August 3rd, 2011
I was going to do the posts close together, but things keep getting busy. So, here’s the second post on The Ethical Slut, part II. This one focuses on Jealousy and Fear.
“No one can own another person.” (117) An important thing to remember, whether or not you are poly. You do not own your partner. (We aren’t talking about Master/slave ownership agreements here, that’s another discussion.) You are not responsible for their actions, and your every moment is not about each other. It would be a rather boring life for most of us to spend every waking moment with only one other person. There are jobs, and friends, and family and hobbies and a myriad of other things that are part of life. You share your life, poly or not, with many people, things and activities.
“Jealousy may be an expression of insecurity, of fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, feeling left out, feeling not good enough, or feeling inadequate.” (134) “[Jealousy] is a part of you, a way that you express fear and hurt.” (137) Jealousy is a normal human emotion. Everyone has jealousy at some point in their lives over something. It’s natural. And it can tell you when something is important to you. If it wasn’t important, you wouldn’t react to it.
“We imagine we know his thoughts, when in fact we are thinking about our fears.” (121) Our imaginations are great creators of fear. Sometimes, our imagination just leads us to silence or inaction. I can’t be that, he’ll say this. I can’t do that, she’ll think this. I can’t ask that, he’ll say no. How do we know? We don’t, we’re just projecting our fears onto our partner.
“You actually don’t know what your partner is doing. The images you see in your mind are the perfect reflection of your own fears.” (149) Our imagination gives us false impressions of what our partner is doing with others, or while out of our sight. We are afraid of what they are doing, afraid we’ll be hurt by it. “It helps to ask, “What am I afraid might happen?”” (131) We might imagine that the other person is better at it than we are. That they’ll enjoy it more with that other person. That we will pale in comparison. We might be afraid that he won’t want us anymore, or won’t want to do a certain thing with us anymore. We can really let our imaginations run away with us. That’s why communication is so important, before and after. So that we can stay in touch with the reality of a situation.
“What are the specific images that disturb me the most?” (148) It is important to figure out what triggers your fears, insecurities and jealousy the most. To identify major issues, so they can be named(often this, is enough to take the power away), discussed and perhaps disarmed. Or, if not disarmed, perhaps agreements can be made around them, to the benefit of all involved. No one wants to make their partners unhappy.
“Jealous might actually be envy.” (134) “When I’m not taking care of getting what I want, it’s easy to get jealous and think that someone else is getting what I am not.” (137) Are there things that you want that others appear to be getting? Are you asking for those things? Can you work out a way to have the experience you are missing so that you aren’t envious of the other person? It is important to take care of yourself, and your wants and needs. Don’t give jealousy any more footholds than it already has.
“Sometimes jealousy has at its root feelings of grief or loss.” (134) This goes back to economics of starvation, for me. Feeling like I’m losing something if someone else gets the same. Jealousy over fear of loss. I have to remind myself that someone else getting something does not take away from what I already have. And, it can even strengthen it.
“If you try to pretend that you are not jealous when you are, others will perceive you as dishonest, or worse yet, they may believe you, and see no need to support and protect you.” (138) “Denying your jealousy can lead you to act out harsh feelings in ways you will regret later.” (138) Expressing jealousy can be painful, but denying it can be damaging. It isn’t easy to admit you are feeling negatively about your partner, but letting negativity fester only makes things worse. If you can admit to it, you can then talk about it, and get through it. Together. A shared burden is easier to carry.
“The way to unlearn jealousy is to be willing to experience it.” (139) “You can feel jealousy without acting on it.” (140) Like any other emotion, jealousy does not have to take over. You can feel it and see it and deal with it, without letting it control you. This can take practice though, and time. And you have to want to. You are in control of you, even when you feel out of control. Ask for help when you need it, and jealousy is nothing to be afraid of.
“You and your partners need to practice talking about jealousy.” (151) I’m not sure how to practice, but talking about jealousy is the best way I know to get through it. Getting your feelings out, having them acknowledged and supported, if not agreed with, and then having help getting through them, is a great feeling. But that’s the next blog post, Emotions and Validation.
February 12th, 2011
An interesting week. Sorry for the late post, hopefully Monday’s tided you over until today. Last weekend was great, and I was happy to share my joy. This week has been about letting go, for me. As in relaxing, as in accepting uncertainty, as in moving forward instead of holding onto the past.
We have a toy. I have never had a toy before, someone I am responsible for and to, and who wants to please me, and us, from a bottom type role. I have also never had a trio relationship. Three of us in one relationship. She is Our Toy. Pleasing us, playing with us, trusting and trusted by us. It is a new situation to all.
So, full honesty here, because what good is a blog without occasional soul baring, I freaked out this week. I was going on all good and solid and just asking questions and trying to get clear answers, and feeling good about it all, if concerned. Then, I missed a bus… and in chasing after it, I got run over. At least I realized it, and asked for help, this time.
I started getting worried about the future. I started becoming afraid of the risk. I imagined all sorts of bad. I became terrified of emotional pain and hurt and loss. I wanted to try having a toy. I knew it was risky. But I got stuck on the question of accepting that risk.
He helped me. He let me talk and cry while he poked and asked pointed questions. He let me calm down while he said out loud what I was not listening to in my own head. Everyone gets hurt, we all hurt each other, life is risky, but it is worth it. It is fun. It is the way we grow. He even offered to stop it if I could not accept the risk. This is for Us, and if I’m not happy, then it won’t work.
So, I grabbed his hand and pulled myself up off the road. Invited her over, explained my fear and accepted the uncertainty and the risk. We still have a lot to figure out, as we move forward, but we all know it and accept it, so we Can move forward.
I had a couple other bits of letting go and moving forward this week, as well. They say that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, but there is a difference between remembering the past and clinging to it. Remembering mistakes of the past to learn from them is good. Remembering past pain and trying to avoid it again at all costs is bad. Trying to recover something purposefully lost or destroyed is bad. Building with the rubble to a better future is good, but I think that might be the topic of another blog.
So, let me end with the paragraphs echoing in my mind. I will not over think. I will not cast doubt in myself. I will not allow fear to consume me.