Jealousy is not part of love – Lessons from polyamory #3


We should stop humble-bragging about being jealous. We tend to treat it as some kind of forgivable virtue. We went as far as to confuse it with love itself. How much further can we lower the bar?

We admit it is not nice, but let’s face it, we have the right to do it. It is part of the package forced upon us by society. So why bother being a decent human being if society allows us to be jerks?

What exactly does it say about you that you want your partner to be happy – but only if he or she does it with you? That you consider possession part of your love? Can a person even be possessed? Is that even a desirable state of affairs?

The polyamorous answer to conventional, possessive love is compersion. The idea that real love is not possessive and that I want my partner to be happy even when he or she is happy with someone else. Admit it, you would prefer that too.

Conventional relationships of the mutual ownership kind have conveniently mixed ownership with love, but jealousy is still not part of love. Jealousy is an entirely different problem.

Firstly, most of the people who think they are jealous merely react to cultural conditioning. They act jealously because they are supposed to be jealous.

Do I feel offended because I am offended or because I am supposed to take offence?

Moreover, you must feel humiliated – even if you aren’t.

In the conventional one-size-fit-all paradigm, people who stray from the path of exclusivity are called “cheaters” to start with. Their partners are therefore considered “cheated”. It is not up to them to decide whether they feel humiliated or hurt. If nothing else, they have to punish the cheating partner for the public humiliation they have to endure.

But is it really the decent thing to do? Does society really dictate to you how to relate to your partner? And do you really want to stand between your partner and what they desire? Who wants to be the trap their partner is locked up in?

But if you are genuinely jealous, the number of people sharing the attention of your significant other is the least of your problems. Jealousy is a symptom of fear. Fear of losing someone or not owning a 100% of him. But why would you need that in the first place?

Let us assume that you are not a creepy stalker and the object of your jealousy is actually your partner. The fear of losing her is the product of your insecurity, not her actions. You are not sure about your worth, and you need the stamp of exclusive ownership to secure the attention of your loved one.

You are worried she may leave you, because you would probably leave yourself if you could.

Jealousy is projecting your insecurity on someone – regardless of their actions. When you are so insecure that you forgo opportunities in order demand the same from someone else. You would rather endure confinement than risking that your partner finds more satisfaction elsewhere – and thereby escapes from your possession. How many times have you heard that “I don’t stray so that I can ask for the same.”  Really? Is that all? You’d like to take the moral high ground – but even you would like to be with someone else? Not sleeping with someone else is a bargaining chip? Is that all? Do you live in a relationship or in the Cold War of mutual blame?

I am not trying to say that it’s easy. You can feel bad about your partner being happy elsewhere. But it can come from a lot of other things, that are not jealousy. You may want his or her attention right now – but can’t get it. In which case it’s a logistical issue, and it can happen in a monogamous relationship too. You may be afraid of how you compare (in bed) and whether the other one is so much better that your partner will find you a waste of time. Again, the noble thing to do is not trapping them in a relationship, but trying to get better.

Or just ask them because your fears might be unfounded. As it is usual with fears.


Part 4 – There is no such thing as a soul mate…

Part 2: What is love? And what it is not…

Part 5: Don’t try to change your partner. Really…

Part 6: You absolutely have to figure out, who you are and what it is that you want…

Part 7: There is no mind reading…

Part 8: Relationship roles, life scripts, and the death of love…

Part 9: You can’t play relationship games with more than one partner… 

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11 thoughts on “Jealousy is not part of love – Lessons from polyamory #3

  1. “I don’t stray so that I can ask for the same.” Lol. Those who say this are usually so ugly or miserable that no one else would want to be with them anyway.


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