Guest post from Lady Jane
For many of us “monogam-ish” folks, wrangling jealousy is one of the most difficult parts of our relationships and is a common recurring theme. It’s the realization that if you have multiple partners in your life, you’re going to have to learn to share. “Learn to share” is a tricky way to phrase this because since there is an infinite amount of love in the universe, sharing your loves and intimate partners shouldn’t be that hard, right? Isn’t there enough to go around?
I always struggle with initial reactions of jealousy or the feeling of being left out, so I have found that the best way for me to handle jealousy is to FEEL the emotion deeply, crazily, insanely, intensely, and let it wash over me in an illogical, all consuming wave. Then…. then there’s the calm that always arrives after the initial wave hits where logic regains control, rational thinking makes its way back, and a more objective brain with which to process the situation is driving the bus again. I love that part, but wow, it takes some practice and some strong emotions to get there!
In my perfect world, life “should” go as follows: I want for you what I want for myself…and what I want for myself and for you is love, happiness, love, success, love, friendship, love, good health, love, peace, love, contentment, oh, and did I mention, love? I want all of those things for every person on every inch of the planet, however, sometimes, our human emotions steer us down a different, momentary path.
I’d like to share with you an anecdote that I have learned from in the last week and is a great reminder that long term feelings of possession, jealousy, ownership, and resentment really have no place in any relationship – monogamous or not. Perhaps you will find this story helpful or applicable to your own relationships:
My other, who is significant, has this other friend with whom he has had a crush on for the last four years. She truly lives the life she wants to live and sounds like a wonderful person. She is very independent and lives according to her own schedule, which I find admirable. For example, she was accepted into a prestigious school and turned down the opportunity because she wanted to pursue another opportunity. She then decided to move out of the country shortly thereafter and my significant other was very emotional about this, the way anyone would be sad if a dear friend moved away.
She happened to be in town for a week and met with my significant other for lunch. My significant other excitedly sent me a message later that day. “Guess what?” (what?) “Instead of having lunch, we went to this hot tub place and sixty-nined!” (um, okay?)
I felt the wave approaching…
My initial reaction was one of jealousy. How dare he (and she). That should be me (and not her). How come when I go to visit for lunch, we eat lunch and don’t go to the hot tub place? (yeah why and how come?) Harumpf. Foot stomp. Illogical brain in control.
But then, my significant other reminded me that this is something he has wanted for four years and I had to stop and think, “If someone I had a crush on for four years showed up at my place of work, offered up some sexy time, I definitely would allow that to happen!” …and furthermore, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that joy, pleasure, and opportunity for anyone else.
I realized that I want for him what I want for myself. I came full circle.
It took a solid day of thinking on this before my mind shifted back to its logical self and I realized that I wasn’t jealous at all. In reality, I was genuinely happy and joyful for my significant other that he got to experience something he’d wanted to experience for so long. Instead of coming from a place of anger, I had arrived at a place of love and acceptance.
He was also quick to remind me that this type of situation never happens to him (sigh, he’s right, it rarely happens to any of us, except in porn and fantasies!). This was a chance, brief, wonderful, spontaneous, and passionate meeting.
I have also found that being able to be more transparent, brave, honest, and upfront about these moments (not always necessarily in the moment itself, but after) can often release the grip that jealousy has on my psyche.
Feelings are so strong and sometimes so strange. They are important teachers in our lives which is why it is often a good idea to let them wash over you, penetrate you, and really give them the time and energy they deserve in a safe space. Sometimes, our first immediate reaction is not our true self, though, it is a part of us. Sometimes, the first reaction is an important personal guide that can help us work through other issues, gain insights, wisdom, and valuable knowledge about ourselves. Accept your feelings, take responsibility for them, and most importantly, grow from the experiences they lead us through, and ride the wave.