intimate friendships with men who are married–nothing at all inappropriate and their wives know me as well. In a couple of situations I’m as good a friend with the wife as the husband; in a couple of situations I’m much better friends with the husband than the wife. And “emotionally intimate” is an appropriate description because these are very good friends I trust, to whom I turn when I need to talk through some difficult things. There is nothing sexual in my feelings for these men. And I don’t think there’s anything sexual in their feelings for me. Even if there was, I trust that they would never betray their commitment to their partners. And if they even hinted at doing so with me I’d shut them down in about .2 seconds. Because no matter how much I care for them and how much I rely on their being willing to talk to me about things when I need a listening ear, I am a person of integrity and they are people of integrity and that means something to me and to them. I’m not about to go screw that up for myself or them.

    I’m sorry. All the arguments about these being good guidelines that help prevent wrongdoing hold pretty much no water for me. It’s the exact same argument that gets made when women are compelled to cover up from head to toe to prevent bad things happening to them–don’t dress sexy and you won’t get raped; wear a burqa and men won’t defile you even in their minds; etc. Every one of those arguments is wrong and the argument that guidelines suggesting that a man and a woman shouldn’t be alone together help prevent wrongdoing is just as wrong.

    I have no problem with individuals knowing themselves and setting their own guidelines for behavior (by all means, if you have regular urges to jump men in business suits and have actually followed through or even gotten close to doing so, then meet with colleagues only in public places; name your own guideline). I have an enormous problem with generalizing any such guideline to anyone other than yourself and that’s what the church does, mostly on the basis of “avoiding the appearance of evil” kinds of thinking. I hate that damn line. If I’m not doing anything wrong and someone else thinks I am because it’s possible to interpret my business lunch as a lurid affair or my boyfriend’s neighbor thinks I spent the night to have acrobatic sex all night when in reality I was running in and out of the bathroom vomiting and was too sick to drive home, the sin lies with the person making the gross misjudgment, not me. It’s not my responsibility to keep other people from grossly misjudging me.

    As for jealousy, I’m never jealous of other people when I’m in a relationship. By the time a relationship has progressed enough for me to be emotionally invested enough to want to keep my partner’s interesting, I’m generally confident enough in my partner’s love and affection to not be threatened by other women. I am, however, jealous of time. Meaning that I can be protective about the time we spend together and I can feel frustrated when that time gets spent elsewhere. It’s something I consciously work so that I don’t demand too much of his time and I think I’m generally pretty good at it, with occasional lapses.

    • Maureen says:

      “…the sin lies with the person making the gross misjudgment, not me. It’s not my responsibility to keep other people from grossly misjudging me.”

      Amen! I hate how responsibility over other people’s perceptions is heaped upon us, as if we really have any power over them.

    • Vicky says:

      I’m sorry. All the arguments about these being good guidelines that help prevent wrongdoing hold pretty much no water for me. It’s the exact same argument that gets made when women are compelled to cover up from head to toe to prevent bad things happening to them–don’t dress sexy and you won’t get raped; wear a burqa and men won’t defile you even in their minds; etc. Every one of those arguments is wrong and the argument that guidelines suggesting that a man and a woman shouldn’t be alone together help prevent wrongdoing is just as wrong.

      I can tell from the adamant nature of your response that this is a touchy issue for you. And I agree that the burqa type thinking is wrong. However, just because you do not experience first hand the challenge of maintaining a high standard of fidelity that some of us do, that does not make it wise for you to make blanket statements about all decisions others of us make when we have personal challenges that you do not. I set up boundaries because I know, from personal experience, that I am susceptible.

      And I think that there is nothing wrong with teaching others about boundaries that I have personally found helpful. I would never advocate demanding those boundaries of others, and perhaps that is what you are angry about, but I think that just as I encourage my children to think about choosing not to spend time in places or activities that they can tell will tempt them to compromise their standards on other issues (alcohol, media, drugs), I think it is wise for me to share my experience and the boundaries that have helped me with my struggle with this particular temptation as well.

