Q&A: Why Am I Jealous of My Partner’s Other Relationship?
We don’t consider ourselves experts on open relationships or a polyamorous life. We’re constantly navigating it and learning new things. But jealousy is common in all relationships, not just polyamory. Consider it part of the human condition.
Why am I jealous of my Dominant’s other relationship? How do I get past it?
I wish diagnosing jealousy were as easy as waving a magic wand and pointing to a shitty relationship from five years ago as the cause. But I’m not that kind of Fairy Godmother and life isn’t always so simple. So the best thing to do is find the answer for yourself through a little introspection. I can’t tell you the answer, but maybe you can consider a few things and discover it for yourself.
Are you feeling insecure?
When we say “jealous” we often mean “insecure.” We worry we’re not good enough, that our partner will fall out of love, or that someone else will be “better.” So when they’re with someone else (in a relationship or otherwise) those feelings manifest as jealousy. These insecurities come from somewhere — past relationships, childhood, a shitty boss, you name it.
So throw away the term “jealousy” because it’s a catch-all for a lot of feelings, including insecurity. When you can name what you’re insecure about, you’re one step closer to addressing it.
Are you feeling envious?
Maybe you’re not insecure, but you’re envious (the other side of jealousy). You wish you were having those experiences with your Dominant. Maybe you wish you had the attention they’re giving someone else. Again, the reasons for this can be all over the place, including from a consistent lack of attention. It’s easy to be envious of what someone has or is doing when we’re not convinced we’ deserve the same things…or that we’ll ever get it.
Focus on what you do get. And if someone else has an experience you’d like to have, talk about it with your partner. Maybe they can explore that with you, too.
Does this remind you of something in your past?
We call them “bad tapes” — they’re like recordings in your mind of past experiences that play in your head during the present. They color your view on what’s really happening. As a result, you expect the same outcome as before. Which means you react as if you’re still in the past.
Whether it’s insecurity or envy, is the situation something you’ve faced before? Does it make you fearful that history will repeat itself? Your jealousy might be a self-protective reaction to a similar situation. If you can identify it and talk about it with your partner, it becomes easier to identify in the future — and avoid the negative feelings that come with it.
Is your partner giving off signs that something is off?
Sometimes our jealous feelings are all in our mind, and sometimes our intuition is screaming at us that something is off. I try not to ignore a feeling without examining the reality in front of me. So, part of your introspection is to think long and hard about how your partner acts towards you.
This can be a good way to open your eyes to bad behavior. It can also be a good reminder that your partner has done nothing to warrant your jealousy, and it’s something you need to deal with.
What kind of signs should you look for? Lack of communication, inconsistencies, lies (overt and omission), less interaction than normal, etc. If they’re behaving in ways that don’t help built trust and don’t create space for open, honest communication, you may sense something is wrong and react with jealousy. And if this is the case, it’s time for a conversation.
Communication is always an important step in the process.
I can’t tell you how to magically get over jealousy. Depending on where your feelings come from, it make take a lot of time and trust-building to move past. But the one thing is always necessary — communication.
Your jealousy isn’t a problem for your partner to fix. You have to do the work. But letting them know what you’re thinking and feeling is important. They may be able to offer solutions for small things that help you feel more at ease. Making them aware of your feelings gives them an opportunity to discuss their own feelings. Your perception may be clouded by your feelings, and a conversation may help you think more clearly about the situation.
And, to be honest, if they’re doing shady, underhanded things, you NEED to talk about it, and either end the relationship or let them know they need to fix their behavior.
Want to know more? Check out these resources:
Jealousy in D/s Relationships (podcast)
Dealing With Your Insecurities (podcast)
Understanding Bad Tapes in Your D/s Relationship (podcast)