Jealousy

A Phenomenological Investigation

of Being Jealous

jealosy

Author: Katherine Curran

September 30, 2014


Statement of Phenomenological Approach

Phenomenology is a philosophy that has been applied to qualitative research in psychology, and this approach studies lived human experiences, or phenomena, as they are called in the field.

Mainstream psychology often takes the natural attitude toward human beings, asserting that we are "merely biological objects whose every thought, feeling, and action can be said to be determined by a complex network of causes" (von Eckartsberg, 1998a, p. 4). Contrary to this, phenomenology is rooted in the concept that we, humans, all have a meaningful connection to our world that shapes how we experience it (Polkinghorne, 1989; von Eckartsberg, 1998a). Phenomenology seeks to better understand how a person is intentionally present to her/himself, others, and the world at large. By "intentionally present," we refer to the unique relationship that exists between the individual and the world which that individual perceives. For the phenomenologist, no experience can exist without consciousness (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003). Every experience is an intentionally directed experience of something, such as the experience of happiness, or of surprise (Sokolowski, 2001). Thus, each person has intentions by which s/he takes up her/his world in a particular way. These intentions alter with each phenomenon that is experienced. One has specific projects in mind when s/he experiences the world and others, such as desiring to be at the center of attention. After one's perceptions are projected onto the world, s/he takes up or understands the world in a way that is related to how s/he perceived it in the first place. There is a continuous cycle between the process of seeing, called noesis in phenomenology, and what is therefore seen, called noema (Ihde, 1986).

Phenomenology strives to illuminate the themes that are shared among all people during experience. For example, social anxiety may manifest itself in different ways and in different situations for two people, yet, in order to be socially anxious, both of them would have to perceive themselves and the world in a similar way. The themes of the phenomenon under study are revealed to the researcher by means of what are called the phenomenological reductions (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003). The first reduction is the epoch, in which the researcher places to the side ("brackets") all details concerning the "existence or character of the objects that are experienced," and focuses instead on the details of the conscious experience itself (Polkinghorne, 1989, p. 41). Phenomenology is not interested in studying the "facts" of a situation; it is interested in only the experience. The perspective of the epoch also holds that every aspect of the experience is equally "real" for the one experiencing it; even parts of the data that may be thought by the researcher to be unrealistic or imagined are taken into account when the phenomenon is studied those aspects are still part of the experience of the participant (Ihde, 1986).

The second phenomenological reduction is the eidetic reduction. Since it is the aim of phenomenology to reach a better understanding of the essence of the phenomenon under investigation, the eidetic reduction employs free imaginative variation to achieve a that aim (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003; von Eckartsberg, 1998a). Imaginative variation is the process by which the researcher varies the constituents of the experience using his/her imagination to determine which aspects of the experience are central to the specific phenomenon. By using imaginative variation, we can weed out the parts of the phenomenon that are situated in a certain participant's experience, and thus begin to formulate the elements of the phenomenon that can be generalized to every person's experience. This type of "eidetic inquiry" is crucial to understanding any experience, and indeed is able to inform a better understanding of empirical research conducted on such experiences (Churchill & Wertz, 2002, p. 251).

Procedure for Data Analysis
In analyzing the experience of being jealous, I used the phenomenological method described by Giorgi and Giorgi (2003). This method involves four main steps: reading the data thoroughly, organizing the data into meaning units, transforming the data, and structuring the experience as a whole.

Read and Re-Read
The first step in the phenomenological method is to familiarize oneself with the data by reading it and re-reading it (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003). After receiving a piece of data on a particular phenomenon, we first seek to apprehend the overall message of that data. What does the participant convey as s/he elaborates on the experience? By reading the data multiple times, researchers are able to apprehend a general sense of what the data is describing. The researcher approaches this step without any presuppositions about the experience, bracketing their personal judgments and any previous knowledge regarding the phenomenon under study (Churchill & Wertz, 2002).

