Shades of Meaning
There are inevitable comparisons between new relationships which develop following a break up. Sometimes there seems to be a race to be remarried after a divorce. I once saw a newly divorced friend bring a date to her son’s bar mitzvah. They weren’t seriously involved. He was her new boyfriend. It gave me the impression she was trying to prove she was more successful at moving on than her ex-husband who attended solo. It was kind of an uncomfortable place to meet the guy.
There is often a rivalry between past and present partners. We may feel jealous if our partner finds someone younger/thinner/prettier/more or less something than us.
The definition of jealousy according to diffen.com:
Jealous means “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful, “ “anxiously suspicious, “ “zealous, “ or “expecting complete devotion.” The last is normally applied to God.
Feeling jealous involves three people where we are worried about being replaced by someone who seems superior to us in some way.
I had no reason to feel jealous about women my husband was involved with because he had left me long before he moved out of the house. I did envy his girlfriends for an unusual reason. They had intact central nervous systems. They can hike, ski, scuba dive, ice skate, do yoga and don’t seem to have physical limitations like I do which prevent me from being in the best shape and maintaining a healthy weight.
The definition of envy according to diffen.com:
Envy means “to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that person has or enjoys.” In a milder sense, it means “the longing for something someone else has without any ill will intended toward that person.”
Feelings of envy are between two people where one has those feelings about the other.
As I watch the relationships my estranged husband develops with others, I’m certain there is no jealousy as I would not want to be in those women’s shoes. They think they are lucky to have him as a boyfriend. In many ways, they are. I have known him for forty years. I know too much. He is an excellent boyfriend as far as I can tell, just not the best husband for me.
I envy the lack of barriers he enjoys since he left the limitations of my disability behind. I envy his home which he co opted for himself. It was our vacation home, but is now his residence. There are no young adult children living there to clutter the place, make a mess or interfere with him entertaining there. There are never gangs of twenty-somethings who arrive at his home at odd hours and start cooking and drinking in his kitchen. They never party in his basement while he is trying to sleep or make love in the bedroom above.
Neither my estranged husband or his girlfriend have jobs which demand they put in regular hours. They are free to extend their weekends and travel at will and often do so. This is in stark contrast to my own situation as I am involved with a man who has neither the means or the time to travel.
There is no reason for me to be jealous of my estranged husband’s new partners. But I do envy them for finding a guy who has a beautiful home (half of which is mine), being able to travel, and not being disabled.