Jealousy is unmistakable. It hurts. As The Oxford English Dictionary
describes it, jealousy is a state of mind arising from the “suspicion, apprehension, or knowledge of rivalry” and affects our body before it reaches the mind. Our best poets have not missed the physical sting of jealousy. Milton speaks of it as the “injured lover’s hell,” Dryden calls it “jaundice of the soul,” and Shakespeare, “the green-ey’d monster.” French moralist La Rochefoucauld adds: “Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty.” From all accounts, jealousy seems to be an apt response to an impending disaster. But why does a jealous individual call upon such a painful mental device to protect himself? Jealousy cannot possibly be a human aberration. And what is the appeal of such a dreadful feeling that sticks to a person like a second skin? It seems to answer some fundamental yearnings.
While jealousy’s torments may drive some people to seek psychological help, an addiction to this thrilling malady is not easily cured. Many of us assume that it is normal to be jealous when we love. After all, one doesn’t plan to be jealous. It happens. Jealousy springs without warning, making a man doubt his worth and charm. He loses his bearings, and the world around him suddenly shrinks. “She didn’t pick up her cell phone, yet she knew it was me!” he says of his girlfriend. When a jealous man starts on the course of this powerful emotion he becomes entranced, he can’t let go. Jealousy becomes a thrill whose excitement he both seeks and dreads.
Excerpted from Jealousy by Marcianne Blevis. . Excerpted by permission of Other Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.