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Conflict and Relationship: Jealousy

Jealousy is a type of conflict that is innately part of human nature and is experienced by everyone. This has been the root of almost all the problems of man and it continues to branch out. The famous cliche no man is an island is therefore threatened with this type of conflict continuing to pollute every aspect of our lives and drive us further away from whatever ties or interpersonal relationships that we have with our fellowmen.

This is why there are several studies that were conducted to attempt to understand the complexities of jealousy and hopefully find ways on how to limit the damage and restore whatever ties and chaos this type of conflict has brought into our lives, through communication. Literature Review By taking into consideration sources available, the possibility of getting an intimate understanding of the concepts thoroughly and defining all its attributes was possible to achieve.

As such, a comprehensive literature review was conducted using a minimum of 8 possible sources of information such as documents from conferences, journals, and the internet using related terms such as jealousy, conflict, resolution and social relationships. In all the reviews made, the term jealousy is consistently associated with emotions such as anger or fear for a threat of losing a loved one or possession over another individual. As a springboard for this concept analysis, an internet search was done on the term jealousy. Dictionary. com defines jealousy as resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc.

, or against another’s success or advantages itself. Wikipedia, a popular online source of information defines jealousy as an emotion typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, such as a relationship, friendship, or love. Jealousy can be defined as ‘‘a complex of thoughts, feelings, and actions which follows threats to self-esteem and=or threats to the existence or quality of the relationship’’ (White, as cited in Sidelinger & Booth-Butterfield, 2007).

All the study’s lead to a conclusion based on several partial reports that would lead to a generalization that jealousy is usually triggered by another human being that the partner perceives as a threat to the romantic relationship. Usually, the causative element of the threat could be a family or sibling relationship, cross-sex partners, and power to name a few, and is dealt with by jealousy expression through verbal communication that could sometimes lead to irrational or worse, even violent behaviour towards another person or in some instances, towards himself.

Romantic relationships are greatly affected by jealousy. Sidelinger & Booth–Butterfield’s (2007) study to assess the impact of their so-called Mate Value Discrepancy (MVD) or “the perceived difference in resource value between self and partner in romantic relationships proved that the MVD make an impact on both forgiveness and jealous responses in romantic relationships”. That is, “if partners perceive themselves having a high mate value, they are less likely to be committed to the current relationship and more likely to perceive many relational alternatives for themselves.

Alternatively, if a partner perceives a negative MVD, he or she may be more committed to that relationship and recognize fewer alternatives”(p 11). Romantic jealousy is therefore defined as “the cognitions, emotions and behaviours that follow a loss or threat to self-esteem and/or existence or quality of a romantic relationship” (White, as cited in Bevan and Samter, page 1 ).

This cognition coupled with emotions can lead to imaginary assumptions about a loved one having an affair with a possibly non-existent third party as a result of Sidelinger and Booth-Butterfinger’s (2007) Mate Value Discrepancy (MVD) of the partner perceiving that he or she is more committed to the relationship that the other and leads to either one of the two related processes of jealousy namely “jealousy experience and jealousy expression” (Guerrero, as cited in Bevan and Samter, page 6) .

Romantic relationships go through serveral “jealousy-producing situations” such as time away from significant other, cholce of time /attention to a non-romantic other, opportunity significant other receives, flirting situations, deceiving significant other and interaction with another. The response of dating couples against married couples responses vary in certain situations: “The most common situation reported by dating couples was the presence of an attractive romantic alternative followed by choice of time/attention to non-romantic other and the least common situation that was low among both dating and married couples.

” On the otherhand, for married couples, “the most common situation was choice of time/attention to non-romantic other, followed by never experienced jealousy and the least common was declieving significant other” (International Communication Association, Responses to Jealousy Situations that Evoke Uncertainty in Married and Dating Relationships, 2009, page 18)

The same study conducted and reported in the conference notes of the International Communication Association (2009) on the jealousy situations differing in uncertainty levels, showed that “jealousy situations did not significantly differ in self uncertainty however, significant differences are found for jealousy situations based on partner and relationship uncertainty.

” Further analysis revealed that “infidelity jealousy situations evoked significantly higher experiences of partner ncertainty than choice of time/attention to non-romantic other and interactions with another jealousy situations Additionally, infidelity jealousy situations evoked significantly higher experiences of relational uncertainty than choice of time/attention to non-romantic other, flirting, deceiving significant other, interaction with another and presence of an attractive romantic alternative jealousy situations”(pages 19-20).

