Jealousy

I had an extraordinary chat the other day.
Ellie, a woman in her thirties, told me her story. It’s a lesson about jealousy.

She used to have a boss, who was older than her, but who was very attractive and confident in a kind of George Clooney way. You could hardly find a woman in their office who would be indifferent to him, he just knew how to charm anyone naturally.
The boss had a family, a pretty blonde wife and kids, but the rumors had that his marriage was falling apart. Women went crazy after the news broke, or at least when they considered that as a fact.

Ellie was young and had little self-confidence, so when her boss started to take a serious interest in her, she was over the moon. Their flirt turned serious.

“I knew he was unhappy in his marriage and that he was searching for something. I believed his wife was unable to give it to him. She was so much older than I, and I had a feeling of victory that I had never felt before. Of all the women around, including his wife, he chose me. Me! The little insignificant girl. It was a dream come true. Like in the movies. I just couldn’t believe my luck; I was the chosen one! I was the one who he was looking for.”

Regardless of the cynical remarks of their co-workers, Ellie’s boss filed for divorce and soon they moved in in his new apartment. The first months seemed very promising; traveling around, restaurants, parties, but soon, everyday started to creep in. Together they decided that it wasn’t healthy for them to work together, so Ellie became a freelancer.

“It’s such a clich√© that it makes me cringe,” she said, “He worked with international contractors, so he traveled a lot. Suddenly I felt I no longer knew if he was telling the truth. Whenever he was on a business trip, I became insecure. I realized that deep in my mind, I switched places with his wife. I started to picture him with girls, who give them the same coquettish smile I used to have, who feel lucky just as I did, who think that his partner must be a cow, as I did.”

“Our relationship started to become tense, even though he tried to reassure me. I realized I was in my own trap. I realized that my biggest mistake was to think that all those unhappy years he was looking for me. No. I believe he was just a seeker. He was never really interested in finding. It was a temporary state for him. And that was when I knew it, I was but a tempting and convenient escape route. But he could not stay there for long. He believed that he loved me, but in reality, I felt replaceable.”

“That was when I found out about his relationships before he left his wife. I was not the only one, as I liked to think. His flirts with my colleagues were not innocent, everybody knew, but me. I felt so betrayed, so alone. He always got angry when I talked about the past, he said there was no point. But for me, his betrayal started then.”

Ellie developed stress-related syndromes, gained weight, and her weak self-confidence became even weaker.
The relationship didn’t last, and she saw that as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“What was the turning point for you?” I asked.

“One day, I woke up broken and depressed. And suddenly I felt tired of my misery. I heard my own voice in my head saying that ‘I will never feel replaceable again.’ It was then that I realized how angry I was with myself. I was mad for not respecting myself, for lying myself, for creating illusions. I used to be mad at him for making me believe he really loved me. But I understood that he was just as much fooling himself. He didn’t love me, but he needed me and fro him it was the same.
It was then that I saw his fear, his helplessness, and that he would repeat the same thing again and again. His ‘lucky women’ will come and go, his emptiness will stay.
In my mind, I told him all this. And I reclaimed my dignity. I forgave him and let him go, I knew I would never let anyone make me feel worthless and replaceable again. Because now I’m no longer afraid of letting them go. I still have me.”

Wow! What can I say to that?
We all can learn from that.

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