Monday, September 3, 2018

A bit about jealousy

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I wanted to talk a bit about jealousy today. Of my top 10 questions about the lifestyle, “How do you deal with jealousy?” is definitely one.

In polyamorous and even open relationships, jealousy can mean the end for a relationship. Academically, there are two distinct terms that are used regarding this particularly sensitive emotion - envy and jealousy. Envy is when you see someone else with someone that you feel you lack, be it an item, or positive trait or a person whose attention you desire. We covet what we don’t have. Jealousy is our gut feeling when we feel like what we have is being threatened. Someone wants your shiny because they want it and you want to keep it, protect it, and most times, you are willing to fight for it.

I have described fear as a serpent that coils around you and threatens to squeeze the life from you. To me, jealousy can also be that same serpent but ends up manifesting as a dragon. We fear we will lose someone we love to some valiant knight or supple young maiden. Sometimes, we would rather burn what we have than lose it someone else. Our fear of losing the thing we love often makes us hurt the object of our affection, and we lose it anyway.

And it makes us feel like shit. So how do we deal with it? How do we not feel jealous?

The short answer is that we don’t.

The long answer is that we address the things that make us feel like less worthy of retaining the love that we have and want.

Let’s cut out all of the bullshit.

Strip away the other people entirely. The person you think is a threat and even the person you love. Let’s just look at ourselves for a moment. No one can make you feel anyway that you don’t let them. So why do we feel this way?

This brings us back to envy. If you are afraid of losing someone to another person, why? If you come back with the answer that they are: younger, more attractive, or more affluent, then it means you are envious. The answer has more to do with you being insecure about yourself than anyone else, this feeling will not go away until you learn to love yourself.

Let’s go further. Do you trust that your relationship is strong enough to withstand the existence or presence of another person? If your answer is no, then you really should not be attempting polyamory or open or swinging. There has to be trust in your partner and faith in the strength of your relationship or else this will not work.

Jealousy is rooted in our fear and insecurities.

Fear comes in and tells us that we aren’t good enough, so we will lose everything we love. In the end that we will be alone. All of our hopes and dreams will be scattered like ashes on the wind.

It’s all a pile of bullshit, lies we nurse because we have been taught that we lose something by letting our partner have their freedom. Lies that tell us that by engaging in this sort of lifestyle that our relationships with our primary are not worthwhile or valuable because we are willing to do things apart from them.

In a normal monogamous relationship, do you do everything with that partner? I mean, everything? Do you both have exactly the same hobbies, interests, and friends? Do you fully engage in everything that they do? Is there some hour of the day that you aren’t with your partner?

Typically, people spend time apart even in a happy and fulfilling monogamous relationship. People have other friends, hobbies, and places of work. Being apart does not lessen the affection or devotion you have for your partner. Loving your family, children or friends does not diminish the love you have for your partner.

When I felt jealous or inadequate, I looked at myself and asked why? I found in myself that I was insecure about my looks. I felt like attention devoted to pursuing someone else was a threat to me. But I thought about it. Was it really? You have to invest time to have a relationship with anyone, especially a new one. When I realized that I was afraid of not getting the same quality time, we made it a point to not take out time together for granted and scheduled time for us as well as for other people.

We take our time together for granted since we love each other and live together. I found by talking we had different definitions of quality time that were only revealed because I talked to Shep about my insecurities. But once I did, I stopped feeling inadequate. I stopped feeling jealous for the most part. I have faith that at the end of the day my husband will always come home to me. It's been 17 years, I have not been disappointed yet. <3

So while those doubts may never go away, I don't have to let that fear, that doubt rule me or make my life hell. I acknowledge it and move on with my life. If I have a  question about how Shep is feeling about something or me, I ask. I can only work on the things that I can control. If I don't like my clothes, I can buy new ones. I feel out of shape, I can go do some push-ups or run. I can improve myself for myself. I can't do it for anyone but me. I have to love myself before anyone else can be expected to and even that is a developing process.

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