“He that is jealous is not in love.” — Saint Augustine
‘”You’re not a jealous person,” a friend said to me during lunch yesterday.
We’d been having a relaxed afternoon, catching up on everything from work to families to matters of the soul. Somehow the topic of jealousy came up.
When she made her casual observation about my lack of jealousy, I nearly choked on the bite of ahi tuna I had just eaten.
You see, I’ve always been a jealous person.
“But you’re not jealous of other people’s success,” my friend said.
True. I don’t envy anyone’s good fortune. In fact, I celebrate right along with them.
But when it comes to relationships, somewhere along the line I made the connection that being jealous meant you totally loved someone.
Let’s rewind 15 years.
About a year into our relationship, my partner introduced another female into our lives who was so jealous she threatened to tear us apart.
She wasn’t just jealous of my love for my partner. She was jealous of my partner’s love for me.
The minute my partner and I would make even the slightest hint that a hug or a kiss was about to happen, there she was to break it up and demand our undivided attention.
It got really complicated because we all slept in the same bed. That is, until my partner and I drew the line and told the “damn dog” that there were times when she had to give us the space we needed to love one another. It had nothing to do with her. It’s just that the cuteness of her jealousy was wearing off and we just needed to be left alone.
After being kicked out of bed a few times, the wise Dachshund — who has taught me more than any human teacher has ever taught me (well, except for my mom) — figured out that being clingy isn’t necessarily the best way to attract the love you crave.
If my partner and I were cuddling on the couch watching television, she’d still cuddle up to us. But she wasn’t too upset if she ended up at our feet rather than perfectly perched between us.
Some nights she chose to leave the room to be by herself — perhaps to ponder that time spent apart would make us miss her and love her more.
She was right. Usually about an hour after she left, we’d go looking for her and carry her back to where we were.
For years I thought we’d won the battle — the humans had conquered the jealous 10-pound miniature beast.
But now, in the sunset of her life, I finally understand the deeper lessons Queenie has been trying to teach me.
And it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
Allowing someone you love the freedom to let their love for others expand is the quickest route to having the love they have for you grow as well.
The more you try to keep someone all to yourself — and deny them the right to share their love with others — the more you push them away.
The love that people have for one another doesn’t in any way diminish their love you. In fact, the more love they give away, the more they will have to give.
Have I have completely won the war against jealousy? I’d be lying if I told you I have.
But if being in love is the opposite of being jealous, it’s a war I will continue to fight.