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  #1  
Old 06-03-2018, 03:03 PM
MsEmotional MsEmotional is offline
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Default The intersection of gender and jealousy triggers

I have another pondering to share with anyone who is interested....

It has long been said that women fear emotional infidelity whereas men fear sexual infidelity.

If this is true, and assuming that fears around infidelity would have the same roots as fears/jealousy within non-monogamous relationships, I would think that I (as a woman-identified person) would have more to fear from my partners becoming emotionally involved with other people than from my partners becoming sexually involved with other people.

And yet, I don't. I actually feel the exact opposite. All of my jealousy triggers are related to my partners being sexually involved with other people. Additionally, I am most likely to experience compersion when my partners express emotional satisfaction from a connection with someone else.

Questions this raises for me:

1. Are jealousy triggers fundamentally different from infidelity fears? (In other words, is it too simplistic of me to have assumed that the population-level studies around jealousy about infidelity would extend to jealousy amongst non-monogamous folks?)

2. Is the "women are more triggered by emotional infidelity and men are more triggered by sexual infidelity" statement even true? I remember reading about this way back in college, but I wonder if more recent studies would come to the same conclusions. Especially since we've come such a long way in understanding gender identity.

3. I wonder if those studies looked at non-hetero couples and, if not, how those patterns play out in same-sex relationships. In other words, IF it is true that women on average are more triggered by emotional infidelity, is that due to something in their nature as women, or is it due to something in the nature of being in a relationship with men? Do women/men who have relationships with both men and women experience the same jealousy triggers with both "types" of partners?

What are your thoughts and experiences and observations? Do you think there are gender-based differences in how people experience jealousy? Do they apply to you personally? Do you observe differences in jealousy patterns amongst non-mono people versus mono people?

As always, I might not be expressing myself clearly. Feel free to ask for clarification. :-)
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2018, 04:57 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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To answer your questions:
1. I definitely don't think jealousy triggers and infidelity fears are entirely the same thing, though there would certainly seem to be some overlap. As I said above, I fear abandonment. That is the root of what some would call jealousy on my part, though I identify it more accurately as insecurity. I wouldn't call fears of infidelity "jealousy" either. Jealousy, to me, is either "I want what they have, and I don't want them to have it" or "I have what they want, and they might take it away from me." I don't see either of those exactly applying to fear of infidelity. Fear and jealousy are not the same emotion, though one can feed off the other.

2. I think anything that says stuff like "women do X, men do Y" is a gross generalization. To the best of my knowledge and understanding, there is NOTHING that *all* women or *all* men do or experience.

As for jealousy/insecurity, I don't fear any particular kind of infidelity or any particular kind of connection between one of my partners and someone else. I just fear being abandoned.

Before the transition from sexually open marriage to polyamory occurred for me, Hubby feared my becoming emotionally entangled with someone else much more than he feared my becoming sexually entangled with someone else (hence the marriage initially being sexually open only).

3. I can't speak to how things work in same-sex couples, since I'm not in one and never have been. I don't consider the statement "women fear emotional infidelity, men fear sexual infidelity" to be true across the board, as I stated above, but IF it were, I don't see why a woman or man in a same-sex relationship would be any less likely to fear the type of infidelity that their gender supposedly fears. It would just be that you would have two people both fearing the same type of infidelity. But again, I don't believe that statement is absolute truth anyway; it's a generalization, and even as a generalization, I'm not sure it's true.


I tend not to observe how or whether other people experience jealousy and fear. I prefer to focus my attention on how and whether *I* experience those things, so I can adequately address them and respond appropriately, thereby minimizing their impact on my own relationships.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:14 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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I have heard that studies have shown that women are more triggered by emotional infidelity and men are more triggered by sexual infidelity ... but not *all* women, and not *all* men, there can be exceptions. My own history seems to have been that I can be equally affected by either sexual or emotional intimacy. Although I haven't had any jealousy issues for quite a few years.

Not sure how things would be different if the studies included same-sex relationships and whatnot.
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:00 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Personally, I fit the gender-based stereotype: I am a bisexual (veering more towards heteroflexible) woman, and when it comes to jealousy, I tend to fear my partner becoming emotionally involved with another somewhat more than I fear a purely sexual involvement - although I do feel some degree of jealousy when it comes to BOTH possibilities, as I lean more towards the mono end of the spectrum.

And when I say "emotionally involved", I am specifically talking about the fear that my partner/s may "fall IN love" - feel romantic love - for another person, to the same or greater extent than they feel for me. The fear isn't that they'd leave/abandon me or the relationship per se, it's more a fear that I'd be replaced or demoted in importance in their heart.

