March 29, 2011
If you are experiencing jealousy, there is a pretty good chance that it is an unfounded jealousy (if your partner is threatening to leave you, well, your jealousy is founded for sure, but you have bigger problems.) Jealousy is a sneaky and harmful emotion if you let it start to take over, and it can harm your relationships as well as both your and your partner’s happiness. But don’t look to your partner to make it go away (although maybe he or she can help). Your insecurity is the root of your jealousy, and that is something you have to examine and deal with on your own.
So how do you deal with it? When you feel jealousy, you are feeling your insecurities made manifest. You are, in essence, afraid that you may lose your partner to this other person because… why? In what way are they “better” than you? It’s time to step back as far as you can and objectively (I know it’s hard) look at what you think is so much better than you are. If you can do this yourself (“I’m afraid he’s more handsome, but we’re both good looking guys.”), cool. If you can’t, it’s time to involve your partner, not to bolster your self-esteem but to help you sort through what the new person may have/do better, what your own merits are over said person, and why these things are important to your partner.
The rest is all processing, I’m afraid. You have to examine your self-esteem flaws to death. You have to hold on to your trust of your partner, even when you feel like it’s killing you. Because in the end, the only one who can banish your jealousy and insecurity is… you.
March 13, 2010
Matt’s wife Lizzie is selfish. There isn’t a question about it, it is just who she is. Because of my experiences with Becky as well as some older childhood programming, I have very, very negative feelings toward selfish people. Matt thinks that this is undeserved, and that I need to rethink my feelings on selfishness. The thing is, I see a vast difference between being selfish enough to care for yourself, which is healthy, and a refusal to put anyone else first except perhaps in the most extreme circumstances, which is, in my opinion, not. Lizzie falls into the latter category.
I don’t want to blanket insult her, and I know that even the mildest of factual statements about some of Becky’s behavior was commented upon quite negatively, which I totally understand. Still, please know that while she doesn’t read this blog, I know what is said here, and I have to make nice with this woman as much as possible. This is as much for my understanding as anything, and a need to get it out and express my feelings on the situation. So, in short, no Lizzie-bashing in the comments, please, my dears. Thank you.
I may go into their history later, but for now, just the recent stuff will do. About a year ago, Matt and Lizzie decided that they would be poly. They had poly friends to show them the way, and Lizzie had a big crush on one of these poly friends. This friend dated Lizzie for a few months, I believe, and enjoying a sexual relationship, she decided that she was deliriously in love with him. When she told him so, he said it was unfair to continue a relationship in which he couldn’t feel the same. In short, he dumped her because she wanted more than sex. I knew he was a jerk from the start and wasn’t surprised (he was also juggling two girlfriends with rocky relationships at the same time), but it was never my place to interfere. While the two of them were still cozy, however, I met Matt for the first time after chatting online for a while. We had a nice chat, along with their one year old baby, and he decided to bring me back to the family owned store to say ‘hello’ before I went home. Please note, this was not a date. Upon entering the store, I was hit with a backlash of violently negative energy from Lizzie. She was jealous and territorial both with the store and with Matt, and after glaring at me, ignored me until I decided to leave.
Matt and I didn’t meet again in person until recently, however we continued to be friends through chats and emails. I had decided that because of his wife, I would not date him. I tend toward being low drama, and that was quite enough for me.
In the mean time, Lizzie had a brief sexual fling with an old college boyfriend, then hooked up with an old high school boyfriend, entering very quickly into sex and talk of love, and practically moving him in for half the week after only a few months of dating. I don’t know much about the guy except that Matt likes and respects him, so that is good enough for me. Again, NONE of my business. Throughout this year of dating exploits on Lizzie’s part, Matt developed emotional attachments to several women, none of whom worked out as a girlfriend. He did push the limits of their agreements once, and sexted with a woman, which caused a backlash with his wife later. Other than that, he was a perfect monk, but Lizzie claims not to trust him emotionally, manages his relationships, and has done her best so far to make our own budding relationship difficult at best.
I could almost understand this behavior, if not sympathize, except that Lizzie is not precisely keeping Matt for herself, either. Why do I say this? I know from him that she rarely agrees to have sex with him, despite a raging sex life with her boyfriend even in the same house while Matt is in another room. He does very well not taking this out on Boyfriend, but he feels deprived, and since I care about him, that upsets me. In my experience, she takes advantage of him for babysitting, especially when she wants to be alone with Boyfriend, but forces him to beg and negotiate to get time to come visit with his current love interest (me). I’ve seen him exactly once this year, and that was on a “friendship” basis. We’ll be seeing each other again in a few days on a dating basis, and let me tell you, it was a hard road to get there.
First, Lizzie demanded that we slow down because she can’t trust him. I pointed out to him that we have been perfectly well behaved over the last year, have had opportunities and desire to push the limits and did not, and that he has made only one indiscretion, which was not even explicitly forbidden at the time, and has been proving himself ever since to apparently no avail. I also pointed out that when we first met he was raring to date me, and I slowed things down because I realized his motives were not ideal (he wanted things to be “fair” – Lizzie was dating, so he wanted to, also). What more, I asked, do we have to do to prove ourselves, and what has she done to prove herself after falling into bed with three men other than her husband in the space of a single year?
He spoke with her and came back to me with a tentative agreement that we could date. Eventually. But first we should meet as friends a few more times just to be sure of our chemistry. I flat refused, telling him that my own husband does not stretch to manage my relationships in that way, and that it was up to us to decide if we had chemistry and when to act on it. I refused to have my hand held by his wife. He sheepishly agreed and stated that it made him angry to hear me accuse him of being “managed”, but agreed that it was indeed the case. He went back for more talking.
I won’t go through all the details or hoops – this post is already too long – but suffice it to say, many conversations and delays later, and we have freedom to make our own relationship decisions independent of his wife, and one date planned for next week. One that I am very much looking forward to. It seems I got drawn in despite the selfishness and drama.
April 18, 2009
I am not sure about the etymology of the word “compersion”, but I can tell you that it is a word that is meant to describe the feelings of joy that you feel at your patner’s happiness. For example, when Michael returned from dates with Becky and was smiling and happy, that often made me happy for him in turn. Compersion.
I’ve heard compersion described as meaning the opposite of jealousy, but I am not sure if it is true. Actually, I’m not sure that it CAN be true. Can you feel two opposite feelings at the same time? I have certainly felt feelings of jealousy and compersion at the same time. I have heard others claim that this is impossible. If you are really happy for a person, how can you also feel jealous of the cause of that happiness. Logically, this makes perfect sense, but emotions often run a different path than logic.
What I do know is that the longer I practice PUTTING the feelings of compersion into myself, imagining Michael with a partner and forcing myself to smile through the daydream, the more it really does make me smile when he talks about a pretty girl or a co-worker with a great laugh. In truth these little things never bothered me, but now I would be perfectly okay with encouraging him to take things to the next step. Compersion has been a learned feeling for me as much as a natural one, and it is something that is really hard to feel without the open nature of poly. I guess it is one more thing to feel thankful for.