      You are assuming that these guidelines are being handed down to women (or men) with the assumption that they are responsible for others’ potential sins. And if that were the case, then your frustration would be justified. But my experience is completely different. On the contrary, I adopt these guidelines because I am responsible for *my* sins. And I know that this particular slope is a slippery one for me.

      I realize that you do not personally have to deal with the challenges I do but I should tell you that I think your anger makes you sound dismissive of an issue and a course of action that is of important to people who find themselves in my position.

      • Amelia says:

        If you continued reading, you would see my next line: “I have no problem with individuals knowing themselves and setting their own guidelines for behavior.”

        And I mean that (though I admit a bit of flip humor in my example). I have no problem with individuals setting their own guidelines.

        I do have a problem with dictating guidelines. And I sort of have a problem with sharing those guidelines with another adult unless that other adult has asked for advice. Other adults are not your children. Where you have a responsibility to share guidelines with your children to help them avoid problematic behavior, you have no such responsibility where other adults are concerned and doing so could be rather problematic in a variety of ways unless that other adult has specifically mentioned that this is something they’re trying to figure out how to navigate. In that situation, I completely agree with you that it would be appropriate to share your experience and what has helped you.

        As to what I dislike about these kinds of guidelines in a Mormon context, it’s that the church does prescribe such boundaries (right down to encoding some of them in documents like the Church Handbook of Instructions). And it does so at least as much to keep us from leading other people to sin (either because of a deeply mistaken notion that any situation with a man and a woman alone together will almost certainly result in sexual temptation and/or activity–some people may experience such nearly uncontrollable temptation, but my experience and my discussions with others leads me to seriously doubt that the number of people who do is anywhere near a majority or even a significant minority; or by causing others to mistakenly assume the worst of us because we’re not avoiding the appearance of sin and therefore we leave a bad impression of the church). I realize there are other reasons for avoiding some behaviors, some of which the church acknowledges, but the impression I have always gotten through church culture was that these policies are more about appearances than anything else, and after that about not tempting others to sin. And it’s always presented as some unassailable, universally applicable guideline, not just as an option to be considered if you think you personally need that extra support.

        As to my tone–I wouldn’t call myself especially adamant or angry or touchy about this issue. It’s just my usual disgust with institutional prescription of guidelines that reinforce harmful understandings of sex. It’s totally fine for an individual to recognize their own weaknesses and take appropriate steps to shore up those weaknesses and prevent some kind of harmful collapse. When a guideline is individual in nature, it can’t be extrapolated into generalized understandings of sex and gender. But when a guideline is presented as a universally good idea that everyone should follow, it can be extrapolated into that kind of generalized commentary on sex and gender and it can, and does, end up doing a lot of harm. And these kinds of guidelines do get presented as universally applicable good ideas by/in the church and a lot of members of the church adopt them on the basis of “the church says” rather than on the basis of how they apply to them individually. And many of those members then use them to judge and condemn and gossip about other members who don’t adopt them at all or with the same rigor.

      • Starfoxy says:

        One thing that I would add is that there is a huge difference between someone recognizing their own weaknesses and adopting some guidelines in response to that, and someone following similar guidelines just because they’re supposed to, not because they’ve admitted their own weaknesses.
        The first is a healthy, reasonable, admirable response to their lived reality. The second is, I would say, actively dangerous. Without recognizing and admitting one’s own weaknesses and temptations “following the rules” will only give one a false sense of security. That same false sense of security which is the almost universal precursor to suddenly ‘finding oneself’ in an adulterous relationship.

    • charlene says:

      Amelia, I hadn’t thought about it this way (comparing it to what you should wear “not to get raped”), and you’re absolutely right. I have enough problems figuring out what my own boundaries should be without trying to impose them on others.

