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!
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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@example.com.
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
Transcript for Duana Welch | The Science of Jealousy and How To Manage It (Episode 37)
Duana Welch: [00:00:00] I actually do get a hefty number of letters from women who say, “I know you say to let the guy pay the tab, but I feel really uncomfortable with it. I'm a professional. I make lots of money. I don't really need his money. I don't want him to think I'm a gold digger. And a lot of women do feel guilty about this. I want to emphasize that, and yet at the same time, here's how the letter ends, “And I paid for my own dinner. I didn't like him anymore and I can't figure out why.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:25] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFillippo. Today we're talking with Duana Welch. She's a friend of the show and author of Love Factually. See what you did there. Today, jealousy. You mad, bro? Jealousy is something that's gotten to all of us from time to time, especially in our intimate relationships. We'll discover what jealousy actually is and why we've evolved this complex emotion that doesn't seem to do us any favors most of the time. We'll also see why jealousy is different than envy and why jealousy isn't just something that affects those of us who are immature or overly emotional, but as a completely natural mate-retention strategy, unless of course it all goes wrong. And we'll also explore what makes both men and women jealous and how we use jealousy in our relationships to move those relationships forward and of course, occasionally, torpedo them.
[00:01:13] And we'll also get a heads up on some red flags, warning signs as well as some strategies we can employ when jealousy rears its ugly head and seems to be getting in the way of our relationships and our happiness. Don't forget, we've got a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of all the key takeaways here from Duana Welch. That link is in the show notes at JordanHarbinger.com/podcast. Now, here's Duana Welch. Duana, thanks for coming back on. It's been a minute, but as always, kind of a fan favorite so it's good to have you back.
Duana Welch: [00:01:42] It's great to be on your show too. I always enjoy your fans so much.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:46] So a topic I wanted to get into with you here is jealousy. I know you used to lecture about it. I know it's interesting for a lot of people who've dealt with jealousy, whether they're the jealous one or it's somebody else as the jealous one in their relationships. Jealousy was always kind of a mystery to me because it tends to ruin so many relationships. And I thought, what is the purpose of this? You know, why is this a thing that so many people do? It ruined so many relationships. It makes people miserable. It obviously has some kind of roots in evolutionary psychology and I want to hear about what those roots are. And I think that you've probably got some great stories to sort of illustrate this. So I want to leverage your knowledge here and discuss jealousy -- what it is, why we do it, and what we can do to counteract it, or if we even want to.
Duana Welch: [00:02:35] Absolutely. You know, I think the easiest way to think about statistics is to tell stories because humans didn't evolve with stats. We evolved with stories. So I'd like to start with two stories, real stories that people have told me about their own lives. And these are both women who were telling me these stories. It was about jealousy in their partners or lack of jealousy in their partners. So the first woman is an attorney, she is or was dating the same man that she had had as her first love in high school. They were together in high school, then they broke up. Then they got back together after she was an attorney. And the hard thing was he started getting really, really jealous and she wanted to write to me about his issue with jealousy and she didn't understand why he was jealous and it was really bothering her.
[00:03:22] So I said, “Well, can you tell me a little bit more about him other than you went to high school together?” She said, “Well, yeah, you know, he never really went to school after high school. He still lives with his mom, he works for his mom's business.” And I said, “Can you send me a picture?” She sent me a picture and you know, they might've been well matched in high school, but they weren't anymore. She was now a lot better looking and a lot more successful than he was. And so then I asked her, “Do you, in fact, get approached by lots of men?” And she said, “Well, I do get invited to a lot of functions as an attorney. And yeah, I get approached by other guys.” And I said, “Well, how do you feel about those other guys? Do you ever think about maybe giving your number to one of them when they ask?” And she said, “Well, yeah, I do think about it.” Well, gee, I wonder why her boyfriend was jealous.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:14] Yeah. In other words, he's totally, his fears are well-founded.
Duana Welch: [00:04:18] Yeah. Yeah. But then there's this other story of a woman whose husband was not jealous. She got deeply enmeshed in an affair, as most women would define it. It was an emotional affair. She was spending a lot of time talking to this guy. They actually had planned to meet a couple of times. They did not have sex, but the woman was so distressed that she was getting her emotional needs met somewhere else that she told her husband about it and he had the question men usually have -- which is…
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:49] Did you sleep with him?
Duana Welch: [00:04:50] Exactly! See? You’re a guy. You know what question he had, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:53] Yeah, Of course.
Duana Welch: [00:04:54] Yeah. And she said, “No.” So what do you think his response was?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:57] “Oh well, then don't worry about it.”
Duana Welch: [00:04:59] Exactly. And she was flabbergasted. How is it that something she would define as an affair? He didn't define as an affair at all. And interestingly, evolutionary psychology gives us the keys to both of these stories, how the genders leveraged jealousy, whether they leveraged jealousy, all kinds of fascinating stuff. And of course jealousy has a really dark side too. As you started the show with.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:21] Yeah, of course, I want to discuss all those things in a bit. And I'm very interested in this because of course I can guess that -- I don't want to phrase this wrong, but the way that men look at relationships and the function that women play in reproduction is different than the function men play in reproduction for women as far as each of the genders views it. And I think that's probably the reason that we view jealousy through a different lens. And I want to talk about that, but first let's talk about what jealousy is as compared to envy. Because we often use these words interchangeably and I don’t think that it's very helpful when we're trying to understand it because I might be envious that somebody else got a specific opportunity, but I'm not really jealous in the way that we're explaining it today.
Duana Welch: [00:06:07] Exactly. So envy refers to things that we don't have, but we would like to have such as, 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 yet. 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.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:37] Got it. Okay. One is about retention and the other one is about acquisition.
Duana Welch: [00:06:39] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:42] Okay, so what sort of function are we looking for from jealousy? It exists for a reason. It's hardwired in us, I assume. What does it do? Let's start off easy, what the heck do we need this for?
Duana Welch: [00:06:55] You know, when I was a social scientist but I didn't know anything about relationships psychology yet, I was really stymied by this because I would notice men getting jealous who I have noticed even more distressing to me that I would feel jealous and I wonder where the hell is this coming from? I felt really immature and of course people criticize others for feeling jealousy. So the short answer is that jealousy -- it's kind of like a smoke detector. It tells us when either somebody else's about to steal our mate or when our mate is going to be stolen. That is our mate is open to it. Kind of like that jealous boyfriend with the attorney girlfriend. He wasn't wrong. I mean she was in fact a little bit open to being taken away by someone else and there were other people attempting to capture her attention. So those are the two big purposes. Now the genders have very specific inherited mating psychology beyond that, which I'd like to get to in a little while.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:52] Okay. So one is about keeping others from stealing our mates and the other one is about keeping our mates from being stolen.
Duana Welch: [00:07:59] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:00] Well, in one instance as you'd sort of mentioned, we have to monitor other people's behavior and then in the other we have to monitor the behavior of the person that we're with.
Duana Welch: [00:08:08] Yes, precisely. And jealousy is very finely tuned all around the globe to do both of those things. You can see this in couples where they argue after they've been to parties. It's an amazingly surprising example in the research literature on jealousy about men especially who are monitoring not only their mates, but the other men in the room's behavior at parties. You know, why did you talk to him? Three different men came up to you, I'm going to go put my arm around you right now. So they backed the hell off, that kind of thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:43] Yeah. I remember having to deal with this a lot in college. You date an attractive gal and you bring her to a party full of scientists or something like that or lawyers and it's like, “Oh well, I'm going to move in on this”, and they were right ways to handle it and there her definitely wrong ways to handle it. That's for sure.
