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Salt & Pepper shakers (Warning: Mixed & Mangled Metaphor Ahead. Consume At Your Own Risk.)

Maya Angelou said, "Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening."

I think Angelou had it right. A little sprinkle of jealousy can go a long way, enhancing the flavor and savor of a relationship. A little bit of fear, of wondering, of questioning, of mystery? Potentially scrumptious. But too much? Things go bitter. Start tasting bad. Over time, jealousy taints what was once pure. Adds pressure. Hurts the heart. Ultimately, the sweetness spoils. And there is no going back.

But is a relationship without jealousy necessarily bland? Does it lack spice, depth, bite? Or is it simply delicious on its own? Without the added existential sodium, life's food is no doubt healthier, kinder on the head and heart, but does it taste like anything? Without the seasoning of suspicion and the pinch of paranoia, will we continue to crave the morsel that is monogamy, the meal that is marriage? Do our taste buds change over time depending on what we devour and what devours us?

Is the salt of jealousy overrated or under-appreciated? A culturally celebrated or condemned condiment? Do we reach for the shaker - or avoid it - out of habit? Out of instinct? Because we see others doing the same? Do we assume the repast of romance needs something extra, a drizzle of drama, a teaspoon of trauma, a frisson of flirtation, because that's what we so often witness in life, on television, in books?

Is the level of psychic sodium in our relationships really up to us? Is it a matter of choice or character or circumstance? Are some meals just saltier than others?

(Don't even get me started on pepper.)

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  • Do you agree that a little bit of jealousy enhances romance, but too much ruins it?
  • How much jealousy is too much jealousy?
  • What happens when only one partner is jealous? When both are?
  • Do you think a relationship riddled with jealousy can survive?
  • Do you think a relationship completely lacking in jealousy can survive?
  • How often do you feel jealous in your current relationship?
  • Do you think that jealousy can be eliminated from a relationship once its been added? Or, like salt, does it seep in and blend irreversibly with that to which it has been added?

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