A scientific study found that boyfriends got jealous whenever their girlfriends had success. When a man is jealous of a woman’s success simply because she is a woman, I think, how archaic. It’s normal to be jealous of people’s success. Coveting thy neighbor is a sin because it creates a toxic motivation for your ambitions that will always lead to a lack of satisfaction, but it’s totally normal. Whenever I read about someone my age or younger who is getting million dollar book deals I have to calm myself out of a panic attack and remind myself that everyone is on their own trajectory and that of course I don’t have a million dollar book deal—I didn’t write a book.
Anyway, while I think envying the fruits of others labors is common, I think we need to try our best to celebrate people’s successes, whether they are strangers or close ones, because we’ll just be a lot happier spreading joy rather than malice. This is why I have to say I was pretty disheartened by a study that found boyfriends were commonly jealous of their girlfriend’s success.
I think it should be noted that although the men were jealous of their girlfriends, this didn’t mean they were going out of their way to sabotage their partner’s accomplishments.
According to the study, “It didn’t seem to matter to men what the circumstances of their girlfriends’ success was. Whether the success was social or intellectual, whether it related to the boyfriend’s failure or was just something the woman achieved independent of anything the boyfriend did, the men still tended to feel worse about themselves when their girlfriends succeeded.”
Essentially, whenever a girlfriend outshines their BF, he feels like her success means she is more successful than him. I can only imagine this kind of thinking are the remnants of our country’s more explicit, past relationship with sexism. Back in the day women were literally not allowed to be successful because a female breadwinner was a major blow to a man’s ego. Women were expected to be seen not heard in social situations and be agreeable about their man’s opinions regardless if they actually agreed. Women “knew their place.”
Today we’re allowed to work and be more outspoken. If we’re allowed to be ourselves then in a social circle we have more opportunities to make our friends laugh, drop some serious knowledge and just be the cool kid at the party—that position is no longer reserved for men who got to be the cool kid just by having a penis and not actually being cool. Unfortunately men have not embraced the gender revolution as often as women and LGBT folks have, so they very often still feel pressured by old expectations about what it means to be man.
A guy said the other day that he would be super in to The Hunger Games if it wasn’t “for girls.” It’s like dude, The Hunger Games isn’t for girls, that’s like saying Harry Potter is for boys. Stories about being a hero are for everybody. Yet, I can’t rag on him too much because maybe in his circle of friends he would get picked on for liking a book or movie with a female lead. That’s how we get flipped up by social pressures and expectations, yo.
The study also implies something interesting, that men generally don’t feel good enough for their ladies. “In the face of a partner’s success, women felt better about the future of their relationship, and men felt worse. Men felt better about the future of their relationship when their partner had just failed.”
Way to be pathetic, guys. The researchers who conducted this study among 896 people in heterosexual relationships, theorized that men were conditioned to be more competitive so they felt less successful when their ladies out shined them. My advice to these guys is to get over it. In relationships and life, someone is always going to be better or worse at something than you are and whether that person is a co-worker, a friend or lover, you got to roll with the punches. One day you’re on top, the next your significant other is, that’s actually the benefit of being in a relationship, their is always someone there to pick you up when you’re falling, but that can only happen if you’re both strong.