Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.

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The other side of jealousy

You know, after nearly a year and a half, I think I am finally starting to get this whole poly thing.

It's been slow going. We seemed to have a load of downs at the beginning, then it leveled out and things ran more smoothly, then more issues, and I think we are on an upswing again. I am getting a good taste of what it's like to be on the other side of the equation, watching someone you love fall in love with someone else. Up until quite recently our plural relationship experience had mainly been me dating other males. Now I am 'single' as it were and my husband is swooning with NRE.

Initially, that was a pretty hard pill to swallow. I fought against it, furiously at some points, and gave up hope completely for a short time. I didn't think I could manage to share him without feeling like my heart was being yanked out through my chest. I wanted so badly to be 'fair'. To be a 'proper' poly person and encourage his feelings, and her feelings and just be pleased as punch with the whole arrangement. The demons of insecurity had other ideas. They were hell bent on dragging me into that dark place, riddled with jealousy and fear, and I was clawing my way to the surface, if only for a brief moment, so I could breath.

I decided that the best thing to do was to stop struggling and just face them, head on. To acknowledge that I was scared, that I was feeling unworthy and unlovable. To show myself all of the ugly things that I tell myself. The horrible lies that I've come to believe about my life and my relationships. Taking a hard look at each one and telling myself that it was ok to hurt, that it was ok not to be perfect. I stopped guilting myself for not being 'better' at poly, for not feeling the way I thought I should feel. I gave myself a little breathing room, and you know what, I started to come around. It was actually, almost like night and day. I have not completely banished all of the bad thoughts, but I am certainly taking a lot of steps in the right direction, and it feels good.

I have been telling myself frequently, that on the other side of jealousy, is compersion. Speaking only for myself, I find that when I get past the negative emotions, I fall into compersion so hard, it's almost like having NRE myself. I feel so good, and so happy, and so totally filled with joy for their new relationship, that I wonder if I am normal. I see how happy they make each other, and it makes me smile. I am sharing in the dance that they are doing, and it's quite wonderful.

In addition to taking care of my personal issues, I also made a point of starting off my own separate friendship with my husbands new interest. I spent eight hours with her very recently and we had the most fabulous time, talking and joking like we had been friends forever. We slipped easily into a familiar comfort zone with each other and now I look forward to seeing her and talking to her almost as much as Jack does. She considers us to be two of her closest friends, and I can certainly say that I feel likewise about her. She looks up to me, to a certain extent, because I am a little older and certainly more wildly experienced. We share a strong mutual respect, and are very considerate of the others feelings, which I am finding essential to my comfort with poly.

I know that there will be more bumps in the road. Moments where I feel that awful stomach churning stab of jealousy. I know for certain that the negative feelings will flair up and try to cause all sorts of emotional havoc. I also have confidence in myself to handle them in an adult way. I know that my feelings will not only be heard, but acknowledged and respected, and that I will be well cared for during future struggles.

I do not think I have lost anything in sharing Jack's love with another. In fact, I have gained a new perspective on myself, a new respect for Jack, and a new best friend in this other woman. In giving of ourselves, we receive, and that is one of the best parts of polyamory.

Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Nobody's Angel; February 15, 2007


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