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-   -   Dealing with jealousy towards men (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3778)

nto 09-23-2010 02:29 PM

Dealing with jealousy towards men
I'm posting here because although I'm not new to polyamory, it's a new situation.

I am a man with 2 female partners, both primarily interested in women, but they have the occasional interest in men. Women I don't really feel jealous about. I am happy for them that they found someone new they like. Men bother me. I get angry, my stomach tightens up, and I start to feel hostile towards the men. I know better than to act on it, since it's my problem, but I don't know how to deal with it.

I've told them both to go ahead, and I'll deal with it on my own, but I don't know how. I trust them, and I am not worried about them doing anything that would risk our relationship. I am angry at the first sign of a relationship. One of my partners scheduled a date with someone I know she wasn't interested in, she was basically being nice because he's really awkward and could use the self esteem boost, and I still wanted to destroy him (awkward, since he hangs out with my friends on a regular basis).

I am trying to figure out how to deal with it, because my usual methods of dealing with stress aren't gonna help here. Usually I wait till the stress is gone, and pretend I am ok till it passes (doesn't help if it's long term), drink heavily (also bad if something goes long term) or just say fuck it, I don't even care anymore, it's not worth the stress (which I REALLY don't want to do to someone I love).

I am worried about how I will deal with it, because if it gets worse, and not better, I will be completely unable to deal with any of their partners, and I'm worried it will affect our relationships and creep into the rest of my life.

I know it's a bit sexist and a double standard that I can date the opposite sex and not them, which is why I am working on it. I just have trouble getting my emotions to be logical. They do what they please, mostly.

MonoVCPHG 09-23-2010 02:37 PM

I'm not basing this on experience, just my thoughts so take everything with a grain of salt.

Have you sat down with yourself and thought about how you feel about both women? Why it feels right to love them both and share your sexual intimacy with them both?

When you are with one woman what are your thoughts? Do you compare them or just enjoy both of them for who they are on thier own?

The answers you come up with will probably apply for how your girlfriends will feel about you if they have another man in thier lives/beds.

SourGirl 09-23-2010 03:06 PM

Hello NTO,

First off,..I think it`s a really good thing, that you A) recognize this as a problem you need to fix. B) don`t restrict the women in your lives, due to your problem.

As for the issue itself. I think you have a two part problem, that you already recognize.

First is the feeling of competition you get, with regards to other men. Do you tend to feel competitive with men in a work environment, or in sports, or some other recreational activity ? If anywhere in the rest of your life, your jobs, skills, or play, involves being 'pited' against other males, your brain could be having a very hard time, seeing men in any other way.

Getting really honest with yourself, will be the first key. You need to figure out if this is habitual thinking, ( What I said about the competition), or if it lies entirely in a insecurity, you can`t quite admit to yourself yet.

Secondly, you definetly need to adapt coping skills that are better suited. By instilling better coping skills, and MAKING yourself react better, you will already solve part of the problem. Anxieties only build, when we handle them badly. It then becomes a vicious circle, where the 'issue' is almost overshadowed by the feelings incurred during the reaction.

Dealing with the 'reason' will take some time and a lot of thought process. Meantime, make yourself feel somewhat better, by finding new coping strategies, that at least leave you a bit healthier, and more in control of your emotions.

Empower yourself. :) Good luck.

nto 09-23-2010 05:04 PM

Any time I am compeditive with other men, it's good natured. Playing games, I can laugh and shake hands when I lose, no problems. At work it's pretty team oriented, so nothing like that there.

As for your other point, I do have anxiety issues. I can't have large groups in my home, for example, but I can do fine elsewhere, mostly because when I am out, if I get irritated or don't want to be in that situation, I can go home. When groups are in my home, I have nowhere left to retreat to. Usually I will sit and seethe in the bedroom till I can't deal with it anymore, and have to try to politely get people to leave, or drink.

