Today is apparently Polyamory Day, although I’m unaware of any official proclamation to that effect. But this seems a curious way to celebrate.
Because isn’t having only *one* day sort of counter to the idea of polyamory? We should have as many polyamory days as are comfortable and to which we can do justice. For some, that would be one polyamory day; for others, many more. I hope you celebrate as few or as many as you consent to and enjoy!
…especially when it’s green with envy. (A tough color to accessorize.)
Jealousy happens in all kinds of relationships. People often seem to feel guilty about feeling it, and attach value judgements that they may not apply to other emotions. But jealousy happens. The question is, how do you respond to it?
When I feel jealousy, I take it as a sign to ask myself two questions:
The first is, “Am I feeling this way because the other partner is getting something I’m not?”
Sometimes, I realize the answer is no — that I actually am getting the same thing the other partner is getting. If we’re both getting it, and I’m getting enough of it, then it doesn’t matter how much they get. And if I’m not getting enough of it, then it’s time for a discussion with my partner.
The second question is the more important one. “Is the thing they are getting something I actually want?”
And when the answer is no, I don’t want that, jealousy often falls away right there, because the fact that they’re getting something I’m not getting is irrelevant if I don’t want it. They can have all they want! Being given the thing I don’t want in the name of fairness would be worse. (Especially if it’s liver and onions.)
But what I don’t do is tell myself I shouldn’t feel jealous. The feeling is natural; it’s what you do with it, and how objectively you look at the situation, that can make a difference in whether it lasts — and how it affects those around you.
Went on an all – polyamorist hike recently, courtesy of a local meetup group. It turns out that when polyamorists hike, the discussion is something like this:
Tight shoes, low hanging tree, ethical non-monogamy, consensual non-monogamy, watch out for that rock, tree, tree, where is the next blaze?, solo poly, nice hat, how to talk to your partner who is mono, look out for the poison ivy, poly while married, poly while dating, mud!, when’s the next hike?
I have several “comet” relationships, in which we see each other and spend time together when we are in the same city or occasionally go out of our way to make closeness happen, but the rest of the time it’s occasional correspondence and supportive but not deep involvement in each other’s lives. Comet relationships can certainly work, particularly if (as discussed repeatedly in this space) those involved have common expectations of what the relationships are about.
But you have to have a different set of expectations for those relationships than you do with partners. There’s a lot more volatility, in part because you aren’t in such regular contact, so you may not see things coming quite as far in advance. For example, in the last year, several of my comets have gotten engaged or married, or otherwise nested, and it’s not clear that their relationships with me will be able to continue in their current form. That’s wonderful for them.
But when a comet relationship comes to that kind of point, it’s a test: Do you try to grab on and resist the change, effectively pretending that the relationship was deeper than it was, or do you cheer them on their course, even if it means that your relationship with them changes or is at an end?
With partners, there would be fewer surprises and a lot more communication and processing. With comets, it works best if you hold on loosely and accept that, as with the planetary bodies they’re named for, they may blaze brightly in your sky for a while and then continue on their journey. Wherever they are in their orbit, wherever they go next, you will always have that brilliant image.