I was that jealous boyfriend. Not the angry type. Not the one who would shove a stranger for casually glancing at his girlfriend. I’m way too passive for that type of alpha nonsense. No, I was more the cross my arms, look down, and quietly sulk jealous type.
Even though I knew my girlfriend loved me, and would never cheat on me, I still couldn’t control the green-eyed monster living in my gut. It was toxic. It was all-consuming. It was like a virus that swept through my body. My jealousy would strike with no warning, and nothing I did could ever calm the beast.
My girlfriend told me to relax; she said I have nothing to worry about. She told me over and over again that she loves me. She told me I need to trust her. But no matter what she said, I was still a jealous mess. And at least once a week, we had some talk, which ended with her reassuring me that my jealousy was irrational and unnecessary.
I felt like a child – constantly needing reassurance. I felt inadequate. I was annoyed with myself. I desperately wanted to be the secure boyfriend my girlfriend deserved.
We ended up breaking up. For this reason among a dozen others.
Three months later, I met my current boyfriend at a gay, underground, leather bar. My friend who I went with joyously proclaimed that he had met another bisexual man.
“You must meet!” he said, while dragging me over to the other side of the room.
It was slightly awkward because we had nothing in common to discuss, besides, “Oh you’re bi? Me too! Cool.”
After getting over the awkward greeting, he introduced me to his boyfriend, but told me he lives with his wife and girlfriend. My eyebrows rose.
“Oh really?” I said.
I had never met someone who was openly polyamorous. Sure, I had met plenty of people in open relationships. But to love three people at once, and to live with two of them? No, I had never met someone who actually has a life like this.
We stayed in touch, and I met his wife and girlfriend, along with many of his other casual partners in the following weeks. A month or so later, he asked me out on an official date. At the time, I wasn’t looking to date seriously. The wounds from my last breakup were still too fresh, but I figured there was no way in hell this could turn into something serious. The man has a wife, boyfriend, and girlfriend, among others. The man doesn’t have time for me. Not in a million years.
But one date led to two. And two led to a dozen more. Before I knew it, we were seeing each other daily. Being the miraculous magician he is, he somehow managed to make time for me. It turns out when you love someone, you figure out how to make the time.
We’ve now been dating nearly eight months, and next month, I’ll be moving in with him and his wife.
Ironically, now that I date someone who dates (and is married to) other people, my jealousy has vanished. It wasn’t even something I had to purposefully work on. Polyamory naturally alleviated my jealousy issues. Here’s how.
#1 — There’s no fear of betrayal
When I grew jealous over my ex, my fear wasn’t, “Oh God, if she sleeps with someone else, how would I ever be able to sleep with her again?” It was, “What would I do if she lied to me?” My fear wasn’t in the sexual act itself, as much as her breaking her word. Could I ever believe her again after such a breach of trust? But when you’re polyamorous, that’s not something you have to worry about – because you’ve made the agreement to be sexually and emotionally connected to other people. No trust is broken.
#2 — I never fully trusted myself
I was never able to fully trust my ex because I never fully trusted myself. I was afraid I might get drunk and cheat on her. Or even worse, I’d develop an emotional connection with another person. Then what? Is emotional infidelity allowed? Would I say something? I think because I was incapable of being truly monogamous, I didn’t think anyone else could be. I also wasn’t exactly sure what constituted “true” monogamy, and if emotional infidelity counted as cheating.
#3 — If he wants to spend time with me, it’s because he wants to spend time with me
I know that if my boyfriend wants to spend time with me, it’s because he wants to spend time with me. He could be boning, cuddling, or eating dinner with someone else – another partner – but he chose to do it with me. It shows how much he truly cares for me.
#4 — We communicate openly about everything
In order for polyamory to work, you need to be honest about what you’re doing and who you’re seeing. Otherwise, your relationship(s) are doomed to fail. So we tell each other everything, and I trust him fully. I know about his work crushes, and he knows about mine. I know about all the other people in his life, so I’m not worried if he’s hiding something from me. Because I trust him fully, I trust him when he says he loves me.
In the end, I realize it wasn’t polyamory that helped me get rid of my nasty jealousy issues. It was honesty and communication – things that you can have in a monogamous relationship. I know how corny this sounds, but it’s true. We often tell white lies to our partner because we want to spare their feelings, or because we don’t want to make a “big deal” of something we deem inconsequential. But in hiding our feelings, we plant seeds of doubt, which eventually grow to be full trees of mistrust.
So regardless of the type of relationship you’re in, the key to getting rid of your jealousy is talking about everything. Yes, this will lead to more tough conversations, but that’s the only way a relationship can survive. Not only will it survive, you’ll be able to push that little green monster back down when he begins to rear his ugly head.
This post is republished on Medium.
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