How to deal with jealousy when poly partner is with someone else
June 7, 2018 5:08 PM   Subscribe

My partners and I have an open poly relationship. I struggle with jealousy when one of them is with another person outside our triad. Intellectually, I know that there's no reason to be jealous, but I still feel out of sorts when he's with someone else. What can I do to put myself at ease or minimize my jealousy?

I'm a gay man in a triad with two other guys. One of them is not into sex at all. I've always had great sexual connection with the other one, "Evan". We've been together off and on for several years and have just recently all moved in together, which has been great.

One of the things that Evan and I enjoy is fisting. He loves taking fists and big toys. I was the first person that really made him feel intensely about it, and says I'm the best he's ever had. Recently he met someone who's also into fisting that he enjoys being with, and I've been experiencing a lot of jealousy and insecurity over it. I'm afraid this person will be better at the one thing I do that makes my partner feel extraordinary, sexually speaking. I'm afraid that he will start to spend more time with this person than with me. (We haven't engaged in our own sessions together in over a month now.) I fear that our special intimate connection will disappear, that I'll be replaced and rendered useless, and that we will stop having sex (as has happened with him and our other partner).

I know that even if you love someone, they can still have intense connections with other people. I have met several new partners since we moved in together who I have great sexual chemistry with, while Evan has been too busy with work to really meet guys who are into what he likes, but I know that no one will ever be as sexy to me as him. He deserves to have fun with other lovers just as I do, and I recognize that. He has had other lovers over the years, including when we were living in different states. We have talked it out before; how my insecurity stems from my dad cheating on my mom when I was a kid. Thinking of him being with someone else can trigger this, but I know that he loves me and that we can't always be 100% into our partner 100% of the time.

He has been very attentive to me since I brought up my feelings; spending lots of time with me doing home projects, snuggling me more than usual and fooling around with me a little more. This helps a lot. But I still feel that insecurity and jealousy when I know he's with someone else. When we talk about it, it's theoretical and I'm fine with it. When the time comes and he leaves to be with someone else, it's a different story.

What can I do to alleviate these feelings of jealousy? We've already talked things out so all the cards are on the table, so I already know that talking with my partner is one thing I can do. But I feel I need to be able to manage my own feelings when he is out with someone else. If you've experienced this kind of jealousy, how did you deal with it? What activities or thoughts have you tried to calm yourself down?
posted by Oneironaut420 to Human Relations (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

In my case it helped if I eroticized the idea of my partner having sex with someone else. If I could imagine them fucking and have that be really hot, then it somehow made me less jealous. I was getting off on it.

The other thing that helped was remembering that their activity gave me license to have my freedom, my flings. So instead of focusing on jealousy, I could focus on my other partners.

YMMV, but those are a couple of things that helped me back when I was being poly.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 6:28 PM on June 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

Make plans for times he’ll be with other partners, especially the new one. Keep yourself busy.

The Jealousy Workbook is very well-regarded, too.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:29 PM on June 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

For me, quite honestly, there was no way to go around the jealousy, I just had to go through it. I had to really sit with it and feel whatever fears and insecurities were driving it. I had to share them with my partner, in a way that was me owning my own feelings rather than making them his responsibility. I had to figure out what I needed, and ask for it, and face the possibility that he might say no. And after a time of working on all of that, my jealousy passed. It just faded away. I can’t promise that will happen for you but for me it was kind of miraculous - we didn’t change or “solve” anything, the jealousy just healed like a skinned knee.
posted by mai at 6:34 PM on June 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

Is this the same guy you asked a question about last week?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:44 PM on June 7, 2018 [8 favorites]

Yes, steady-state strawberry, it is. I got some good advice and it mostly worked out pretty well. We needed to have that talk and it's been ongoing since then.

Thanks, Winnie. I think that's a good idea. I actually enjoy hooking up with other guys together. I do like seeing him feel good. And the guy he is seeing is someone who has also been wanting to meet me too (we'd been chatting separately online). So it could all turn out to be really hot, and maybe knowing the guy (who seems pretty nice) better may help allay my fears.

Thank you for the recommendation, bluedaisy, I'll check that out.
posted by Oneironaut420 at 6:51 PM on June 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to be in a poly triad with a girlfriend and her girlfriend, and on "girl nights", I would just switch back into "single dude" mode. Her girlfriend and I had a little chemistry, but, under HER house rules, that was a no go. It would have made things a little better, because on MY nights, her girlfriend would stalk us outside my home, and blow her phone up all night if we weren't leaving. Anyway, the point was, since my girlfriend and I weren't living together, on girl nights, I would just not think about it and assume she was home.
posted by Samizdata at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2018

I always just looked at it as "jealousy is fear of loss" and worked out the fear. The jealousy then self-resolved.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:07 AM on June 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thank you all for your advice. Talking with my other partner really helped a lot as he has dealt with such feelings before too.

For any other poly people looking here for help, here is a great resource for managing jealousy.

posted by Oneironaut420 at 6:25 AM on June 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

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