Tag Archives: Jealousy

You need one of these three things to survive jealousy…

2 Jul

Lots of time I hear monogamous people ask how poly people deal with jealousy over other partners.   Typically after discussing compersion and the benefits we both get from multiple partners the conversation shifts to security.  How can you trust that your partner won’t run away with the hot guy from the gym or that cute waitress?  I tend to point out that these concerns aren’t just poly concerns since mono-relationships end similarly, but then I suggest there are three things that prevent jealousy from overwhelming you.  If you don’t have one of these three things I believe Polyamory isn’t for you.  You will never be able to let the love of your life enjoy new relationships.   This is particularly relevant for couples thinking of opening their relationship.

The three things are as follows:

Confidence in yourself.  This means you feel that you are an attractive, fun, caring partner worthy of love.  This means you value yourself and you know you offer something unique to your partner.  The shared experiences between the two have created a connection that is not easily replicated.  This confidence provides a buffer against worrying over other relationships.  You feel safe letting your partner explore because you know you are someone special.

Faith in your partner.   This means you believe with religious fervor in your partners ability to love you.  You don’t necessarily have the confidence in yourself.  You might not always be able to see in yourself what they see in you but you always trust that they love you and will give your relationship the respect and care it’s due.  In this situation you don’t mind them going out with other people because you believe that they will always be there for you and take care of your relationship.

Being a whole person on your own.  This means you can operate in the world and be happy on your own without a partner.  You understand that there are lots of people in the world and the loss of a partner doesn’t end your life (though it may feel like it sometimes).   This helps deal with jealousy because ultimately you understand that you will always be ok even if your existing partner leaves.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt and that you won’t cry a million tears (I have).  I’m just saying you will heal and even on your own you are fundamentally ok.

I’ve known people successful at poly relationship that have one or two of these three things.  I’ve also known a lot of monogamous couples who didn’t have these qualities, attempted to open the relationship and ended up leaving the relationship.  Hopefully you have a few of these traits and if not perhaps you can start cultivating them.  Good luck.


If you would like a personal question answered directly please send me an email at dearpoly@gmail.com  I’d love to hear from you!


How much sex is enough?

1 Jul


QUESTION: A good friend is always going on about how much sex she has with her husband.  I’ve been with my partner for 14 years — like my pal and her spouse — and we’re lucky if we make love once a month (although it’s great when it happens). I’d blame it on our kids, but my friend has children, too. How can I stop feeling inadequate by comparison?


Dear Frustrated,

The issue isn’t your friend.  Him bragging is just the catalyst.  If he was an avid golfer and you didn’t much care for the sport would him bragging about his golfing performance bother you?  Probably not.  So the issue is he has touched on a subject that is a sore spot for you.  Presumably because YOU ONLY GET LAID ONCE A MONTH.

The tone of your note suggests you would prefer more physical intimacy.  I suspect most people have physical desires for more than once a month sex.  Have you discussed this with your partner?  Do you know why you two don’t make time for one of the most fun, free connected activities with incredible health benefits?  You wouldn’t feel inadequate if you were happy with once a month sex. So go address the real root cause of the issue and have a conversation with your partner.  You should also stop being mad at your friend who just gets laid more than you but really means you no ill will and .   Good luck.


If you would like a personal question answered directly please send me an email at dearpoly@gmail.com  I’d love to hear from you!

Judge people by their actions

6 Jun
I’ve been with my boyfriend, James, for almost two years. We lived together for about four months until he left me. I moved to a different state, and he recently moved to the same state. We do not live together at the moment. It tore me apart when James left. My father had left me a bunch of times when I was younger, so being abandoned is nothing new to me. My boyfriend says he is sorry and that he won’t do it again. He wants me to move in with him.On top of that, James cheated on me when we were in different states. I was even more torn. He says he is sorry about that too. During video chats and phone calls, I’ve heard and seen him cry. He says he messed up and made big mistakes and has learned his lesson.

I just want to know someone’s opinion. Would he ever do any of those things again? Would he ever leave or cheat on me again if we were married?

– How do I know he won’t hurt me again?, California


Yes he most cheaters and leaves will probably do those things again.  Generally speaking people don’t change.  Why do you think marriage would change things?  It’s very easy for James to make promises and say things will get better.  He will never cheat again.  He will never leave again.  He is sorry.  Really apologies are fairly worthless.  Pretend for a minute you had a choice between apologies without behaviors changing or no apology but the unacceptable behavior changed in the future.  Which would you choose?  I think everyone would choose for behaviors to change without the apology.  An apology is soothing but behavior change prevents injury in the future.  So what to do?  It’s difficult to answer absolutely.  Some things can only be resolved experientially.  I think you should attempt to trust him but be wary and ready to cut and run if he is unable to change and runs or cheats again.

