The demon of jealousy, when it crawls out from the depths of the human soul, can be a formidable opponent and a slayer of relationships. This is especially true in the workplace, where couples who work together must also form trusting relationships with other coworkers who they don’t (hopefully) get to see naked on a regular basis.
Working with your significant other can be very difficult. While it may be gut-wrenching to watch your girlfriend or boyfriend laugh at someone else’s jokes, becoming jealous should never be an option on your list. Jealousy is the gateway emotion to resentment, and there is no regaining a relationship once resentment has set up shop in your heart. In a work atmosphere, jealousy decreases productivity and leads to vindictive behaviors that inevitably affect everyone in the vicinity.
A small amount of jealousy can be healthy. That initial pang of annoyance you get when a beautiful woman touches your man’s arm flirtatiously is normal; we all feel it. It is at that moment in time, however, that you are faced with an important choice. You can either let the jealousy demon out of its cage to wreak havoc on all your hold dear, or you can use that emotional pang as a reminder of how lucky you are. That’s right; you’re the lucky one. Others find your mate attractive, yet he or she has chosen you. That means there’s something great about you; something no one but you can offer the relationship. Instead of jealousy, feel pride.
But it’s not just others’ actions that awaken the demon. Sometime you might feel your loved one is out of line in his or her behavior toward a coworker. This is often the most potent form of jealousy, and it stems from that place within us all where we feel unworthy and unappreciated. This is also the form of jealousy that leads to retaliation—one of the demon’s most powerful weapons. If you feel your significant other has dishonored you by flirting with another, resist the urge to “show them how it feels”. True love doesn’t mean inflicting intentional emotional pain in revenge. If you love that person, why would you want them to feel badly?
The proper way to handle this situation is to sit down together away from the office and discuss what happened. Once you’ve come clean about your unsettling emotions, figure out what needs to happen so you can both go to work and not question one another’s fidelity. For most couples it is simple: No touching people of the opposite sex. This doesn’t mean someone who just lost their mother to the plague can’t have a hug, but it does mean that you can’t touch the attractive blonde on the shoulder when you talk to her. Another steadfast rule is to behave as you would want your significant other to behave. If it would bother you for your girlfriend to hug every guy in greeting, don’t be a hypocrite and hug all the women you meet.
And, of course, the golden rule of avoiding workplace jealousy is: Judge not least ye be judged. In other words, don’t jump to conclusions about a behavior until you have had time to discuss it with your partner. For all you know, you may be guilty of similar actions you were unaware of.