What are some examples of jealousy in polyamorous relationships?
Cathy: Someone wrote in and asked about jealousy in a polyamorous relationship and was asking if we had some stories we could share that would help bring it down to a real level, like a more practical experiential level.
Reid: And Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com has a story.
Cathy: I do.
Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com. Go.
Cathy: For me, I typically feel envy rather than jealousy. It’s not that I necessarily want that person out, but I love to be included. Someone I’m really close to is going to spend some time, some sweet time with someone he really enjoys and my tanks are a little bit lower than they normally are, because there’s a lot of times when that’s really fun. It’s like oh my God, he gets to have this really cool time and it’s all good, but right now, I’m noticing that I’m feeling kind of envious about it. It’s like how come I don’t get to have that too. How come I am not part of that?
Reid: This happened in another video, there’s a thing I’m geeking out about, jealousy is I want that person out and I’m the person doing the thing with somebody. Envy is I don’t need to do that with you guys, I need that experience in my life.
Cathy: Yeah, to give it more concrete, jealousy is my friend Sue is going for ice cream with my friend Mary. I want Mary to be hit by a car, I want to be in Mary’s place and we go for our ice cream vs envy, to me, is I want to go with Mary and Sue, but you’re saying?
Reid: I’m saying there’s got to be a third thing that’s an inclusion version that’s not envious…
Cathy: You’re saying I just want ice cream?
Reid: Because the thing that I’m experiencing, the way I look at envy is, I don’t need to go, I don’t need to be Mary or Sue, I need ice cream and I need to go with a friend or a lover to go get ice cream. What you’re saying is envy is I want to go with them, but I’m like, so you’re envious…
Cathy: Of the experience with them, because I’m very…
Reid: Experience with them, which again, if we just really got geeky about this, by you then going with Sue and Mary, Mary and Sue, you would be having a triad or a threesome ice cream experience, which is not what they were having.
Reid: You don’t want them to stop having their thing, you want to create, you got clarity on needing to go to ice cream with the both of them. They can go have their experience, you now know what you need to create separately as an experience that just happens to include Mary and Sue. There’s not a word that I know of for that, although I’m sure there’s a word for it in German.
Cathy: I think, and I’m being vulnerable here, when my tanks are lower, I want it with them now. It’s not that I want it with them next week. Like, it’s not that I want, it’s not that they, and it feels wonderful and delicious that they’re having this experience tonight without me and I can go with them next week and it will be all cool. It’s that I want to be included tonight, because my tanks are low. There are other ways, I’m going to go get a massage instead. I’m doing things to fill up my tank, but I really want to have that experience with those particular people or at least with the person that I’m connected with. I want to be included in that experience that’s happening at that particular time.
Reid: Yeah, and I’m going to say that that’s not envy, that’s inclusion needs meeting something else and I will research this, because I’m very interested about this distinction, because it’s just not the way I look at envy. Maybe I’ll change my definition of envy to be more inclusive.
Cathy: Yeah, because I think the way you’re defining it is that I need ice cream, or if you were talking about sex, that I need sex with someone else…
Reid: Is that what the kids are calling sex these days, ice cream?
Reid: Let’s go get ice cream.
Cathy: Ice cream. Are you the creepy ice cream?
Cathy: To me, because I’m very much, it’s about certain people and experiencing that with certain people, to me that’s, it’s not so much that that’s envy, that’s like oh, my tanks are kind of low, I’m hungry vs I’m envious. Does that make sense?
Reid: Okay, so you’re just really present to a need you need.
Reid: And whatever’s going on with what other people are doing, it’s making you really present about a need you have.
Reid: But is the need that must happen with those two people, or could it be fulfilled by other people?
Cathy: Well, I know that when my tanks are lower, when I have more needs that are not being met, I can reduce that by getting some sleep, getting some good food, getting a massage, like filling my tanks will lower that sense of what I’m calling envy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish that would happen. I still want that experience.
Reid: Got it. I guess I’m, because envy that’s not upsetting, you’re like oh wow, I’m just present to that I want to go do that. Then there’s upsetting and most people don’t experience jealousy as not upsetting, right? So envy usually isn’t calming and soothing for people to feel.
Cathy: Right, no it’s not. It’s like there’s a sad longing and I know that if I get my tanks filled, the amount of sad longing will be reduced, but it’s not going to go away.
Reid: But that sad longing, I would, I’m so geeky about this, I want to think about this and not just say it live on a video. I’m going to say that sad longing is about something else. Like we think envy is sad longing, but then I’ve been envious of people, I’m just like oh man, I wish I’d booked that gig.
Cathy: I wish I’d thought of that.
Reid: I didn’t have sad longing about that my friend was on television doing an interview about sex education. I’m just going to say…
Cathy: Then how did you know you were envious?
Reid: Because I wanted what they had.
Cathy: Okay, wouldn’t that be jealousy?
Reid: No, because they can go have that, I just am really present to that I would like to be on television talking about that topic too. I don’t need to be talking, I don’t need, this is the distinction for me. I don’t need them to not ever be on television or not be on that show.
Reid: I’m envious that I want to have that experience, but that doesn’t take them, but they can go have that experience. Jealousy for me is, that motherfucker should never be on Larry King, ever. Me only, Larry.
Cathy: Okay, so maybe this is…
Reid: You and I Larry, I hope you’re watching this.
Cathy: Maybe it’s somewhere between, because it’s not that I don’t want that special person to have a really good time with his lover, it’s that I feel I want to be included too. It’s not that, because you’re saying you and Larry and the other person’s out. I’m not saying the other person’s out, I’m saying…
Reid: You want to have ice cream with us Larry? Oh yeah, I said that.
Cathy: So maybe it’s some kind of hybrid.
Reid: Well no, because, well again, and you guys are witnessing this live or recorded…
Cathy: We’d love your thoughts, we want a crowd source
Reid: It’s the, you want it now.
Cathy: I want it at the time that it’s scheduled, that I notice that they were going to do this cool thing that I want to be part of.
Reid: Okay, so let me ask you this, if these two people were, something came up and they cancelled their plans, then you wouldn’t have that need any more. The longing would go away.
Cathy: Yeah, I’d still want his, I think part of it is, I want to spend some time, quality time with that person and so maybe I’m just feeling like, yeah if they weren’t going to get together, I’d still want to spend time with that person.
Reid: Okay, but then the thing of you wanting to have the threesome with them would just go away.
Cathy: Yeah. I love messing with his mind, it’s really fun.
Reid: Because that’s not envy.
Cathy: Well then what do you call it?
Reid: I don’t know, we’ll find out. Tune in, keep tuning in, we’ll have a video on this someday.
Cathy: If you have thoughts or suggestions or if you feel the same way I do, I’d love to know what you think.
Reid: Yeah, leave it down there. Or over there, or wherever this video is embedded. It’s usually not above, comments are usually never above, they’re below.