I’m terribly disappointed in all of you, dear readers. Here I was expecting derisive and inflammatory comments – trolls, even – in the comments to my post on swinging vs. poly, and instead everyone was thoughtful and had interesting things to say. Obviously I’m moving in the wrong circles. *shakes head in mock disappointment*
Anyhow. The Butterfly Temptress asked me a very interesting question in response to Apollo Sandwich, and it relates well to another question that Z asked in Social Intercourse (where I requested questions from anyone who cared to ask – and if you haven’t asked and want to, go for it! Want to know the colour of my favourite pair of knickers; why I say knickers instead of panties; the meaning of life, orgasm and everything? Ask away!)
Forgive me, but I must ask…
How is it that you’re ok with sharing? Try as I may, even though the thought of it turns me on, I can’t really say I would be ok with it. And it makes me feel dreadfully selfish, even though The Knight has *never* asked for a threesome.
I’m just curious how others handle it.
and Z commented:
I know you’ve touched on this before, but as it is one of the things I wrestle with, I’d really like to know how you deal with feelings of jealousy – both yours and those of your lovers.
I think of myself as fairly secure, and I’m a realist, and I’m not possessive – and nor am I willing to compromise the way I live my life… and yet, I still can’t stop the pangs at times. And then it’s worse, because I hate myself for my mean-spiritedness.
But despite that, I know I could do this no other way.
Sharing and jealousy. Definitely related topics, and very much intertwined when it comes to polyamory.
The answer, for me, is very simple (and yet, as simple things often are, immensely complicated). I love Apollo. And in loving him, I want to share him with others so they can see why I love him so much. The same goes for my other lovers, past and present.
That’s the sharing part answered. About the jealousy? Everyone deals with that differently. And anyone who tells you they don’t get jealous is, well, either very self-evolved, or deluding themselves just a little.
I don’t get jealous very often. More on that in a few paragraphs. But when I do get jealous, it’s how I react to my feelings that makes the difference.
Examples are all good, so you get a humdinger!
When I was still seeing Dionysos, and had been his only lover for a few years (although he was not my only lover), another friend of ours developed an interest in him. She trod very, very carefully – telling him of her interest (after first talking to her primary), and then telling me and checking I was okay with the situation before moving further. All the communication done in the initial stages helped prevent a lot of potential jealousy on the parts of her primary and me.
(Lesson: communication about valid topics with the appropriate people = a good thing).
But Dionysos had been all mine for quite some time, and while I was really pleased to be sharing him with someone else who wanted to be with him, it didn’t stop me feeling those mild pangs that someone else was ‘playing with my toys’.
The first time I really felt jealousy about the situation, I was driving along and I pulled up to a traffic light. I was sitting there waiting for the lights to change and I thought, “She’s with him right now,” and I was suddenly completely overwhelmingly jealous. I saw green, and it wasn’t the traffic light.
I didn’t drive over to his house in a rage and throw my toys out of the cot. Instead, following that thought were more thoughts. A conversation with myself that went something like this, as I continued my journey:
“Why did I just think that?”
“Because she’s got Dionysos, and I want him!”
“But I have him too.”
“Not right now!”
“I couldn’t have him right now anyway. I’m doing this errand and then going home to Apollo.”
“So why am I feeling this way?”
“Because he might like her better!”
“Is that likely?”
“She has a primary too. Do I think she’ll leave him?”
“So I’m worried that he’ll stop seeing me?”
“Because she might be better in the sack that me?”
“Is that likely?”
“Um. I guess not.”
“And why not? Spell it out.”
“She’s my friend. She’s his friend. She’s great at communicating. Neither of them want to hurt me. Both of them want me to be happy.”
“And I want both of them to be happy.”
“So. Why am I feeling jealous?”
“Because she’s there and I’m not.”
“Exactly. But I’ll be there this weekend, and I’ll get to talk about it with him, and it’ll be even better, won’t it?”
“Dammit! I hate it when I’m right.”
(Lesson: communication with yourself is just as important as communication with others.)
Back to being jealous less often. I’ve never been terribly jealous – I don’t know why, but it’s part of how I am (remind me to tell you sometime about the theoretically-monogamous-ex who cheated on me with a flatmate, admitted it, and got remarkably little anger or recrimination from me, which perplexed me – and him – a lot).
For me, a lot of my jealous feelings boil down to my sense of self-worth. As my self-worth increases, my fears of abandonment recede (that, and I have the knowledge that even were I to be abandoned by everyone I love, I would still cope, for I have that strength). You’ve probably all figured out, dear readers, these days I have a very high sense of self-worth. Hence, not so much jealousy for me.
But everyone is different. Apollo tells me that he feels jealous occasionally – generally about me being with another person at that exact moment – but either distracts himself until he forgets (!), or tells himself he’s being silly. He describes it as selfishness, wanting me for him right then even though he knows I will come back to him.
Adonis, on the other hand, tells me he feels jealous frequently, and deals with it badly. “The first step [for me] is to recognise jealousy from paranoia from valid problems,” he says. To deal with it, he keeps telling himself it’s wrong. Again, though, he’s not feeling jealousy in the abstract, but at the particular point in time when a person that he sees as ‘his’ is being affectionate with someone else.
He assures me he doesn’t feel jealous when I’m with Apollo, though. “You are his, then mine.”
Of course, both Apollo and Adonis’ feelings, jealous or not, are far too complex for me to write about. They’re their feelings, not mine.
But as for mine – I love my men and my women and I want to share them with other people who will appreciate them and see how wonderful they are. Yes, I still get jealous sometimes. But it passes swiftly and I am left feeling incredibly lucky that such amazing people are a part of my life.