How does the comparison differ from jealousy

Emotional world Jealousy is anything but love

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It is scary and often remains secret - jealousy. As a dangerous mixture of emotions, it can have tragic consequences. But does everyone struggle with jealousy? And if so: what does that have to do with love?

Status: 11/22/2018 | archive

"Othello" by Shakespeare Around 1603 William Shakespeare wrote the play about the "Moor of Venice". Even today it is considered "the" piece in which envy and jealousy play the main roles alongside Othello, Iago and Desdemona. The drama takes its course because jealousy arises through an intrigue - and it is known to make you blind.

Nobody likes to be considered jealous, because jealousy is one of the negative emotions. Nobody wants to be jealous, but everyone has been jealous before. Jealousy is often associated with love and the idea is that men and women tick differently: While men are afraid of the sexual infidelity of their partner, women are emotionally jealous. They fear that men might fall in love all over again.

Evolutionary Psychological Explanation

This thesis is based on evolutionary psychology and is represented by David M. Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, among others. In his opinion, the worst form of partner infidelity for our male ancestors was sexual infidelity, which undermines the man's trust in being the biological father of their children. It follows that, above all, men want to make sure that they plant and raise their own seed. Therefore, the woman's sex life is controlled. Women, on the other hand, need a father for themselves and their children who stays emotionally involved. After all, he should bring in food, hunt and protect, and if possible not only for nine months.

Male and female jealousy

The psychologist Achim Schützwohl from Bielefeld University asked men and women to imagine that their partner was cheating. Subjects were asked to write down five questions they would ask under these circumstances. Significantly more men asked about sexual infidelity. "Do you or don't you have?" Significantly more women asked: "Do you love her?" Or: "Don't you love me anymore?" The researcher had expected that. It was noticeable, however, that the men asked "Don't you love me anymore?" practically did not occur at all.

Jealousy is one of the most powerful motives for murder. However, some scientists doubt that murder out of jealousy serves to preserve the species. That is why the theses of evolutionary psychologists are being questioned. In addition, in today's therapeutic practice, the classic distinction between jealousy between woman = emotional and man = sexual is often not that clear.

Dangerous emotional cocktail

Film scene "Hautnah" (2004) with Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Clive Owen

The researchers, on the other hand, agree that jealousy is, in terms of depth psychology, a general human feeling, a fundamental constant of human feeling. But it's not just a feeling, but a whole cocktail of negative emotions: fear of loss, panic, anger, sadness, self-doubt and feelings of inferiority. Especially when someone is very jealous, this explosive mixture accompanies them every day and determines their actions: He suspects, monitors and controls his partner - sometimes so much that life becomes hell for the partner and the relationship breaks up .

At such a stage, jealousy is often referred to as the "dark side of love". It is exactly the opposite, according to the Mannheim psychotherapist Rolf Merkle:

"My experience is simply that jealousy is not a sign of love, but rather a sign of fear of deprivation of love. The greater the jealousy, the greater the fear of losing the partner. For me, both jealousy and love belong not together, because love is a positive feeling, while jealousy is a mix of negative feelings. "

Psychotherapist Rolf Merkle

Psychoanalytic explanation

Quite common among siblings: jealousy.

The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, classified jealousy as a normal feeling like sadness that all people carry within themselves from an early age. According to Freud, we are jealous when someone takes or could take something away from us that we love. He also differentiates between projected jealousy, which has no real cause at all. So he writes in "On some neurotic mechanisms in jealousy, paranoia and homosexuality":

"The projected jealousy arises from one's own infidelity activated in life or from impulses to unfaithfulness that have succumbed to repression."

Sigmund Freud

Scene from "Othello" (1995) with Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh

It can get really dangerous when a person suffers from delusional jealousy. The extreme case is suspicious jealousy, also known as "Othello Syndrome", because Shakespeare's Othello killed his wife Desdemona out of jealousy for no reason. The symptoms: the partner is constantly being wrongly suspected. Affair and lies are suspected where there are none. The clothes and bedclothes are examined for traces of an affair, appointments after meeting the new partners.

But when a normal jealousy turns into a pathological one is often a gradual process. However, as soon as one of the partners feels too restricted by the jealousy, one should seek therapeutic help. Because a big problem with jealousy is that it always feels the same - regardless of whether it has a real reason or not. And to find out, professional help can come in handy.

  • "Jealousy - the dark side of love": radioWissen in the afternoon, May 12, 2013, 3:05 p.m.
  • "'Art and Rivalry' - Sebastian Smee on artist friendships" , Diwan - Das Buchermagazin, August 12, 2017, 2:05 p.m. and 9:05 p.m.
  • "The harem experiment - Rainer Langhans and his companions", Bavarian Feuilleton, September 24, 2016, 8:05 a.m. and 8:05 p.m.