Cheers Sexy People,
Last week, we discovered one of our beautiful koi fish belly up in our pond. My husband and I were immediately saddened and upset trying to determine what killed the lovely creature that we have been tasked with taking care of ever since we inherited our koi pond (it came with the house). When a living creature inexplicably dies that you are taking care of, it’s difficult not to feel guilty at first wondering if it was something that you did. Could you have prevented it? Are the other fish now freaked out that their buddy kicked the bucket? How do we better protect them and keep them safe? I was surprised actually that I got weepy over the fish, but there it is. Loss… of a fish. Ouch.
What… in the world does this have to do with polyamory and jealousy you ask???
Well, it took a few days for me to figure out the correlation. But here it is…
The emotions that I felt mourning the fish carried over into other areas of my life, such as relationships, in a negative way. And I didn’t realize it until the aftermath. In the moment, sometimes it can be very difficult to keep a clear and balanced state of mind when emotions are whirling around. Hours after the fish died and we were trying to do research to figure out why, my boyfriend went out on a date complete with a sleepover (at our house where we all live). I knew about the upcoming date, have met and gotten to know this upbeat woman, and thus far, I like her! So no big apprehension there. She is poly-friendly, thus I don’t think she’s trying to steal my love away to be monogamous with her, thus no threat that way. I have no reason not to trust her, and I believe she respects the existing relationships. Yay!
But the next day, I ran home to meet the fish pond specialist, and my boyfriend and his date were both enjoying lunch together. OK, that’s fine. They started discussing what they did on their date, going to an area that I have mentioned to my boyfriend that I miss, including visiting a bar & music hall that I have been dying to go to with my boyfriend, as he told me how interesting this bar & music hall was that’s near his old ’hood where we used to frequent. Logically, this should not matter that much to me. My boyfriend and I go on trips, visit all kinds of interesting places and do many “firsts” together. But in the moment, I felt a few small pangs of jealousy… Whoah, look at the time! Gotta get back to work! Anything to avoid that feeling and try to stay rational and friendly, and not become a raving, insecure lunatic. (I wrote more about dealing with jealousy here). So back to work I went. Overall, I was actually fine. But I did wonder if I should talk to my boyfriend just briefly about my feelings later, as a way to keep the communication lines open, and bring us closer by sharing some of my vulnerability with him, in hopefully a sweet, kind way… A way to continue to let intimacy grow between us.
Question: How do you know when to bring up a potentially difficult topic / conversation, OR when it’s better to work out your issues on your own, and let that sleeping dog lie? This I believe is an art knowing which is the better path to take. I think the bottom line is: will the conversation bring you closer and does what you may want to say NEED to be revealed (from an open and honesty perspective)? Or will the conversation become an unnecessary wedge between you, creating more distance? Hmmmm. I welcome your thoughts on this, readers.
So later that evening, I brought up what I thought would be a quick 10-minute conversation, expressing how I felt in a non-judgmental way, just letting him see a vulnerable part of me. It turned into an hour long conversation that did not quite go the way I planned. I was trying to get closer, get some reassurance and comfort during a weak moment. But the conversation became more of a tug of war. He thought: why feel jealousy over such a small thing when we spend so much time together and do so many wonderful things? Fair enough, but that wasn’t the point in my mind. I was SHARING, and trying to be honest and reveal my soft under belly to a loved one. We were able to bring it back around and then snuggle up to one of our favorite shows. The next day I woke up feeling like this was still unresolved, and unsure that I should have brought this up AT ALL! Rats, I thought I’d made the right choice. Communication and honesty are of course paramount in open relationships.
Later that day, I found the below polyamorous article – My Two Husbands – randomly via a Facebook link. Below is an excerpt that really helped me…
One of the biggest hurdles in non-monogamy — probably the hurdle — is jealousy. My husband was an incredibly jealous person back then, but he began to question its usefulness and purpose. Jealousy is born from a fear of losing a partner; if you believe that love and intimacy can be shared, and are not diminished by sharing, then that fear loses a lot of its power. It was liberating for my husband to step outside of the box that saw everyone else as some kind of threat.
Once he became comfortable with the idea, I began dating my friend from school. Those early days were not without challenges. Choosing to be polyamorous doesn’t mean you instantly flip a switch that extinguishes all jealousy. But it does mean that we seek to understand why we’re feeling insecure. Rather than saying, “You can’t do this with this other person,” we try to pinpoint what’s missing from our own relationship. We say things like, “I’m having a hard time, and I could really use some quality one-on-one time with you right now.” Being able to ask for what you need — rather than direct negativity at a partner’s other relationship — is vital in a polyamorous relationship. Opening ourselves up in this way was a revelation for my husband and me. We became more connected with each other than we’d been in years.
I shared some of the above with my boyfriend the next day, to help explain that even though I am very much a polyamorous person through and through, that doesn’t mean any and all jealousy goes away. Jealousy is not a rational emotion, and we don’t always know what will trigger us or when. And then it hit me: feeling some jealousy over this date nite out to a music hall that I’ve been dying to go to hit me harder because I was in a weakened head space after the fish died. I was all tweaked up on that fear of loss. Something died. Something went away, and I had no control over it. And it saddened me. Boom! Our mental state – whether weak or strong at the time – can affect how we perceive things and how quickly we can rise above them. Ah ha! I told him this too.
And actually, in the end, I did feel closer to him. And we understood each other better. (Also, maybe I THOUGHT I was asking for what I needed – some reassurance and comfort – but maybe I wasn’t all that clear at the time). It amazes me how many of us in relationships – whether polyamorous or not, but certainly even moreso for polyamorous relationships in regards to jealousy – just keep pushing through to the other side. If you really want to be with someone, you make it work. You do the work that needs to be done. You talk it out. You help each other. You get stronger each time. You strive to understand each other. You love each other and support each other through trials, whatever they are.
Love. Forgive. Appreciate. Connect. Improve.
Here is the full article that I referenced above if you would like to give it a read. I thought it was great!
(Side note: The rest of the fish are healthy and the pond is fine. The specialist thinks the unlucky fish might have eaten something poisonous by accident. Whew!)
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)