Duana Welch: [00:08:59] I'd be curious to hear what your experience was at the right and wrong ways to handle it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:04] It sort of depends on where you are in the relationship and what I mean by that is if it's a first date or second date or third date and you're sort of new, it's a new relationship with somebody. You have to be very careful because you don't want to say, “No, I have out of control jealousy issues”, right? If you have been in a relationship for awhile, your jealousy issues, if they are out of control, needed to be addressed and if they're not then you want a signal, “Hey, I'm a little bit jealous but I'm not going to make it awkward.
[00:09:31] Just enough for you or your significant other or a girlfriend, in my case, to feel enough jealousy that she gets that switch flipped without you going, “I'm going to ruin the whole night” and be weirdly jealous about it. So if it's a new relationship, I'm thinking of one specific incident where I had, it might've been the second or third time I was hanging out with this gal and we had been friends for a minute but not super close and we were, I think it might've been our second or third date, I took her to a party, it was full of philosophers and scientists and stuff like that. I don't mean famous, I mean a college party full of students of those subjects. And I remember floating around the party and talking and she was holding her own with a couple of people. And then I realized after a while she was surrounded by like three guys and then one of the guys sort of peeled away and then it was these two guys who I thought, okay, these are sort of the Alpha guys of the philosophy department.
[00:10:27] You know, they're in good shape, they're chatting with her. And she came with me. But I knew that they were kind of turning their back to me to cut me out of the conversation. So instead of trying to regain status by budding my way in and competing, because I didn't need to do that, I already brought her there in the first place. I went around and chatted with other people, made a drink and I caught eye contact with her probably every 15 minutes or so, maybe 10 minutes or so. And I would mouthed the words, “Are you okay?” Or like do a thumbs up with a questioning set of eyes. And she would smile and nod and I was just checking in on her to make sure she was okay. That was a really good way to handle this because what it signals to her was, “I'm not really jealous.
[00:11:07] I know that those guys are talking to you. I'm not worried about it. And in that way I was able to kind of, I don't want to say jump those guys, but I was able to solidify, “Look, I'm not ignoring you. I'm also not letting these guys encroach on this particular date or relationship, but I'm also not going to elbow my way in there and go, ‘This is mine. Get away from her.’ I'm not going to compete with them, especially not in front of you.” And so by not doing that, I was able to in a way, win that competition because I said, I'm above this competition, but I want to make sure that you're okay and you don't think I'm ignoring you. And that worked out really well. And she told me about that a few days or weeks later. She said, “Nobody handles those situations like that. That was really great and it showed me that you're not going to be a jealous a-hole. And that was a huge turn on.”
Duana Welch: [00:11:52] Yeah. I got to say you handled that wonderfully. It's funny, our spidey senses when it comes to jealousy, they come from cave person times and the feelings that we have are feelings that cavemen and cave women had. But you can't really handle it like a cave man did. Or you look like a jealous A-hole.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:10] Right. Yeah. You can't walk up behind the guy and smash a plate over his head and say, “Why are you talking to my woman?”
Duana Welch: [00:12:15] Exactly. Nor can you drag her up by the hair. That's a bad idea. And as you know, we're going to talk later on about, you know, ways that men and women handle jealousy. But the way you handled that was wonderful because you actually asserted your status by showing that you were confident enough to walk away and just check in now and then. Your behavior did not say, “You mean nothing to me”, which would not have been appreciated by her. It said, “You mean quite a bit to me, but I'm going to handle this in a classy way.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:43] Right. I don't need to control your behavior because I'm giving you enough agency, but I'm also making sure that these guys aren't literally cornering you.
Duana Welch: [00:12:51] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:52] So she felt safe and desired at the same time, which was important. I think if you're in a longer term relationship, you really do handle it maybe the same way, but you probably have to check in less with somebody that you're married to or you've been dating for a few years, 10 or 15 minutes. It might be a little bit too often and you just need to make sure that actually, I don't even know. It's probably the same way no matter what. It's just that in this situation, I did put a little bit more attention to her because I didn't want her to think that I wasn't interested just because I wasn't elbowing these guys out of the way or something like that.
Duana Welch: [00:13:29] Yeah, did it make you a little more interested in her to see that a lot of other people were interested?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:33] I didn't need that. She was a total smoke show. She is gorgeous and a head turner and everybody at school was just like, “Wow, this girl is amazing.” And I remember thinking when I went out with her, I remember friends of mine saying, “Wait, you have a date with who?” And I was like, “Yeah, I know. I can't believe it either. Don't tell anyone.” It was kind of like that was one of those, Holy crap, this is really happening kind of deals. So yeah, I didn't need that turned up any more than it already was.
Duana Welch: [00:14:01] You know, we were mentioning where sexual jealousy comes from and the fact that it comes from cave person days. You know, jealousy is a feature, not a bug. We started off by saying, “Oh, jealousy causes so many problems and it can, but it's a feature, not a bug. Can you imagine an ancestral past where men really didn't care who their woman went off with?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:21] Yeah. It doesn't make a lot of sense right? Because you could end up raising someone else's kid. You could end up losing the ability to reproduce entirely. You just never know.
Duana Welch: [00:14:31] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:32] And that's where a lot of this whole women-are-property and ancient religions stuff comes from, I would imagine, right? When you see really strict interpretations of any religion, you see that this behavior is likely rooted in that particular fear.
Duana Welch: [00:14:47] Absolutely. I'm writing my second book now and I just finished a couple of chapter about evolutionary psychology, jealousy, how to tell if you're with somebody dangerous, those sorts of things. And yes, all over the world, if you find a culture that is really strict about women's behavior, they're not strict about men's. What's happening is that men are guarding their ability to make sure that it's their genes they're casting forward. Even though of course, men, they're not thinking like that. They're not thinking necessarily that, you know, if I don't have chastity belts in my life and make my woman wear one, then when I go off to war, she might have sex with somebody else and therefore I would be unwittingly raising another man's child. Most men don't consciously think this way. They just know that the idea of a woman's sexual behavior with another man, frankly is enraging.
[00:15:38] It's not just fearful research finds that it's basically, it's just about the top way to enrage somebody with X, Y chromosomes. And you can imagine that if a woman really didn't care what happened with sexuality between her man and another woman, she didn't care, especially about his emotional investment in another woman. What do you think is going to happen to her?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:01] Right. She could be impregnated and then he's like, “Oh, sucks to be you. See you later. I'm done here.”
Duana Welch: [00:16:06] Yeah, because guess you men typically run off with the woman they're in love with. So if she loses his emotional attachment, if she doesn't monitor that, then yeah, she can have children. She knows it's a genetic slam dunk for her. But her provision of protection just took a hike with somebody else. And it's not necessarily true that the family's going to step in. It's funny, I've read some opinion pieces where they say, “Yeah, but you know, humans evolved in groups and the group would take care of the children.”
[00:16:34] Good luck with that. I think that when we see things, and by the way, I want to make crystal clear that I disagree with this. I think it's despicable, deplorable and should not exist. But nonetheless, there are plenty of cultures, way too many that stone women for sexual behavior. They literally kill women for sexual behavior. Right? Well, I think that that's really about this idea that we have to keep women locked down so they don't pass genes forward with anyone that we, the guys, don't think that they should. And that's really caveman mating psychology coming forward. Our psychology doesn't come from right now. I mean, you see, you watch my Facebook, I'm politically liberal. I'm a feminist. I'm very outspoken about women's issues, about issues of immigration and treating minorities well, all of that stuff. And at the same time, I see where these less desirable aspects of our behavior come from.
