Monthly Archives: May 2016

Know more about jealousy

Most people have experienced jealousy at some point in their life. We usually know how to identify the emotion when it appears in ourselves, and we are fairly good at telling when others experience jealousy on the basis of their actions. But what exactly is jealousy?

On a traditional model in evolutionary psychology, jealousy is an inherited response that once increased our chances of survival. Men, it has been argued, exhibit jealousy primarily in response to sexual threats to the relationships they are in. The reason for this supposedly is that only those of our male ancestors who were the actual father of the children they provided for were guaranteed to have their DNA passed on. Women, on the other hand, exhibit jealousy primarily in response to emotional threats to the relationships they are in. The reason for this allegedly is that only those of our female ancestors who had someone to provide the food for their children had children that would survive, increasing the chance that their DNA would get passed on. This eventually gave rise to men with a sex-jealousy gene and women with an emotional-jealousy gene.

There are many problems with this account of jealousy. One is that it jealousy isn’t equally pronounced in all cultures, which suggests that even if it does have a genetic root, it also has a strong social component. In other words, jealousy is partly cultivated.
As I have argued elsewhere, the evolutionary root of jealousy may not be sexual or emotional competition but the endowment effect. The endowment effect is our inherited tendency to assign greater economic value to something already in our possession than to something that we don’t own. The endowment effect by itself does not fully explain jealousy. The further factor, which is cultural, is the tendency to consider our partners our sexual and emotional property, providing us with exclusive rights to sex and intimacy with them.

This latter explanation captures the evolutionary basis of jealousy as well as the fact that its intensity and frequency can vary quite dramatically across culture. What it shares in common with the traditional evolutionary account is the idea that jealousy is a response either to the threat of losing one’s partner or not being the father of one’s children.
The idea that jealousy is a response to the threat of losing one’s partner is likely the characterization that best fits most people’s experiences of jealousy today. But what sort of response is it?

One suggestion is that jealousy is a fear response to the threat of losing one’s partner. But that cannot be quite right. If you know that your partner has terminal cancer, you may experience fear in response to the impending death. But you do not experience jealousy.
Another better suggestion is that jealousy is a fear response to the threat of losing one’s partner to another person. But jealousy seems to involve more than just fear. Anecdotally, at least, people who experience jealousy often report experiencing sadness, disgust and rage, among many other basic (or complex) emotions. Fear by itself does not automatically trigger this vast array of emotions.

Another plausible account of jealousy is that it involves fear of losing one’s partner to another person, and resentment of or indignation at the fact that the partner (and/or the sexual/emotional competitor) has put you into this insecure state. When sufficiently intense, this sort of response can trigger e.g. feelings of disgust, sadness and/or rage.
One potential objection to this, rough, account of jealousy is that one can be jealous even when there is no actual threat to the relationship. A partner may be jealous when you meet with your childhood friend, even though there is no chance that your friendship could ever develop into something more (maybe you grew up together and consider each other siblings of sorts).

Tips to make your relationship more better

What ruins relationships and causes most fights is insecurity.”— Olivia Wilde

We’ve all been insecure at one time or another. Insecurity is an inner feeling of being threatened and/or inadequate in some way. While it’s quite normal to have feelings of self-doubt once in a while, chronic insecurity can sabotage your success in life and be particularly damaging to your intimate relationships. It robs you of your peace and prevents you from being able to engage with your partner in a relaxed and authentic way. The actions that come from insecurity—such as always asking for reassurance, jealousy, accusing, and snooping—erode trust, aren’t attractive and can push the other person away.

While many people tend to think that insecurity comes from something their partner said or did, the reality is that most insecurity comes from inside ourselves. The feeling of insecurity can start early in life with an insecure attachment to your parents, or can develop after being hurt or rejected by someone you care about. Insecurities are maintained and built upon when you negatively compare yourself to other people and harshly judge yourself with critical inner dialogue. The majority of relationship insecurity is based on irrational thoughts and fears: that you are not good enough, that you will not be OK without a partner, that you will never find anyone better, that you are not truly lovable.

When you start to notice that sinking feeling of insecurity there are a few things you can do:

1. Take stock of your value. When you feel insecure, you are often focused on something you feel is lacking about you. In most well-matched relationships each partner brings different qualities and strengths that compliment the other. It is possible to be equals in different ways. In order to feel more secure in a relationship it helps to know what you have to offer to the other person. You don’t have to be rich or beautiful to offer something—personality characteristics are far more important to the overall quality of a relationship. Think about the traits you have as a person: nice, trustworthy, funny, kind, good communicator. These are traits most people value in their partner. And think about how you make the other person’s life better. Do you make them feel loved, supported, and happy? These are things everyone wants to feel in a relationship, but many often don’t. Focus on what you offer instead of what you feel you lack; this will change your perspective. If the other person doesn’t appreciate what you have to offer, that’s his or her loss.

2. Build your self-esteem. Research shows that people with more relationship insecurities tend to have poorer self-esteem. When you aren’t feeling good about who you are on the inside, it is natural to want to look outside of yourself for validation. However, trying to feel good by getting approval from your partner is a losing situation for any relationship. When your well-being depends on someone else, you give away all of your power. A healthy partner won’t want to carry this kind of burden and it can push him or her away. Feeling good about who you are is a win-win for the relationship. You get to enjoy the sense of well-being that comes with genuinely liking yourself, and self-confidence is an attractive quality that makes your partner want to be closer to you.

