"If 'too much jealousy' is a bad thing, why not play it safe and just have 'no jealousy'? Wouldn't that be so much simpler?" - Jon Johnson
I'm subtitling this blog entry after Barbara Tuchman's book "The March of Folly," in which she defines folly as "the pursuit of policies contrary to self-interest." In her acclaimed work, Tuchman discusses examples of folly in government, such as the Trojan War or America's involvement in Vietnam. But since this is a seduction blog, I'm going to talk about my favorite relationship folly: jealousy.
Jealousy is an ugly, destructive force. It is also a very stupid force. I have seen far more relationships torn apart from the inside by jealousy than relationships that ended from the outside as a result of cheating. Jealousy is therefore a perfect example of a pursuit that is inherently contrary to one's self-interest.
I should hope that it would go without saying by this point that when you select a boyfriend for yourself, you should aim to select one that you trust. That's pretty obvious, right? If you're the kind of person who's unable to stomach the thought of her partner ever being with someone else, then it should naturally follow that you would choose to put yourself in a situation where you feel the odds of that happening are pretty slim, no? That you would choose for yourself a boyfriend whom you feel is loyal, trustworthy, and totally into you? Seems logical to me, anyway. If monogamy is a big issue for you, then go for a guy who has a history of being monogamous. Duh.
There should only be one conversation during the entire course of your relationship where the issue of jealousy over other women gently comes into play, and that conversation is this:
"Are we exclusive?"
That's the one time where you get to tell your guy that you're not okay with his being with other women. Once you and your man agree on exclusivity, then any jealousy that follows is an insult to his integrity. He's already agreed that he's not going to sleep with anyone else, and to express doubt about that at that point is to question his character. Why would you want to be with someone whose character you feel you have to question?
And sure, some guys do cheat. I've seen that happen too, believe me. But here's what makes an expression of jealousy particularly stupid: If a guy is enough of a scumbag to cheat on you, he will also be enough of a scumbag to lie about it. The percentage of guys who will cheat on you, and then, when later interrogated, will say, "You're right honey, I did sleep with that girl," is remarkably slim. Most guys either fall into the category of those who will cheat and lie, or those who will neither cheat nor lie. So interrogating your partner really serves little use, unless you're just looking to continue living in distrust or denial.
Your degree of jealousy has to come in during your vetting process, way early on, before you even consider exclusivity with someone. You have to be able to look at him and ask yourself, "Will I feel safe with this person?" (Or hey, if you're just looking for some excitement, you can ask "Do I care whether I will feel safe with this person?") And you have to be able to give yourself a satisfactory answer before you proceed.
You must know a man's character before you attempt a relationship with him, and don't expect him to deviate too much from his already-established patterns. I once had a brief affair with a man who was a notorious player, and when I was considering dating him, I knew I would have to be totally okay with the fact that he was going to pursue sex with other girls. I thought about it and decided I'd be willing to give it a try. Unfortunately, before I even got to take a chance at it, I discovered he actually already had a girlfriend -- a girlfriend he was lying to about me and all his other conquests. But here's what was so crazy: when his girlfriend (of over a year!) finally found out the truth about him, she was shocked. I remember discussing the situation with a friend who knew everyone involved: "Uh, did she even meet her boyfriend?" he exclaimed. "How could she not know that's what he would be up to?" And it was true. Even I, having only been on like two dates with him, already knew his nature would require a girlfriend who was extremely permissive about open relationships. You have to know what you're getting into with a guy before you date him. It's that simple. If you can't stand being with a guy who gives a ton of flirtatious attention to other women, then don't date one. Or at least don't date one and then be surprised about it.
Once you've selected a guy you trust, and the two of you have agreed to exclusivity, jealousy ought to become a moot point. If you lash out at your guy in jealousy after that, it is likely to do far more harm than good. Even if your man is surrounded by hot women on a daily basis, your jealousy and the insidious way it will fester between you will do far more damage to your relationship than any of those women would be able to do on their own. It doesn't matter how hard some other hot chick pursues your guy, even if it's somewhat annoying -- if you trust your man, she should be able to walk up to him naked with a "FUCK ME" sign around her neck, and his response should be "Flattered, but no thanks." Neither is it your man's fault if some other girl is pursuing him -- while he shouldn't encourage her, he certainly can't control her behavior. If she laughs and tosses her hair and wears low-cut tops every time she sees him, that's her doing, not his, and you're an idiot if you get mad at him for it. It's one thing to say "I really get annoyed by the way that girl acts around you;" it's another thing entirely to say "I can't believe you would be such a jerk as to even allow yourself to be in the same room with her!" Do you see the difference here? It's okay to express discomfort at a situation, but it's not okay to get angry at your guy for something that will never be under his control.
Never mind the fact that social threat is almost entirely a matter of perception. If you ignore some girl who's being flirty with your man, he probably won't even remember her the next day, but if you harp on about her forever, he's far more likely to wonder why you felt threatened by her. I often like to say that telling your boyfriend "Don't talk to that girl" is the best possible advertisement you can give her.
But the real bottom line is that your jealousy and insecurity won't affect the attractiveness of the girl (or girls) you're threatened by; it will affect your attractiveness and make you entirely unfun to be around. There's only so much of that that any self-respecting man will put up with until he starts to wonder if maybe the girls you're on about are perhaps less crazy than you are.
And if your guy does cheat on you? Well, that sucks -- a lot -- but it's a risk any of us take going into a relationship, and your trying to control the outside factors was never going to prevent that from happening. A guy who is going to cheat will find a way to cheat regardless of how many women you vainly attempt to swat away from him. The odds are still more likely that your having a controlling nature will do your relationship more harm than good, because it's still futile to try to control a guy who's probably going to cheat anyway.
At any and every point in your relationship, you have to ask yourself whether you trust your partner. If you do, then great -- you should have no worries and no need to try to control any of the surrounding circumstances. If you don't, then leave the relationship, because a relationship without trust isn't worth being in at all.