[00:17:35] And I hate to admit it to some small degree, some of them still have relevance. For example, we do still need to care who our partner sleeps with if we don't care about that, there's lots of evidence right now today that you could in fact as a guy face raising somebody's kids, somebody else's kids unwittingly. It's funny. I know that you've had David Buss on your Art of Charm show before. I love him. I'm a big fan of his work. In fact, I'm citing a lot of it today and he says that he was talking to geneticists about some of their research and they told him and they wouldn't go on the record. They wouldn't let them use their names. They told them that large percentages, I think it was like upwards of 10% of the people in their genetic studies on families were being raised by a guy who thought he was the dad but wasn't. It's still an issue today.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:35] Yeah, that's an uncomfortable thought for most guys, I would imagine.
Duana Welch: [00:18:38] Absolutely. I totally get it. You know, I mean it's one thing to knowingly, my husband and I are, this isn't our first rodeo, and so my child is my child by a former marriage and he has a child that he adopted and he would happily adopt my kid too. But he would be knowingly doing that. That's a whole different ball of wax than, “Hey, it's fine. You just have sex with whoever you want and I'll just raise whoever's kids. It doesn't matter if they're my kids or not.” This is so hardwired into men that even though today we have birth control and we have things like tubal ligation, that's where women get their tubes tied and they can't have kids anymore. So even though we have those things today, it's not like men think, “Oh yeah, just go have sex with anyone. You can't have kids with them anyway. You've had your tubes tied.” Of course they still care because their mating psychology comes from a time when none of that existed.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:32] Yeah, well when we think about it, we're not thinking, “What if she becomes pregnant by this other guy and then I have to raise the kid?” That's not the immediate image that we have in our head. When we get jealous, it's a little bit more visceral so we're not necessarily going to say, “Oh, it's fine. You know, he used protection.” That's not, that is a different type of arrangement that some people have, I suppose.
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[00:22:30] So jealousy is not just some immature behavior pattern that young guys who are insecure have. So when we see someone who's jealous, it's not, “Oh, there's just so insecure. How? How dare you, you should evolve past this.” It's not really something we can choose to switch off completely.
Duana Welch: [00:22:46] No, it's not. And that's because jealousy is largely taken care of by the right side of the brain, which is unconscious. The left side, the left hemisphere of your brain is devoted to language and conscious thought. The right side is actually filled with, to some extent the psychology that runs your desk, your active desktop. It's kind of the program behind all the programs and instead of communicating with you directly, because it can't do that, it tends to make its benefit known or its needs known rather by giving you emotions. So you know, what would we have evolved at all if we needed to think things like, “She has a 0.7 waist to hip ratio, which indicates maximum fertility and fecundity. I shall tap that.” No, you just have to think, “Whoa! She's hot. I want to do that.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:39] Right. Yeah. We don't have these Terminator displays reading the screen across our eyeball. You know, we don't have that happening. At least not yet. And even if we did, we wouldn't need it because our unconscious brain has already made those calculations in, I don’t know, milliseconds? I don't really need to stare at a woman for too long to be like, “You know, I've been thinking about it. She is attractive. Took me a few minutes here.” But no, it's kind of like I could be driving and navigating using my phone at the same time. And then I see out of the corner of my eye peripheral vision, I'm like, “I could tell that girl was pretty attractive.” I don't even have to turn my head, I just know. In fact my wife's in the car, I'm not going to turn my head at all because I also don't want to run into a lamp post or anything while I'm driving or get caught. So I'm just going to let that one slide. Yeah, we don't have to consciously think about this and we do know, I think David Eagleman who was on the show a couple of weeks ago, he and I had discussed that our unconscious brain communicates to our conscious mind through emotions as well. And jealousy is just one of those emotions as well. So how is jealousy actually helpful? Should we be paying attention to this or is this something that's outdated now?
Duana Welch: [00:24:47] No, it's not outdated. Like I said, there's still plenty of cuckold re-happening. There's still plenty of men who run off with the woman that they were just having an affair with, but then they fell in love with her. So it remains a relevant emotion. David Buss likes to liken it to a smoke detector. We would never say, “Oh, you're so immature for having a smoke detector in your home.” We think that smart and insurance companies actually want you to have a few of those in places like near your bedrooms, right? We need a smoke detector because it tells us when our relationship house is about to go up in flames. So it turns out that a lot of people who think that jealousy is immature, they get convinced of this often by partners who are in fact cheating on them. But who say, “Oh my God, I can't believe how immature you are.”
[00:25:34] It’s just somebody who's frankly gas-lighting you so they can get away with untoward behavior, right? So, you know when the right side of your brain sends a signal to your conscious side, the left side of your brain through the corpus callosum, which are the axons that divide the two sides, what you feel is an emotion more than anything else. But that emotion is there. Like the smoke detector is there, the smoke detector does not say this is the specific place where the problem exists. It just says there's a problem. Go find it. And so if your gut tells you there's a problem, then you should probably go find it. Really, unless, and we're going to get to this later when we talked about the dark side of jealousy. Unless you're just a jealous person. If this is a character logical thing with you, then yeah, we're going to talk about that later.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:22] Let's talk first about what makes men jealous and then we'll talk about what makes women jealous and why this happens. You've got some science behind this. I'd love to discuss that. So you've done and others scientists, real scientists, other than me, have done experiments on emotions, stated and biologically shown. I'd love to discuss the mechanics of jealousy then.
Duana Welch: [00:26:40] This is the most fascinating thing. It is true that both men and women are finely tuned to discern whether somebody else's moving in on the mate or whether the mate is open to that or even the mate is looking for another partner. But what's really interesting is the sexes are interested in this for really different reasons. So we know that research shows that men and women alike are equivalently likely to be able to feel jealousy. But what's fascinating is they don't feel it for the same reasons. For example, if you ask men to imagine that their partner's falling in love with someone else and to imagine that their partner's having sex with someone else and then you just say which one bothers you more, 60% of men are substantially more bothered by imagining that their partner's having sex with someone else.
[00:27:34] It's not like Even Steven here. Or you can also look at in terms of male physiology, a guy named Brian Bunk along with a bunch of other people did this interesting research where actually this was David Buss and Brian Bunk then later did the same research in the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and Germany. So when I say what these results are, you can take it for granted that this is to the extent we have data, it's global. He hooked people up to devices that detect how much you're sweating, which indicates stress, detect how much your brow is knitting, which indicates whether you're frowning and whether you're worried about something and detects your heart rate, which tends to spike when you are in fight or flight mode, right? And this was a between subjects design and what that means to the non nerds out there is that people either imagined that their partner, their real life partner was having sex with someone else.
