A Faithful Reader Asks:
My husband and I have been discussing polyamory over the past couple months. I feel comfortable with the idea, and I know we communicate very well with each other. I am actually concerned about how my reactions could possibly hurt his relationships. I know I have had jealousy issues in the past, which I think come from fears of abandonment or neglect. I believe I am past that point, and I trust the relationship with my husband, but nothing has happened that I think would have provoked that ‘jealous’ reaction. I don’t want my husband to find someone he can have a good relationship with, and end up having to break it off and potentially hurt another person’s feelings because I become upset or jealous. Is this a normal concern for people in polyamorous relationships?
Yes, it’s quite a normal concern. How the two of you handle your relationships between you is definitely a matter you need to settle between yourselves. I cannot discourage enough, however, from mapping “I feel jealous” to “you have to break it off with the other partner”.
Yes, you need to be able to say if you’re lonely, and trust that you’ll be able to be listened to. I’m not saying to suck it up or suffer in silence. I’m saying bring things up to your partner. The theory is that you guys love each other, right? A very good thing to do in a poly relationship is for everyone on all sides to do their best to concentrate on that part. It really helps nudge everyone into treating each other well.
In my own relationships “I feel jealous” (and yes, of course it has happened) does not map to “you must break it off”. It leads to discussion. Sometimes it’s that I am feeling insecure. Sometimes it really is because a partner is ignoring our own relationship for the new and shiny. Sometimes it can be an indication of another relationship issue that’s serious. It can be from many roots, some of them internal, and some not. It would be a bad idea to assume either way.
But make no mistake. Polyamory is most certainly a risk. (Not that monogamy isn’t, it’s just that the risk is more obvious in a poly relationship). I encourage you to look into yourself and think about where you feel good and secure, where you don’t and where you feel your strengths and joys lie.