Divide into Meaning Units
After we have read the data over and over again, we can begin to analyze it by dividing it into what Giorgi and Giorgi term "meaning units" (2003). These are sections of the data in which we can begin to discern elements of what it means to experience the phenomenon we are studying. Every sentence in the data will belong to a meaning unit, and the number of meaning units for one piece of data is flexible one researcher may note four whereas another perceives six. The researcher reads the data through and marks each time s/he notices a "significant shift in meaning" (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003, p.130). These sections each include a unique bit of information that relates to the overall phenomenon in question. It is important to note here that the way in which we, as researchers, study the phenomenon-our approach-shapes the way it is revealed to us. This method does not claim to be objective because it includes the subjective interpretation of data by the researcher at every step; but the phenomenological method is no less scientific because of this (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003).

Transform the Meaning Units
At this point, we have become very familiar with the data, and have divided it into units of meaning. Next, we must aim at more fully understanding the psychological value of our phenomenon within the meaning units. The meaning units are magnified and analyzed in order to discern the themes that are present in the experience (Giorgi & Giorgi). We look at the way that the participant situates her/himself to the world, remembering the circular noetic-noematic process that is always in effect during experience. How does the participant see himself? others? the world? These themes are discerned from the concrete facts of the situation that the data describes. As we explore the meaning units, we ask questions such as, "In what Way is this description revelatory of the phenomenon I am interested in?" (von Eckartsberg, 1998b, p.22). We try not to simply summarize or explain the situation here; instead, we endeavor to describe the experience and, from there, formulate general themes.

Structure the Phenomenon
By transforming the data, we have revealed the main psychological themes of what it is to live the phenomenon in question. The structuring step of the phenomenological method brings all these themes together in a narrative about the phenomenon. Each theme that was discerned during the transformation of the meaning units is put into dialogue with the others, ultimately weaving together a descriptive web which collectively represents the phenomenon. Imaginative variation is utilized at this stage in order to reveal what is essential about the phenomenon in question. A general rule for this step of analysis is this: if some aspect of the phenomenon can be removed and the structure of the phenomenon remains intact, that aspect is non-essential to the phenomenon (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003). What remains after employing this method is the essential structure of the experience. There are two levels of structuring the themes of the phenomenon: the situated and the general. The situated structure stays situated around the specifics of one piece of data. The general structure, on the other hand, is broadened by means of exploring the data from several different people in order to reach a description of the phenomenon that remains the same in different scenarios (Giorgi & Giorgi, 2003).

Results

Being Jealous Data 1 Summary

Our participant and his girlfriend set a time to meet. The girlfriend is late and the participant begins to worry about where she is, or what may have happened to her. When she finally arrives, he is irritated with her for being twenty minutes late. He blames his actions on biological and evolutionary urges within himself that he has little control over.

Being Jealous Data 1 Situated Structure

The experience of jealousy for our participant is manifest through feeling the need to justify his actions towards his girlfriend and to lessen his culpability with regard to this negative emotion; being very invested in a reciprocal relationship with his girlfriend and fearing that there is a disconnect in that relationship; being aware of perceived threats to his lived position in this relationship and feeling powerless against those threats.

The most central theme to our patient's experience of jealousy is the fear of a break between him and his girlfriend, about which he experiences himself as having no influence. He is bound (willingly) in this relationship to what he thinks his position in his girlfriend's world is, and he is heavily invested in what she thinks about him and about their relationship. Feelings of inagency regarding this connection with his girlfriend are revealed in our participant's experience of jealousy. He wants his girlfriend to feel as strongly about him as he feels about her, and yet, when his girlfriend is late, his fears about their relationship throw those aims into question. Our participant is left to wonder about third variables which could be replacing his place in relation to his girlfriend. He feels that his standing as an interesting boyfriend and as one half of their relationship is threatened by these ambiguous third variables.

