Duana Welch (@duanawelch) is known for applying social science to people’s real-life relationship issues at her Love Science blog and in her book Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do.
What We Discuss with Duana Welch:
- How jealousy differs from envy.
- The evolutionary purpose of jealousy and why it affects even the typically cooler-headed among us.
- How we can leverage jealousy like a human smoke detector.
- What makes both men and women jealous, and how we can use that jealousy to move relationships forward rather than tearing them apart.
- Jealousy red flags and warning signs — and rational strategies to employ when we encounter them.
- And much more…
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Jealousy. It’s an ugly emotion capable of ruining dinner parties, igniting fistfights, breaking up lifelong friendships, and wrecking marriages. But it also happens to be as natural a part of our human makeup as upright posture and Facebook divisiveness.
Joining us to explain the evolutionary purpose of jealousy and how we can use it for positive outcomes rather than allowing it to ruin our lives is Dr. Duana Welch, Love Science blogger and author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!
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More About This Show
Most of us have encountered the destructive potential of jealousy at some point in our lives. Even on its best behavior, it can make us feel threatened and miserable and disconnected from who we believe ourselves to be. At its worst, it can tear apart friendships, marriages, and even communities.
But as Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do author Dr. Duana Welch explains, jealousy actually serves a very important function that evolved along with us as humans. If we learn to harness it as an instinct for our survival rather than a burden to our comfort, jealousy is like a sixth sense that benefits us and the decisions we make in any relationship.
Jealousy vs. Envy
We all know what jealousy feels like, but what is jealousy? And is it the same as envy, or is that an entirely different animal?
“Envy refers to things that we don’t have, but we would like to have,” says Duana. “I’ve had quite a few clients who were envious of other people’s close marriages. They want to be married, they want their marriage to be great, and they feel a lot of envy when they see that in someone else. They’re envying something they don’t have — it’s kind of the same thing as being covetous.
“Jealousy is being scared or angry about the possibility of losing someone you already have.”
Simply put, envy is about acquisition; jealousy is about retention.
Why Does Jealousy Exist?
When we spot jealousy in someone else, we may make a snap judgment about what we perceive to be immaturity. When we spot it in ourselves, we might feel guilty for how it makes us behave counter to our natural state. But it’s actually perfectly natural for humans to feel jealousy because it serves a purpose that evolved along with our species.
“Jealousy is kind of like a smoke detector,” says Duana. “It tells us when either somebody else is about to steal our mate, or when our mate…is open [to being stolen].”
Like a sixth sense, jealousy makes us aware of the intentions of people who envy a relationship we have so much that they’re willing to try to break it up by stealing away our partner, or it clues us in when our partner is considering a break from us.
So jealousy itself isn’t a problem. The problems arise when we allow this jealousy to take over and goad us into acting irrationally.
“Our Spidey senses, when it comes to jealousy, they come from caveman person times,” Duana says. “And the feelings that we have are feelings that cavemen and cavewomen had, but you can’t really handle it like a caveman did or you look like a jealous a-hole!”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Jordan successfully asserted his status at a party on a date in college that could have easily devolved into a jealousy-fueled meltdown, why jealousy is a feature — not a bug, how jealousy manifests (and is defended) differently in men and women, the mechanics of jealousy, how jealousy is used as a test, the problems with mating-centrism, common dating fails, how we might prevent our own jealousy from getting out of control — and ensure we don’t fall victim to the consequences of someone else’s unchecked jealousy, and lots more.
THANKS, DUANA WELCH!
If you enjoyed this session with Duana Welch, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].
Resources from This Episode:
- Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do by Duana Welch
- Love Science Media
- Duana Welch at Twitter
- The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating by David M. Buss
- TJHS 27: David Eagleman | How Your Brain Makes Sense of the World
- Sex Differences in Jealousy: Evolution, Physiology, and Psychology by David M. Buss et al., Psychological Science
- Men and Women Show Distinct Brain Activations during Imagery of Sexual and Emotional Infidelity by H. Takahashi et al., NeuroImage
- Inducing Jealousy: A Power Perspective by Gregory L. White, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
- Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species by Sarah Hrdy
- Sexual Strategies Theory: An Evolutionary Perspective on Human Mating by D.M. Buss and D.P. Schmitt, Psychological Review
- The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill by David M. Buss