Jane Tucker


Western culture tends to view romantic jealousy as innate, and as an inevitable byproduct of romantic love. Relying on findings of empirical research, this Note argues that this view, widespread in America, is invidious. Likely as a result of this view, wrongful acts arising from jealousy are often excused or even condoned. This Note draws evidence from empirical studies on the contribution of jealousy to domestic violence, homicide, and divorce to show how this view can be detrimental to society. Additionally, this Note shows that the dual beliefs that jealousy is innate and inextricable from love are both incorrect. Evidence from cultural psychology and anthropological studies strongly suggests that the expression of jealousy is largely culturally determined. This Note also examines the polyamorist movement in the United States, Canada, and England as evidence both that romantic love can exist independently from jealousy and that jealousy may be controlled. Based on the sum of these findings, this Note goes on to consider societal acceptance of polyamory and polygamy as a potential step toward solving the problems posed by the dominant cultural view of jealousy. By helping to undermine our invidious cultural perceptions of jealousy, this Note argues that such an acceptance might reduce the incidence of jealousy-related problems. The Note concludes by suggesting measures that might be taken toward this end.

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