Dr. Robert L. Barker, author of Treating Couples in Crises (Macmillan/Free Press, 1985) and a forthcoming book, The Green-Eyed Marriage, believes it takes both partners, and not one person, to foster and perpetuate jealousy in a marriage. Based on his studies as a professor of social services at Catholic University and 10 years of treating jealousy in his private marital and family therapy practice, Barker has devised a list of "games" (inspired by Eric Berne's Games People Play) which, once established, can put both husband and wife in a jealous spin.
Some of the games:
Uproar. The goal is to pick a fight so there won't be any chance for intimacy or support. The main provoker is the jealous spouse who is both suspicious and afraid to trust.
Frigidity. The nonjealous spouse takes advantage of the jealous partner's insecurities by threatening a jealous situation "for the sole purpose of avoiding sex."
See What You Made Me Do. The purpose is to become free of guilt by blaming the other spouse. For example, says Barker, a husband may complain to his wife after a party: "You made me so nervous staring at me whenever I talked to that woman that I made a complete fool of myself."
Cops and Robbers. The robber (nonjealous spouse) leaves just enough clues around to tantalize the cop (jealous spouse). The robber receives pleasure from the cop's concern and interest.
Courtroom. In this game, which requires three players, an accuser tries to convince a judge of the spouse's misdeeds. A jealous wife, for example, says to a friend, "Let me tell you what my husband did." It's a form of manipulation for the jealous person who wants to have control.