Jealousy and Self-construal

Good Essays
Jealousy is an intrinsically relational phenomenon that is regarded as a multidimensional experience, consisting of cognitive, emotional and coping behaviors (Aylor, 2004; Fleischmann et. al, 2005; Pfeiffer and Wong, 1989; Theiss, 2006). Jealousy typically occurs when there is a potential threat to or an actual loss of a valued relationship between oneself and another due to a real or imagined rival for one’s partner’s attention (DeSteno & Salovey, 1996; Fleischmann et. al, 2005; Pfeiffer & Wong, 1989; White, 1981; White & Mullen, 1989). These real or perceived threats cause individuals to experience and respond to jealousy differently, as most researchers believe jealousy to be not a single emotion, but a combination of internal and external negative emotions. Some people may internally experience hurt, anger, and fear of loss or deterioration of an important relationship (Aylor, 2004; Pfeiffer & Wong, 1989; Strom & Aune, 2008; White & Mullen, 1989); while other people may experience external displays of jealousy, such as crying, retaliating, departing, using surveillance or even becoming aggressive (Fleischmann et. al, 2005). Although jealousy appears in a variety of forms and levels of intensity, it always results from an interaction between predispositions and a triggering event.

An individual’s response to jealousy may be either direct or indirect depending on the severity of the relational threat posed by a potential rival (Bevan & Tidgewell, 2009; Theiss & Solomon, 2006). Severe problems in relationships often call for direct communication to resolve the issue. Direct responses often include accosting the partner or rival in face-to-face communication. For instance, a jealous partner might approach the rival to altercat...

... middle of paper ...

...e relationship and creates feelings of uneasiness or anxiety, both of which may lead to decreased intimacy. Consequently, individuals may take measures to reduce uncertainty and improve their relationship with their partner. A fourth goal is re-assessing the relationship which occurs when individuals experience discontent in their relationship, thus they may re-examine the relationship by weighing the costs and benefits attributed to the relationship. The last cognitive goal provided is restoring equity through retaliation and transpires when partners in inequitable relationships participate in behaviors prompted by the need to restore equity in the relationship (e.g., tactics that even the score). Understanding how these cognitive goals impact the experience of jealousy is an essential first step in understanding how an individual will express jealous behaviors.
Get Access