I am not naturally an overly jealous person, however, and have never felt any particular jealousy or possessiveness when it comes to my partners spending a lot of time with another person of either/any gender, even if they have a very close friendship. (i.e. "Emotionally involved" can have different connotations.)

That said, the thought of my partner/s getting sexual with someone else doesn't thrill me either, although that part can be negotiated more easily from my POV. I could accept some degree of sexual involvement (and have) if my boundaries are respected and agreements upheld.

************

1. Are jealousy triggers fundamentally different from infidelity fears?

I believe so. A person can feel "jealous" about any number of issues (from a partner spending "too much" time with others in any context, or feeling a metamour or partner's potential love interest is better looking/smarter/has more to offer (feeling threatened/insecure). That is somewhat different than a specific fear that the partner may cheat, though the former examples often play into the latter. Anyone can FEEL jealousy: men, women, gay, straight, bi, mono, poly... about almost anything... however, not all people have an overwhelming fear their partners will cheat because of this.

2. Is the "women are more triggered by emotional infidelity and men are more triggered by sexual infidelity" statement even true?

In a broad way, I think so... from what I've researched about the subject when I was experiencing major jealousy/insecurity not so long ago. Of course, as you say, these studies mostly took into account the experiences of straight, monogamous people.
Harking back to the time of our ancestors, there were biological reasons for this difference: males needed to ensure it was their sperm that fertilised the chosen female's egg, in order to perpetuate their bloodline. Hence they were biologically programmed to feel jealous when they sensed another male was about to mate with their "chosen" female (healthy, young, attractive). The alpha males (bigger, stronger) would attempt to have sex with that female ASAP in order to impregnate her first - literally pushing the other man's ejaculate out of her vaginal canal if she'd just mated with another - ensuring the stronger bloodlines won out.
Females on the other hand, needed a father to provide for any children they bore. If the man/husband left to pursue a more desirable mate, she and her children may not survive. Therefore, females were biologically programmed to feel most threatened (i.e. jealous, possessive) if their male partner grew emotionally attached to another female, because it was more likely he'd desert her completely to go live with that female. As with many "primitive" instincts, the human race has not completely eradicated jealousy, even if its outward expression (usually) takes somewhat different forms in contemporary society.


3. I wonder if those studies looked at non-hetero couples and, if not, how those patterns play out in same-sex relationships.

I have no idea. The following is simply MY personal view/experience:

As a woman who is currently in a relationship with another woman (my first same-sex relationship), I feel less jealousy at the thought of her being with another person sexually rather than emotionally. I do not think I'd object too strongly if she wanted to have a sexual OR emotional relationship with a man, in addition to me. However, if she developed an equally strong emotional connection with another woman, I'd feel somewhat threatened. This holds true regarding my (straight) male ex-partner... i.e. I felt more jealousy about the possibility that he'd fall in love with another woman.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2018, 07:00 PM
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vinsanity0 vinsanity0 is offline
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When talking about jealousy it is helpful to recognize jealousy is a symptom, not the disease. Jealousy is a symptom of either fear or insecurity. As an example, most hardwired mono people fear their partner will leave them if they get emotionally or sexually involved with another person. Some are so insecure they don't even want their partner looking at another person.

Personally, I had a hard time wrapping my head around my wife being emotionally connected to someone else. Sex itself didn't bother me, other than as a possible path toward emotional intimacy. I had to learn to trust that she wouldn't leave me.

In my version of poly there is no such thing as infidelity.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2018, 07:33 PM
HurtandConfused HurtandConfused is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinsanity0 View Post

Personally, I had a hard time wrapping my head around my wife being emotionally connected to someone else. Sex itself didn't bother me,
I was the exact opposite, I encouraged emotional connections and was horrified when it turned into sex (duh. of course it would have...)
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:50 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsEmotional View Post
2. Is the "women are more triggered by emotional infidelity and men are more triggered by sexual infidelity" statement even true? I remember reading about this way back in college, but I wonder if more recent studies would come to the same conclusions. Especially since we've come such a long way in understanding gender identity.
It's a stereotype. That means, even in the best-case scenario where the stereotype reflects a cultural/biological/(wherever the line is) standard, it will be true for, say, 60-80% of people. Maybe. No worries if it doesn't apply to you.

It seems to be true in our triangle, though.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:04 PM
Ravenscroft Ravenscroft is offline
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I doubt there's any validity to the statement, but would be willing to consider any of the "many studies" people keep mentioning.

I am what I am. My penis is apparently quite average (measurements available on request ). Not a whole hell of a lot that can be done about that; if someone feels they need regular access to a bigger schvantz, they've already got one foot (& other bodily parts) out the door.

All I have to offer is that I'm mostly a good person, an attentive lover, intelligent & entertaining. Again: if that's not what they're looking for, they're free to continue shopping.
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