Dealing With Jealousy In Alternative Relationships
Have you ever been jealous of your partner? Has your partner ever wanted to see your phone or been suspicious of you when you go to hang out with friends? Do you hate when your significant other has a connection with someone else that you don’t have?
Jealousy is real, and it can affect all types of relationships. Let’s talk about how to handle jealousy in your relationship whether you’re monogamous, monogamish, or totally open, and how those differ!
LET’S TALK ABOUT TRUST
Jealousy rears its ugly head when there’s a lack of trust. Now what does that mean? Did someone break your trust in the past? Maybe you saw your parents’ marriage fall apart, you had your heart broken before, or you’ve been the one that was sliding into people’s DM’s on the side. Whatever the reason for your jealousy, chances are high that it’s not about your partner’s actions at all. Oftentimes feelings of jealousy have roots in your own insecurities. This is especially true in alternative relationships where more than two people are involved. By identifying the SOURCE of where your trust issues come from, you’ll be able to start tackling your jealousy issues.
It’s a normal feeling!
A lot of people assume that because you’ve decided to participate in non-monogamy that you never feel jealousy. Obviously, this is a silly assumption to make. Humans are a pack species. We’re hardwired to care about the people in our circle. On top of that, society has conditioned us toward a monogamous lifestyle that involves feelings of exclusivity, ownership, and entitlement. It would be near impossible to avoid jealousy all together. The important thing is that when jealousy comes up, you analyze the feeling, and react to it in a non-destructive way that aligns with your relationship goals.
Communicate Your Boundaries
If the parameters aren’t set in an open or poly relationship, jealousy can easily crop up. If both partners aren’t onboard for the opening or for adding a third, then this is a BREEDING GROUND for jealousy to sprout. This also goes for one off sexual experiences. If you or your partner want a threesome, and the other person isn’t so sure, make sure you’re both ready because three can be company.
There’s a common misconception that alternative relationships are impervious to rules and boundaries. The truth is actually quite the opposite. In order to make the complexities of non-monogamous relationships successful, there need to be more, even clearer boundaries and guidelines drawn and agreed upon. Openly discuss and agree upon sleeping arrangements & schedules. Decide on the protocol for playmates. Have a plan in case jealousy does present itself as a problem. Communication is important in every relationship. But when you’re non-monogamous, it becomes important in a more profound sense.
So What’s the goal?
On the other end of jealousy, is a principle that open/poly people all around the world strive for. It’s the north star of alternative relationship tranquility. It’s called compersion. Compersion is the word used to describe when you have sincere and authentic feelings of joy when watching your partner engage sexually or romantically for another person. For some, it may be hard to believe that any person would ever honestly feel this way. But it happens all the time in open relationships, threesomes, and even with cuckoldry. If you want to get there, you can! It just takes work on recognizing and adjusting the way you handle your feelings of jealousy.
WHat ABOUT Queer Relationships?
A lot of straight people think that all queer relationships are open. This is not the case, but the reality is that queer relationships don’t follow all the rules of heteronormativity. Sometimes queer people are shackled by the ideas of their hetero counterparts. It’s okay to be sexually open. It’s okay to NOT feel jealous in seemingly jealous situations. But it’s also okay TO have those feelings when they come up naturally! Queer people are at the forefront. It’s okay to blaze our own trails about sexuality and situations that cause jealousy. As long as we are in touch with what makes us happy, and how to treat people with kindness and compassion, we can’t go wrong.
Lumi Park is a writer, foodie, and Capricorn, from the cornfields of Ohio. He once won a NYC bartending award, a Brooklyn-wide comic book Trivia Bowl, and went to nationals two years in a year for the sport of jump roping. He is oddly not competitive.