Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.
It has to be one of the first people everybody asks when I say I’m Polyamorous. “How do you deal with Jealousy?”
I’d love to say “Oh I’ve reached a higher plane of existence where jealousy is no longer an emotion I have to deal with…” or something equally as obnoxious. But it’s not true.
Others have written some amazing blogs on their experiences with jealousy, and I guess I’m theoretically pretty similar. But right now, it’s quite hard.
For me, the biggest stepping stone was identifying the difference between Jealousy and Envy. When my partner is going on a date and I’m not, because of my health or work load or just I haven’t met anyone I’m interested in, then sure, it rankles me, but that’s Envy for me. Not jealousy. I don’t wish that he wasn’t going out with someone, I just wish that I was too.
That doesn’t mean jealousy doesn’t happen. It does. But its usually for another reason. I get jealous if I’ve barely seen him due to work and life stuff, then he makes plans to go out with someone else.
Jealousy is a funny emotion. It seems to be one of the few emotions where people are prepared to just give it as an explanation and have that be the end of discussion. It’s like
saying I’m angry as a reason for disrupting dinner and not expanding any further…leaving the man whose meal you’ve just ruined to figure out what is making you angry.
Essentially our dynamic works as a Primary Relationship. We live together, have our lives together, and all the ups and downs that come with that. But if you don’t also make the time to have fun together, and do datey relationship stuff, then I’m going to feel neglected. But that is a problem in all relationships regardless if they are poly or not. When I really look at it, I don’t see Jealousy in this situation. I see that it highlights issues that need resolving, as in, spending more quality time together. If that is fixed I don’t feel that way.
Poly can be very hard. I’m not denying that. But I do think that Poly relationships can be some of the healthiest around thanks to the overanalysing and communication that needs to happen for them to be able to function. Complacency doesn’t seem to happen as much.
It’s very hard when one person from your dynamic has the availability to date, or even has people around they are interested in (which is my biggest issue right now…the lack of). But again, it’s not that I don’t want him to forge these connections and enjoy himself. I just want to be doing it too.
Mental Health also plays a factor for me. If I’m having a particularly bad anxiety day/week/month…then there is the occasional insecurity that pops up of what if he finds someone better suited to him. Usually this will go round my head for a while before I settle on the healthy approach of, “Well, that’s the beauty of poly, you don’t have to choose.” Or the other one “If he finds someone he would rather be in a Primary relationship with than me, then it obviously wasn’t meant to be for either of us.” But yeah it’s difficult opening up to the possibility of that. On the other hand, if you weren’t meant to be and you’re in a mono relationship, that will still happen, it’s just you won’t know about it before you’re being broken up with.
Again, as with Jealousy though, insecurities are there to let us know what our brains are feeling vulnerable about. And talking this through with your partner can be very beneficial. I know I have this insecurity because I know our relationship has changed a lot over the years, through getting older, illness, busy jobs etc. And I worry that the solid relationship we have built will seem boring and tarnished compared to the bright shiny fun new connection he develops with someone else. Then I remember that new people I have in my life don’t replace what I have with him. And if it were any other way for him, he would tell me.
So to sum up….Yes, Jealousy affects me as a Poly person, but I don’t let it rule my life. No body should, regardless of their relationship type, it’s not healthy. Jealousy to me is a sign that something needs fixing.