He obviously values his girlfriend very highly; but in this situation, he values her for what she means to his own project of self. By being in a relationship with his girlfriend, our participant's desires to be an interesting and loveable person to be "boyfriend material," so to speak are fulfilled. He projects himself as a member of a relationship, instead of simply a single person. He values this identity as his position in life, and having a stable girlfriend is necessary to maintaining this position. When the girlfriend is removed from the equation, his self-image is disrupted. In being jealous, he thus experiences whatever is keeping his girlfriend from him as a threat to his self-image. He fears that without her, he cannot be all that he wishes to be.

In desiring to maintain his relationship with his girlfriend, our participant feels the need to justify his actions toward her. He feels that all his worries about his girlfriend when she was late which are essentially worries about their relationship are normal for the situation. His fear of a break in their relationship seems to him to be an acceptable, and even expected, response. For our participant, being jealous thus means that it is normal to experience possessiveness and to feel that he deserves his place in relation to his girlfriend. When his girlfriend makes light of his worry for her, our participant's fears are strengthened. After the event, our participant recognizes that the emotion he had experienced was negative, and it is his understanding that his feelings were brought on by biological factors. In this mindset, he lessens his culpability for the negative emotion in the situation, and makes his experience of jealousy something he could not control. Ironically, in this way, he may still have felt trapped by his emotions even after he supposedly "got them under control".

Being Jealous Data 2 Summary

The participant is very close friends with her former boyfriend, Jerid. They spend a lot of time together, and the participant enjoys the relationship that they have. Then Jerid begins dating another girl. The participant has no objections to the new girlfriend at first, but then she begins to dislike her. The participant is upset that Jerid would spend so much time with someone else, instead of with her.

Being Jealous Data 2 Situated Structure

For this participant, experiencing jealousy includes feeling that she occupies a special place in relation to her former boyfriend, Jerid; understanding this place as a meaningful part of her sense of self; experiencing that the new girlfriend is usurping or disrupting the place she held in relation to Jerid; and perceiving a disparity between her expectations about her relationship with Jerid, and her lived-reality in the situation.

The place that our participant intends herself as occupying in relation to Jerid is of central importance to her experience of jealousy. Being jealous means to perceptually see oneself in a relationship with another person or thing, and our participant maintains the belief that she is a part of a close friendship with her former boyfriend. In feeling that she is a close friend of Jerid's, she understands herself to occupy a rather important position in Jerid's world. Our participant interprets this relationship as very meaningful to her project of self. She understands her identity and her position in the world in terms of her relationship with Jerid. The way she sees her identity hinges upon the status she occupies in Jerid's world. In order to sustain this identity, she is concerned with asserting her relational position. Our participant also expects a sense of reciprocity in affection and friendship between herself and Jerid. This mutual reciprocity is one of the defining characteristics of the relationship that our participant understands to exist between herself and Jerid.

Being jealous involves perceiving a change in this relationship between self and other. The introduction of a new girl into Jerid and our participant's relationship creates the occasion for a change in the way our participant views her position. She experiences that she has been displaced as an important friend to Jerid by the new girlfriend. The place which she used to occupy has now been filled by another girl. In being jealous, our participant sees this change, or one could even call it a break, in the relationship between herself and Jerid as incongruous with her expectations about their relationship. She expects and desires to hold a position of closeness and mutual affection with regards to Jerid, yet she sees that Jerid is close with another person. The reality that our participant lives through is different from the reality that she desires in her understanding of their relationship. As the participant experiences this disparity, she feels that the identity she had created for herself around this relationship is in conflict. Being jealous means feeling ones position, and thus ones identity, threatened by an intrusion into a relationship that maintains equal reciprocity of care and friendship.

There is a feeling of inagency that coincides with the recognition of a threat. The participant does not feel that she herself can effectively change her position, yet she desires that it go back to where it was. Our participant cares greatly for Jerid and when the new girl enters the picture, she questions whether Jerid feels the same about her anymore. The new girl is perceived to be a threat to not only the relationship our participant held with Jerid, but also to our participant's identity, her project of self.

