“But if your partner can have other partners, don’t you get jealous?”
- Of course.
- Yeah, but it’s not like I didn’t get jealous when I was in monogamous relationships. Monogamy isn’t a cure for jealousy, it’s just a different set of circumstances in which to experience it.
- Yes, but I also open myself up to situations that can cause jealousy when I have friends who are friends with other people, when I have coworkers and project collaborators who work with other people, when I know writers who write and share writing ideas with other people. The thing is: although all of those situations open up the possibility that I might end up feeling jealous or inadequate or insecure, they also enrich my life in enormous ways that I would never in a million years trade away.
- Yes I do, and certainly there are some situations I’m going to get into as a result of being poly that are going to be really difficult, and be a potentially stronger trigger for jealousy than most situations I might get into while being monogamous. For some people, myself included, that comes with the territory.
- Yes, and yes, sometimes it really bothers me. It also means I get more opportunities to face it head-on. The times when jealousy is really bad are the times when I am forced to examine where it comes from, and to learn about it, and, in the process, to learn about me.
- Yes, but it also means I get to unlearn one of the worst root causes of jealousy for me. For me, poly provides an opportunity to unlearn this culturally ingrained habit of thinking oppositionally. When I was monogamous, and someone I was interested in decided they wanted to go out with someone else, it was easy to feel like that was because I wasn’t good enough — that I wasn’t as attractive or interesting as that other person. Being poly, though, means that when someone decides they don’t want to date me, it isn’t because some other person is “better”. If they’re poly, it means that they could date me anyway, which means that I don’t have to think about my rejections in the frame of “I’m just not as good as that other person is.”. I get to practice thinking about them in the frame of “Something just didn’t work between this person and me.”.
- Absolutely, but although I may sometimes feel jealousy about my partners’ partners, I also sometimes meet them, and talk to them, and make new friends. Sometimes my partners’ partners become my friends, and sometimes they even become my partners.
- Of course, but the same situations that sometimes cause jealousy can also teach me things about sex and relationships that I never would have learned otherwise. Maybe my partner has a kind of sex with one of their other partners that they’ve never had with me. On the one hand, something like that might end up making me feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, it also means I get an opportunity to learn how to do that kind of sex. Maybe my partner communicates with one of their other partners in a way I haven’t tried. On the one hand, that could make me feel insecure, but on the other, it gives me an opportunity to learn a new way to communicate, too.
- Yes, but this is what I want. This is the way that I want my relationships to look, and if dealing with jealousy is something I’m going to have to work on in order for my relationships to look the way that I want them to look, then it’s something I’m going to have to work on.
- Yes, and it’s worth it.
Author’s sidenote: every single one of these answers is true for me. The “I don’t get jealous” answer is not true for me, which is why it has not been included, although I readily knowledge that it is true for some people.