Monday 22 January 2018

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald @LindaMac1 #AudioBook #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours

When Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in the kitchen, insecurities resurface from a time when she was bullied at school. Jealousy rears its head and her marriage begins to fall apart. Desperate for a solution, she finds herself trying to track down her first schoolgirl crush: Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.
Meeting Lydia is a book about childhood bullying, midlife crises, obsession, jealousy and the ever-growing trend of Internet relationships. It will appeal to fans of adult fiction and those interested in the dynamics and psychology of relationships. Author Linda is inspired by Margaret Atwood, Fay Weldon and David Lodge.

Meeting Lydia Audio Book by Linda MacDonald, narrated by Harriet Carmichael was released in the UK in November 2016.

I am delighted to welcome the author, Linda MacDonald back to Random Things today as part of the ten-day Blog Tour, she's written an article about 'Jealousy in Relationships'

Green-eyed Monster or Guardian Angel?
Jealousy in Relationships

‘Jealousy is one of the most significant factors in the break-up of relationships,’ says psychology teacher Marianne, in Meeting Lydia.

This being so, we shouldn’t treat it lightly. It’s not known as the Green Eyed Monster for nothing.
Jealousy is a complex emotion often accompanied by that sinking feeling in the gut and other symptoms of anxiety such as fear, anger, doubt, sorrow and even humiliation. Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. It is intense and destructive, taking over thoughts, disturbing sleep and causing irrational reactions. Some have described it as a kind of madness.

It may start early in life in the home – being jealous of a sibling. It may continue in primary school when you feel jealous that your best friend is spending time with someone else and you’re frightened of losing them. Later, it may invade romantic relationships, usually arising when one partner fears ‘mate poaching’. This is explained by insecurity which may stem from perceived inequality in what psychologists call ‘mate value’ – in other words, feeling less worthy than the partner, or a potential rival. Notice I said perceived. And when it comes to the object of the jealousy, very often it is perceived differences in attractiveness or youth (not unconnected) that are the most likely trigger, particularly for women.

Romantic jealousy can get out of hand leading to accusations and other suspicious behaviours which rather than solve the issue are more likely to drive the partner further way. Jealousy is not seen as an attractive trait and may lead to further rejection, loss of self-esteem and greater insecurity. And an imagined rival can be just as threatening as a real one. This is due to cognitive biases in the brain, erring on caution and seeing potential betrayal where none exists. Indeed, the internet age has led to a huge increase in jealousy as partners become concerned about mobile or email communications, even to the extent of checking a partner’s phone or laptop. This is not to be recommended as in addition to showing a lack of trust, it can only add to suspicions (perhaps unnecessarily) and make the jealousy worse. 
This issue is explored further in my guest post ‘Texting for Trouble’, hosted by Anne Williams.

Why are we Jealous?
If jealousy is so potentially destructive, why does it persist as an emotion? There may be sound evolutionary reasons. If jealousy is about insecurity and fears of losing the loved-one to someone else, then historically this would have mattered very much to women who were dependent on men to support the family. It is only relatively recently that women have had their own means of support. And men may be jealous because they want to be sure that it is their genes – and not those of an imposter – that are passed onto the children he is supporting.

This theory also helps to explain the different forms of jealousy between the sexes. While a sexual betrayal creates significant jealousy in both sexes, David Buss found males tend to be more upset by sexual infidelity and females by emotional infidelity: hence men are more jealous because of paternity issues, while women fear they are more likely to lose their man if he’s in love with someone else.

This makes jealousy understandable and even normal and natural. Buss says it is a deterrent against straying: if you’re not jealous, you may not protect your relationship from real threats. Looking at it from this point of view, jealousy serves to create boundaries in relationships and so functions as a guardian angel in keeping people together.

However, new thinking on romantic jealousy considers the possibility that the emotion may eventually die out as being irrelevant in a world where it is becoming commonplace to have more than one committed partnership during the lifetime. The growth and acceptability of meeting people online has made it much easier for both men and women to form new relationships in later life, so reducing the fear of being left alone if a relationship breaks down.

But evolution takes a long time to catch up with social trends and relationship jealousy is probably here to stay for the foreseeable future. A little bit of jealousy is good because it reminds us to protect our partnership. It’s only when jealousy becomes obsessive and accusatory that it creates serious division. Getting the balance right is the challenge. Relationships need to be nurtured – particularly in the long term when it is easy to become complacent. Boredom can make other options more tempting. It is therefore important for couples to make time for each other and to communicate often when apart. The sharing of each other’s inner worlds is the best antidote against jealousy.

Please do look out for the other posts on the Blog Tour over the next nine days

Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda's books are contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues. 

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths', Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing. 

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in Kent.

Follow her on Twitter @LindaMac1

About the Narrator: Harriet Carmichael
I've always loved doing voices. I grew up with Radio 4 being on constantly in the background.
Somehow the voices and accents broadcast over the years soaked in. And now I do voices. Or if you ask my agent, I'm a "voice artist".
For the last seven years I've spent most of my days in front of a microphone: as myself; as seven-year-old boys; talking baboons; angsty teenagers (usually American); androgynous talking cats; Glaswegian Grannies; the cast of The Archers... After university I trained at The Oxford School of Drama and then acted mainly with touring theatre companies - some brilliant, some not so... I had a lot of fun, but once I started doing voiceovers in warm studios with good coffee, being on the road lost some of its appeal. And the voice can do much more than people think. Tone, timing, pitch and accent can all vary depending on the job. From commercials and corporates to cartoons, computer games and audiobooks, it's a brilliant job and, really, I owe it all to Radio 4.

Follow her on Twitter @Harrietcar

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