Control through jealousy and ownership issues

image-270If you are at the place in your marriage where your spouse monitors your cellphone, email, Facebook, and all other forms of communication, you might stop and consider why you are allowing another person to control you in this manner? Are you a teenager again, grounded in your room? Do you think you deserve to be constantly questioned, monitored, and assumed guilty of transgressions? Even if you have previously committed adulterous crimes, if your spouse agrees to continue in relationship with you, then that is his/her choice to accept you as you are, ‘flaws’ included.

“In the track of fear we have so many conditions, expectations, and obligations that we create a lot of rules just to protect ourselves against emotional pain, when the truth is that there shouldn’t be any rules. These rules affect the quality of the channels of communication between us, because when we are afraid, we lie. If you have the expectation that I have to be a certain way, then I feel the obligation to be that way. The truth is I am not what you want me to be. When I am honest and I am what I am, you are already hurt, you are mad. Then I lie to you, because I’m afraid of your judgment. I am afraid you are going to blame me, find me guilty, and punish me.”—don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love

In my post-divorce philosophy, after recovering from co-dependency, I have come to the realization that nobody ‘owns’ anybody but themselves. I think the best solution to the jealousy issue is being honest with yourself about what you can actually agree to, and then clearly communicating that to your spouse, preferably at the start of the relationship (and anytime your internal agreement shifts). Being present with your spouse’s clearly communicated agreements, without expectation of making that person conform to your ‘rules’, is the second half of this equation. For example, if you cannot agree to monogamy, then do not agree with monogamy; allow your spouse the freedom to choose where his/her boundaries are with respect to your honest communication of the agreements you can abide by.

A relationship where control through jealousy is the norm is rooted in fear and disrespectful of the ‘Me’ in the ‘We’. The flower of love cannot grow in a jealous relationship, and eventually will drop dead on the vine.

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Excerpted from my new book, From We To Me, to be published October 27, 2015

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