Being Jealous General Structure

To be jealous means to feel that one occupies a specific position in regards to another person, thing, or situation. For the person experiencing jealousy, there must be a particular "Other" within the relationship- whoever or whatever it may be- that becomes the object of the person's feelings. The position experientially held by the jealous person is understood as belonging solely to him/her. Anything or anyone that interferes with the relationship is experienced by the jealous person as encroaching upon his/her space. Similarly, in being jealous, one prescribes certain parameters to the Other in relation to him/herself. This place in the relationship has a certain meaning for the jealous person; seeing oneself as a part of this relationship is important to the way the jealous person identifies him/herself. The jealous person's sense of self is heavily influenced by the relational place he/she possesses in regards to the Other. In being jealous, a person perceives that his or her place with the Other has been taken, usurped, or replaced by a third person or thing. As a person experiences that his/her place vis--vis the Other has been encroached upon, he/she actively interprets threats to that place. Being jealous means asserting one's experiential place as rightfully one's own and seeking to maintain that relationship with the Other, despite interference from someone or something else.

 

Appendix A

Jealous Data 1 with Meaning Units

[MU1: The emotion I will be describing is Jealousy or Possessiveness. I am more inclined to say it was possessiveness because there was no one else involved that I was jealous of. It was just that I wanted to know where she was, and what she was doing. I guess I was mostly insecure about not knowing where she was and why she wouldn't want to spend time with me, the exciting guy I was back then (sarcastic jab at myself). Well, we had been boyfriend and girlfriend for about 4-5 months and she was definitely what I still consider to be my first official girlfriend. And I was definitely a rookie when it came to knowing how to be confident in a relationship instead of constantly questioning it.]

[MU2: We had lunch together and then split up to go our separate ways for classes and decided to meet later that afternoon at the library. We agreed upon a time, I thought, and we left. I did what I had to do and went back to the library to wait for her. I was there a little early, so I hung around outside to catch her before she went in. I waited, and waited, and waited...it was about 10 after now so I worried and thought I'd take a look inside, just in case we had missed each other. I checked the bottom floor, the 1st, the 2nd, still no sign of her. So, I go back outside to the front and wait a little longer, the whole time fidgeting because I am worried something might have happened to her.]

[MU3: I mean, I KNOW we had said we would meet at 4pm at the library! There's no mistaking that she understood that and we had agreed upon that time to meet back here! Something MUST have happened...not necessarily tragic, but obviously something very unexpected in order for her not to be able to make it back in time. I was sure of it. I know it wasn't her just blowing this off, I mean I know for a fact she feels as strongly for me as I do for her so it wasn't like she was avoiding me....something must have happened. I care about her so much I can' bear to think of something keeping her from me; from keeping a date that she usually never missed (from keeping). Where else could I look for her? What else could I do? My feeling of worry was palpable and clouding my thinking...]

[MU4: But lo and behold here she comes...over 20 minutes late, but she's here! And she's completely unaware I was worried sick about her, and she seems a little annoyed that I'm a tad bit upset! So, I get indignant in turn and tell her how we had both agreed to meet back here at 4pm so it's not my fault I worried. And the whole time it seemed like she was surprised I was making a big deal out of it. She even got a funny look and humorously sang that old Duran Duran song, "You're my Obsession". And even then, I wasn't amused and just told her I was worried that's all. If she had just got back there at the time we had agreed upon, it wouldn't have become such a big deal. Simple as that. I remember that event clearly because it was the first red-flag of me becoming too possessive of her and I just hadn't realized it yet.]

[MU5: About a month later, she broke up with me, but did it with the ol' "let's still be friends" bit and I agreed. Well, after going thru that prolonged torture for a while, I remember being depressed and heart broken that it was really over. I cried and cried and thought about what I was crying about and I had an insight. A powerful insight that changed the way I looked at the situation and helped me overcome my feeling of loss.]

