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How to Handle It When You're Jealous Of Another Friendship as an Adult
Was Travis Michalzik actually jealous of Jack Stirrup’s relationship with Aesha Scott?
Poor Travis Michalzik. The Below Deck Mediterranean deckhand was actually jealous when his bromance with Jack Stirrup was threatened when Jack hooked up with Aesha Scott.
"You’re friends with someone and then they get a girlfriend and they’re dead to you," Travis said of the pair's romance, adding that he was "taking the piss" and didn’t actually "take it to heart."
But it seemed he really was slightly hurt — or at least threatened by the couple's relationship.
"Your mates get a girlfriend and stop being your mate... not your friend anymore," Travis added. "If that's taken away from me then of course I'm going to be devastated by it."
Aesha even said she she felt she "was taking Jack away from Trav."
What to do when you find yourself actually jealous of someone else's close relationship with someone you love so much?
Personal Space spoke to therapist Tanya Koifman, LCSW, who says it's actually quite common to feel some jealousy around your close friend’s other relationships.
"It is not a feeling that simply goes away during adulthood," she explained. "It is an emotion that people feel on a regular basis, and it tends to not be as socially accepted (or common) to discuss openly. Jealousy is a pretty complex emotion, especially when it comes to friendships."
She says people sometimes feel shame about the fact that they feel jealous about their close friend’s other friendships or relationships.
"Feeling jealous about a friend’s other friendships does not mean that you are a bad friend, or that you do not want your friend to enjoy their life and other connections," Koifman says. "It is possible to feel a complex array of conflicting or competing emotions at the same time (ie. feeling happy for your friend and wanting great things for them, while also feeling sad for yourself; upset or jealous that someone else is spending time with them, and that person is also special to your very close friend)."
Sometimes the problem is that people struggle with feeling left out of certain moments or experiences with their friend.
"It is a very good idea to process and examine what lies at the core of those feelings," Koifman says. "For example, is the person who is experiencing the jealousy struggling with their own self-worth? Do they question what they bring to the friendship? Would it make sense to have a reminder about what their friends value about them and vice versa? Perhaps the feeling of jealousy (of your friend’s other friendships) can also motivate you to examine the other social connections (or lack of them) in your life. You might want to ask yourself if you are cultivating enough friendships and connections outside of this one.
"These feelings can also be an opportunity for self-growth and a deeper connection with the friend. Deciding whether or not to share what you are feeling with the friend is a very personal choice, and there are many factors involved in whether you choose to share in your particular situation. Hearing a friend say that they are jealous of your other friendships can be uncomfortable or awkward, but there are ways to potentially set a more positive/open tone to the conversation.
"For example, if you start off with saying something like, 'You might have noticed that I have been a little quiet or somewhat disconnected from the conversation when you talk about X. This is really difficult for me to bring up, but I am choosing to share my feelings because of how much I care about and trust you, and I really value our friendship. I also want to preface this by saying that I have nothing against so-and-so and I really am happy that you have a full social life. It is just hard for me sometimes because I feel bad.' Opening this kind of dialogue with a close friend can potentially strengthen and deepen your connection with them, and you might learn things about each other’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc. that you did not know before."
And then you will have your friend back! But for real:
"It is really important to practice as much self-compassion as possible when it comes to complex emotions such as jealousy," Koifman adds. "It is also very important to normalize your feelings and understand that these things, while difficult to experience, are very common. Please do not judge yourself harshly when it comes to this issue. It is just part of being human. Imagine the kindness that you would extend to a close friend or loved one if they shared that they were experiencing this, and then extend that same kindness, patience, and compassion to yourself."
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