[00:28:31] They were given this kind of, it was almost like a guided meditation thing where they're asked to imagine details of this. Or, they were asked to imagine that their partner was falling in love with someone else. And again, they were guided to imagine this in pretty vivid detail. What was fascinating is men's heart rates and, not their blood pressure, their brow contraction and their heart, their sweating. They all increased mostly as a result of thinking about their partner having sex. A lot of men actually felt, you know, pretty steady in terms of their physiological response when they were imagining their partner falling in love with someone else.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:13] Yeah. It's so weird, but I can totally understand this. You know, because someone falling in love with someone else, it just seems a little bit vague. Whereas the imagery of sex is so much less so for me and I think probably for most people, but it just seems almost a little bit implausible as well. Like, “Oh, of course I would notice that before anything really negative happened”, but then, you know but sexual intercourse, it's like, “Oh my god! It's so quick.” Well at least for me, but it can happen. It could happen so quickly is what I actually meant to say. But I think it's funny. Or we’re going to leave that one in. The idea that this is something where, “Oh my God, you've got to keep an eye on them at all times”, I understand how this can get out of control and go that route, even in a healthy relationship because it's based on the guy's insecurities and we'll get to that, or the woman's in securities for that matter. We'll get to that in a bit. But I think the idea behind what men say to explain or excuse their affairs also is very telling about what function this has in the brain. Can you speak to that a little?
Duana Welch: [00:30:20] Yeah. So all around the world when men defend themselves against affairs, they say, “But she didn't mean anything to me.” And that usually goes a long way actually toward getting a guy off the hook. Can you imagine a woman's saying, “Well, yeah, we had sex, but he didn't mean anything to me.” And a guy being like, “Well, cool.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:39] Oh yeah, no, that would not work. Does not work on the other, when the shoe's on the other foot.
Duana Welch: [00:30:44] Yeah. And so in brain scans, Takahashi and a bunch of other people did this research where they did brain scans of men and women who are imagining emotional and sexual affairs of their partners. And what was really interesting is men's jealousy is processed in a different part of the brain. It's processed in the hypothalamus and the amygdala. Amygdala is associated with rage and fear.
[00:31:07] And the hypothalamus is associated with sexuality. And so basically you see really, “Okay. This is where the caveman is coming from.” The parts of the brain that say, “I’m angry, clubbing you over the head now”, are involved when men feel jealous. Men feel real rage when they contemplate this, but usually only with sexual jealousy, not with emotional jealousy. Jealousy of an emotional affair. Again, a lot of men don't define an emotional affair as an affair at all. So it's really interesting because women construed this so differently. And the reason is that women and men have essentially different evolutionary problems. So men have an evolutionary problem that no woman ever has faced. And namely, the problem in scientific jargon is called paternity assurance. Men in the ancient past never could prove that the kid was really theirs. They had to assume it.
[00:32:06] You know, we, human females, do not have obvious ovulation. A lot of species do. You know, chimps have swelling in their nether pedals so that any male can see she's ready, but humans don't have that. Our signs are a lot less obvious. We do have signs by the way. The waist gets slightly narrower. For example, as women approach ovulation, women move differently as they approach ovulation. They feel more sexual as they approach ovulation. Their skin seems smoother and shinier and just more appealing as they approach ovulation. But these aren't knock-you-over-the-head kind of signs. Men in the ancient past would not have known for sure whether it was safe to go off hunting with their friends and leave grog to watch all the women because they don't know if their woman's going to have sex with grog and they don't know if she is fertile or not.
[00:33:00] They don't have those concepts. And again, that's where our mating psychology comes from. It doesn't come from the days of EPT. When you can get an early pregnancy test, you can actually take a test for when you're going to ovulate pretty specifically now. That's not where our mating psychology comes from. So men have had to evolve a mechanism for carrying very much and monitoring closely whether they are being cheated on sexually, but as long as a caveman brought home the wild boar, his wife was not actually likely, first of all to stray. Women usually are pretty faithful to guys who can take care of them and their physical needs and their safety needs and who are committed to them. When women have affairs, it's very often because they're very unhappy in the relationship. So a happy wife, you know how they say happy wife, happy life.
[00:33:55] That's really, really true. And it's interesting that men's first line of defense against jealousy when they feel jealousy is to start paying more attention to their women because that actually really works. Then the woman is happy and you don't face that much threat anymore. But all of this is geared towards satisfying paternity assurance. Men didn't have to worry about women's emotions or emotional affair. They had to worry about a woman who actually had sex. So yes, men take care of a woman's emotions because that will usually keep her from having sex with someone else. Your caveman mating psychology is mostly oriented around making sure she doesn't have sex with anybody else.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:40] Okay. This makes sense. It's evolved. We don't have to feel guilty about it unless it's getting out of control. We'll talk about what out of control means in a second, but what about women? What makes women jealous? We already discussed emotional affairs and things like that, but what do women say to explain an excuse their affairs and what kind of experiments have we seen on women's emotions that we can point to that proves this concept?
Duana Welch: [00:35:04] Yeah. Women usually say, “Oh, I didn't have sex with him.” Women seem to know that that's where the rubber meets the road. Men will admit, “Yeah. I had sex with her, but I didn't love her”, because that gets them off the hook. Women will just stop at, “You know what? I didn't have sex with him” or “Yeah, I was attracted to him. Yeah. I really, maybe I was even starting to fall but I didn't have sex with him”, because women know that men are at some gut level, women understand that men are concerned with paternity assurance. Again, that is a gut level feeling. It's an emotion. It's not logically and consciously accessible to most of us without the help of the scientific lens.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:43] Although it's not a big mystery because the first thing he's going to say is, I mean, he’s not even going to finish the first sentence before asking, “Did you sleep with him?” It's going to be so fast. I don't think you have to be Sherlock Holmes to think, “Oh, well, I'll just say no to that and hopefully I'll be off the hook.”
Duana Welch: [00:36:00] Absolutely. But what's interesting is that women don't normally ask that question first. The question women ask is not, “Did you sleep with her?” What do you think the question women ask is?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:10] Did you love her?
Duana Welch: [00:36:11] Exactly, and this is a really clear window into how our ancestors solved problems. Look, there probably were men and women in the ancestral past in evolutionary time who were devil-may-care. They really didn't care who slept with whom and you know those people may be part of human history but they're not probably our ancestors. The people alive today are the product of what worked and what worked was women caring about men's emotional fidelity because the biggest predictor of whether a man really will take all his stuff and give it to another woman is whether he loves the other woman and what women are really asking with that question is, “Do you mean to tell me that I have literally risked my life by having sex with you?
[00:36:59] We're here in the cave and I have risked my life getting pregnant. I could have died at any point in pregnancy. I could have died at any point in childbirth. I'm going to be nursing this kid for four to five years. I require a lot more calories during that time. I'm a lot more susceptible to all kinds of bad stuff happening to me and you're going to take my protection of my provision and give it to someone else? This puts me and my kids at great risk of death.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:26] Yeah. “Some other cave, bitch! How dare you?”
Duana Welch: [00:37:27] Yes. How dare she? How dare you? I hate both of you. It's just like when men say, “Did you have sex with him?” The question behind the question is, “Wait, let me get this straight. So you mean that I've given up most of my other sexual opportunities. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them and I have given all my resources to you. Yes. Also to the group, but I have made you look good by giving all my resources to you, and our kin to the exclusion usually of other women, unless you know he's married to other women, but to the exclusion of other people and look, now you're going to just, I've been raising potentially other people's kids? I've been bringing home the wild boar for them? You're actually going to give your sexual resources to someone else? That doesn't fly.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:16] I can understand that. I understand this from an F psych perspective, and of course also, even in modern times, this is still a problem that women have. Kids cost money. You've got to house them, you got to call them, you've got to feed them. So that problem actually hasn't gone anywhere.