What would be good coping strategies? I don't know how to deal with the anger and jealousy well.

monaural 09-23-2010 05:09 PM

When I've felt such feelings, it seemed to stem from a knowledge of just how filthy and philandering men can be (due to being one). ;) Woman-on-woman action involving my partner felt less threatening both because the idea of it was (true to the stereotype) exciting to me, and because I had some vestigial feeling that the act itself was somehow less primal, raw, and fraught with risks.

The final point is true, to a certain extent. STD transfer rates are FAR higher in M-F pairings than F-F, and there's always that pregnancy issue lurking. That's not the core issue, though.

Conversely, at this point, as one of the wings in an MFM albatross, I find myself with zero apprehension about it. I can sit there and think at length about my girl and her boy together, and feel nothing but perhaps a little arousal. I think these feelings are very situational, and they can be bested, if it's worth it, with some work on yourself. They don't have to persist.

In this case, the matter seems to be helped by the fact that I know, regularly converse with, and see the other guy. I know he's a solid person and won't treat my girl badly. If it were someone I didn't know or knew but disliked, I think things would be different and I'd be experiencing that same pit-of-stomach discomfort you speak of.

SourGirl 09-23-2010 05:16 PM

Right,...I am glad you are a good sport. But the nature and psychology of competition, is such that you have that game-face going into any competitions, regardless of how you handle the outcome.

Being a 'good sport' may be your nature, which, in essence, is what you exhibit already when you dont restrict the women with your insecurities.

I am more talking about your approach.

Just food for thought. Turn it over in your head some more. :)

Coping strategies vary as to your own personality, and what you think helps. I would some searches online with keywords of jealousy-anxiety-coping, or fear of abandonment, etc. strategies. ( You may not think these apply to you. thats ok. The strategies might still be helpful.) Throw as many words as you can think of into a search engine, and when the results turn up,..go with what resonates. :)

Ariakas 09-23-2010 05:22 PM


Originally Posted by monaural (Post 45559)
When I've felt such feelings, it seemed to stem from a knowledge of just how filthy and philandering men can be (due to being one). ;) Woman-on-woman action involving my partner felt less threatening both because the idea of it was (true to the stereotype) exciting to me, and because I had some vestigial feeling that the act itself was somehow less primal, raw, and fraught with risks.

Out of curiosity...and this is to just make you think. Do you believe lesbian relationships are less sexual or passionate or great in bed than straight ones?

I am impressed you are coming into it like this. I once held similar viewpoints. I don't anymore. It can be relearned :)

monaural 09-23-2010 06:56 PM

@Ariakas - No, not at all. I just meant to underscore how strong those societally-injected preconceptions can be before we take a hard look at them. These days I hold regard both sorts of relations equally, besides an iota of worry at the physically riskier nature of M-F sex.

So far, in this new relationship, that hasn't bothered me, either. My partners in crime are both kind, wise people with good habits.

nto 09-23-2010 11:05 PM

Actually, until I saw the part about anxiety, I didn't realize that I feel a lot the same when I have an anxiety attack. It's panic, and the fact that I am backed into a corner. I have something bugging me, and I won't stop it, because I feel I'd be out of line. I don't throw other people's guests out of my home, and I won't tell my partners they can't date men.

Tonberry 09-24-2010 02:33 AM

Looks like there is a fear issue behind it.
Maybe you don't feel threatened by women because you know you can bring something they can't to your partners (being a man and all) but with other men this "security" vanished?

I'm just speculating here. It could be something completely different. If that's what it is though maybe you need more reassurance from your partners. I think it's a good idea to be very open and discuss it with them, not to limit them but because they might be able to help you.

Has there been cases of specific individuals that one of your partners liked? You mentioned one that was more of a "pity date" and I'm not sure how representative that is, since the situation would feel awkward to me: you knew she wasn't actually interested in him, therefore you might have been worried for her or something like that.

Although your anxiety thing leads me to believe you might be worried for you, not them... But maybe you're actually worried for them but feeling powerless in case things go wrong? It might help to identify what exactly scares you.

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