Jealousy in Poly Relationships

Do people in polyamorous relationships still get jealous? Of course, especially those new to the poly lifestyle. Experiencing jealousy is quite natural, but it’s how one deals with it in a relationship that will determine the strength and endurance of a partnership(s).

In monogamy, partners attempt to prevent jealousy by setting limitations that may trigger this emotion. For example, not sleeping with another, not kissing someone else, discontinuing a relationship with an ex, or even not making new friends with the opposite sex. Most polys cringe at these “rules”, seeing them as restrictive and archaic.

So whether you’re switching to poly from monagamy or you’re surrounded by people that are monogamous (most of society) you’ll naturally know these jealousy triggers, that may instinctually creep into your poly relationship. What’s different is how poly people deal with jealousy.

In polyamory, loving many forces individuals to look at their insecurities instead of banishing behaviours that avoid the self-growth that this can provide. Polys will encounter more triggers for  jealousy than monogamists; they can’t help to with multiple partners. But instead of focusing on what makes one jealous there is a tendency to look at one’s expectations, insecurities, and how jealousy makes us feel. Polys know that frequent, honest communication (and not just about jealous feelings) is paramount to keep things running smoothly.

Sometimes people confuse jealousy with other feelings. Perhaps your new poly partner has met someone new and it hurts you to see them so happy, spending a lot of time with this new love. But what you may be feelings is envy; you are envious that you haven’t met another that brings you the same NRE. Like any hurt one feels, letting it fester, can only do more harm. A blow-up at a partner six months down the road does no one any good.

In new poly relationships, discussing expectations between partners goes a long way in preventing jealous feelings. It can feel tedius, even unromantic, but think of it as building a foundation that will support every new addition. You can discuss past experiences with jealousy (your own and others), how these made you feel and how you dealt with them.

We are ultimately responsible for our own feelings and developing our sense of security and self-esteem. This can be supported by partners, but can’t be given responsibility to.

Catching jealous feelings in oneself and another when they occur is key. Of course, there is a point where jealousy can become something very unhealthy, when controlling behaviour becomes dominant in a partner. And if you’re not interested in exploring beyond what makes you jealous, polyamory may not be for you.

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