Look, babes, love is hard. Like my favorite whimsical author Francesca Lia Block famously says in her epic, coming of age novel, "Weetzie Bat," "Love is a dangerous angel."
No truer words have ever been said. Love swoops in when you least expect it and pulls out all the deep feels that have been festering for years inside our frail, frail bones.
And sweeping, all-consuming feelings of wild jealousy are just part of the whole love charade, you know?
It's totally normal to feel jealous, girl. In fact, to be human is to be jealous.
When you're suddenly in possession of someone whom you actually care about, someone so gorgeously precious, it's like they've suddenly landed in the palm of your sweaty hands and lit up your dismal life.
So, of course you're going to be scared shitless at the prospect of losing them.
Everyone who feels and falls in love and has a beating heart is going to experience jealousy at some point
That's why I hate — with every fiber of my 30-year-old being — when people say false, smug bullshit such as, "I never get jealous."
They'll bat their lashes and take a sip of their prim English tea like they're superior goddamn beings. Well, I say, screw you and your fucking god complex, thank you very much. Because everyone gets jealous (even Jesus).
Everyone who feels and falls in love and has a beating heart is going to experience jealousy at some point in their stale existence. Anyone with two working eyeballs will see something beautiful they covet and experience a jealous moment.
And that's perfectly fine, girls, boys and everyone in between. It's part of the human experience.
However, you can't use your jealousy as a chokehold over your partner or as a tool to hold your partner back in life.
You can't let it manifest in an irrepressible need to snoop in sacred, private places you should never be snooping in. (Oh, I see you over there, you low-key lurk.)
You see, there is a world of a difference between being "healthy" jealous, and acting like a "crazy, insane, jealous" bitch.
So, here are three different scenarios you will most likely find yourself in at some point. And I will proudly present you with the "crazy bitch" jealous reaction and the healthy reaction, babes.
Scenario 1: Instagram Stalking
You're scrolling through your new bae's Instagram because, well, you just can't help yourself. (Who the hell can, kittens?)
After a few moments, you come across a picture of your partner with his hands all over a super sexy girl with long, luscious, blonde locks (you're a brunette) cascading down her tan back. The picture is from 22 weeks ago, which is precisely 10 weeks before you met. How do you react?
Healthy Jealous Reaction: You're going to feel a burning rage deep in your gut. It's primal. But you know what?
You acknowledge your feelings of jealousy, but you don't ever dare bring them up to your partner. Because even though it sucks, and it's not fun to see babe being scandalous with a gorgeous entity, your partner technically did NOTHING wrong.
Anyone your partner snapped a flirty pic with prior to your courtship is irrelevant.
Crazy Bitch Jealous Reaction: You're going to call your partner right away and yell, "WHO IS THAT BLONDE GIRL YOU POSTED A PICTURE WITH 22 WEEKS AGO? YOUR HANDS ARE ALL OVER HER!"
Or, you'll send a bitchy text: "Thought you liked brunettes."
Either way, you're overreacting, sugar.
First of all, you're outing yourself as a stalker. (Kittens, stalk, but LOW-KEY stalk. It's not sexy to be an outed stalker.)
Second, you're irrationally yelling at your partner for being affectionate with another girl before you started dating. Your partner was fair game before you got to them, OK?
You can feel things inside, but you CANNOT — I repeat, you CANNOT — punish your partner for having a past.
Scenario 2: The Low-Key Check Out
You're at a bar and you catch your partner subtly smiling as a pretty girl in distressed skinny jeans and golden skin struts by. How do you react?
Healthy Jealous Reaction: Ouch. It sucks to see your partner smile at anyone who isn't you, but hey, it was just a smile — even though it felt like a slap on her ample ass in your warped mind.
You feel a little irritated, and maybe you even cheekily bring it up by saying, "Hey, do you know that girl who just walked by?"
You'll twist your hair around your finger and bat your mega lashes.
"NO!" your partner will say defensively, caught in the act of checking her out. Maybe he'll stab his steak with a fork in defiance.