Duana Welch: [00:38:34] It hasn't gone anywhere. I was really interested, there was a point at which my family was considering trying to immigrate to Canada and I was really interested, I'm a nerd. What can I say? I got interested in what our poverty rates like in a nation that has a really strong social safety net because Canada's social safety net is a lot stronger than the United States. And it turned out that of everything I could find out the biggest predictor of poverty for women in Canada, again a country with a vast social safety net was being a single mom. That's true in every country where I've looked at the data and that's, you know, I've been looking at the data just for my own, out of curiosity for myself in various countries. I know that when I was a single mother, I felt scared all the time and I had actually a good job, but I felt my ancestral mother's fears were speaking to me from across the millennia saying, “You're not safe. You're not safe, you're not safe.” The moment I was in a solid marriage, again with someone who offered provision and protection, I felt huge relief. Even though I continued working, I've started my own business. He's retired now. I'm the one who is, you know out there always shaking a tail feather. None of that mattered. What mattered to me was that feeling of safety and I got that because my mate wants to be with me and wants to provide and wants to protect and does it.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:43] You've also mentioned in some of our talk pre-show how women use jealousy to move their relationship to the next level, to test men's devotion. How does this look? How does this work and what does this process look like?
Duana Welch: [00:43:56] It's funny. So right off the bat, there's a guy named Gregory White who did research on this topic and right off the bat, twice as many women as men even try to use jealousy to get at a partner. And my assumption was that anyone who uses jealousy is doing it because they're evil. It's like you're just not a good person was my view. But again, seen through the lens of science, I'm wrong. That's why I love science actually, Jordan, is because I am so often wrong. And I think that if people just read science to find the places where agrees with them and they view scientific findings as false, unless they already thought the same thing, that's not the way to go about this. The way to go about this is to assume that science is probably more accurate than we are. And so anyway, it turned out that it was something like half of women had leveraged jealousy at some point in their lives and that 26% of men did.
[00:44:56] So the figures doubled. That alone is interesting. What's really interesting is why women did it. Women did it for two reasons. First of all, they were trying to see if the man was committed to them. They wanted to see by his reaction the strength of his commitment and second of all, they wanted to enhance the level of commitment and you might wonder, “Hey, why doesn't the woman just say, do you love me? How committed are you?” Do you have a guess about why women don't just say it?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:29] It's too easy for the guy to just lie or tell her what she wants to hear instead of putting actions speak louder than words, I suppose.
Duana Welch: [00:45:38] Excellent. That is part of it. There's another side of it which is there's an evolutionary anthropologist named Sarah Hrdy who said one of the funniest yet most accurate things I've ever read about evolutionary site. She said, “Men are one long breeding experiment conducted by women.” Of course the reverse is also true. Women are one long breeding experiment conducted by men. Women have, as far as we know, forever since there were women and men, they prefer to mate with men who have resources and who would devote those resources to them and their kin. That means they preferred men with status, which means that today men strongly prefer to have status. Who do you suppose is typically the more ambitious of the sexes? Men. Who do you suppose typically expresses more ambition? Men. Who do you suppose typically actually works really hard to get more resources? Men. You know, I mean there is a lot to the idea that societies routinely try to keep women from gaining most of the resources, but it's also true that a lot of women don't even put themselves in the running and I think we can look back to evolutionary psychology.
[00:46:47] I don't want to indicate here by the way, Jordan, that biology is destiny and women can't be ambitious. I'm very ambitious. I have three degrees. I have a certification. I've written a book, I'm writing my next book. I own my own business. I see clients all over the world. I am very ambitious, but I'm kind of an outlier. Most women don't feel that way. So I'm saying if you feel that way and you're a woman listening to this, good for you. If you don't feel that way and you're a man, that's fine. But what I'm saying is that women shaped men to be ambitious and to value high status. And where I'm going with all this is how high status is a woman who has to ask how you feel about her. Men don't like it. They see it as a clingy, desperate, low status move. And there's never been a perfume called Desperation.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:36] That's true. It wouldn't sell very well. I don't think.
Duana Welch: [00:47:38] It doesn't. It doesn't. When women are trying to find out how you feel and if you can feel even more, and they have found through experience that if they just ask the plain question and do what everyone tells you to do, which is just talk about it, be completely honest, be completely transparent, they pay a price for that. So not surprisingly, women have developed emotions that say, “Don't talk to him about this. Don't follow that advice. Make him jealous. See how he reacts.” And what's really interesting is that it usually works. I mean, most guys, there are several studies on this. Some of them are done with people who are already married. Some of them are done with people who are single and dating.
[00:48:19] Either way, what you find is when men actually care about a woman, if they see that that woman has other options. For example, she's surrounded by other guys at a party or she got asked out by another man and she casually mentioned that over dinner one night or a man at work started flirting with her and she had to tell him she was married. Men clue into these little clues, “Hey, you know what? I am hot property. Somebody else could want me, somebody else might want to whisk me away.” They clue into this. And their top strategy for dealing with this is to show greater devotion and to actually feel greater devotion. So they might take her out to more dinners. So research is specifically found that guys do stuff like take women out to more dinners, tell her that they love her, maybe they've never said it before and now they do. Ask her to be exclusive, maybe even propose marriage, lavish time and attention.
[00:49:12] All of these things that men usually do as a response. And it's really interesting, Jordan, because all over the world, men and women alike say that if you're in a situation that “should cause jealousy and it doesn't”, your partner doesn't really love you. People really equate jealousy with love.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:29] So does this work for guys? Can I make women jealous? And then score points that way?
Duana Welch: [00:49:35] It's so funny, I had a guy who wrote to me about this and the story made it into my first book. He gave me permission to share it. So he was seeing a woman, he hadn't been seeing her very long. He didn't have any claim on her, kind of like you and the ultra hot babe that you went to the party. He didn't have any claim on her and she showed up at a bar with another guy and he was very jealous.
[00:50:02] It really made him realize he wanted her so he thought, “What can I do to get her?” So the next weekend, he went to the same bar and he brought two women with him and she wouldn't speak to him again. I mean it was a complete crash and burn for him. He didn't understand. He was committing an error that I have termed mating centrism. Mating centrism is when we think that the opposite sex that we're interested in sexually has the same mating psychology that we do. He assumed that because seeing her with someone else made him want her even more that her seeing him with someone else would make her want him even more. No, that's not how it works. Look, men have evolved to primarily value youth and beauty. Yes. They also value lots of really important stuff about character like kindness, intelligence, lovingness, loyalty, emotional stability, all that stuff.
[00:50:56] Women value all that stuff too. But men uniquely value youth and beauty because men can pass on their genes till they're 70. Of course, they do lose some fertility, but it's possible women really, especially in ancestral paths where mating psychology comes from, that was a real damn narrow window. Women were either too old, too young, too sick or already pregnant or still nursing kids. They nursed kids for like five years and that usually combined with low nutrition kept them infertile. So a guy had to be able to see a woman and know that she was fertile. And how did they do that? Youth and beauty -- just right off the bat. So the thing is women faced a really, really different problem, which was provision and protection and not just a guy who you know was taller and stronger and could bring home the wild boar and would give it to her, but would give her that sustenance and that protection over a long period of time.
[00:51:55] And so women are primarily looking for not just resources, but even more important is commitment. How commitment minded can you be if you show up at a bar with two other women?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:07] Is this a real question? I feel like everything we're talking about now is a trick question, because we're talking about jealousy. So I'm like, “I don't want to answer this.”
