Since my wife and I have been to the moon and back on this topic, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents for what it's worth.
I have been described as "hyper-logical" by more than a few people, referred to as "Spock" by a therapist we'd seen, and generally see myself as a primarily logic driven individual.
I think what gets lost on many people who know me is that I am person who has a great depth of emotion and passion, I just temper it with reason.
IMHO, emotions are great. Passion, lust, love, endearment and all of the wonderful things that go along with them are what makes life worth living. Equally important to me are fear, anger, resentment and all of the self-preserving reactions that go along with those.
However, having emotions and acting upon them are two entirely separate things.
Most would agree that acting upon one's feelings of love for one's mate is a good thing. Similarly most would agree that proceeding with caution, or avoidance, in the face of fear of harm is also rational.
But I believe it is wise to try and apply a goodly measure of reasoning to our emotions before allowing them to manifest themselves into action.
Help or Harm
As an example, let's look at a person who has a fear of flying on airplanes. Logic and statistics tell us that the actual danger involved with air travel is small compared to other forms of travel like automobiles. (notwithstanding the new insulting grabby searches and nudie scanners) The fear is real, and I wouldn't dismiss it. But I would also believe that it is in the interest of that person's personal growth to address that fear and work towards overcoming it if not flying causes harm to their life, such as passing up lucrative job opportunities that require periodic air travel.
The fear is not silly. The fear is not unreal. The fear does cause tangible pain and dread. The fear, however, is irrational. It does not serve to actually protect the person from a threat. I would call this type of emotion counterproductive, harmful, and capable of crippling results if allowed to manifest in action (or inaction).
The question of rationality is something my hyper-logical side yearns to ask of most emotions.
Connection to Polyamory
With polyamory there are a huge host of fears and emotions, and as with the example above, I try and reason with which can help or enrich my life, and which can only serve to hurt me, or limit fulfillment.
Jealousy is a bucket of many of these fears and emotions, and I'll outline my thoughts on some of them:
Yes, I have Feelings
- Fear of Abandonment - Whenever one allows their partner to become romantically involved in another, there may be the fear that the partner may leave them for the new love. In my case, I look at the 12 years of growth and commitment that my wife and I have built, and cannot imagine that a new relationship can challenge that bond. There are few couples I know that have as strong a relationship as we have. There will be things that a new lover may do better or attributes they may possess that are superior to mine, in fact I'd hope they would have a few so that they'd offer something new and rewarding. None of those things can compare, in mi mind, to the life my wife and I have built together. Therefore, though I may feel them, I choose to not give that fear power over my actions.
- Fear of Betrayal - There's the natural inclination, probably due to our society's indoctrination, to feel that one is being wronged, or will be wronged, lied to, or plotted against if there's another lover. This is all based upon the examples we're given, almost all of them the sneaky, conniving, cheating spouse.
I look at these feelings and ask the obvious question: if there's approval for the other lover, and all of the activities that go along with the romantic relationship, what possible motivation would there be for dishonesty? Particularly in our relationship where such a premium is placed on trust and communication?
I do not choose to allow those feelings to dictate my behavior. I see no real threat. If there *were* a real threat, the problem would be with trust and communication, not with the new lover.
- Fear of Marginalization - With a new, exciting lover, there's a very real fear of being marginalized, or becoming second fiddle. Given the effects of NRE and the chaos it can cause in decision making, this is a legitimate concern, even with the best intentions.
Given that this fear has legitimate basis, it deserves some protective measures applied to it.
If I fear that time spent with me will be reduced to a less than acceptable level, we can negotiate beforehand what amount of time I require for my happiness.
I must accept that there will be enthusiasm for a new lover, and that my partner will want to share that enthusiasm with me, being her closest friend and soul-mate. I may likely have feelings both of shared excitement, and of resentment.
Resentment, to me, does not pass the test of being beneficial, and in fact can only serve to hurt our relationship. I choose then to acknowledge those feelings, but not give them power over my behavior.
Shared excitement on the other hand, can only serve to make the new lover an experience we can both enjoy. I love to see my wife happy, why should this be an occasion where I deny myself that pleasure?
- Envy - Covered somewhat above, but more specifically here, envy is an emotion that would seem unavoidable. But I hold these truths to be evident:
I am not the most attractive man on the planet.
I am not the most witty, suave or intelligent man on the planet.
I am not the most athletic man on the planet.
I do not share the greatest connection with every interest my wife has than every man on the planet.
The list goes on...
I am, however, the man that my wife chose to spend her life with, the combination of things that she valued enough to make that commitment, and the man who has spent 12 years growing closer to her and building a lasting life with.
If I accept those truths, then it cannot be argued that:
My wife may find a man more attractive than me.
She may find someone more witty, suave or intelligent than me.
She may share a greater connection on some interests with another man than I.
And importantly, she will never find a man that has as close a bond as we have, given our 12 years of growth and love with each other.
Why would I want to keep my wife from experiencing the pleasures that are possible with meeting lovers that satisfy some of those areas, as long as I know that our bond remains the strongest and most important thing to her?
So yes, I have many of the feelings that play into the jealousy puzzle. I think the thing that makes me come off as someone whose "not the jealous type" are the logical conclusions I arrive at when measuring if those feelings hurt me, or hold me back.--end of thesis--