I was chatting long-distance with a gal-pal who moved out of state after her husband died. She is currently dating the “man of her dreams” and quite intoxicated with endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, aka the feel-good hormones.
“Ceil,” she said, “He is so, so perfect.”
She then went on to expand on his “perfectness.” Like I said, she is intoxicated. After she caught her breath, she added the scary word: “Except … ”
Her voice wavered and she gushed, “He is the jealous type and jealous of Bill.” (Bill is her deceased husband.)
In my mind’s eye I saw life-size red flags waving and heard warning sirens screaming. Surprise, surprise, I kept silent. I didn’t want her to crash when her feel-good hormones dried up in one fell swoop.
Instead, I took a deep breath and said, “Careful; think this through.”
We left it at that, for now. This man of her dreams has all the necessary qualities to become her worst nightmare.
After my first husband died, I casually dated a very nice man. I found out quickly that he was the jealous type, and that jealousy was aimed smack at my deceased husband. For me, it was a no-brainer: I sent him packing.
Of course, there is always some degree of curiosity over our current partner’s ex — deceased or living. One might even search Facebook or Instagram for pictures of the ex with hopes that he or she is less than attractive. And when we find them lacking in the desirability department, we breathe easy. A word to the wise: Watch out if the ex is good-looking and desirable; it can unleash that little green monster, jealousy.
Jealousy has been around since the beginning of time. Remember the brothers Cain and Abel? Modern scholars believe that the first murder ever committed was by Cain, who was motivated by jealousy. Sibling rivalry taken to the max!
C’mon, now, be honest; we all have varying degrees of the little “greenie.” It can be a little stab, which is normal, or a big-time problem. Pathological jealousy can be a torturous emotion for anyone caught in its embrace.
The one who is pathologically jealous can go off the rails if someone of the opposite sex merely smiles at their partner. Sadly, the one on the receiving end can proclaim their innocence ad nauseam, but their pleas fall on deaf ears.
Back when I was a teenager (way back … ), I remember a gal whose boyfriend was jealous. Can you believe that she felt flattered because she equated his love and affection with the degree of jealousy he displayed? And get this: She tried to make him jealous! I don’t know where they are today, but I would venture to guess that gal wised up, put on her track shoes and hit the road!
Some folks are jealous over the past. How ridiculous; we can’t rewrite the past. Widowed folks have a hard enough time trying to overcome the enormous challenge that building a new life brings. Add to the mix the “dating game.” Sometimes the deceased spouse becomes the third person in the room, invited in by a jealous new partner.
I can’t wrap my head around being jealous of a deceased spouse. My gentlemen friend and I agree: The past is in the past and we move on in life. However, our loved ones were an integral part of our lives; we cannot erase their memory, nor should we.
Jealousy is akin to putting a toxic torch to our hearts. It can ruin lives, wreck marriages or relationships and lead to revenge and murder. And when we seek revenge, we dig two holes: one for “them” and one for us. Research suggests that when someone is jealous, they’re struggling with deep-seated insecurity that they may not even be aware of. Subconsciously, they have found themselves deficient and commit an unspeakable crime against themselves.
Hmm. Methinks the time is now! I will break my silence and call back my widowed gal-pal.
Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.