“She came first, ‘cause I got it like that,” he whispered in my ear as we shuffled through the aisles in Jansen’s. I looked back at him with a faint smile. How does this work? Am I supposed to pretend to be interested in his little sex story? Because I don’t want to hear it.
I have often suffered from fits of severe, crippling Jealousy in the past, making me question if it can go down in the books as a legitimate disorder. This doesn’t just apply to my romantic interests; she plagues me in my friendships as well. I once lost my best friend to her, and at the time … I couldn’t even name the feeling I was fighting against.
He didn’t continue with his story after that … out of respect, probably. Just last year, I had told him that I had a thing for him, so he knew where I stood. But funnily enough, we had become even closer after my embarrassing trip of emotional outpour. So close, in fact, that the night in question had become an inside-joke.
But even before he had gotten together with his current boo, and after he had denied me that night, there continued to exist this urge to tell him about Boy X who had asked me to come home with him after the party, and Boy Y who couldn’t stop texting me during class. It was an inexplicable pressure that forced me to make sure he was aware of my sexual desirability. And yet I knew whenever we were together … I mean, sure, we’d have our laughs, but when we parted ways I knew he would cease to think of me. Meanwhile, in his absence, our recently shared memories would continue to pester me throughout the night. I often wonder if the emotional rollercoaster that began the moment I saw his face was worth the ride. If I could’ve chosen to never have met him, surely it would have saved me some embarrassing moments, some bitter nights and the false hope that, no matter what occurred, always seemed to reboot itself.
Now I know we’ll never be together, and that’s okay: I’ve accepted it as an irreversible truth, but somehow something in me still wants to be with him. I would even settle for the impossible, perfect-ish scenario of texting him every night, cuddling with him and partying with him without impeding his romantic expeditions or threatening to evoke the wrath of his lovers. But when we were still on campus, during the night, I couldn’t even enjoy Netflix because of the throbbing compulsive thoughts and blurry visions. I just know they’re together — even if nothing sexual is going on, it doesn’t matter. They’re enjoying each other’s company. They’re falling in love. Why can’t I just be happy for him without hesitation? Is it possible to purge Jealousy without enlisting the assistance of a distracting rebound that means less than nothing to me?
I don’t know if there exists a feasible answer. It’s nearly impossible to change the way you feel about something. Just like when you’re falling in love, it’s a helpless sensation … something you can’t control. The Jealousy that inevitably arises can be temporarily quelled, whether it be in the form of one-night stands or dancing with a stranger. But when the sun rises Jealousy will continue to linger. I wish I could share the conclusions of the research conducted on my “How to Rid Yourself of Jealousy” study, but the fact of the matter is that I’m still working through it myself. Some advice I can give is to not let useless questions plague you. Why didn’t they choose me? Did all those hours we logged in together mean nothing? If I would have said something else, maybe they would still be here? Hypotheticals don’t help. You owe it to yourself to stop lingering in the funk that Jealousy forces upon all of its victims. I mean I can’t pretend that the pain magically dissipates, because it doesn’t … but it does get duller with time. And maybe the best thing I can tell you is that you’re not alone, and you’re good enough. And to give yourself ample time to process and grieve, but after that clock runs out, pack up … and move on.
Helpless Lover Girl is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dopamine Overdose runs every other Thursday this summer.