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-   -   Jealousy without possessiveness (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12888)

Mango 08-01-2011 05:13 PM

Jealousy without possessiveness
Hi, I'm struggling with jealousy issues a bit at the moment and could use some outside opinions from people who don't know me or the other people in question.

I've never really felt jealous in a poly situation before, as I'm not at all possessive of my partner. Poly has always meant her (as my primary partner) being with other people as well as me, not instead of me. When she wants things that I don't want, I have never felt anything other than glad when she finds other people to do those things with so I don't have to worry about it.

Except now I've ended up in a situation where she wants the same things I want, but she doesn't want them with me. There are certain things I'd only really want to do with her, but she only wants to do with other people.

I've ended up feeling, I think, jealous of those people. I don't begrudge her those other interactions at all, I don't want to keep her all to myself. I just wish it wasn't them instead of me, as it makes me feel completely rejected and deficient and massively insecure.

I don't know how to deal with this (mostly as it's very new to me), and I'm not even sure whether it's a reasonable reaction to the situation or not. Anyone have any similar experiences or advice?

Jade 08-01-2011 10:35 PM

I would be interested to know what sorts of "things" you refer to.

I can speak to this from the perspective of someone in "her" position. I have a secondary partner with whom I feel drawn to do things that I do not feel drawn to do with my husband. This bothers my husband. I understand that it bothers him, so I pretty much give up on doing anything outside of his comfort zone.

If you care to share more specifically what types of things you mean, I might be able to say more.

Mango 08-02-2011 01:25 AM

Ugh, sorry. I was trying to be vague to keep it non-specific, but probably just ended up sounding confusing. The things in question are BDSM dynamics and such.

Jade 08-02-2011 01:49 AM

I understand the desire to keep it non-descript, but I'm glad you clarified.

I know that for me, my husband and I have 20-year relationship under our belts. The power dynamic between us is practically fixed in stone, and change is slow, at best. He would love for me to become submissive (heck, he'd love for me to become dominant too, just for fantasy giggles). I am slowly dipping my toe into the submissive waters with him, because he's tried some new things that I respond too naturally. Unfortunately, I have not been able to "just give him what he wants" entirely. You would think it would be that simple, and yet, the pressure from him (even unspoken) is strong, and I do not respond well to sexual pressure. If I try, I become resentful, and that's no good for us. It may be a straight up personality flaw, but so it is.

With my secondary, we met through swinging, so there was an immediate sexual connection that developed into an emotional connection over time. The sexual and power dynamics were vastly different from those with my primary from the start. With the secondary, I have a strong urge to submit. I can only guess that there is something about the secondary's non-verbal communication style (between touch and eye contact) that triggers it. I can honestly say it is not love that triggers it, for the desire to submit was there almost immediately, even when submission was not sought.

I can offer no advice about how to feel better about the difference. I know my husband links his sexual relationship with me to his feelings of self-worth, so there is no easy way to deal with it. I can only suggest you move in the direction you want to move with your primary. Try some new things, but try to avoid making it a competition with the secondary (even in your own head).

Some things to consider... do you really need to know what they do sexually? If so, be honest about what will bother you. In my case, it's easier to simply not pursue things than to hurt my husband's feelings.

redpepper 08-02-2011 06:57 AM

There are some great reads on "jealousy" if you do a tag search for it... maybe you will find something there that is useful :)

GroundedSpirit 08-02-2011 05:12 PM

Hey Mango,

First - an old warning. Be careful about confusing jealousy & envy. Because the approach you take can be quite different. Nuff said on that - just a reminder. Because I think you are dealing more with envy here.

And I understand how it can rock our insecurity boat at times. But we do need reminders some times that there ARE other people in the world that may be better / suited for particular things than we are even though we 'dabble' in it ourself.

I might use a pool analogy. I enjoy a good game of pool and my primary mate likes playing too. And we have fun sometimes playing. But she's not really very good and I do still enjoy more of a challenge. She understands this and of course is not hurt or offended by it. If I have a chance for a comptetitive game she's quite content to step aside - maybe be the observer. Now granted, this is a bit different than relationship issues, and yet it has a common thread.

You might explore joining her as an observer ? Have you talked about / explored that ? That way you could not only learn some of the finer points she may be appreciating that you may be weak on, but can suck up some serious compersion !

One other point...............

There are "images" our lovers have about our role in their life - sexually or otherwise. It's pretty common that in order to maintain that carefully constructed image they have, it means they don't want us stepping outside certain boxes. This is similar - although different - to what I was saying above. They prefer we don't ............tarnish their image by dabbling in stuff they prefer others to fill.
If that makes any sense.........


nicothoe 08-02-2011 06:18 PM

Polyamory provides us the opportunity to express different aspect of our personality with different people. With the girlfriend, I tend to be more submissive, whereas the wife is completely turned off with anything pertaining to D/s. Sometimes it is easy to explore something new with somebody new.

In your situation, things are trickier. I know I have been envious of guys doing something with my wife that I would also enjoy doing. I have lost count of the number of times I have caught myself asking the question, "why doesn't she do that with me?" But for us, it doesn't work that way.

Unfortunately, I have no easy answer. I acknowledge that my wife is free to pursue her relationships independently of me. I don't bar her from doing things with others, nor do I demand that they be done with me. She get to decide. Period.

As for me, I understand and strongly believe in reasoning behind this freedom of choice, even though I may not like how it plays out.

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