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Old 05-08-2011, 08:07 PM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Austin, TX
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Lots of good conversation!

Originally Posted by Ariakas View Post
I found out I can't turn love off. Even when I don't want to love the girl, I can't. It just happens.
This has been my experience as well, and suppressing it has been very difficult, and has at times made me miserable.

Originally Posted by disappearingpoet View Post
It's okay if somebody feels jealous. It happens. Looking at why might be good though, if it's something that really bothers them. Letting someone examine their feelings (or me examining mine, which has definitely happened) while saying it's okay to have them usually has a pretty positive end result, without setting up an argument for "telling yourself not to feel ___."
That is a very productive way to think about it.

Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
Wow, good question! Why shouldn't someone shut off love if another is expected to shut off jealousy?

Well, I guess first of all both are useful and complex emotions. I don't know if asking someone to shut off jealousy is a good idea. What is behind jealousy is useful and can be learned from.

(...Jealousy can be a useful indicator...)

(...mono/poly boundary is a ditch or a chasm...) If the two are okay talking/yelling across that now and then, or even what feels like always, then jealousy can be worked through and so can love.

(...Working through jealousy and setting boundaries has to be a shared effort...) If someone were to ask me why I can't shut off loving when they have made little to no attempt to work on their jealousy, I think I would seriously consider us done.
Yes. I'll be speaking more of that in my "initial conversation" thread. I think it fits better there. The nature/nurture thread also gives food for thought, but it depends upon whether or not one's partner is willing to think about it. I think that the fear of loss can be so strong that it shuts everything else out. I think the remarks that it's OK to feel jealousy are on the money, but as you say, one's partner has to also believe that it's OK for you to feel love. The devil lurking in the details, of course, is boundaries upon the expression of that love. If the answer is ever and always "None and never," then I think it's over between a mono and a poly, depending upon how strongly the poly feels love for others, or how much pain it causes the poly to repress that love.

Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
Personally, I've always had trouble with jealousy being characterized as a "false" emotion. It's really just fear, right? Fear of losing someone important, fear of being alone, fear of being personally inadequate. It's human nature to respond to fear by fighting or by hiding, which is precisely what most people do when they're jealous.

And really, there are few emotions more primeval and instinctive than fear, right?
Thank you. This is important to remember, especially for a poly married to a mono.

Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
(...Ivy and Vino married for all of the reasons we're all brought up to believe, and insecurity and fear of being alone led them to pledge monogamy to each other, as a security blanket of sorts...)

Yes, we both passed up opportunities with people we were attracted to. In many cases, we actively removed ourselves from situations where our feelings or behaviors were becoming a risk to our relationship.
This sounds very familiar, as it's exactly what I've been doing for a very long time, to the point where I don't have any close friends who are women, and I think that's a damned shame and I'm done with it.

Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
And, we got over it. It took time and effort--but getting over anything takes time.

Love and desire can be controlled and suppressed, just like jealousy.
I think this is highly individual. For me, suppressing love (or at least a strong crush) HURTS, and in some cases, I have never been able to get over it.

Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
Vino gets jealous when I suggest being involved with men--intensely so. I've asked him to work through it, he's agreed, and we're taking our time with it (it helps that there aren't any men I'm really attracted to at the moment). But, at the same time, I control my feelings in any situation that would make him jealous--I deliberately remove myself from situations where I feel more than a passing attraction to a man develop, and I never, ever act on feelings toward men, at least for the time being. Quid pro quo, because I love him and don't want to hurt him or lose him.
And again, this sounds familiar, as I've been doing it for the same reasons for over a decade. I can't do it anymore.

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
(...emotions can be a conditioned, trained, remembered response rather than letting them happen in the moment...)

Jealousy and fear and inadequacy are not the same things. Jealousy comes out of a mental process. You can teach yourself not to be jealous.
Echoing the question I asked at the start of this thread, "Well then, why don't you just teach yourself not to fall in love with someone else?"

I guess I'm looking for a kind of explanation that a through-and-through hardwired mono would be able to fundamentally grasp, without automatically finding it to be self-serving. I've seen a few (that I've quoted here). I think RP came closest with the notion that it can't all be one-sided: the poly has to work on patience and respecting boundaries (even if it's hard at the beginning), while the mono has to be willing to work on jealousy. The mono, in this case, would need to be convinced of a couple of things:
  • she's not going to be abandoned or replaced, or loved any less
  • being unyielding and losing her partner is actually, in fact, worse than facing her fear of losing her partner
  • her poly partner is actually suffering from holding his feelings in (unrequited love is always painful), did not choose to feel them, and cannot shut them off
  • her poly partner isn't just looking for rationalizations for sleeping around
  • she's not going to be relegated to the role of boring housekeeper

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
[...] you can mentally work yourself up into feeling fear, just like you can with any emotion, but then it's not genuine in the moment of experience, but simply a reaction to your own thoughts. However, jealousy doesn't rise up of itself, it is something that is over top of other feelings. You can have sensations, like nausea and shortness of breath when you're jealous, but those come after you've reacted, not viscerally as the feeling comes up, as sensations do with fear.

Fear pops up and we don't want to feel it (we're afraid of our fears, even), so our mind starts working. And we twist it into jealousy. Jealousy is always a mental construct. There are cultures that do not experience jealousy, or shame, and other mentally induced emotions. But fear and love are natural and when these feelings happen, they just happen of their own accord.
These are all good thoughts, and very helpful. Thanks!
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