Duana Welch: [00:52:14] Really? Well, from a woman's standpoint, he has just said, “Oh, I could replace you tomorrow.” That is the opposite of the message that turns women on. The message women want to hear is, “You're the only one for me” -- that is the message that they want to hear from a normal human male. You know a rock star can get away with that. That's true. A rock star can get away with that, but not a normal guy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:43] But women are not necessarily looking at that rock star for, “Oh, he's going to take care of me”, right? It's a different type of relationship. So it signals, look, it's even more status. “Uh-oh, there's other women who want to mate with this person, short term, I better kick it up a notch.”
Duana Welch: [00:52:53] Yeah, the rock star actually will get women who feel proud that they got him to sleep with him because you know, he could have slept with 200 other women that night, but he chose me. There was a phenomenon in England called Beatles babies, women who were trying to sleep with any one of the Beatles and trying to get pregnant. Men and women both have short and long-term mating strategies. I primarily write and think about the long-term strategies, but when women employ a short-term strategy, it's usually to get better genes. And how can they tell a guy has better genes for their babies? Well, has he differentiated himself out of all the human beings in the world? So that out of 7 billion people, we still know his name a generation later? Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:36] All right. So if we can't score points with women that way by making them jealous, what can slash should we do instead?
Duana Welch: [00:53:44] Well, you should show a lot of love and devotion to a woman. Women respond strongly to commitment signals and so you want to give those signals. For example, here are some things that men are doing right now which are dating fails and I'm surprised men are doing it, but I think they're doing it because they're doing a lot of low cost signaling in the hopes of having sex with anyone. These are men who have a short term mating initiative and it works some of the time. Men are going to do a lot of whatever works some of the time, but men, if you want a long-term partner and eventually most of you will, I mean Jordan, you're married. You didn't want to just hit it and quit it forever.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:21] Right. I mean that's how I met my wife, but that was an accident.
Duana Welch: [00:54:24] Yeah. Exactly. I mean, the fact of the matter is men and women alike, almost all of us, something like 80 to 90% of us, we eventually want to get married or have that equivalent relationship. I rarely meet the person who says, “Yeah, you know, having a relationship that lasts a month here, two months there, maybe a year someplace else, break up again, start it all over. That totally worked for me for the rest of my life.” Most people do not feel that way. So men, if you want a woman to commit to you, commit to her. Big dating fails would be sending messages online that say, “Hey, beautiful.” There's a reason why that is met with crickets. You didn't tell her anything personal. You didn't say, “I really liked X, Y, and Z about your profile and I'd like to talk more”, but that's what you should be doing if you're actually interested and really want to get to know somebody is you should send the personal message. Another big dating fail -- Guys who text and stuff calling. Look, I know that calling takes bravery, but that's exactly why it gets you in like Flynn. When you call, you have stuck your neck out for this woman and sticking your neck out and showing bravery means that you've singled her out of all the other women and you're showing a possible future commitment signal. Another thing that guys are doing, that's a big problem -- Asking her to pay half the bill. I've once read this and I can't remember who said it, but it's so true. I see it in my practice all the time. Guys, there are two kinds of men -- those that paid for dinner and those we don't like anymore.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:54] Yikes. And this is sort of misinterpreted as women are materialistic. Look, they just want me to pay for everything. And that that's sort of the result of showing that signal, but then getting rejected anyway.
Duana Welch: [00:56:06] Yeah, so it's funny, I actually do get a hefty number of letters from women who say, “I know you say to let the guy pay the tab, but I feel really uncomfortable with it. I'm a professional. I make lots of money. I don't really need his money. I don't want him to think I'm a gold digger.” And a lot of women do feel guilty about this, I want to emphasize that. And yet at the same time, here's how the letter ends, “and I paid for my own dinner. And I didn't like them anymore and I can't figure out why.” Well, again, what's happening is the right side of her brain is sending an emotion, not a conscious thought, but where this comes from is lots of male species including human beings, provide resources to a female that they are trying to court and those males that don't provide resources usually just want short term sex.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:57] I will offer up one little quick tip as well that this, I totally agree with what you're saying. A lot of guys will say, “Crap! Then how do I navigate this?” Right? Because she's insisting on putting the check because she feels like, “Oh, this is sort of a patriarchal thing”, and you can say, “I'll get this one. You get the next one”, and then most likely she will let you pay thinking, “Oh, okay. I'm still able to sort of say, I don't need your resources,” but you still send the right signal and it still flips the right switches.
Duana Welch: [00:57:26] I would say that’s fine as long as on the next one he says the same thing again, with a laugh.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:30] Exactly. And then of course, you know, three, four, 10 dates in, she goes, “I insist on buying something. You always say that.” “Okay, fine, you can buy dessert.” And then by that point though, maybe you've had some other types of intimate relations or something like that and it's not going to torpedo your entire relationship.
Duana Welch: [00:57:50] Exactly, Jordan, your momma raised no fool.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:53] I'm not sure my mom taught me that. I think that comes from my days as a dating coach or whatever you want to call it, but these are things we all had to figure out because these are problems guys had when I was dating and still have.
Duana Welch: [00:58:04] You know, the number one reason that women don't let men pay for dinner is that the woman feels that she's going to be expected to have sex and I can't overstate this. Women are much, much slower usually to feel like they want to have sex with a specific person than men are. And men imposing their own mating psychology on women think, “Oh, I'm so excited about you. You're probably that excited about me. We should have sex right away.” And most women do not think that. They think, “You know what? I really need to take the time to get to know you better before I feel that.” So the number one reason that women offer to pay the tab is that they feel like you're going to expect something. And men, if, again, if you're looking for something long-term, this doesn't necessarily apply to the short-term, but if you're looking for a long-term partner, the smart thing to do is to say, “You know what? I really want to treat you. It's my pleasure. There's no pressure here. I'm not going to try to, you know, get you to do anything you don't want to do. I'm just so enjoying being with you and I'd like to give you the gift of this evening.” A lot of women will respond to that because they will accurately read that you have longer term intentions and that they're not going to be pressured to do something they're really not comfortable with yet. It's amazing how many women have sex quickly that they don't really want to have that sex all. And I've had female clients who then actually lost interest in the guy or became really confused and it's optimal of course if both people really want to have the sex that you're having.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:34] Right. Yeah. To say the least and everybody has to consent to it. Of course. Obviously as well. I think what you're talking about is something we used to call buyer's remorse where you'd sleep together and she would go, “Oh my God, now I look like a slut. This is not going to work long-term because I did this and now I'm either embarrassed or I slut that relationship in my head into short-term, even though I thought it was going to be long-term.” And then that ends up killing the long-term potential of the relationship.
Duana Welch: [01:00:03] Buss and Schmidt did some research on guys who were just looking to hit it and quit it and they found that even if the guy thought he was pretty into the woman, like he really started liking her. Within 10 seconds after his orgasm, he lost interest and sometimes even felt disgusted. So women feel that way for a reason. And that reason is that a lot of times men, short-term mating psychology gets activated if they have sex right away. Even if the guy actually had long-term intentions.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:30] How did they test that? I'm imagining like you sleep together and then as soon as you're done, someone kicks the door and comes at you with a microphone. “How are you feeling right now?” How did they survey that? “Well, it was approximately 11 seconds that I felt like I didn't like her anymore.”
