Jealousy is one of the most destructive and painful emotions in a dating relationship. A jealous dater can think and do some whacky things he or she would not normally think of doing. That's why overcoming jealousy when it crops up is so important. According to a North American survey of marriage counselors, 33% of all couples in marriage counseling have jealousy problems as a root issue. Since jealousy is a univesral emotion, I suspect European, Asian, African, South American Asian couples have similar dealings with jealousy.
Among Christian single couples, jealousy affects both traditional dating and courtship love relationships.
Just what does it mean to be jealous? Webster's Dictionary rightly defines jealousy as a "fearfulness or wariness of being replaced by a rival." In a dating or romantic relationship, this means the jealous girlfriend or jealous guy suspects there is a rival for the affection or attention of their partner. The object of the dater's jealousy could be an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, (the most frequent complaint) or other things such as the person's children, job or even the family dog. (Do not laugh about the dog, I once had a Family Court case related to this issue)
The problem with jealousy is that there are several kinds, which can get a little confusing. For example, there is God's jealousy (Exodus 20: 5), which is always holy, just, and desirous of others' wellbeing. Then there is human jealousy, which often ends with disastrous results. Solomon writes of this kind in Song of Songs: "Jealousy is as cruel as the grave" (Sgs 8: 6).
As sinners, we all need to learn how to cope with the human kind of jealousy, whether we experience it in our own hearts, or have others being jealous of us.
Most singles are able to control the acting out their jealous impulses. However, overcoming jealousy for others is almost impossible without God's help. This form of jealousy is pathological, and could lead to the crimes of passion we often read about in the newspapers, or see in movies.
As a single Christian seeking true love in a relationship, it's very important for your own dating safety to know some "red flag" signs of a pathologically jealous person.
Red Flags of Jealousy Out of Control
* The dating or courtship partner continually accuses the other of being unfaithful when there is no basis for him or her to think this way.
* The jealous person checks phone bills, emails or the cell phone directory to check the partner's records of communication. They may even forbid their romantic partner to speak with certain members of the opposite sex.
* The jealous dating partner forbids (ie: orders) the other single dater what he or she can and can not wear in public.
* The person with jealousy issues may go through the personal belongings of the other party looking for "evidence" of unfaithfulness
* The person with out-of-control jealousy may follow, or have one of their friends follow the other person to make sure they are being faithful. In extreme cases they may even 'bug "the home using electronic equipment.
* The jealous party will keep tabs on their date by calling them constantly throughout the day. They may give an excuse ( "I just missed you") as to why they are calling so frequently, but in fact are distrustful of them.
* The jealous person may want to be with the other person 24/7, and if the other single resists, there may be a physcial or emotional outburst.
* The jealous dating partner forces the other to give account of all their free time away from them.
* The person with pathological jealousy may threaten to do physical harm to themselves or to their dating partner.
If you are a single Christian in any kind dating relationship where one or more of the above jealousy red flags exist, we recommend:
1. Lovingly communicating to your friend that they need professional help.
2. Consider getting out of the relationship as soon as you can to ensure your own safety. While you may be tempted to stay in an effort to change them, or the jealous partner may make an emotional promise of change, please do not give in.
Overcoming jealousy will be easier if you understand its origin. Ask yourself: "Do my feelings have a basis in fact (the behavior of the dating partner), or are they coming from my own insecurity?"
If there is actually something the other party is doing that is inciting you to be jealous, have a heart to heart discussion with them. Often, an honest exchange of feelings will solve the problem.
Understand that your jealous behavior may actually drive away your date, the very thing you feared might happen
Admit you have a problem and seek guidance from trusted freinds who know your situation, and / or an understanding Christian counselor or minister.