      For example, I’m totally comfortable being alone with a man. With the door closed, whatever. Even spending the night,without my husband, in a house with one of my male friends (though I wouldn’t do that unless I knew him quite well — but for my own safety, not for my relationship’s sake!). On the other hand, I will not touch a man who is not my husband, except in certain extremely well-defined social situations (handshakes/hugs at hello and goodbye, condolences, etc.), even my very close male friends. It’s just one of those things. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable holding that up as A Rule at all, because different people feel very differently about social touch, and I know I’m at the far end of the scale. (It’s even hard for me to touch other women.)

      There’s a bit of appearance-of-evil-for-my-sake going on too, though. I don’t care what Sister Grundy thinks, but I don’t want my own brain getting the idea that I am as intimate with my friend as with my husband. (Sort of the “emotional affair” kind of thing.) If that makes any sense. I’m afraid maybe it doesn’t, which is part of my struggle with this boundaries issue.

  20. Téa says:

    I trust my husband. I’ve met most of the people he works with and I trust them (even moreso for the ones I know better). He can travel with them, bunk next door to them, work one-on-one with any of them, and the gender or orientation won’t matter to me.

    My husband has coworkers that have promised their wives they will not ride in the car with another female–period. Even with other men in the car, or more than one woman, whatever mix, they just will not do it. I think it’s beyond ridiculous, and causes problems when they are expected to carpool to another location. More money is spent to have them transport themselves alone, and that waste bugs me. I’m sure it feels insulting to the women there, women who have passed extensive background checks, women to whom they are supposed to trust their lives in certain situations, but riding in a car with them is somehow beyond the pale.

    Some hedges people build are too thick to remember there are actual people on the other side of them.

    • Amelia says:

      I once had a bishop ask me if my garments would keep me from having sex with a married man. I was really baffled that he would ask me such a question, and I replied, “No. The fact that I’m a person of integrity will keep me from having sex with a married man.”

      That question was insulting to me in just the same way that these kinds of extreme policies are insulting–it dismissed altogether the fact that I am a person of integrity and honesty, that I can and do control my behavior so that I don’t harm others. He was coming at the question from the direction of “will this thing help you do something good” not “do this thing because it will keep someone else from doing something bad,” but it was still an intensely insulting question because it was premised on the notion that I’m such a shallow, out-of-control person (or that we all of us are such shallow, out-of-control people) that I would need artificial and externally required barriers to keep me from committing a truly awful sin, one that would hurt innocent third parties. It reduced me to my salaciously tempting body with an externally imposed barrier around it meant to prevent sin from happening, rather than acknowledging me as an agent with a will and a desire to do good. These policies, even when motivated by a genuine desire to do good or be good, can be taken to such an extreme that they lead to seeing others only in terms of their sexualized bodies. The extreme of never riding in a car with a woman, even if there’s another man there, is one such example of a guideline that has gone so far beyond the “helpful” point as to mistreat the others this person interacts with. And I think these things are harmful.

      And I love this:

      Some hedges people build are too thick to remember there are actual people on the other side of them.

      Perfectly said. I always find it rather amusing that Mormons honor Jesus and the work he did because it brought us a higher law and broke down not only the lower law but also the hedges that had been built around that lower law, and then we build hedges every bit as high and thick as the ones in use in ancient Israel rather than doing the hard work of living the higher law.

      • Maureen says:

        In response to reading this aloud “…then we build hedges every bit as high…” my hubby said, “Oh I don’t know… I think we have built them higher.” 😀

  21. MJK says:

    My husband is a *little* jealous, but not a whole lot. And he often doesn’t act on it, just tells me after the fact in a kind of “Hey, I felt this way when such and such happened,” way so we can talk about it.

    But in other situations he is not jealous at all- for example, one night I needed to get out and socialize. He’s more introverted than I am, and hates noise/crowds. Some of our friends were going out to a club to dance- so I ended up going to a club with a male friend of ours and one other woman and we danced and had a good time and neither my husband or our friend’s wive had any issues with it.

    Jealousy is based on fear – fear that your spouse will leave you for whatever reason. If that is not something that you rationally fear, then jealousy is not going to be an issue.

Leave a Reply