I think there is a hilarious and absolutely inaccurate idea out there that there is some super-chill woman on the planet who never gets jealous. I’m just going to say right here, right now, that any woman who actually really loves and lusts for her man experiences some jealousy, sometimes. It doesn’t mean she is, at her core, insecure. It doesn’t mean she lacks confidence. It doesn’t even mean that she doesn’t trust her partner, or that she senses any sort of real threat. Jealousy is a feeling we evolved to have. You want to know which of our Neanderthal female ancestors managed to raise their babies to adulthood and pass on their genes? The ones who kept an eye on the babies’ daddy to make sure he wasn’t off sharing his resources with others. The jealous survived and their offspring survived. So we, as humans, evolved to naturally feel some jealousy, sometimes. It’s an old—albeit unnecessary—survival instinct kicking in.
I will confess that, even though my partner would say I’m rock-solid and emotionally stable 95 percent of the time, I have my moments where I’m like, “Woah. Where did this craziness come from.” Luckily, my partner never calls me crazy—even when I’m acting it—because good men don’t do that. But when it happened, I knew. I could see the fear in his eyes. I could see him wondering, “Is this the new norm? Has she finally flown off the rails?” I had a bout of jealousy.
When you’re in a jealousy spiral, it feels uncontrollable, right? Like you can’t control your thoughts. Your mind is just making sh*t up to get you upset. And you can feel this shame, like this jealousy is your dirty secret that nobody would understand. But that’s not true. Here are times even confident women feel jealous.
That childhood female friend
That old female friend of his with whom he has so many memories. They have their inside jokes. They could talk for hours about growing up on the same block. They have all those shared friends. She knows his family better than you know his family. And now she’s coming to visit you guys, and the two of them are going to pal around town while you’re busy with work or your usual activities.
That’s a sibling to him
You have to know that, to him, that female friend is like a sibling. Hey, they may have even potty trained together. They had play dates together. They stood up to bullies together. They would commiserate with each other over their first crushes. He couldn’t look at her romantically if he tried. And while she appeals to the kid in him, you appeal to both the kid in him, but also the adult in him, and all the things he’s learned about himself since growing up, that his childhood friend doesn’t even really know about.
The commiserating colleague
It’s like his work wife. You know it is. The slightly controversial office spouse. They help each other out. They bring each other lunch. They hate the same coworkers. They love the same coworkers. They have all their little work stories. When you hang with them, you feel left out because you have no idea what they’re talking about when they commiserate about yesterday’s presentation.
He likes that you’re separate
He likes that you are not a part of his work life. Sure, he needs someone with whom he can commiserate about what goes on at work. He needs someone he can laugh about it with. And, maybe it’s nice that it’s a woman with that nurturing female energy. But, ultimately, he wouldn’t want you to be as piped into his work life as that female colleague is. He loves that you’re a break from that. Work is the only thing he talks about with that woman, and it gets to be too much.
The sports-loving friend
Maybe you’re not into sports and your partner is. He gets really worked up about it. He’s passionate about it. And he has that female friend who feels the same way. She loves the same team as him. They have their own language around this. They are often in similar moods, because sports dictate their moods so much. You feel like you’re not part of their little world.
He doesn’t want you to be his bro
That woman is his bro, but he doesn’t want his partner to be his bro. He likes that you’re feminine. He likes that you have your own interests and you don’t pretend to like what he likes, just to make him happy. You are who you are and you’re comfortable with that. That will always be far more attractive than a love of sports.
Admiration of a friend’s wife
Your partner just comments on what a nice wife his friend has. You two hang with another couple, and he sometimes says things about how the woman is easy to get along with, very nice to her husband, a great cook—things like that. And for some reason your blood boils. Is he trying to say that you should be more like her?
Stop right there
Hold on just a minute. Consider the alternative. What if your partner didn’t like the woman in this double date dynamic? That would mean that he wouldn’t want to double date with this couple. It’s good that he likes her, because, if she’s your friend, then that means you get to see her more. You know how hard it is for a couple to find another couple they like—all parties, in all directions. So just be happy about it.
Respect of a boss woman
So your partner has a lot of respect for a total boss woman he knows. A friend. His own boss. Your boss. Some business owner who lives in your building. He just often comments on how impressive she is, what a leader she is, how ambitious she is, and so on. Again, you find yourself feeling, “So, is he saying I’m not those things?”
He’s a feminist, that’s good!
It’s good if your partner shows respect where respect is due to kick-ass, impressive women. A lot of men will not acknowledge what a total boss a woman is. A lot of men are so self-involved and misogynistic that they can’t even see things like ambition and business smarts in women. Be glad you have a feminist partner who appreciates strong women.
When he helps himself
It’s understandable that you don’t want your partner to overdo it on the masturbation. For practical reasons, it’s a good idea that he try not to do that too often. But, he’s bound to sometimes, and when you know of it, you can get a little jealous. It’s almost as if he preferred to have sex with himself than you! Or…to look at the women in the adult films he watches.
It’s not the same
Masturbating isn’t always necessarily about arousal for men. Men just kind of need to do it to blow off steam sometimes. And sometimes, they don’t have the stamina or patience to attend to your needs sexually, while attending to their own. If your man insists it’s best he help himself right now, rather than you get involved, he’s probably doing you a favor—he knows he’d be bad at sex in that moment.
When that ex likes/comments
His ex liked one of his pictures. Or she congratulated him on some achievement he posted. She tagged him in some massive group post with their common acquaintances like college alumni. And you’re just fuming. Why is she out there, thinking about your man? Why does she feel that her “like” or comment is necessary here?
What about your exes?
Hey, your exes probably do this, too. And you don’t, in any way, feel that it’s some sort of romantic advance. These are just humans who know you and maybe still root for you. You see that like, you barely register it, and you move on with your day and forget about it.
When that ex gets in touch
Maybe an ex gets in touch. She has a career opportunity for him (they work in the same industry or adjacent industries), she needs to let him know that an old shared friend passed away, she needs the name of that restaurant they visited in Paris eight years ago because she’s going back there. And you don’t like it.
Try to not be too hard on yourself. It’s only natural to not love the mention or thought of another woman your partner once had sex with or even loved. We aren’t built to think about those things. We just feel our partner is ours and hasn’t been with anyone else. We know it isn’t true, but it’s not natural to have to confront that reality. Just try not to get mad at the guy because he didn’t do anything.