This is a guest post by Aria. She has written for Submissive Guide in the past, you can check out her post on
. Today she brings a common Poly Relationship question - jealousy to light.
Yes! Almost all of us have felt jealousy at one time or another. The best thing anyone has ever said to me in my understanding of jealousy was that “jealousy is just another emotion”. Why should we treat jealousy any different than any other negative emotion?
If you let anger rule your entire life, you would have terrible relationships with other people, make yourself miserable, and might end up in anger management classes or in jail. So we learn, usually in our early adult years, to handle our emotions. I personally deal with anger by writing heated letters to people and then never send them. Then I come up with a productive way to handle the situation. Sometimes that means calmly talking to the person I’m upset with to change the situation or preventing the situation from happening again, and if I can’t change the situation it might mean venting to my partner, or going for a bike ride, etc. The point is, screaming at the person who made you angry is generally not a good way to handle conflict. People who do that are jerks. :) Also letting anger eat you alive isn’t healthy either. It causes high blood pressure and heartburn.
But generally people recognize that although things may “make” them angry, they are in charge of that emotion. Healthy adults feel anger. Feeling anger isn’t the issue, its how you handle that emotion. The same thing is true for jealousy. Some people get jealous more easily than others. Maybe your partner never gets jealous, but you do. That’s OK too.
So how do you handle jealousy when it comes up and still remain in a poly relationship? We are used to working with other emotions, but most people don’t have practice handling jealousy. So I have a few simple steps to put you on the right track.
- Realize what jealousy is and what it isn’t.
- Realize what triggers your jealousy
- Realize what you can do to manage that emotion.
- Key your partners in on what’s going on.
1. So what is jealousy?
It is not an uncontrollable emotion that someone else “makes” you feel. People may do things you don’t care for, but they don’t “make” you feel anything.
I believe that most jealousy comes from insecurity. It is our brain telling us to hold on tight to something that we could lose. So what is triggering that insecurity?
2. Every time you feel that hot spike of jealousy in your gut you need to ask yourself “what is making me feel insecure right now?”
That’s the question that will help you figure out what is triggering your jealousy. My trigger is the idea that my partner could be going out with someone 10 times better than me--smarter than me, hotter than me, nicer than me, funnier than me, etc. So when my partner is going out with someone I’ve never met, never chatted with, never seen a picture of, I go off my rocker. I am completely convinced that this new date is the most amazing person ever, and will convince my partner to leave me. (See all the insecurity in there? Jealousy is all insecurity!) I’ll talk about how I handle this later.
So what’s your trigger? Hearing about other partners? Seeing your partner flirt with someone else? Being home alone while they are out on a date? Give it some thought, because identifying the triggers is an important step.
3. So you’ve identified a trigger, now how do you manage it?
So there are three areas you can manage: your mind, your surroundings, and your relationships.
Your mind: Nip those jealous thoughts in the bud. Distract yourself! It is like any other negative emotion! You can control it!
Your surroundings: Do you feel jealousy when your partner is out on a date? You need to find something else to distract yourself. Does it bother you to see your partner with someone else? Leave. Put reminders of how strong your relationship is in front of you. Perhaps a great picture of the two of you, or something they gave you.
Your relationship: What makes you feel secure in your relationship? Spending more time together, discussing your relationship, getting a hug? Ask for it!
If you are triggered by your partner telling you about their dates, ask them to keep it to themselves. (politely of course!)
But you want to be proactive about this. Asking for what you need at the first twinge of jealousy is easier than waiting until you are a mess. Asking for something from your partner will always go better before the situation occurs. (See step 4.)
Asking for reassurance is the hardest part. You might have to open yourself up and be very vulnerable with your partner. There are two things I’ve used to manage my jealousy: asking my partners for reassurance, and meeting their dates so that I can see for myself they aren’t perfect.
Fortunately my partner and I experience similar triggers and levels of jealousy. We both know it is pretty scary for our partner when we are leaving on a date, or might become sexually involved with someone new. So when heading out on a date (or returning from one) we try to spend a moment or two together and cuddle. We say reassuring things to each other, and try to reaffirm our relationship.
Here’s an example of a conversation I’ve had with my partners.
Me: “I’m feeling a little insecure right now and I would like some reassurance.”
Them: “Sure, what’s wrong?”
Me: “Well you are going out with B tonight, and I’m worried you will like them more than me.”
Them: “What?! Of course not! I care about you, and even if I grow to care about someone else it won’t change how I feel about you. “
Me: “really?” *big hug and a smooch*
This is also something you can do to help your partner- volunteer this sort of reassurance when they appear insecure.
4. Let your partners know how you feel.
So maybe the best time to address this is when you aren’t feeling insecure. Have a conversation when you are feeling solid in your relationship, and tell them that you sometimes feel jealousy and they can help you deal with this. You should at no time accuse them of “making” you feel jealous. But just warn them ahead of time that you may ask for extra reassurance occasionally.
Aria is a polyamorous bi switch kinkster. She currently has one Dominant and they are in the process of relocating. She is
on FetLife and you can write her directly at