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Archive for the tag “envy”

Responsibility and Envy

This week, I want to write about 2 things, which are more related than one might expect. First off, responsibility. What I mean in this case is responsibility for one’s own emotions and for the emotions of others. I recently read this article: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/polypeople.shtml. It makes the very good point that there are some poly people who act as if they have no responsibility for how they make others feel. We can make partners and metamours jealous, for example. Jealousy isn’t a completely bad thing, but if we can change our actions to make others feel better, why not do that? We cannot completely abdicate responsibility for how we affect others if only because our happiness can depend on making others happy. I definitely think that we should treat others the way we want to be treated as well. Often, Ben, Eve, and I all talk on skype together. I am conscious of the fact that Eve sometimes feels jealous when she sees Ben and I being affectionate. She wondered how she would feel when she comes to visit us if she sees us kissing, cuddling, or perhaps having sex. We decided to do an experiment; Ben and I kissed while Eve watched. Afterward, she said she didn’t feel uncomfortable, so we were all happy about that.

Her visit is now 1 week away and we are all anxious. I told her that I felt that this visit hinges less on how she and Ben feel about each other and more about how she and I feel about each other. She needs to be able to deal with the fact that Ben is with both of us and that won’t change. I think it is in all of our interest that she is made to feel comfortable and secure with Ben. I know that I may feel jealous while she is around because Ben will be giving someone else lots of attention, but in the grand scheme of things, I want Ben to be happy and I know that that includes having Eve in his life. Likewise, Ben wants to see me happy with someone else, though I don’t expect that to happen until we return to Canada at the end of June.

This past week, Ben and I celebrated 1 year of being engaged. Generally, we spend Monday evenings doing things together as a couple and I decided to do something romantic for that anniversary. I bought candles, a flower, and sweets. I spread the flower petals over a sheet on top of a blanket on the floor, lit the candles, and put the sweets on plates. Ben was very happily surprised, which pleased me. Unfortunately, some of the candle wax got on the blanket, which is what we sleep under, but we had a nice time. That evening, Eve wanted to talk to someone and Ben was occupied. She has also been in contact with someone else and he was also occupied. At that time, Eve felt a whole set of emotions about Ben and I celebrating our anniversary, including envy. When it comes to poly, everyone talks about jealousy, but few people speak of envy. It is under the jealousy umbrella in the broader sense, but it can simply be defined as wanting what someone else has. I sometimes feel envious about what Ben and Eve have. Of course, I’m happy that Ben found someone else that he connects with so strongly, but I also want the same thing for myself. I don’t expect to find that until at least moving to Vancouver in mid-July. I am partly a competitive person by nature and I often feel that I should be achieving more than those around me, so perhaps the envy plays into that. For the moment, we have to see if the relationship will continue between Ben and Eve.

As always, I appreciate your reading. If you have any sort of relationship question, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

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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.

If you have any questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

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