Duana Welch: [01:00:43] I know, I know. It's so weird. They asked them but how does somebody know that? I don't know. But the larger point is that anecdotally as well as scientifically what I have found is that I've had a lot of male clients who are very successful, handsome, tall, engaging, funny, you know, all that in a bag of chips kind of guys who really want to get married. And the problem they're having is a problem that most guys can only dream about. Women are offering them sex very quickly. And the problem the guy is having is he's been to that rodeo like for the past 20 years. The sex is really fun, but he never gets emotionally attached and he now wants to get married and have babies and really be in love with his wife and devote all of himself to a family and he can't get romantically attached. And what I've advised these men to do is for them to hold off on sex.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:46] And then they're like, “You're fired. This is the worst coaching ever.”
Duana Welch: [01:01:49] No, actually they tell me I should raise my rates because I always present this as your life is your own experiment. And if what I'm saying doesn't work, you don't have to do this forever, just do it for a few weeks. And if what I'm saying doesn't work, you can always go back to the way it was before. But you know what? It works.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:05] Yeah. I mean you could have sex with other people while you're waiting for the one you actually like, right. That's a guy strategy. I feel like.
Duana Welch: [01:02:12] It is a guys' strategy. Although what's funny is there's also an age component of this. As men age, they seem to become more in tune with a more feminized psychology about sex. And so what I've noted, I know that the statement I just made is based on science, but what I've seen in my practice is that as men hit their mid-years, they start getting attached, sometimes even when they don't want to. So they don't remain permanently attached. They don't get deeply enough attached to get married, but they do get deeply enough attached to feel like they owe women something if they have sex with them or they have to stay in this relationship even though maybe they're not that excited about it. And that sucks. It's a big waste of time. It doesn't serve anyone.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:57] So if women employed jealousy, going back to your earlier point, if they're employing jealousy to test the relationship, what should men do as a response? Should we buy into it? “All right, cool. This is working, but not too much.” It seems like we don't want to encourage that type of behavior. Every time we do something that displeases her, every time we want to do something else, she's like, “Fine, I'm going to go date other guys or make you jealous”, when I see that happening in relationships, I always encourage my friends to get away from those women.
Duana Welch: [01:03:24] You're so right. If a woman is employing jealousy habitually to control, you get the hell away from her. My impression is that the women in these studies, this is not a habitual move for them. This is the move they made specifically because they felt like the guy was less involved emotionally than they were and they wanted to find out whether that was true. That's not something you do all the time. It's funny, my husband talked about a woman that he had gone out with who just, she employed jealousy all the time. Every time they went out in order to get his attention, and this was a big turnoff. It did not work. So yeah, employing at once to find something out? Okay. Employing it all the time? I wouldn't stay with that person.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:10] And I feel like from a female perspective, I've never been a woman as far as you know. But I think that if you really have to make someone jealous all the time, then you're going to always have retention issues, right?
Duana Welch: [01:04:23] Absolutely. One of the things that I tell my clients is not about this specific issue, but in issues in general. If you are unhappy about something and you tell your partner and their basic response is, “Well, are you going to leave me? Because if not I'm not changing.” Are you going to be willing for the rest of your life to have one foot out the door so that you can get your needs met? What we all need as the partner who thinks, “I love you and I can't stand for you to be unhappy. What can I do?”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:55] Let's talk about when the jealousy smoke alarm goes haywire though. A lot of times guys, we, I mean this, all you have to do is read the news, jealous boyfriend or ex-boyfriend stabs, shoots, kills, whatever. This happens all the time and my childhood best friend actually is in prison for the rest of his life for something like this, his smoke went haywire and he ended up murdering his girlfriend or ex-girlfriend. This is obviously evolved but then magnified in a way that is super unhealthy, lethal for the other party.
Duana Welch: [01:05:28] Yeah. This is the dark side of jealousy. And it's one reason why I encourage my female clients not to invoke jealousy unless they know that this man is not going to go ballistic. Literally go ballistic. A lot of these shootings.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:46] What are the signs we're looking for to know that this is going to go ballistic because we don't want to find out because we have a bullet in us that, “Shouldn't have done that.” Right? We want to find out beforehand.
Duana Welch: [01:05:56] One of the signs, is he just very clean, anxious as a general way of being? Is he always concerned with your whereabouts, no matter how secure you've tried to make him feel? Is he trying to monopolize 100% of your time and he gets furious if you went out with the girls one evening? Does he have a lot of guns? It turns out that guys who have a lot of guns are unusually likely to do this. Was he abused himself as a child? Most abusers of women were abused themselves as children. Most murderers of women were abused themselves as children. Does he express jealousy when there is really a truly no reason at all? In other words, does he have one of those smoke alarms that goes off all the damn time? You know the kind that you actually take out of your house because you'd rather your house burn down than listen to it one more time?
[01:06:45] If that's the kind of guy we're talking about, you need to get away from him. I actually just finished writing an entire chapter in my upcoming book about the 25 pre-abuse indicators or what I call pains because they are going to bring you pain. And a lot of the things I just listed would be included in that because you know, a lot of jealousy, excuse me, a lot of abuse and murder of women tracks directly on to inappropriate jealousy with extreme reactions to that jealousy make guarding to such an extent that they alienated all of her friends and family so she'll be alone. I've seen that. I had a good friend of mine in grad school whose husband completely isolated her and, you know, he was presumably I guess protecting her reproductive resources. Although of course he wasn't conscious of that.
[01:07:40] In reality, he was making her life a living hell and I was hoping she would leave. I don't know that she ever did. You know, women are more likely to be killed by their husbands or boyfriends than they are by all other types of perpetrators combined.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:55] Yeah. That's scary.
Duana Welch: [01:07:56] Just going to pause to let that sink in so I can't, yeah. David Buss actually wrote a book about these guys called The Murderer Next Door. These are guys who say things like, “If I can't have her, nobody can.” And the reason he called it The Murderer Next Door is the guys who do this, a lot of you would just think they were regular guys. They're never going to kill anybody else, but they can't handle their own jealousy. And yeah, you know, jealousy solves adaptive problems, but it creates problems when it is carried too far. So these are the signs that you look for.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:31] Okay. So can you review the signs really quick just as bullets?
Duana Welch: [01:08:34] Yeah. Bullet point of the signs you don't want -- a guy who owns a lot of guns. Okay, owning one. A guy who has any history of having been in prison. Yeah. That's a sign.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:47] Imprisoned for a violent crime though, right? Like tax evasion, I don’t know.
Duana Welch: [01:08:53] Yeah, you're right. Imprisoned for a violent crime. The thing is, a lot of guys will try to explain that away, but here's the deal. If you get in prison for violent crime, what are the odds that's the only violent crime you've ever committed?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:06] Well, of course, but the other thing, I want to go back to this, there's a lot of people who collect guns and that are never going to kill anybody or in that don't even hunt.
Duana Welch: [01:09:14] Oh absolutely. But what I'm trying to teach my clients is how to evade the people who would harm them. And almost the majority of the people who would harm them collect guns. It's not the only sign to look for, it's a sign to look for in combination with things like, how does he talk about his exes? Is he respectful or is he really, really verbally abusive even in their absence?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:39] Okay. I just want to make sure, because there's somebody who owns five guns and loves them and they were passed down through the family and they're thinking, F--you both. I've never heard anyone in my entire life or I'm a cop for God's sake. You know, like something like that.