I’m not sure why you think marriage will change things?  James will be the same person the day before and the day after your wedding.  Try not to think of getting married (or having a baby) as a miracle pill that will solve issues between you.  Good luck.


People don’t change…

3 Jun


I met this girl in college. She was an out-of-state student and was seeing someone at home. We became very good friends and started flirting with each other. Eventually, we started sleeping together. I was still mourning the end of a serious relationship and was not even considering dating this girl. I started to pull back when she seemed to want more attention than I wanted to give her. She started to go out with another guy (while still seeing the guy in her home state). It was at this point that I realized that I liked her — because I was jealous.

I told her how I felt and she said the feeling was mutual so she stopped seeing the new guy. The last time she went home, she broke up with her boyfriend, so now it’s just me. Thing is, this girl flirts with every (or almost every) decent looking man, she lies or tells half-truths, and she gets violent whenever we argue. The worst thing is that she is in denial about all of these things. She has had 13 boyfriends in her past. She’s very nice, pretty, business-oriented like myself, and we definitely have a connection. Even though my gut feeling tells me to dump her, something within me thinks she has changed. She has confessed to a crazy past (being boy crazy, always getting drunk). Do people change?

– Do People Change?, Nashua

Dear Nashua,

What a disaster.  First off if you don’t want to partner with a cheater then you shouldn’t go screw girls who already have a boyfriend.  Do you see the problem inherent in the situation?  “It was at this point that I realized that I liked her — because I was jealous. ”  Just because you are jealous doesn’t mean you like her.  It just means you didn’t like her with other guys.  Really the thing to do at that point is to analyze how you feel and figure out where the jealousy comes from.  Did it come up because you feel insecure about yourself?  Are you fundamentally only satisfied if people derive their happiness from you?  Did you feel like the new guy wasn’t special enough to warrant her attention (that’s her choice not yours).  That moment seems like a fantastic chance for some personal development.

Ok, back to the here and now.  You have a slutty girlfriend who is a shameless flirt and has a solid history of cheating on boyfriends.   She also lies and has no skills in dealing with relationship conflict.  She also won’t recognize any of this because she is in denial.  She sounds like a fucking disaster.  Just for practice you should sit her down and talk to her about the relationship.  Set some boundaries around behaviors you find unacceptable.  Let her know you are serious and need changes in the relationship to continue to see her.    When she walks all over you some more, leave with the knowledge that you handled the conflict in a mature fashion and the experience will aid you in the next relationship (which hopefully won’t have the same start as this one).

“something within me thinks she has changed”  You are overly optimistic there.  Don’t be crazy.  People don’t (rarely) change and almost never when you want them too.  Thankful there are sane people out there that you won’t have to change.  This one had drama written all over it from the start.  Good luck.


Jealousy is a second order emotion

1 Jun

People confronted with the idea of Polyamory often say they could never do it because they are too jealous.  I believe this attitude doesn’t take a critical enough look at the emotion of jealousy.   Jealousy isn’t a first order emotion.  It’s caused by something else and without investigation you can’t solve the root issue.  Generally most people only treat the symptoms.

The classic example is John’s ex-girlfriend is coming into town.  He wants to go have dinner with her and his girlfriend, Jennifer, feels jealous.  Stereotypically the outcome of the situation is an attempt to veto the dinner by Jennifer.  John often feels resentful if he gives up the date or Jennifer does if he doesn’t.  The relationship takes a little damage and gets a little weaker.  Whether he goes on the date or not isn’t really the issue though.  Most of the time it’s one of two other possible things.

It’s possible that what Jennifer really fears is her boyfriend cheating on her.  It might even be justified if John has a history of cheating on girls in the past.  In this case her jealous emotion is an appropriate rational safety response to a dangerous situation and should not be dismissed.  The real solution though isn’t to veto the date.  You can’t just veto everything.  The solution is to learn to trust John if he has changed.  A dinner date with an old ex is fairly benign and doesn’t detract from your relationship.  If John hasn’t changed, Jennifer should figure out whether not being able to trust him around ex-girlfriends, pretty girls or when he is out drinking is a deal breaker.  It would be for me.

Now the flip side of the coin is it’s possible your boyfriend is an angel.  He loves you and has never had a history of cheating.  You, generally speaking, feel totally secure almost all of the time.  In this situation it’s your own insecurities that is causing the problem.  You have no rational reason to feel jealous (which doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel jealous).  It just means the solution is going to come from within.  You need to figure out why you might feel insecure and what might help the issue.  Try and be as honest and upfront with your boyfriend and together hopefully you can learn to worry less in a situation that you need not worry about at all.