The conference notes of the International Communication Association on The Influence of Relational Proximity and Biological Sex on the Determinants of Communicative Responses to Jealousy in Romantic Relationships: Comparing and Contrasting Patterns of Association, (2009), provided a strong support for an associations between aspects of jealousy and communicative responses to jealousy. Biological sex, distance or proximity between couples have different ways of responding to jealousy.

Biological sex “revealed significant similarities and significant differences among males and females that provided insight into the sex-based differences in jealousy that young adults experience in romantic relationships. ” In this light, “proximal females responded with active distancing and avoidance/denial, they reported working through their issues with integrative communication, perhaps because a proximal relationship offers more hope of becoming a permanent situation and they do not want to jeopartize the relationship.

Additionally, relational status predicted avoidance/denial and rival contacts for proximal females. Women who willingly stay in a long distance relationship are already more committed wheras proximal couples may still be negotiating rules and boundaries” (page 21). Proximal males on the other hand are said to be more inclined into the use of violence in association with his perception of the multiple reasons for the jealousy, and thereby intentionally distances himself from his partner and making sure he makes an extra effort to initiating and “increasing contact with his potential rival”.

The proximal male, despite his intentional distancing himself from his partner however manifests “negative affect expression” by exerting extreme measures such as surveillance or restriction, manipulation attempts of his partner and worst case even result to violence (page 22).

Cayanus and Booth-Butterfield (2004) reported that “decisions to use communication to remediate and elicit romantic jealousy are tied to both exchange and communal orientations in relationships”(page 11) The length of a relationship and a high communal orientation is said to result to using positive responses when jealous because by voicing out and knowing the needs of each partner results to a little leniency, understanding and support towards the partners’ needs as a form of reward in the relationship (page 22) Future Directions

Psychologists would often tell their clients that everything can be resolved by talking about or discussing issues openly. So it follows that communication is the key to resolving jealousy issues. Most of the studies reviewed for this paper were conducted on a small group of individuals and all the sources acknowledge the limited findings. Future studies should therefore aim to tap even groups belonging to different countries including the third world countries where jealousy is known to cause a lot of violent deaths even among married couples.

In this light, future studies should also look into whether the climate in these third world countries is a factor for jealousy expression through violence. With the advancements of technologies, discussion forums can now be used. However, because there are a lot of spammers on the webe, video conferencing is now a possible means or method to be used for conducting these surveys or studies on jealousy.

Also, since open communication is a suggested method for resolving jealousy issues and every mixed race marriages or couples are also prevalent in anywhere in the world, future studies should look into how these couples solve their jealousy issues despite the communication barrier and also look into whether this communication barrier is also the reason why there are an increase in the occurrence of jealousy resulting from verbal misunderstanding. References Bevan, J. L. , & Hale, J. L. (2006). Negative Jealousy-Related Emotion Rumination as Consequences of Romantic Partner, Cross-Sex Friend, and Sibling Jealousy Expression.

Communication Studies , Vol. 57 (No. 4), 363–379. Bevan, J. L. , & Samter, W. (2004). Toward a Broader Conceptualization of Jealousy in Close Relationships: Two Exploratory Studies. Communication Studies , 55 (1), 14-28. Bevan, J. L. , & Stetzenbach, K. A. (2007). Jealousy Expression and Communication Satisfaction in Adult Sibling Relationships. Communication Research Reports , 24 (1), 71-77. Cayanus, J. L. , & Booth-Butterfield, M. (2004). Relationship Orientation, Jealousy, and Equity: An Examination of Jealousy Evoking and Positive Communicative Responses.

Communication Quarterly, , 52 (3), 237-250. International Communication Association, (. (2009). Responses to Jealousy Situations that Evoke Uncertainty in Married and Dating Relationships. International Communication Association, (ICA) (pp. 1-35). International Communication Association, (ICA). International Communication Association, (. (2009). The Influence of Relational Proximity and Biological Sex on the Determinants of Communicative Responses to Jealousy in Romantic Relationships: Comparing and Contrasting Patterns of Association. International Communication Association, (ICA) (pp.

1-42). International Communication Association, (ICA). International Communication Association, (. (2009). Thoughts of, Feelings about, and Communication Responses to Jealousy in Romantic Relationships: The Influence of Biological Sex and Relational Proximity. International Communication Association, (ICA) (pp. 1-33). International Communication Association, (ICA). Sidelinger, R. J. , & Booth-Butterfield, M. (2007). Mate Value Discrepancy as Predictorof Forgiveness and Jealousy in Romantic Relationships. Communication Quarterly , Vol. 55, (No. 2,), 207–223.

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