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Beginner reading on non-monogamy over-hypes jealousy to the point where people go into non-monogamy assuming any negative feeling they have about a person their partner is dating is inherently jealousy and any attempt to express that feeling is automatically controlling, abusive behaviour.
In my first non-monogamous ‘relationship’, I had spoken to this guy for a year (I lived in the US, he in the UK and I was moving to the UK within a few months) when he suddenly began dating a person he’d never mentioned before.
When you’re reflecting on your jealousy, think about what it is exactly that’s making you jealous.
Is it inappropriate behavior on the part of your partner?
There’s a myth that healthy relationships don’t have any jealousy and that’s just not true. What’s unhealthy (and potentially abusive) is when that jealousy leads to patterns of control in a relationship.
So to avoid that, what are some basic ways to deal with jealousy?
When you first learn about polyamory or non-monogamy, what most people call ‘open relationships’, you’ll likely be directed to several publications: The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, and the website More Than Two.
So it’s less “Tell me she’s ugly” and more “Tell me I’m beautiful.” When we reframe jealousy as giving you information about something that you need from your partner in order to feel more affirmed in your relationship, it really helps remove the anger and defensiveness that can come up in these conversations.
It took me to recognize that jealousy was an ugly, unproductive emotion and one that got in the way of everything I wanted to do. Here’s how to learn to overcome that morass of paranoia, fear, worry, envy and bitterness. I see this often in relationships and it can crop up frequently in non-monogamous arrangements: feeling jealous is looked down upon and so they try to cram it down a hole and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Let me give you another example from my life: I had made plans with an ex-girlfriend to hang out at my place and watch the premiere of a new TV series before going out and getting drinks downtown.
Whether I was envious of other people’s success or jealous of the time my girlfriends spent with other guy friends, those feelings of jealousy and resentment were holding me back and I couldn’t progress until I learned to overcome them. I, of course, had ulterior motiv – I was hoping to get back together with her and was using our hanging out as a pretext to try to win her back.
He was friendly, funny, athletic and popular – the kind of person who attracted women the way cheese attracts mice. I’d sit there, consumed with jealousy, simmering away at all these perceived injustices the world was inflicting upon me.
Small wonder people didn’t like being around me much.