Just because all parties agree to be in a poly relationship doesn’t mean jealousy doesn’t exist. Here’s how it still works regardless.
Being in a poly relationship, contrary to popular belief, is actually a lot like being in a monogamous relationship. It’s just that instead of only two people being committed to each other, there are more people committed to making a single relationship work.
There are a lot of people who definitely don’t want to be in a polygamous relationship. However, there are many who opt to live a life with multiple partners instead of just one. Many people even believe that humans aren’t meant to be monogamous and those people definitely have reason to believe that.
Humans are designed to have more than one partner
We’re not like swans. Human DNA tells us that we’re supposed to mate with different people. That’s why we find so many people attractive, and that’s why we get along with others so well. You wonder why some people just have too much trouble being monogamous? It’s because their instincts are too strong.
Think about it. Our species is meant to reproduce. And – for men especially – this is easier with multiple partners. Men can father countless children in their lifetime. This gene drives them to want more than just a single partner for life. However, our culture has adopted a different way of living. [Read: Could you actually be happy in a polyamorous relationship?]
How does a poly relationship work when there’s jealousy?
As you can imagine, we also remain monogamous because we have a very strong feeling of possessiveness. What’s ours is ours, and nobody else can have it. This can form a lot of jealousy, and just because people choose to be in a relationship with more than one person, it’s not because they don’t feel jealousy.
This emotion is definitely present in a poly relationship – just like any other relationship. And while it can be difficult to deal with, people still manage to do it. But how they manage it may be different than you’d imagine. Here’s how they handle jealousy in a poly relationship.
#1 Communication is first. The key to any relationship is to communicate – but this is even more important in a poly relationship. When everyone needs to get attention and make sure they’re getting their time with each other, you have to communicate in order to prevent jealousy.
Not only that, but when jealousy does become a factor, communication can help clear the air. You have to first talk about your issues before they can be resolved. Making sure everyone is aware of the issue is the first step. [Read: How to deal with jealousy in any kind of relationship]
#2 Everyone has to get along. There’s a reason poly relationships work out so well. Everyone has to get along before agreeing to enter the relationships. Everyone has to be able to communicate and care about one another before even getting into the relationship.
So, when jealousy is present in the relationship, it’s easier for them to talk about it and come to a conclusion. If they didn’t all get along, it would make things that much more difficult. And while jealousy seems like it has to do with other people, it’s more to do with the person who is jealous than anyone else.
#3 It has to be acknowledged. When you’re in a polyamorous relationship, you can’t just let your emotions get bottled up. Imagine if everyone was harboring toxic emotions and never letting them out until they just couldn’t take it anymore?
The truth is that you have to acknowledge the jealousy. You can’t just ignore if one person is acting jealous. In a poly relationship, it’ll only work and be successful if all emotions are acknowledged and validated. [Read: Polyamorous dating – everything you need to know first]
#4 Lashing out at another person is avoided. I can’t say that this never happens, but the only way poly relationships become successful is when nobody lashes out and freaks out on another because they’re jealous. Instead of doing this, they confront each other maturely to discuss it.
#5 The bigger issue is focused on. Jealousy usually isn’t the only thing going on in a relationship. If there’s jealousy, there are often many other issues going on. The reason a poly relationship can be successful despite the jealousy is because they solve the root of the problem.
Everyone looks at that jealousy, and then at their own actions. They consider that maybe there’s something more going on to cause the jealousy, and they work on fixing that problem first.
#6 Validation is given to all parties. Another reason polyamorous relationships work even if there is jealousy present is that they all work hard to make sure everyone is feeling loved and appreciated. Everyone chips in and validates each other. They make sure that their needs are met, and this not only gets rid of jealousy, it prevents it altogether. [Read: Threesome tips – 20 things you need to know before entering]
#7 The reasons for the polyamorous relationship are revisited. It’s easy to get jealous when someone you care about is being intimate with someone else. It’s kind of hardwired in our brains to get a little upset about it.
But those in a poly relationship make sure to reiterate why it is they chose that path versus a monogamous relationship. Usually, re-discovering why you chose to have a relationship like that will help ease the jealousy and form an understanding.
#8 Everyone is treated equally. This is a huge thing to remember about poly relationships. This isn’t just a monogamous couple who have decided to have a “side person” join their mix. This is a polyamorous relationship where everyone involved is treated with equal love and respect.
That’s why they work despite jealousy getting in the way occasionally. When everyone feels like they have an equal say in different matters and are treated equally, it’s easier to talk through problems and have vulnerable discussions. [Read: Open relationships and why so many couples find it perfect]
#9 Everyone continues to work in order to provide love and attention. Nobody in a poly relationship is lazy. Each person is putting in a lot of effort to make their lifestyle choice work. They’re all trying to make each other feel good about themselves and loved.
Without that constant effort, jealousy can rear its ugly head time and time again. So, the reason poly relationships work even though jealousy comes up from time to time is because they all put forth the effort to make it successful.
People who don’t understand a poly relationship may have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they can be successful despite jealousy. These are the reasons they’re able to function even when envy comes into the mix.
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Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...