"No biggie, just saw you smile when she walked by. I thought maybe you were friends or something."
You will smile sweetly and move the hell on. Because you're a fierce woman with bigger fish to fry.
Plus, you let bae know you saw him checking this hot chick out, but you didn't irrationally accuse him of wanting to fuck her brains out.
Because, at the end of the day, who really knows what that smile was about? And bae is human. Humans will check out other humans.
It's out of our control, and it's out of your partner's control. It's the animal that lives within us.
Crazy Bitch Jealous Reaction: Smoke comes out of your heavily mascaraed eyeballs. Steam comes out of your ears. Horns pop out of your perfectly blow-dried head.
WHAT, WHAT, WHAT? The next thing you know, you're being an ice queen bitch, staring into the distance, totally removed.
"What's wrong, babe?" your SO sweetly asks.
"Nothing," you passive-aggressively answer.
You spend the rest of the night quiet and bitchy and never tell your bae why. Because HE SHOULD KNOW, right?
Well, honey, bae might be cute, but bae isn't a mind reader. You need to either tell bae what's wrong (calmly) or get the hell over it.
Because honestly, a checkout might be a blow to your mighty ego, but it isn't cheating.
Scenario 3: Facebook Messages
You're at your boo's apartment perusing Facebook on his laptop. Suddenly, a little "ding" sounds from the screen.
"Oh, I have a new message!" you think to yourself, excited.
"Hey, it was so great to hear from you the other day. I've missed you, too," it reads.
It takes you about 30 seconds to realize you're actually logged into your partner's Facebook. And the message in question is from your partner's ex. How do you respond?
Healthy Jealous Reaction: You want to cry. You want to scream. You want to take all of your partner's clothes and set them on fire so they combust into a million fiery flames of sin.
But instead, you call him. You call him and you say, "Look, I was on your computer, and your ex wrote you saying SHE MISSES YOU, TOO! Why didn't you tell me you were talking to her? I'm heartbroken because I trusted you."
You can cry. You can get angry. This is a painful one.
You can even choose to walk away for a while if your partner neglects to provide you with a believable reason for reaching out.
Crazy Bitch Jealous Reaction: You slash his tires, set fire to his clothes, smash all of his belongings, write "FUCK YOU" in lipstick across the walls and leave him exactly 17 threatening voicemails.
No explanation will do for you.
So, which one are you?
I used to be so deeply terrified of feeling jealous because I was always taught jealousy is a poison.
But I've learned that my elders, while right about most things, were totally wrong about this one. Jealousy is not poison. And it's beyond OK to feel not nice things. It's what you do with the jealousy that makes it turn venomous.
So, how do you handle it?
I mean, really, LOVE is HARD. Caring is creepy. How do you attain a semblance of self-control when you're feeling all of these really overwhelming feelings?
Self-awareness, babes. As soon as I start to feel those horns pop out of my head, and as soon as my vision goes red, I check myself. I check in with my inner therapist.
I imagine myself on a chic, leopard-print couch, having a therapeutic conversation with Dr. Zara.
"What's going on?" Dr. Zara will ask, her glasses resting on the tip of her nose, a chic notebook in her red-polished fingers.
"I'm mad because my girlfriend posted a picture with a hot girl!" I'll say, pouting in my distressed denim jeans and bomber jacket. My eyeliner is smudged around my rage-filled eyes.
"Who was the girl?" Dr. Zara will ask calmly.
"Her friend," I'll say, crossing my arms.
And Dr. Zara doesn't even need to say a word more. Just dissecting the situation in a rational way has made me realize what I'm feeling is jealousy, and it's irrational. That awareness alone strips the emotion of its power and instantly calms me down.
So, feel the feelings, and talk about the feelings with your friend, your real therapist, your mom or your imaginary therapist. But do not act them out.
Jealousy just means you care, babe, and that's a beautiful thing.
Just don't let the magnitude of your love turn you into a reckless animal that destroys your relationship because you don't know how to control the feels.