[MU6: I realized that I was going through an evolutionary based emotion that used to help my ancestors keep their family units together and away from raiding barbarians. It was a normal reaction as a primitive urge to want to protect her (my girlfriend) and, at last, I understood it as such. Up until that moment, it felt like I was a prisoner to my emotions and felt helpless to change how I felt. It was a great feeling, of relief almost, to know that I had control over that emotion, and that it was merely a biological anachronism. My realization was empowering too because for the first time in my life I knew that there were very deep-set emotions within me that I may not have manifested yet, but could nevertheless still control.]

Jealous Data 1 Meaning Units Analysis

MU1: The emotion I will be describing is Jealousy or Possessiveness. I am more inclined to say it was possessiveness because there was no one else involved that I was jealous of. It was just that I wanted to know where she was, and what she was doing. I guess I was mostly insecure about not knowing where she was and why she wouldn't want to spend time with me, the exciting guy I was back then (sarcastic jab at myself).

Well, we had been boyfriend and girlfriend for about 4-5 months and she was definitely what I still consider to be my first official girlfriend. And I was definitely a rookie when it came to knowing how to be confident in a relationship instead of constantly questioning it.
Transformation1: In this section of the data, being jealous for our participant is revealed as justifying his actions toward his girlfriend. He makes arguments for why he acted the way he did, seemingly trying to lessen his culpability ("I was definitely a rookie"). Experiencing jealousy here entails realizing jealousy is a negative emotion, and trying to downplay one's involvement with it.

MU2: We had lunch together and then split up to go our separate ways for classes and decided to meet later that afternoon at the library. We agreed upon a time, I thought, and we left. I did what I had to do and went back to the library to wait for her. I was there a little early, so I hung around outside to catch her before she went in. I waited, and waited, and waited...it was about 10 after now so I worried and thought I'd take a look inside, just in case we had missed each other. I checked the bottom floor, the 1st, the 2nd, still no sign of her. So, I go back outside to the front and wait a little longer, the whole time fidgeting because I am worried something might have happened to her.

Transformation2: Being jealous involves worrying that there is a break within the relationship our participant has with his girlfriend. He is heavily invested in this girl, and, from the context of the data set, we know that he is worried she might not be as invested in him. He does not know what else to do with himself in the ten minutes she is not there, implying that he defines himself in a large part by his relationship with his girlfriend. He fears losing her to some other situation or person.

MU3: I mean, I KNOW we had said we would meet at 4pm at the library! There's no mistaking that she understood that and we had agreed upon that time to meet back here! Something MUST have happened...not necessarily tragic, but obviously something very unexpected in order for her not to be able to make it back in time. I was sure of it. I know it wasn't her just blowing this off, I mean I know for a fact she feels as strongly for me as I do for her so it wasn't like she was avoiding me....something must have happened. I care about her so much I can' bear to think of something keeping her from me; from keeping a date that she usually never missed (from keeping). Where else could I look for her? What else could I do? My feeling of worry was palpable and clouding my thinking...

Transformation3: Our participant is jealous in that he questions whether his girlfriend is making their relationship her priority, like he has. He experiences a feeling of loss as his girlfriend, in being late, seems to act dismissively toward their plans as a couple. He feels that his understanding of himself as a desirable boyfriend iss threatened by whatever is keeping his girlfriend away from him, and is overwhelmed by his worry that she is prioritizing some third variable over him.

MU4: But lo and behold here she comes...over 20 minutes late, but she's here! And she's completely unaware I was worried sick about her, and she seems a little annoyed that I'm a tad bit upset! So, I get indignant in turn and tell her how we had both agreed to meet back here at 4pm so it's not my fault I worried. And the whole time it seemed like she was surprised I was making a big deal out of it. She even got a funny look and humorously sang that old Duran Duran song, "You're my Obsession". And even then, I wasn't amused and just told her I was worried that's all. If she had just got back there at the time we had agreed upon, it wouldn't have become such a big deal. Simple as that.

I remember that event clearly because it was the first red-flag of me becoming too possessive of her and I just hadn't realized it yet.

