Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Identifying Jealousy & How To Deal

Polyamory and monogamy seem very different when you compare the two. With polyamory you have more than one partner, you don't ride the relationship escalator, and more communication is expected between all of the partners. But despite their obvious differences, the emotions you experience in each type of relationship are very similar. The emotion that causes the biggest issue in either relationship type is jealousy. 

Jealousy is just an emotion, it isn't a personality trait that you should let run rampant, it isn't a personal flaw that you should just accept. It is an emotion that you should learn to control, but we will discuss that later. Knowing the different types of jealousy and how to deal with each one can help strengthen your relationship and become a better person!

Common Causes 

1. Unmet Needs

Not having your needs met is one of the most common reasons for jealousy in a polyamorous relationship. If PolyHubby would not go to a certain restaurant with me but took his new girlfriend to that restaurant on a date, I would get very upset! This may seem like a silly reason to get upset, but little things add up. If he were to take her to a restaurant that I want to go to, but he refuses to take me, buy her flowers, but never buys me any, and does that thing with his tongue on her clit, but won't do it for me, I would feel unimportant in his life. While these are more wants than they are needs, feeling important in PolyHubby's life is a need. 

2. No Communication

Continuing with my previous example, if PolyHubby made me feel unimportant, but I did not bring this to his attention, it would continue to build up. Communication of needs, feelings, wants, and desire is important in any relationship! While a lack of communication isn't a super common cause of jealousy in polyamorous relationships, it can be. 

If you are to keep your feelings and unmet needs to yourself, jealousy can breed, fester, and eventually boil over, causing other issues in the relationship. When you have negative emotions in a relationship, it is never a good idea to let them boil unchecked. That is the quickest way to stupid arguments over nothing. 

3. Society

I can't scroll through my personal facebook without seeing something about "only a real girlfriend/boyfriend will get jealousy over XYZ." This is beyond upsetting. Just because someone is checking out my man, does not mean that I have the right to go through his phone. Society plays a large part in what is okay and what is not okay, and for some reason, we have put an emphasis on making jealousy okay. 

The type of media you surround yourself with, the type of people you hang out with, and the type of material you choose to consume help to shape your views on certain issues. Reading an article in Cosmo about how you should check your significant other's phone or why it is not okay for someone to check them out can breed jealousy. Try reading an educational book on how jealousy is merely an emotion instead of a People Magazine article on why it isn't. 

How to Deal

1. Realize It Is An Emotion

I cannot say this enough: jealousy is an emotion, not a personality trait. I feel like no matter how many times I say this, no matter how loud I scream it, no matter how often I write about, people just don't get it. So, instead of just spouting it off again, let's take a look at the definitions of the word jealous. 

Google defines jealous as “feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.” This definition shows an emotional reaction to an unmet need. This definition hints at a need to be recognized, more successful, or wanting something that someone else has. This definition of jealousy insinuates that your jealousy is something personal you should work on to better yourself. 

Google also defines jealousy as “feeling or showing suspicion of someone's unfaithfulness in a relationship.” This definition hints at a feeling, again, instead of defining it as a personality trait. This definition can be handled through communication. If you suspect that your partner is cheating on you, you should bring it up to them instead of acting rashly. 

There is a final definition that Google gives us for the word jealous, that definition is "fiercely protective or vigilant of one's rights or possessions.” Surprisingly, this defines a personality trait. Claiming this type of jealousy as a personality trait implies that you own something. If you believe that you own your partner, you have an unhealthy view that needs to be worked on. We will not even address this definition in this post.

2. Ask Why

Your first step in handling jealousy should be to define what type of jealousy you are feeling. Do you feel envy? Or do you suspect your partner is cheating on you? Knowing which type of jealousy you are feeling will help you understand how to process it. Which is the next step. 

3. Process It

Once you have defined the type of jealousy you are feeling you should process and deal with it. If you are feeling envious of your partner or meta more you should take some time to reflect on what needs are not being met and talk to someone about how you can better yourself and get what it is that you envy in others. Envy is the lack of something, and only you can better yourself and your life.

If you feel suspicious of your partner(s), you should take some time to reflect on why you are feeling this way and talk to the partner you are suspicious of. Often, suspicion is caused because you feel like your needs aren't being met. But if you do find evidence that your partner is doing something unethical, you should be ready for a long, uncomfortable conversation, and prepare ways to keep the conversation from getting too heated. 

Final Thoughts

Jealousy in any type of relationship is unhealthy if left unchecked. There are many different things that cause jealousy, but thankfully, just as many ways to handle it. Whether you have unmet needs, aren't talking things out, or you are surrounding yourself with negative media, you can handle this emotion properly and come out of it a better person!

Read part 2: Toxic Jealousy vs. Protectiveness


  1. Very good read. Bravo 👐👏

    1. Thank you. :) I plan on making this a mini series.