Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Envy between couples

Few people discuss the presence of envy in a couple. All the focus goes on cheating and its byproduct, jealousy. But the presence of envy in a marriage or partnership can create havoc. While some people are more competitive by nature, I suppose envy inside a couple’s relationship is the very essence of what a marriage is not supposed to be.

When people exchange vows, they promise to help, cherish and support each other in good or bad times. Envy presupposes you are not happy if your spouse is happy, you two do not have common goals for the future and you do not have your partners’ best interest at hand.

If one half of a couple feels envious of their partner, it can also be the result of low self esteem or tremendous insecurity. Sometimes it is a perceived threat: your partner may be better looking, smarter, better educated, and more charismatic, have more friends, make more money. In that case, your chances of losing your partner increase (in your mind). Therefore, envy surfaces. Anything about your partner that is good threatens you and your relationship.

Such a person does not perceive that any advantage their partner has only adds to them. People tend to judge a person by their spouse. A man who has an intelligent or beautiful wife is perceived as more successful. A woman who has a successful husband is perceived as more powerful.

When someone is envious of their partner, they do not feel part of a team. They do not feel that their partner and them are together in the game of life. They feel that they need to protect themselves from their partner. Sometimes I wonder if the rise of divorce has made people so skeptical of relationships in general that they are always considering an escape route, thus disassociating themselves from their partner.

The consequences of being envious of your partner are multifold. Here are some typical scenarios:
1) The envious party does not care about their partner’s feelings.
2) The envious party resents their partner.
3) The envious party does not feel they need to do anything nice for their partner (“why do anything nice to someone who already has so much going on for them”).
4) The envious party is not generous with their partner. Same thinking as # 3.
5) The envious party can be often irritable, hostile, cruel and rude to their partner.
6) The envious partner can become emotionally abusive, resorting to name calling and put-me-downs.
7) The envious partner may resent everything that is part of their partners lives (their country, their friends, their family, etc).
9) The envious party may hide their partner from their friends or workmates, since their partner makes them feel “inferior”
9) The envious party starts avoiding their partner all together, not wanting to spend time with them, since that makes them uncomfortable.
10) The envious partner stops wanting intimacy with their partner, especially when their envy is also related to how they look and how their partner looks.
11) The envious party often does not show respect, kindness and affection towards their spouse/partner.
12) The envious partner hates the idea of sharing money with their partner.
13) The envious partner has little interest in their partner’s health or well being. Why worry about someone who they feel already has so many other advantages?

I think therapy is really in order for someone who is feeling envious of their partner to the point that the relationship is no longer a marriage or a partnership, but two ships passing on the night.

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December 1, 2010 - Posted by | Psychology, Relationships

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