What kind of people get jealous easily

"You are mine" - which is why jealousy is proof of strong love

"You are mine" - which is why jealousy is proof of strong love

Much love is propagated from Berlin to New York. The Zurich author Birgit Schmid says: It can't work. You can't turn off jealousy. She is the yardstick for the intensity of a love.

"I was never jealous," says French actress Fanny Ardant. Is that commendable?

On the contrary. Anyone who claims this may sound incredibly confident and show: I have my life under control. And yet I do not find it worthwhile to get rid of my jealousy and to be completely independent of the other.

Why not?

Because the fear of loss is part of love. In other words: You can only experience the best of love when you know the hell of jealousy. Jealousy is the protector of love, it shows how important someone is to me. Absent jealousy can be a sign of indifference. Many today lack the courage to get involved. You can see that in the dating culture on the Internet.

They call people who hang around on dating apps "love bulimics".

I see it with friends who are looking: how seductive it is to look for the even more perfect partner because there are so many options. A slow rapprochement, for example first by flirting or courting, no longer comes about. If love is only consumed, you may miss the one, the one. By the way, I find a nice declaration of love in the phrase "You are mine".

But every third marriage ends in divorce and many cheat. Has monogamy failed?

I do not think so. Because people continue to get married, many believe in marriage, want to give themselves to the illusion that it is forever. Even homosexuals who once embodied the cool subculture and lived enviable hedonistic lives are fighting to get married. The free living out of sexuality doesn't just make you happy. Otherwise, why would this freedom be given up?

Many persevere in marriage for financial reasons. They have a house and children. There is no longer love, but fear of change.

I see that in many too. I understand that a relationship is not thrown away carelessly when there are children. But I never understood the mediocrity of feeling that you put up with. That one no longer has dreams.

Doesn't one get more out of life when one loves several people at the same time?

If such open relationships work for some - fine. Usually this only works for a while because there is an imbalance. What is it like to wait at home when you know your partner is in bed with someone else? Or she seems so absent: is her thoughts with her lover? Many experience reports show that jealousy sparks in between.

Proponents of free love refer to the Stone Age people: They lived in hordes, had many sex relationships at the same time and raised their children together.

Evolutionary biologists contradict this thesis: Here a clichéd image of a prehistoric hippie community is propagated. Sexual hedonism does not fit into any human culture, rather a feeling of responsibility arises in the group that promotes loyalty. Jealousy, like all feelings, has a biology. The jealous person, whether man or woman, defends a partnership that is important to him as soon as it is threatened.

You write that polyamory is a man's fantasy that is sold as a woman's wish. What do you mean?

During the student movement, the liberation from the constraints of the “marriage jail” should benefit women in particular. In reality, men continued to enjoy their promiscuous lives and take what they wanted. Equality was not achieved from one day to the next; the majority of women were still in the domestic sphere. Only now, when women live just as independently, do they also shape the relationship style. All the more so in a relationship in which everyone loves several people, because that forces people to confront each other, and women have always been good at that: questioning feelings, revealing wishes, negotiating. Polyamory is therefore also understood as a step towards final emancipation.

Feminists like Simone de Beauvoir and Catherine Millet also advocated free love.

Yes, but they paid a price and kept suffering from severe jealousy for having to share their husbands. But they weren't allowed to show it because it didn't fit the image of the strong, independent woman. In Catherine Millet's open marriage, the couple quarreled without ever using the word "jealousy". What was outlawed was forbidden.

Can you get jealousy under control?

Jealousy cannot be regulated like the temperature on a radiator. The wave rolls in, and you are at the mercy of the feeling, you feel small, left behind, left behind. Perhaps in psychotherapy you can learn how to deal with it, strengthen self-confidence, which is often cited as the cause: that you lack self-worth. But it's more than that, and that's why I don't think jealousy can be cured. As long as the feeling does not make you incapable of living, that would, as I said, also not be desirable. Whoever loves always has something to lose.

Murders are committed out of jealousy. Would the world be a better one without jealousy?

It is pointless to think about it. Any crime committed out of jealousy is dire. But passions like jealousy cannot be overcome. Today's longing for emotional correctness knows its limits.

They like literature that would not exist without jealousy. For example?

"Animal triste" by Monika Maron is one of my favorite books: A woman experiences an impossible, headless love with a married man that becomes so existential for her that she would rather her lover dead than by someone else's side. "Before she met me" by Julian Barnes is about jealousy of the past, here too the protagonist is delusional. Because jealous people often make fools of themselves with their fantasies, there is often something funny about these stories. You laugh - and recognize yourself.

You advocate a love in which you risk everything for one person. Are you a hopeless romantic?

I hear that a lot, and it's probably true: I'm a romantic - but not a hopeless one! I'm not kidding myself. My book is a plea for exclusive, unique love, actually a utopia. I vouch for that. Dreams are vital, fantasies enrich life. But far from preaching fidelity, for example. The last sentence in my book is: Something can always happen.

Birgit Schmid: Free love is for figs. Publisher: Dietrich zu Klampen, 160 S., Fr. 28.–