Jealousy is a tricky thing. I think everyone experiences it, some do more than others and it like so many things is on a spectrum. Most of the time its very personal what will make a person jealous. They have to want whatever it is they are jealous of and their wants are personal choice. This is regardless of whether or not they actually already HAVE that thing they want though. (Ex. I want to be loved by x and am in a relationship with x and i know x loves me but i am stupidly jealous when i see x with z and they love each other. I have x’s love but it doesnt stop jealousy from happening over the love x and z share)
I have identified one common poly-related jealousy pitfall that i generally call, “the recipe for jealousy”. Pretty much everyone i poll about this agrees that this is a fabulous way to instigate jealousy in a partner regardless of where you are on that spectrum.
Person A and person B are in a relationship. Person B is also dating person D. Persons A and B have been planning (with a degree of excitement) going to the beach. They have been planning this across multiple conversations, not just idle talk of “maybe”. Person B goes to the beach with person D. How do you think that makes person A feel?
Or put more simply:
You say you’re going to do the thing with one partner and then do it with someone else.
This creates jealousy. No blame on either party when i say this by the way, its a thing not everyone knows about. People have their reasons for doing this formula, and even the most consciensous partner will do it at some point. Reasons may include:
- whoops forgot
- didnt know it was something special between us and it feels icky that you’re putting that on me now
- the timing was just right
- they offered
- it just happened and it was out of my control or knowledge
What really matters is 2 factors:
- when they brought it to your attention that it was the recipe.
- how you react to that news
Before the thing: you have time to not hurt their feelings and walk away! You will always make a better self rightous case if you do what they want before then talk to them about it. You have given up the thing that would cause jealousy, and can then, if you have an argument, say that you also took their feelings into consideration.
During: not much you can do if you bought something or are currently miles away from home at that beach adventure. Depending on your partner though you may want to drive those miles back home or return/not use thay thing you bought. But at bare minimum, MAKE THE OFFER TO DO SO. you like this person and care about their feelings right? The thing you are doing presently is actively hurting their feelings and unless its more important than your relationship, suck it up and apologize.
After: one phrase, “i cant change it now. And i am truely sorry that you got hurt by my actions. I want to talk to you more to figure out what it was in a general sense that i did that upset you so i dont do it in the future. Because i love and care about your feelings.”
Now speaking to the jealous folk. If you are jealous, thats most of the time something that cant be fixed by someone else. Its caused by someone else but its still YOUR FEELS. you are here now, and it doesnt matter how you got here, this is where you are and this is what you have. The BEST thing you can do is sit on it. Reflect on what is driving it to be soooooooo shitty. And go deeper than “because they did the thing! Nothing more too it!!” Because you feel this way because you’re: scared, mad, etc. really get in it, then when you’ve calmed down very clearly and concisely, explain it to your partner. Do not over do it, they didnt do it aiming to hurt you and they are listening to you because they love you. You might even want to say that last line… It helps.
So finally onto why i called this social climate as well as jealousy:
When you talk to your friends or family about this we get a snapshot never the full picture. We are not in a relationship with that person… Or at least not the way you are. When you vent about the injustice or jealousy being experienced, and only give your side, friends will ralley to you because you are having your feels at them and they will want to help. You will essentially cause tension in your social climate of friends over time with repeatedly doing this.
I’m not saying “DONT SEEK HELP!”
I’m saying, “be aware of how you are presenting that person you love so much”. Maybe focus on YOUR feelings and make a disclaimr that reminds your friends that this person is still awesome. Be aware of your social influence to a group. You will love and adore that person at the end but will that person you’re talking to love them just as much and in the same way? Then dont give them a hideous one sided story.
/steps down from soapbox
Really nailed it with the Recipe there especially.