Originally appeared online in the teen series Trending - February 13, 2023
Q: How can I stop being jealous of my friends’ relationship?
A. When I was a sophomore in college, I met this really cool guy I’ll call Joe. He was smart and good-looking, with a quirky sense of humor. We had the same major and friends in common, so I thought we’d make a great couple. Unfortunately, the same thought didn’t occur to Joe. He started dating a girl in my dorm I’ll call Katie. I wasn’t just disappointed—I was jealous! How could Joe prefer Katie to me? She was just a freshman. And an immature and silly one, I thought.
After feeling miserable for a while, I realized that my only way out of these feelings was going to be through prayer. I’d grown up attending a Christian Science Sunday School, and I was learning how to pray for myself and that I could expect solutions to my problems.
One day, I reached out to God in prayer. This was the message I heard in my thoughts: “If you really care about Joe—if this isn’t just all about you—you’ll want him to have whatever makes him happy. Even if it’s Katie.”
I wasn’t just disappointed—I was jealous! How could Joe prefer Katie to me?
That definitely wasn’t the answer I wanted! But I knew it was the right answer because it came from God, and God is Love. God was telling me that the way to get rid of jealousy was to be unselfish enough to want the best for Joe and Katie. To me, it was a way of obeying the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Wouldn’t I want someone who cared about me to be happy for me if I were in a relationship? Of course! Even though it was hard, I had an opportunity to express love by doing the same for Joe and Katie.
The Golden Rule also made me think about something that the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Jealousy is the grave of affection” (p. 68). That meant to me that you can’t genuinely love someone and be jealous at the same time.
While love and jealousy may seem to go hand in hand, they’re actually opposite emotions. Jealousy is a negative human emotion that has nothing to do with God. It can even keep us from having healthy and long-lasting relationships. By contrast, real love comes from God, who is Love itself. When we feel this spiritually based love, we naturally want the best for the person we care about.
As I started to understand these spiritual facts, I knew I wanted to love unselfishly and stop being jealous, and I could even see how that was possible. Soon, I was able to let go of wanting Joe to be my boyfriend and to accept his relationship with Katie.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. To be totally honest, even though I felt at peace with my answer from God, I still felt that they’d gotten what they wanted, and that I was missing out. I imagined them eventually marrying and living happily ever after, while I was left alone. But that wasn’t what happened—and what did happen surprised me.
Joe and Katie dated casually for a while, then broke up. I remained friends with Joe and, as I got to know him better, realized we were different enough that we wouldn’t make a good couple. Friendship had been the right relationship for us all along. I also got to know Katie better and discovered how very likable she was. She became my friend, too. I loved the way God had surprised me. When I listened to God and let go of my jealous feelings, instead of losing something, I gained two good friends.
Sometimes it can be really hard seeing happy couples around, especially if you’re feeling lonely. But not only does God help us feel less alone through His unchanging love for us, but He also provides us with companionship—sometimes in ways we don’t expect.