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.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Instinctual Greed

In my opinion human beings are competitive creatures by nature. Since the beginning of (our) time it has been necessary for people to compete against each other for food, mates, and territory. When you feel threatened, the most natural reaction is to defend what is yours. Weather it be your material possessions or, in the case of this article, the love of your partner.

I have a theory when it comes to jealousy, insecurity, and what have you. When we have something that other people want, most of us instinctively don't want to share. I may sound cynical, but I think that humans are fundamentally greedy. I believe that greed was an important characteristic for survival when our species was young. If you didn't fight for food, a place to live, and someone to procreate with, you wouldn't last long as a cave person. You had to gather all the resources you could, which spawned our more modern-day desire to amass all the wealth and material possessions we can, even though in this day and age it is not a life or death situation.

Sometimes in poly relationships, one or more of the individuals involved feel the need to compete with other individuals for the attention of their mutual partner. Yes, human beings have evolved over time, our brains have become more complex, and we are capable of advanced thought patterns. While it is true that we can now control our instincts and emotions, and examine our feelings in an objective way, sometimes 'old habits die hard' so to speak. Our greed kicks into play and we puff out our chests and strut around like a peacock thinking, "look at me, I'm the best mate, you should love ME the most!"

I believe that instinctual greed plays a large part in jealousy. You don't want to share something that you see as rightfully yours, and so you start feeling threatened and angry and jealous. To compound the problem, some part of you brain decides that the best way to deal with the situation is to prove that you are the biggest and best lover/mate/partner/etc. If you can just show the partner in question that YOU are the greatest, well, problem solved and all the yucky feelings will go away.

This whole thought process leads to 'testing' your relationship (acting like a total jerk to see if you partner will put up with you and still love you), offering ultimatums, and backing your partner into a corner where they feel they must chose to spend time/energy with you as opposed to your 'competition'. You'll start asking your partner for comparisons between yourself and that 'other guy/girl', like "Does she do this for you?" or "Is he as good as me at such and such a thing". Trust me, the partner in question will not be amused, and if you really push it, you're going to be the one left out in the cold.

Feelings of greed and competitiveness can be overcome, just like jealousy and insecurity. First of all, try to think outside of the situation. It's not about being 'better' than anyone else. It's not about being loved more or best or anything like that. The fact that your partner loves you and is wants to be with you should speak volumes about their feelings for you. For myself, love is not measurable. Asking me if I love my husband more than I love my boyfriend is like asking me of I love my son more than my daughter. When I love someone, I love whole; I don't know how to love anybody halfway. It's an all or nothing type thing. That being said, every single person in my life is a rare and truly unique human being. I give love to each of them in different ways, and in return they give back to me in their own ways. Each relationship is a separate and beautiful entity. None of them detract from each other; they are all special and important to me.

Do not dwell on what you think other people are getting that you are not. If you have certain needs, by all means ask for what you want to get those needs met, but do not begrudge other people asking for what they want as well. Everyone deserves love and attention just as much as you do, it is unfair to try and hoard it all too yourself.

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; April 15, 2006


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