Being Polyamorous Is Teaching Me How To Channel My Jealousy For The Good

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Being Polyamorous Is Teaching Me How To Positively Channel My Jealousy

I often think that I’m not a jealous person because I feel such intense compersion when my husband, Flick is connecting with someone else  but hitting the 18-month mark on the non-monogamous portion of our relationship has taught me about a few jealous triggers that still get me.

Curse you, green-eyed monster!

I was so smug that I’d beaten you. Turns out you don’t go down without a real fight.

When Flick is interacting with a new partner, I’m so on board. 

But when Flick is lost in kissing or touching a new partner in a more casual setting — like smooching someone else in the buffet line on a swingers' retreat or making out with our girlfriend in the kitchen when I thought they were supposed to be getting drinks — I am really surprised that I find myself feeling hurt.

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That quiet intimacy is so much more painful.

And it’s weird because I want him to feel connected and intimate with his partners. I love that our lifestyle gives him more of that intimate connection, especially as we become more polyamorous in our relationships.

Maybe I just don’t want to have to see it outside the bedroom because it reminds me that I tend to be affection-averse in public and it’s hard to see him with someone who isn’t. 

Being polyamorous, it's tricky to have such paradoxical feelings.

Instead of seeing public make outs as a confirmation of a perceived ‘ice queen’ failure on my part, I want to be able to be glad he’s getting something he enjoys from someone who also enjoys it. I also want him and his girlfriend, Iris, to be able to enjoy a smooch when they want to without feeling like they have to use ‘getting drinks’ as an excuse to sneak off and have fun without me.

My other main jealousy trigger is when partners I have extremely limited time with pay attention to other people in a play party situation or on a swinger lifestyle vacation.

We’re all there to have a bunch of great experiences with many people, so it only makes sense that they’d be engaging with others. It’s just difficult for me not to feel like the other/new person is the preferred person and that maybe my paramour isn’t that into me after all, no matter how much evidence I have to the contrary.

I find it easy to fall into the trap of worrying someone's affection for me will be displaced by new feelings for someone else.

I always have a powerful jealous reaction to women I think are cooler than me, or who seem a lot like me without all the crippling anxiety — like Kat 2.0 upgrade.

Although it’s not impossible for a partner’s feelings to change in an instant, my fear of immediate replacement is pretty silly.

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I connect well with new people regularly, and that doesn’t change how I feel about my current people. It's also kind of insulting to the people I care for that I view their feelings as so changeable, and it’s pretty selfish of me to want to deny them the pleasure of attention or experiences when I enjoy having the same.

Monogamous thinking tells us that if something is shared, it is no longer valuable.

It tells us the only true relationship or love is the kind shared between two people, and that if there is even a single blip of emotion or connection with another, that first relationship is instantly seen as a failure, a lie, or something that was never real. I don’t believe that to be true at all, yet when someone I really like is smitten with another, I do doubt our relationship and wonder if what we have is real.

It's important for me to remember that jealousy is only a feeling and it doesn’t have to mean anything more than any other feelings do.

It doesn’t even mean anything is wrong.

It's actually useful when I am able to channel my jealousy as a gauge as to whether my needs are being met. Not surprisingly, in the relationships where most of my needs are fulfilled, I feel the least jealous. When my needs aren’t being met, jealousy and it’s pal insecurity have a lot more power over me.

RELATED: Being A Polyamorous Woman With A Monogamous Girlfriend Can Be Brutal — For Her

I believe that focusing on getting those needs met, rather than on attempting to cure myself of jealousy, will go so much further in helping me experience more of the fulfillment, happiness, and  fun in all my relationships.

After all, aren’t fulfillment, happiness, and fun why we signed up for this wild ride?

Kat Stark is a geeky, Canadian, queer, bi/pansexual, feminist who came to ethical non-monogamy 21-years into her relationship with her husband. After a quick toe-dip to test the waters (and hours of obsessive reading and podcast consumption), they dove in and she almost can't imagine they ever lived any other way.

This article was originally published at Life on the Swingset. Reprinted with permission from the author.