Building your self-esteem isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Building self-confidence comes with experience, but there are two steps you can take that will rapidly improve how you feel about yourself, Learn to silence your inner critic and practiceself-compassion, and retrain yourself to focus on the aspects of yourself you like instead of the ones you don’t like.

How to make your ex back

Your significant other just ended your relationship. A natural reaction to this experience is to do everything in your power to undo the damage. You think you want your ex back. Think again. Tread carefully. Here are five reasons you may not want your ex back*.

Reason #1. You are surprised, angry, sad, hurt and feeling rejected. These symptoms are classical grief symptoms. If your boyfriend had died, it would be impossible to get him back, and it would not be his fault that you are grieving. But now that he is out there alive and well, it is his fault. It is a decision he has made. He made it for a good reason. Your relationship was not working. Why would you want your relationship back if it wasn’t working? Why would you want an ex back who doesn’t want you? Treat it like a case of grief that you need to get over rather than trying to get back together with your ex.

Reason #2. If you were to implement all the tricks and tactics available on the internet for getting your ex back, and you succeeded against all odds, you would be going back to something that didn’t work-at least not for him and most likely not for you either. You would end up being a doormat. Or a nervous wrack walking on eggshells. Granted, ou miss his kisses, his good morning text messages, the wining and dining. But what part of it do you really miss? What you really miss could be the kisses, the “good morning” text messages, and the wining and dining. It may not be him. It may seem that way. But once you clear your head, you may realize that you miss the events, not him in particular.

Reason #3. You may still be in shock and denial about your past relationship but once you clear your head, you can probably list a good number of really bad things that happened in your relationship, ranging from arguments to the silent treatment or worse. When we are broken up with, we tend to focus on the breezy early good memories from when we were head-over-heals in love. But that is unlikely to be the state of your relationship towards the end of it. Do you really want your relationship back as it was toward the end of it? Probably not. You want the beginning. But the thing is, the beginning cannot reoccur. It only occurs when your hormones and neurotransmitters are completely out of wrack, and you are crazy madly in love, because everything is new. Things cannot be new now, not now… maybe in six months or two years, but not now.

Reason #4. If you really managed to get back together right now, do you think your relationship would last? It is very unlikely. Neither of you would have changed your behaviors and bad habits. You will just repeat past mistakes. You might be able to force yourself to behave differently for a few weeks but then when things settle down, you go back to your old habits. Then you break up and you will then need to start the grieving process all over.

Reason #5. Maybe you read on the internet that you just need some time apart. The negative emotions need to die down. Your ex is angry, and once he stops being angry, he will realize what a mistake he has made. In the meantime you can improve and become a much better version of yourself. Right? Wrong. No 30, 60 or 90 days of no contact or space can heal a broken relationship. Granted, it can make anger dissipate and make people nostalgic. But it cannot fix deep problems in relationships. Most likely the two of you are simply incompatible right now. It will take a lot of experience interacting with other people before you can possibly embark on a new and healthier relationship with your ex. But when that time comes, you may not want your ex-partner back anymore.

Make sure to choose your lasting love

When it comes to love, we want it all: sparks, butterflies and that feeling of being obsessed with another person. But we also want lasting love, security and healthy routines.

The problem with having these desires is that they cannot normally be satisfied simultaneously. What makes you feel head-over-heals in love is in part newness, insecurity and unpredictability. But most long-term relationships do not have a whole lot of newness, insecurity and unpredictability. Long-term relationships are not meant to be built on an unstable foundation. They are meant to be your secure base, the place you return to for support when you are experiencing problems at work or go through illness or loss.

Yet it is often when the newness, insecurity and unpredictability wears off that relationships fall apart, when we no longer are in a state of love insanity, when things become routine and begin to feel a little too comfortable. What can we do about this paradox that has plagued mankind throughout history?

We can engage in serial monogamy, as most people do. But is there a way to avoid relationship-hopping? Can we learn to appreciate our partner without the sparks and fireworks? Clearly, some people manage to. What is their secret?

Relationships go through stages. A typical relationship begins with the head-over-heals sparks and fireworks phase, where the other person cannot do anything wrong and where we cannot think of anything better than being in their company. This phase wears off. How soon it wears off varies a lot, depending on people’s circumstances. But it inevitably wears off.

This is the point where we enter into a phase of conflict. We start to see the other person’s flaws. We no longer feel we will die if we cannot see our partner for a while. The phase of conflict is also where the arguments and fights tend to start. We need to learn to solve problems with our partner and to negotiate, because no two human beings want exactly the same things.

If the relationship survives the phase of conflict, attachment love is likely to develop.Attachment love is a different kind of love from new wild romantic love. It is more closely related to the kind of love you feel for a child, a parent or a close friend. It typically does not involve feelings of wonder all the time. When things go well, it is a comfortable kind of love, and it is the sort of love that can last a lifetime.

We often think attachment love feels wrong. It is not intense. It doesn’t control us. For that reason we often come to the conclusion that we don’t really want to build a romantic relationship on basis of attachment love. But if there is no alternative, could it be that we ought to learn to appreciate it instead of fighting it?

Statistics show that some couples learn to appreciate attachment love. Appreciating this type of love requires accepting that it doesn’t feel the same way as that all-consuming new love that most romantic relationships are initially based on. But it also requires identifying the advantages that attachment love has in comparison to all-consuming new love.

Attachment love can be a good thing to build a long-term relationship on, but only if both parties learn to appreciate it. If your partner pushes you away because things don’t feel the same anymore, then your relationship will be unlikely to survive.