Mister, Miss Brightside deal with jealousy

Jessica Sprowl

Credit: Jason Hall

“And I just can’t look it’s killing me / And taking control / Jealousy, turning saints into the sea-“

The Killers aren’t the only ones whose romantic relationships have been intensified by jealousy, as they sing in “Mr. Brightside.” Many college students feel the same way.

“There are no specific reasons why some people are more jealous than others,” said Pamela Farer-Singleton, chief psychologist at DeWeese Health Center. “Those who tend to be more jealous usually feel less adequate than others.”

Some jealousy is normal in a relationship, Singleton said. But jealousy can be a sign of other unhealthy relationship issues, such as when:

  • A person does not allow their partner to have individual interests.
  • A person does not allow their partner to have friends of either sex.
  • A person is overly demanding and fears abandonment in regular circumstances.
  • A person plays psychological games with their partner.

All of these are only some of the unhealthy issues in relationships.

“It’s human nature to feel a little bit of envy and some jealousy, especially when the relationship is new,” Singleton said.

After meeting through a mutual friend in high school and dating for 11 months, Brian Bloomfield, a freshman computer science major, and Paisley Watson, a freshman exploratory major, have had their fair share of jealous moments.

“Right before we started dating, (Paisley) had a few ex-boyfriends she was still friends with and it struck a bad note with me. But you have to learn to trust your partner.”

Bloomfield said he would still become a little bit jealous if he saw Watson hanging out with a bunch of guys and flirting with them.

“It’s the flirting part that would get me,” he said.

Bloomfield does feel that jealousy can be a good thing.

“It might show there are some other underlying problems, and you and your partner can try to work them out. But too much can spoil the relationship.”

Watson sometimes finds herself feeling jealous when Bloomfield starts to talk about any of his female friends and ex-girlfriends. But she trusts him, and has learned to get over it.

Watson has had to deal with jealousy issues with a friend as well. Every time Watson has started a new relationship, a certain friend has become very jealous over the fact that she has a new boyfriend.

If jealousy is an issue in the relationship, Singleton recommends bringing up the issue in a calm and mature way.

“Discuss the issue with specific examples of what behaviors are bothering you. Then, let your partner reply to your concerns and go from there. You just need to take some time and evaluate your relationship and realize what you want from it.”

Singleton also said there could be good rationale for jealousy. If a partner truly is flirting with someone, or more than one person, then it is not wrong to feel jealousy and anger. But there can also be very irrational behavior on one’s part when it is not deserved.

When it comes to the many drunken fights students witness at the bars, Singleton warns that those are a whole different story. A bar fight is someone acting out under the influence, and the partner should be more worried about alcohol abuse than jealousy.

“Jealousy is mostly unfounded paranoia,” Bloomfield said.

Contact features correspondent Jessica Sprowl at [email protected].