Polyamory and Jealousy Don't Mix

Tracey Folly

Can you be a jealous person and involved in a polyamorous relationship at the same time?

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2k17ho_0YtiQjjT00Photo by Ana Francisconi on Unsplash

My grandmother was a jealous woman. If she thought my grandfather was even looking at another woman, she would wail and scream as if she were being boiled in a pot of oil. One time, she didn’t like the way she thought my grandfather looked at her sister during a family visit. So she ran down the street barefoot — shrieking like a banshee — and threatened to drown herself in the river.

I take after my grandmother.

I have no problem with polyamory. Why would I? If someone is happily enjoying a polyamorous relationship, then it’s not my business. If someone is unhappy in a polyamorous relationship, then it’s not my problem. It’s like any and all other relationships. If I’m not in it, then it’s not my place to judge. Full stop.

If you are someone living in a polyamorous relationship, please know that I support you, and I am fully on your side. It’s just not for me.

The same goes for people in LGBTQ relationships, biracial relationships, May-December relationships, and dominant and submissive relationships. If people are happy — great! If people are unhappy — join the club! I am far too busy with my own personal matters to judge anyone. Trust me on that.

Despite the many wonderful things I’ve heard about polyamorous relationships, my jealousy issues make me a poor fit for polyamory. Whenever I am in a relationship with a man, I become so consumed with jealousy over his former relationships that I become physically ill.

When I was in high school, I was jealous of my best friend’s other friends to the point where I would have done anything to end those relationships. I imagine the only reason why I haven’t gotten into trouble due to my jealousy is that it’s tempered with a heaping dose of laziness.

My aforementioned best friend also happens to be my cousin. My grandmother with the jealousy issues? She was her grandmother, too. When this particular friend/cousin was dating the man she eventually married, she was seethingly jealous that he’d ridden in the same Ferris wheel car with another girl — before they met.

She was so angry that she fought with him — for something that happened years earlier. The other girl was beautiful, but she was also dating one of his best friends, who was in another car of the Ferris wheel at the time of the incident. It sounds irrational now, but I understood her jealousy completely. I still do.

My mother, on the other hand, is a remarkably non-jealous person. She just doesn't feel it.

I don't know whether she would be comfortable in a polyamorous relationship, and I don't plan to ask. However, my father is a lot of work, and I imagine my mother might welcome having a few other women around to shoulder the load.

I am nothing like my mother. To tell the truth, I'm a little bit jealous.

Can you imagine what I would be like in a polyamorous relationship? I’d be intolerable. That’s not a reflection of the lifestyle; that’s a reflection of me.

Unfortunately, my jealousy means I will never experience the benefits of polyamory and everything it has to offer. My understanding of polyamory is that there simply isn’t room for jealousy in it. Come to think of it, there isn’t room for jealousy in monogamy either. I guess that’s just another thing — like cutting back on carbs and exercising more — that I have to work on.

While I may recognize that my own jealousy is an undesirable trait, that doesn't mean I'd be willing to work on my feelings of jealousy when it comes to my views on polyamory. I'm not.

However, there is another side to polyamory that I haven't mentioned. That's the possibility of myself having more than one partner. If I was the only one with multiple partners, then I'd have no reason to worry. Right?

While that may be true, I have no desire to have more than one romantic partner at a time. It isn't a matter of morality. I simply have no interest in it.

I can't even say it sounds good "on paper." For me, a relationship includes myself and one other person. No more. No less. I couldn't handle any more than one partner at a time. Furthermore, I wouldn't want to.

Note that I didn't write that any relationship includes only two people. I merely wrote that my relationships will include that limited number of people. As I've written, the way other people choose to love other people is not my concern.

You can do whatever you can handle.

Could you imagine what would happen if people in polyamorous relationships demanded that people in monogamous relationships switched to poly instead? It wouldn't go over well.

For that same reason, I would never expect a polyamorous person to adjust their relationship style to match mine. I find it troubling that anyone would try to dictate the terms of any relationship they aren't actually a part of.

But what, you ask, if that polyamorous individual were someone in whom I had a romantic interest?

The answer is simple and sad. I'd have to walk away. It would be best for all parties involved. A woman with my jealousy issues can't partner up with a polyamorous man and expect to get away with it. I'd only make us both unhappy. That wouldn't be fair to anyone.

From what I've seen, polyamorous partners have just as many problems to overcome as their monogamous counterparts, but they don't necessarily have more problems. In some cases, there may be benefits in terms of financial and emotional support that you can't get from a single partner. At least, that's what I've heard.

What do you think? When it comes to your own relationships, is it a case of "the more the merrier"? Or is one-on-one more your style?

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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