Transformation4: The sarcastic way in which he starts off this paragraph reveals that he felt irritated when she finally arrived. Being jealous now means that he expects his girlfriend to have missed him as much as he missed her in the 20 minutes she was late, which would confirm his view of himself as an interesting and attractive person. His jealousy is intensified when she acts apathetically after he expresses his worries to her. He feels that his place in relation to his girlfriend is threatened in the sense that he thinks she does not care for him as much as he cares for her. His place is threatened by whatever she did care about instead of him for those 20 minutes.

MU5: About a month later, she broke up with me, but did it with the ol' "let's still be friends" bit and I agreed. Well, after going thru that prolonged torture for a while, I remember being depressed and heart broken that it was really over. I cried and cried and thought about what I was crying about and I had an insight. A powerful insight that changed the way I looked at the situation and helped me overcome my feeling of loss.

Transformation5: When the relationship is ended, our participant experiences jealousy now as a sorrowful emotion, expressive of his strong desire to still have a relationship with that girl. Now that he no longer has that connection, he is upset that something is keeping her away from him and he understands that it may have been his own fault that she is no longer his girlfriend. He may or may not know what is in the way of their relationship, but our participant feels helpless against the perceived block in their relationship.

MU6: I realized that I was going through an evolutionary based emotion that used to help my ancestors keep their family units together and away from raiding barbarians. It was a normal reaction as a primitive urge to want to protect her (my girlfriend) and, at last, I understood it as such. Up until that moment, it felt like I was a prisoner to my emotions and felt helpless to change how I felt. It was a great feeling, of relief almost, to know that I had control over that emotion, and that it was merely a biological anachronism. My realization was empowering too because for the first time in my life I knew that there were very deep-set emotions within me that I may not have manifested yet, but could nevertheless still control.

Transformation6: At this point, our participant is describing how he "controlled" his jealousy. In being jealous, he realizes that what he is feeling is negative in respect to how he wants to be seen by his girlfriend, and discloses that he felt trapped by his emotions. An experience of jealousy for him now entails a desire to overcome and justify these negative emotions. He does not feel that his actions toward his girlfriend were wrong, and he expresses this by justifying them as biological and primitive; thus he believes his actions were not truly under his control. In the end, when analyzing his own experience of jealousy, the participant feels that he has lessened his culpability with regards to the break in the relationship between himself and his former girlfriend.

 

Appendix B

Jealous Data 2 with Meaning Units

[MU1: During my high school years there was one guy who was my boyfriend 3 different times. His name was Jerid and I met him my sophomore year. He seemed to be a really nice guy and he skateboarded too. He was part of my new group of friends and everybody liked him.

We ended our relationship differently each time. The last time we broke up we were still good friends. We would hang out, go to dinner, etc. He would work on my VW Bug for me. Then all of a sudden he got a new girlfriend. I didn't really know her, but some of my friends did. They thought she was nice and she had a really big house that they had could have parties at. I didn't think it was a big deal when I heard about them dating. Both of us worked at the same store in the mall, so we still saw each other quite a bit.]

[MU2: One day when we both had to work, Jerid and I were talking to each other and who should walk in but his new girlfriend. I got a very strange feeling. I had met her before and never disliked her, but at that moment seeing them together the way Jerid and I had been so many times before stopped me in my tracks. I really didn't like her.] [MU3: There was just something about her. She wasn't Jerid's type, she was a little rich girl and daddy had bought her a brand new car. I wasn't as mad at Jerid though. She was cute enough, but I really didn't know what he saw in her.]

[MU4: She had come to pick him up so that they could go eat lunch together. It was spur of the moment, she had just been in the area and knew he was at work. I wondered if I had ever done something like that. It made me second-guess myself and I did not like that (9). I had never been a jealous person before. Maybe that meant something, maybe not.] [MU5: I could not stay there and watch my old boyfriend and some new girl talk, flirt, and laugh with each other. It was too much, if I did stay I would have made some kind of rude comment and that was not necessary. Did this mean I still had feelings for him? I really did not know. But I walked away and did not turn back.

They did not date for that long and I must say I was relieved when they broke up.]

