Advice On Wedding Jealousy
Tips for Dealing with Jealousy...Especially on Your Wedding Day
Dear April Masini,
This might sound crazy, but I feel like a couple of my bridesmaids are actually jealous of my wedding. Is this common? What makes some people jealous and others not? Do you have any advice for how I control my own feelings of jealousy and learn to cope with other people’s jealousies as well?"
April Masini's Advice :
Wedding jealousy is extremely common. People who can be jealous of the bride are unmarried friends and relatives as well as married relatives who are not happy in their own marriages or lives. Just as common, but less commonly discussed, are men who are jealous of the groom. Many men are envious that a groom is about to marry a beautiful woman and have a wife, a family, a home and all the trappings that many men envy, if they don't have those things or if they aren't pleased with what they do have.
The ABC's of Jealousy
Jealousy is a "secondary emotion," which masks more basic human emotions. Usually jealousy masks fear. Many people become jealous because they are afraid of losing something -- whether it's attention, status or self esteem.
Examples Of Jealousy And Their Roots In Fear:
- When a woman is jealous of another woman's thin, beautiful body, it is usually because she fears losing attention to this other woman.When a man is jealous of another man's high-powered job, it is because he fears losing status and all that comes with it.
- When a teen is jealous of another teen's outfit, it is because she fears that she will lose her social standing in a clique if she does not dress up to the standard set by her peers.When a woman who can't have children is jealous of a woman who can have children it is because she fears loss of her identity as a “true woman,” in the presence of the woman with children. This leads to a nose-dive in self-esteem.
Men and women don't experience jealousy differently, but they do experience it about whatever is important to them.
How to Work With Jealousy
- When you feel the discomfort that is jealousy starting to manifest itself, check in with yourself, and try to figure out what, exactly, you are feeling. Defining your emotions to yourself is a big step towards understanding yourself.
- Next, figure out what is making you feel that way. This may be easy or difficult, depending on how well you already know yourself. If you're not sure, then start with questions like, do I feel jealous first thing in the morning when I wake up? When I drive to work? When I get to my desk? Try to pin the feelings to a time, a place or a person.
- Continue to do your "digging" to figure out more of what makes you feel jealous.
- When you identify the pieces of your jealousy puzzle, you can then approach each one.
For instance, if you feel jealous at family functions, where your sister and her husband and kids drive up in their BMW convertible, and you're lucky your 20 year old clunker car didn't run out of gas on the way to the event because money is tight, your career isn't where it should be, and your husband just left you ... you can confront all these things head on, once you identify them.
You can tell your sister – “God, you're so lucky to be married to such a great guy. I wish I were.” It sounds silly, but the energy we use to keep the parts of what we wish was different, from showing, are immense. Some people park twenty blocks away so no one will see their clunker car, and surmise from the state of the car that they don't have much money, because it is shameful to them to not be "keeping up" with the others.
Once you let go of any standards you are using to psychologically imprison yourself, you are free to be appreciative of other people's good fortune without feeling like you're not enough. In other words, you separate yourself from other people and that separation allows you to be different.
The freedom of not being trapped by expectations, and suffering jealousies, is a quick road to happiness. Take it.
Other People’s Jealousies
You can’t do the work for anyone else. But you can be empathetic if you sense that someone close to you is jealous. The way to do this is to not enter into a co-dependent dynamic, where you, too, are hiding yourself from that person in order to protect their feelings.
If you have a great pair of shoes on, express your glee and allow your friend who can’t afford them, to share in your happiness. Not everything is equal or fair, but to be dishonest about your own feelings is wrong. You can ask how the job hunt is coming, to the friend who can’t afford the expensive shoes. You can ask how their life is, and express interest in what is important to them. And you can share, honestly, what is important to you.