Why do I still get jealous?

I’m actually seriously asking here. Last night I was laying in bed, sort of bored but not ready to go to sleep yet. I glanced over at Mike’s computer screen (not in a spying way, my eyes just happened to glance that way as I was scanning the room) and without really thinking of it I noticed he was having a conversation on social media. Based on the color of the profile picture, I think it was a girl we both know. She’s someone I like, but also someone I expect him to sleep with at some point.

It really shouldn’t have bothered me. I like this girl. We are friends. She has her own primary partner. We are very different people and I don’t feel threatened by her. But just seeing that he was talking to her was enough to remind me of the fact that he sleeps with other people and it put me in a really shitty mood. I felt grumpy and irritable and restless.

I also felt bad about myself, though. I felt stupid for being jealous of someone I know isn’t trying to steal Mike from me and who Mike isn’t planning to leave me for. I also felt kind of gross for having looked at his computer screen and used a half-seen snapshot of his Internet activity to jump to all sorts of conclusions. I mean, for one thing it felt too much like an invasion of privacy. And secondly, I don’t even know for sure what he was doing because I only saw the screen for half a second. There was also an element of “Really, Beth? You’re still letting this stuff bother you? Haven’t we been over this before?”

Mike must have noticed my mood because he came over and asked what was up. I told him I had gotten grumpy and depressed all of a sudden but didn’t tell him why; I didn’t want to burden him or make him feel bad for something he really shouldn’t have to think twice about. He hugged me and kissed me and gave me some attention, and then I felt better and went to sleep.

But as I lay there drifting off I thought about what had happened. I suspect that I was feeling generally bad about myself and thinking I was unlovable. Then when I suspected he was paying attention to someone else it sort of confirmed my feelings of inferiority. But when he paid attention to me I remembered that I am lovable and that it doesn’t matter what he does with other women because he loves me. The real trick is to be able to get to that end result on my own next time.

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