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Origins and Solutions to Jealousy

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What is jealousy? Is it part of any normal relationship, or is it always destructive? The origins of jealousy are not clear. Some believe that jealousy was our solution to mate retention due to our "concealed fertilization" process (Basset 72). While others believe that it is how we compare what we have to what other have and is triggered by "perceived threats to relationships" and is designed to "trigger initial emotional reactions" (Basset 73). What is clear is that jealousy has been a part of the human race for as long as our species has developed social structures. Smith indicates that t here are several types of jealousy ranging from mild to severe when verbal and physical threats come in. When jealousy reaches this stage of intensity, he advises that "you need to get the hell out of there" (qtd. in Jet 2002). This extreme form of jealousy has obviously gone too far, but are there forms of jealousy that are natural or even helpful?
To understand and judge the effects of jealousy in relationships we must first analyze where it comes from. To begin with, "jealousy occurs as a result of a perceived threat to an existing relationship" (Aune). This means that the person who becomes jealous feels that their standing with the other person is threatened in some way. The causes of these feelings of vulnerability can stem from a variety of sources depending on the sex, experiences, and general disposition of the person. Owens points out that one common misconception on the cause or reason for jealousy from the recipient's point of view is that "If you're jealous, it must mean you love me." Owens also notes that jealousy is more often a "reflection of other things like the person's need to control …fear of being alone, or poor self esteem" (qtd. in Jet 2002).
Men tend to be more jealous of physical infidelity and women more jealous of emotional fidelity. In evolutionary terms this is caused by a man's need to be sure he is the father of the female's offspring, and a female's need to be sure that her dietary needs will be met during and after pregnancy (Harris 7). Due to these differences, jealousy needs to be addressed differently in each case. Since jealousy can be a major source of conflict in any partnership and "is destructive in even its smallest form…and can interfere with and destr...

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