Like love, jealousy has been a source of inspiration in music, literature, theatre and film. They are universal feelings that transcend language barriers and geographical borders. But, unlike love, which when we feel it we like to shout it from the rooftops, not many people openly admit to being jealous.
Be that as it may, jealousy is an emotion that dates back to the beginning of the human species. It can be said that it is present in every human bond, it is almost undeniable in any kind of affective relationship. If for some people feeling jealousy is the most normal thing in the world, it is like a way of exercising passion, of spicing up an idyll, for others it reveals an unhealthy inclination that generates guilt.
An inferiority complex
So why are we jealous? "We are jealous because basically we are also unfaithful", answers Luis Gómez Jacinto, PhD in Psychology, Spanish Professor of Social Psychology.
Dr. Gómez Jacinto explains that jealousy is a common feeling. However, if it is so common, one has to ask: Is jealousy normal? "Yes, it is normal, it has been in all cultures, it has been present since the Stone Age, but that does not mean it is good, not everything that is natural is good".
Does jealousy hide an inferiority complex, a feeling of insecurity? Dr. Gómez Jacinto states that jealousy brings to the table the valuation of our own identity. There are certain qualities in the rival that generate more jealousy: his or her physical presence, dominance, his or her character.
Jealousy may be universal, but it varies, at least in its form of expression depending on whether male or female. Dr. Gómez Jacinto explains that 70 percent of women are more concerned about emotional infidelity and 30 percent about sexual infidelity. This percentage is reversed in men.
We have already seen that there are differences between men and women, but what about the geographical location of the jealous person, does it have an influence, and is jealousy culturally dependent?
These questions were posed to Dr. Abraham Buunk, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Groningen, who is in charge of the research on jealousy carried out jointly by the Universities of Groningen in the Netherlands, Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Valencia in Spain. Dr Buunk began researching the subject of jealousy in the 1970s. "There are cultural differences, you see that in some cultures, men are more possessive and jealous, but this is related to the degree of freedom to choose a partner.
If a man chooses his partner, he knows that he will stay by her side by personal choice. On the other hand, when the choice is less free, as is the case in Arab and Eastern countries, men tend to guard their wives and adopt a very possessive attitude towards their partners.
The research between the three universities (Groningen in the Netherlands, Valencia in Spain and Palermo in Buenos Aires) revealed that jealousy differs in Argentina and Spain with respect to the Netherlands, but also between 'warmer' cultures such as Spain and Argentina. Jealousy is not limited to the emotional sphere but also extends to the workplace, or is it more correct to speak of envy?
Jealousy is intrinsically related to love, no matter the place or the age to feel it, because as an old Turkish proverb says, there are no roses without thorns, nor love without jealousy.