“Are you really okay with that?”

With someone I love being happy, of course I am! Am I immune to jealousy? Hell, no!

The little green monster bites me, too.

There are some people out there who say that they lack the capacity to feel jealous. I am not one of them. I get that sinking feeling when I see someone who I enjoy making happy being made happy by someone else. Does this other person make them happier than I do? Am I at risk of losing someone I care about to someone else? I can’t pretend that these feelings don’t pass through me.

At the same time, though, I simultaneously feel the urge to smile. After all, someone I care about is smiling, and more often than not, I am welcome to join in the moment. For me, it is most often the case that the happiness I feel at others’ happiness overwhelms the jealousy that is present.

And, as quickly as I cause happiness, the jealousy passes, and I am reassured that I am not losing someone; rather, we are including someone in our joy, and that person is including us in theirs.

So much for "three's a crowd".

People in the polyamory communities I’ve interacted with call this feeling of being happy at seeing someone you love be made happy by someone else “compersion.” Some call it the “opposite of jealousy.” It’s strange feeling jealousy and it’s opposite at the same time, but it’s not like the human race isn’t used to that experience. How many of us have both loved and hated someone? How many of us have been sad to leave a place, but happy at what lay ahead? How many of us have been angry at the actions of a child, and yet amused by the situation?

Jealousy is a negative emotion. We’re always talking about how to handle our negative emotions like anger, hate, and grief. Yet, we allow people to experience levels of jealousy without considering whether that emotion should be managed rather than given free reign.

How do you manage jealousy in a relationship? Often, the same way you manage anger, resentment, or sadness: COMMUNICATE. This is no news flash. I’ve had many a long discussion about my jealousies with people I care about, and the result has always been me receiving more than enough reassurance to see that my jealousy was coming from my own insecurities. Over time, I’ve managed to kill off a number of those insecurities, and have become exponentially less jealous. I still have some that I don’t think I’ll ever get over – some things are buried too deep to dig up without simply inflicting more damage – and that is why I talk with the people in my life about what I need to keep feeling happy for their happiness.

No one’s had a problem with it yet.

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  1. Jealously. A great subject and a great post yet again.

    And thanks for highlighting communication. One day we will actually teach young people about sexual communication and get them to try to work through scenario’s via a wonderful sexual education package that is continuously improved on by university trained sexual educators thus that we actually start to evolve to be better sexual beings.

    Maybe not in our lifetime, but one day.


  2. My hat is off to your astute command over this toicp-bravo!


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