Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “confidence”

How Jealousy Affects Relationships

I always get questions about whether I get jealous as a poly person. Of course it happens, but it also happens in any sort of relationship. For people who are monogamous, jealousy is present, but in a way, you are choosing not to deal with it or you just ignore it. For example, I was with the same person for 8.5 years until 2 years ago and we were monogamous; we remain friends. However, his girlfriend doesn’t want us to hang out because she’s jealous about it. He and I lived in Japan together and often went to karaoke there. We have liked doing it in Toronto as well. She is apparently especially jealous of that because she’s not a good singer. Also, we frequented a particular karaoke place where you have your own room, so she’s scared things will happen in that room. I have absolutely no intention of being sexual with my ex again, but I would like to be his friend. I’m nervous for him because they are moving in together this summer. I hope that she won’t squelch his social life because she wants to be with him all the time. Anyway, you can see that her jealousy has affected our relationship. I understand that she may be intimidated by our long relationship and it sounds to me like she hasn’t had a very positive long relationship either. I wish that this needn’t be the case. I remember when my ex and I started dating; I met his female best friend. I never thought that they would become romantically involved, but I was envious of the fact that she knew so much about him and I wanted that knowledge as well. Yes, envy is different from jealousy, but these are 2 terms under the same umbrella. The nice thing is, if you can be friends with the person, you can learn more about them. Recently, I’ve been spending time with Ben’s best friend and ex and I really enjoy hearing about what Ben was like in the past.

People often say that jealousy is caused by insecurity. I think this can be especially tricky for women because we are often taught by society not to believe in ourselves. I feel very lucky because I had a very supportive family. My parents almost never criticized anything I did and as a result, I have become a confident person. When I was a child, after my parents separated, my mom walked around the house naked a lot of the time and that helped me to be confident in my body. Many women have not been as lucky as me. I hope that with passing time, every woman will appreciate themselves and be appreciated for who they are. 

Compersion has been called the opposite of jealousy. Compersion means being happy for your partner, especially in the context of them doing things with other people. In poly, this could be them having a date or having sex with someone else. Although compersion has been a concept specifically designed for poly people, it can be used in the context of any relationship. If you aren’t poly, you can be happy for your partner when they, for example, make a new friend, get a new job, or have some other kind of important life event. Even if you were poly, you would of course be happy for your partner for those things as well. Why can’t we apply compersion to every relationship? I wish that my ex’s girlfriend would be happy when we spend time together because we meant a lot to each other and to an extent, we still do. We gave each other a lot of experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise had if we hadn’t been together. I probably never would have lived in Japan, for example, and I’m very grateful for him in that regard. I would very much like my ex and his girlfriend to be at my wedding. We’ll see if that comes to pass.

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Words on Journeys, Appreciation, and Confidence

Many people have described polyamory to me as a journey. I remember feeling that way when I first started attempting to practice it. It felt like I was setting out into the unknown and my only companion was knowledge; I knew I wanted to have the opportunity to have relationships with multiple people. Polyamory itself has also accompanied me on many journeys such as my month long train trip in the US last year. I went to conferences, talked to people about poly, talked to poly people about their identity, etc. Last week, Patrick, a fellow poly blogger ( made a very long journey to see me. A month and a half before or so, we had a skype conversation where he said he wanted to visit me for his 40th birthday. I was taken aback by his decision, but definitely excited. We started corresponding at the end of November through Twitter, then through long emails, and then on skype. Over that time, we became more familiar to each other and the excitement about each other grew. There was some disappointment this weekend, but overall, we had a good time. Patrick was enthralled by Toronto and how open and accepting we are. We went to a few areas of the city, had some great food, and talked a lot. We visited a sex club and watched each other be sexual with others. I actually met someone who I’m going to see again; recently I feel like I have only met people at that sex club who live out of town, so I was happy to meet someone who actually lives in Toronto. I was also glad to see Patrick step out of his comfort zone and eventually feel comfortable being naked in front of others. On Sunday, we decided that we would only be friends, but he is still quite interested in living here and I don’t blame him. Toronto affords so many opportunities when you are poly. As I wrote above, we are very open and accepting, we have sex clubs, etc. It is so nice to be reminded of how good we have it here. Occasionally I forget…

I also wanted to discuss appreciation within poly relationships. Many monogamous people think that if you are poly, it shows that your relationship is faulty; you have to seek things with other people because you are not happy with what you have. This could not be further from the truth. I have observed that poly makes good relationships stronger. This is exactly how I feel right now about Ben and I. Since we are confident in what we have, we are able to have relationships with others. We don’t take each other for granted and we always communicate what is going on, which takes all the jealousy away and we actually get turned on when we talk to each other about what we’ve done with others. We also appreciate each other more because of the variety. For example, we often think the same thing at the same time, and that rarely happens in many relationships. Conversely, poly makes weaker relationships worse. Poly  often brings things to the surface that would cause a breakup in that relationship if they do not get addressed. So, if you are already in a relationship and you want to open things up, make sure you aren’t doing it because something in the relationship is off. There are times when something IS missing like rougher sex, for example, but poly can be a genuine solution to that. There are lots of poly BDSM folks out there.

One last thing- I have been thinking a lot recently about confidence. Personally, I don’t think I could do poly if I wasn’t a confident person. As I said before, jealousy often arises because of insecurities. I know that I’m not a perfect person and there are things about myself I want to improve, but overall, I’m happy with the person I am. In our culture, women are not supposed to be confident and when we show it, it can be threatening. We also aren’t supposed to accept compliments and I do. I often take things literally, so when people compliment me, I feel that they are being genuine. Perhaps they are lying to me, but if they were, why say a nice thing? They could just say nothing at all. I think many people are hard on themselves, but personally, I feel that life is too short for that. You have to work with what you have.

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