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June 17, 2003

Reader Request #5: Jealousy

Question from Matthew Rider, and a nicely provocative one, as today just coincidentally happens to be Krissy's and my 8th anniversary:

"Jealousy, and I guess as a part of that your relationship with your wife. You've recently mentioned ex-girlfriends a couple times and on indiecrit have mentioned that if you weren't already with your wife you'd happily marry at least one of the artists (and have mentioned how others are hot). Are you jealous, is your wife jealous? Do you end up having a big discussion about the hot new artists you just reviewed (or maybe it never gets back to her if she doesn't read the Whatever)?"

Well, Krissy definitely reads the Whatever, since she's commented here a couple of times. I don't think she reads IndieCrit, where the review in question was posted, but I know she knows about that particular review, since I told her about because I thought she might find it amusing.

Neither Krissy nor I am much of the jealous type for the very simple reason that jealousy implicitly threatens your relationship, and Krissy and I made the decision very early on to put a very high standard for the category of Things That Threaten the Relationship. What the particulars are for that category, of course, exist in the realm of None of Your Damn Business. But suffice to say that so far, neither of us have come close to getting over that bar. Specifically relating to jealousy, neither getting goofily moony after a hot musician or being friends with an ex-girlfriend is much of a trigger; in the former case, it'd be like her getting worried that I also think Angelina Jolie is kind of cute; in the latter case, well, the operative prefix there is "ex-". People become "ex-" for a reason, you know.

Also, jealousy implies that one feels one's relationship can be threatened by other people, and that's just not the case here. It's difficult for me to put into words how totally not concerned I am in this regard, so I won't bother. This is not just a matter of believing that Krissy is so totally mine that others don't enter the picture, but the other way around as well. I am so totally jazzed to be married to my wife that I don't see why I would even want to be married to anyone else. Sure, on a theoretical level I can look at particular women and say, I could have married her, but as a practical matter that would mean not being married to whom I am married. And that's just no good. No offense to all those perfectly wonderful women out there I could theoretically marry, but the marriage I've got is just way too fabulous.

So how do you get a relationship so superfabulous that there's practically no jealousy involved at all? Well, I don't know how it works with other people, but in our case it's a few things:

1. We agree on nearly all critical things. This is not say we agree on superficial, pointless things, like music or fashion or favorite books and authors. Really, who cares about that crap. No, I'm talking about relationship and family stuff which we're both in agreement with, right down the line. And we came into the relationship agreeing on almost all these things -- i.e., are views were in line even before we met. So that's helpful.

2. We understand each other. By and large, we get where each other are coming from, and that understanding informs how we work with each other in the relationship.

3. We talk (and listen) to each other -- yes, yes, I know. We're supposed to do this. Even so.

4. We're honest with each other -- and if you're already doing one through three up there, doing this one is a lot easier.

As a consequence of all this, and as it relates to jealousy, Krissy's never managed to do anything that triggers a jealous response in me, and vice-versa. So in that sense we don't really have to deal with jealousy because it doesn't come up, and we work on it (and all the other stuff about a relationship) so it continues not to be something that comes up. Inasmuch as we've been married eight years and together as a couple for 10 (wow!), we're doing well so far. We'll keep at it.

(Remember I'm still taking topic suggestions for Reader Appreciation Week! Make your suggestions in the message thread here.)

Posted by john at June 17, 2003 03:32 PM

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Burns! | June 17, 2003 03:57 PM

While the Lava Lamp with the date engraved on it still enjoys a prominent position in my living room eight years later, somehow I always forget the date.

Happy Anniversary to you and Krissy!

Rich | June 17, 2003 09:32 PM

Happy Anniversary. My wife and I are coming up on five years married and an incredible 11 years together, yowza! I can understand your feelings on devotion and the resultant lack of jealousy having such a relationship myself. Anyhow, this isn't suppossed to be about me so...congratulations.

mark | June 18, 2003 01:45 AM

Happy anniversary!

Jon Hansen | June 18, 2003 12:17 PM

Happy Anniversary! And nice way to work that in, by the way...