Jealousy affects all sexual orientations – heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual etc.

There is always a triadic relationship when jealousy arises, and it is evident in all gender orientations. I have, for example, come across intense toxic jealousy in homosexual relationships. In the Old Testament there is God, his people and rival gods. In Shakespearean drama you have Othello, his wife (Desdemona), and Cassio. In reality there is no relationship between Cassio and Desdemona. Either Othello was gullible when he was deceived by the ploys of the cunning Iago, or he had toxic jealousy! In toxic jealousy the third person in the relationship is generally a figment of the jealous person’s imagination. Sometimes, and in what seems to be a contradiction, the fictional third party is used by the jealous person as an excuse to abandon a relationship, ironically because of fear of abandonment. Nancy Friday sums it up well when she wrote that she treacherously dreamt of her partner’s next lover. Nancy’s unfortunate and unsuspecting successor will soon become the target, and on it goes destroying relationship after relationship. Generally speaking, it is not the rival, but the partner, who attracts the ire of the jealous person, although a rival by his or her flirtatious behaviour can do so. This can be the case in both normal and toxic jealousy.
Toxic or core jealousy is the great destroyer of relationships, where so much fruitless energy goes into driving a partner away and sometimes those afflicted with toxic jealousy can be jealous of their own children. Jealousy of one’s children is often unconscious, but I have heard mothers voice it clearly. It is one of the most self-defeating and self-destructive traits known, where even threats of suicide are used to control and isolate the victim. There is plenty of evidence that such threats may also be real, because the pain of jealousy can generate suicidal thoughts, and suicide can on rare occasions be a futile act of jealous revenge. It is generally accompanied by all or nothing thinking. Jealousy at first excites the lover, who feels flattered at such intense attention. She thinks she is being adored rather than trapped, but that soon changes with the emotional strangulation. Yet despite the torture suffered by this asphyxiation, the sad fact is that faithfulness rather than betrayal is the norm in most relationships. I have seldom seen a case even in an abusive relationship, where the victim does not strive to save the relationship in the face of all odds. This is a sad and ironic reality.

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