Jealous Data 2 Meaning Units Analysis

MU1: During my high school years there was one guy who was my boyfriend 3 different times. His name was Jerid and I met him my sophomore year. He seemed to be a really nice guy and he skateboarded too. He was part of my new group of friends and everybody liked him.
We ended our relationship differently each time. The last time we broke up we were still good friends. We would hang out, go to dinner, etc. He would work on my VW Bug for me. Then all of a sudden he got a new girlfriend. I didn't really know her, but some of my friends did. They thought she was nice and she had a really big house that they had could have parties at. I didn't think it was a big deal when I heard about them dating. Both of us worked at the same store in the mall, so we still saw each other quite a bit.

Transformation1: Being jealous for this participant entails interpreting a position that she holds in relation to her previous boyfriend as being threatened by the arrival of a new girlfriend. This position entails an experienced closeness in friendship with Jerid. This relationship is lived as part of how she understands herself and her place in the world. She is concerned with asserting and assuring this place, and in being jealous, she questions her position vis--vis Jerid.

MU2: One day when we both had to work, Jerid and I were talking to each other and who should walk in but his new girlfriend. I got a very strange feeling. I had met her before and never disliked her, but at that moment seeing them together the way Jerid and I had been so many times before stopped me in my tracks. I really didn't like her.

Transformation2: In being jealous, our participant feels separated from Jerid, both literally and figuratively, by the introduction of Jerid's new girlfriend into their relationship. Our participant experiences that the new girlfriend is encroaching upon her space in relation to Jerid. The new girlfriend poses an unexpected threat to the dynamic that our participant had been enjoying with Jerid thus far. The participant compares herself with Jerid's new girlfriend, experiencing that she has somehow been placed second to the girlfriend in Jerid's mind, where she had once been placed first.

MU3: There was just something about her. She wasn't Jerid's type, she was a little rich girl and daddy had bought her a brand new car. I wasn't as mad at Jerid though. She was cute enough, but I really didn't know what he saw in her.

Transformation3: Being jealous means that our participant understands the girlfriend as disrupting the close relationship that was thought to exist solely between herself and Jerid. The participant does not experience that Jerid is actively moving away from her, but rather that the new girlfriend is moving in between them. Being jealous involves interpreting that the perceived break in the relationship comes from some outside person/thing. The participant is angry that another person should take her place in relation to Jerid, which exacerbates the lived disruption in their relationship.

MU4: She had come to pick him up so that they could go eat lunch together. It was spur of the moment, she had just been in the area and knew he was at work. I wondered if I had ever done something like that. It made me second-guess myself and I did not like that (9). I had never been a jealous person before. Maybe that meant something, maybe not.

Transformation4: For our participant, being jealous in this instance involves worrying that her status as an interesting friend, or even potential girlfriend, might not be what she previously thought it to be. She experiences self-doubt as a part of the worry that she does not occupy the same place in her close friendship with Jerid as she thought she did. She also worries that she is not as worthy of attention from anyone, not just Jerid, as she hopes she is. There is an experienced incongruence between our participant's expectations and the lived reality of her relationship with Jerid that is thrown into relief when the new girlfriend is considered in the dynamic.

MU5: I could not stay there and watch my old boyfriend and some new girl talk, flirt, and laugh with each other. It was too much, if I did stay I would have made some kind of rude comment and that was not necessary. Did this mean I still had feelings for him? I really did not know. But I walked away and did not turn back.

They did not date for that long and I must say I was relieved when they broke up.
Transformation5: Being jealous means perceiving that someone else has taken one's place in relation to the desired person, in this case, Jerid. Once the new girlfriend is no longer in a relationship with Jerid, our participant is relieved of her feelings of jealousy because she experiences that her position in relation to Jerid is no longer being taken over. Since she was angry and irritated by the actions of the new girlfriend, our participant realizes that being jealous is an unpleasant experience. The relationship she hold with Jerid is very important to our participant's sense of self, and so, in being jealous, she is uncomfortable when someone else disturbs that relationship.

 

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