Duana Welch: [01:09:53] By the way, there are also men who have been abused who would never hurt anybody in their entire life. And that's really sad. But a top indicator of whether a man's going to abuse a woman and children is, “Was he abused as a child himself?” So, you know, again, look, not all people who have these qualities are abusers, but almost every abuser has some of these qualities. The single biggest thing to look for though, I'll tell you, Jordan, and men and women alike should look for this, not because of abuse, but because they want a happy life. I mean, I don't think any of us says, “Oh, I don't want to marry an abuser, but somebody who's really shitty to me would be fine.” The thing you want if you want to happy life is you want somebody who's kind and respectful as a way of being, whether or not they're having a bad day. You want somebody who's kind of respectful as a way of being toward everyone, not just to the people they like.
[01:10:47] For example, I'm not a big fan of the current president, but I usually avoid name calling. Does that make sense? My ex-husband and I had problems, but I don't say horrible things about him. No, no. What I say is what I see is, “He's a good man who has a bad problem.” You know, he's got goodness in him or I wouldn't have picked him. So you're looking for someone who can also acknowledge their faults. Abusers, a lot of them, they don't acknowledge fault or they acknowledged fault, but only because you're about to leave. Like they hit you and then you're crying and you're about to leave and they say, “Oh, I'll never do it again.” They bring roses. That script is so old. You know, folks, we've all seen that movie. It doesn't end well. He does it again.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:33] All right, last but not least, how do we live or how do we handle if our partner is behaving well, they're not triggering anything, and yet we still feel jealous? You know, how do we handle that? What if I'm jealous but she's not? Or he's not doing anything? My partner is not doing anything wrong. I know that this is my issue. How do I start to solve this problem?
Duana Welch: [01:11:54] So first, how do you know it's your issue? How you know what your issue is, that this is how you feel about all your partners, not just this one? If you habitually assume that your partners aren't cheating on you, and then you have an insight that tells you maybe they are, then you should investigate that. But if it turns out that you have a pattern where anyone that you care about, anyone that you're in a relationship with, you feel jealous, then that's your issue. And so you do two things. And by the way, cognitive behavioral therapy research shows that doing these two things, you can change just about anything about yourself, not just whether or not you're feeling jealous at inappropriate times. The first thing is to notice, which means catch yourself in the act of having this feeling. And that's it. Don't berate yourself.
[01:12:38] Don't say what a fool you are. None of that, because it turns out that when we berate ourselves, we feel shame and shame keeps us stuck. So the key is catch yourself as judgment free as you can just, “Oh, I'm feeling jealous.” Then the second thing that you do after you catch yourself feeling jealous is that you redirect your thinking to align with reality. “I'm feeling jealous, but here she is standing right by my side at this party, making eye contact with me, smiling at me, and all her behavior toward other people is completely appropriate. This is me. It's not her.” On the other hand, Jordan, what if it turns out that in fact she's walking over to other men, looking them in the eye for extensive periods of time, smiling at them and touching their arms and throwing back her hand and laughing while raking her hand through her hair? “Okay, that's flirting.” There's a little bit of reason to be jealous there.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:29] Got you. So we have to evaluate it. We really have to step back from our emotions and evaluate their actions and our own. Easier said than done, that's for sure.
Duana Welch: [01:13:37] Yeah. And, and the kicker with the notice and redirect strategy, the strategy itself is not really that hard to employ. What's difficult is being consistent about it. So to me, if you even catch yourself like 10 to 20% of the time, you're making real progress.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:51] That's good to know because I can see people going, “Yeah, you know, maybe one third, one half of the time I'm getting this, but the other half of the time I'm still really feeling it and it's hard to control.”
Duana Welch: [01:14:01] If relationship science expects perfection, it's going to be really disappointed. That's not how humans work.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:07] Duana, thank you so much. Super useful episode. Really interesting. Hopefully we'll keep people happier and safer.
Duana Welch: [01:14:14] I hope so. Thank you so much for having me on again, Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:18] Jason, you weren't really here for this one. It's a bummer.
Jason DeFillippo: [01:14:20] I was moving, man, and I am jealous. I am actually jealous that you got to do the show without me because I love Duana Welch. She's one of my favorite guests that we have.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:28] I think you're more envious. You can re-listen and find out whether which is which. No problem. Great big thank you to Duana. The book title is Love Factually. She's doing another one. Of course she'll be back as soon as that's ready for action. If you enjoyed this one, don't forget to thank Duana on Twitter. That'll all be linked up in the show notes for this episode, which can be found at JordanHarbinger.com/podcast. I'd love it if you'd tweet at me or Instagram me. I don't know if people say that. Your number one takeaway from Duana. I’m @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram.
[01:14:58] And don't forget, if you want to learn how to apply everything you heard from Duana, make sure you go grab the worksheets. Also in the show notes at JordanHarbinger.com/podcast. We have an Alexa Skill now. Yes. And if you go in your phone and you search in the Alexa app for skills and you search for Harbinger, I'm the only thing that shows up. That's one way to find it. Or if you're on your computer and you're signed in to Amazon, you can go to JordanHarbinger.com/alexa and it'll bring you to a page and you just click install and somehow it magically shows up on your echo. Gives you a little flash briefing. You can say, “Hey Alexa, what's my flash briefing?” And if you have this installed, you're going to hear some clips from the show with useful little tidbits. So if you want to know which show you should listen to on your morning commute, go get your flash briefing and maybe you'll hear a clip of a show that you're interested in.
[01:15:45] That's the idea anyway. Again, JordanHarbinger.com/alexa to install that or search for my name in the Alexa app on your phone. This episode was produced and edited by Jason DeFillippo. Show notes are by Robert Fogarty. Booking, back office and last minute miracles by Jen Harbinger and I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. Would love it if you'd throw us a review in iTunes. It helps us get back to back to the top, baby. Make sure you have a unique nickname. Throw some random words in between your first and last name or whatever you want to do. Otherwise it won't post and it won't tell you why. I don't know why. Thanks, iTunes. Instructions on how to do that are at JordanHarbinger.com/subscribe. Write us something nice. So we're going to have a contest for this soon, so if you go and do it now, there's something in it for you. I'm just going to leave it there. Share the show with those you love and even those you don't. We've got a lot more in the pipeline and we're excited to bring it to you. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen and we'll see you next time.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:40] This episode is sponsored in part by a Castbox, which is one of my favorite podcast apps, but the show that they have is original. It’s called, This Sounds Serious, the case of Daniel Bronstadt. It’s a Castbox original. It's produced by Vancouver-based creative studio, Kelly and Kelly who are just brilliant. They did Dexter Guff, if you heard of that show, which is basically a huge, huge satire of the whole self-help inspiration industry, basically making fun of us. Yeah, pretty much. It's like they rip on me, Lewis Howes, John Lee Dumas, Phylo, all these, everybody gets a little piece. They don't mention our names of course, but you know when you recognize your own thing in there. This is a fake true crime podcast, This Sounds Serious. It delivers big on laughs and story. Stars Peter Oldring from Dexter Guff is Smarter Than You, the podcast we were just talking about. And Carly Pope, who's in Arrow, Suits, Elysium. The first two episodes are available May 1st wherever you get your podcasts, preferably on the Castbox app, which is where they got a great experience for that. And the series moves beyond parody by telling a compelling serialized story. Each episode is about 25 minutes long. Perfect for a commuter or a road trip. You can find more at thissoundsserious.com and download This Sounds Serious wherever you get your podcasts.
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