Everything in a relationship plays into everything else. If you had a bad day at work, and didn't have time to personally decompress before coming home to your love, that bad energy will indeed rub off onto your interactions. The emotions you feel while you're cooking for or with your partner translate into if you cuddle on the couch together later or if you sit separated, clinging for dear life to the arm of the sofa. Similarly, if you're jealous over your partner spending time with other people, it will most definitely reflect in your sex-life together without you even opening your mouth… To speak, that is.
• IS NOT negative. In fact, no emotions are negative. They simply are; they simply exist. Having resentment towards feeling jealous will benefit no one and cause you, personally, more harm than good.
• IS natural. While you shouldn't feel resentment towards any jealousy you feel, you also don't have to like it. All you have to do is one major first step: accept that jealousy is natural. We all feel it. This difference is how we handle that part of ourselves.
• IS controllable. For most of my dating life, I have let jealousy take the steering wheel. I've allowed it to turn me into a blood-thirsty beast on the prowl for love. Much like rage can sometimes make people black-out, jealousy can take control of what you say and how you act. It doesn't need to be that way.
If you allow jealousy to run your love-life, you're also allowing it to run your sex-life. We all become jealous for different reasons, but the kind of jealousy I want to focus on is that flash of red some of us feel when our partners are talking to someone of the gender they're attracted to.
I'm going to be bold here and bring up a term that may be new to some people: compersion. Compersion is an idea that exists within polyamory. It is the feeling of happiness that someone else is making the person you love happy. However, the word and where it came from isn't what's important: the idea is.
Your boyfriend's/husband's buddies make him happy when they go out for a beer or 6 or when they go see a game, right? And you're generally happy they've had a good time. Your girlfriend's/wife's friends always put her in good spirits when they go to the spa or have a girl's night, correct? And you are happy they were able to elevate her mood. (You are also quite possibly thankful you didn't have to be dragged along). The gender of said buddies/friends shouldn't matter as long as everyone is operating within the definition and boundaries of a relationship.
Still… We have a tendency to let our blood boil when we aren't the center of someone's world, when we aren't perceived as their everything, and when we aren't the cause of their complete and entire happiness. When we allow these thoughts to take over, we also allow them into other parts of our relationship. In this case, we can begin to see a decrease in libido or sexual drive (often related to insecurity). We begin to shut down and close off emotionally and physically because we have talked ourselves into believing we are less important.
But, that's just it. The reality is we talk ourselves into believing something that, in almost all cases, is absolutely not true! A healthier sex-life can begin with finding what emotional responses are causing things to go astray. Here are a few steps to taking jealousy out of the equation:
1. Breathe. Allow yourself a second or two to think.
2. Explore your emotion. See if there is anything else that is bothering you to make sure you actually feel the way you do.
3. Communicate (as always). Ask questions honestly, not accusingly.
4. Let it go. Whether something is or isn't really happening, you will find out when you are in a better headspace.
No one is perfect. When I'm feeling jealous, I verbally affirm to either myself or whoever I'm around what I am feeling. Already, I weaken its power by calling it out and by the time my partner and I are back under the sheets, I make sure jealousy did not get that RSVP.
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This article was contributed by Jenn Treado.
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