Partly to appease irish-girl’s voyeur-like interest in the subject of non-monogamy and jealousy therein, I’m going to take a little stab at reiterating the importance of openness in open relationships.
I think that secrets are the downfall of every relationship. Both secrets of the traditional, unspoken variety, but also imposed secrets. For example, if you at any point find yourself uttering the phrase “I just don’t want to hear about that.” to your partner, in my opinion you have at least one unhealthy aspect of your relationship. Because that issue will resurface, no matter how small, and when it does, it’s going to haunt you.
For many people/couples, the whole concept of your partner dating someone else is something you don’t want to talk about! Something you don’t want to think about, and certainly don’t want to address it in conversation! Then when your partner goes and “cheats on you”, the subject has never even been broached! The couple doesn’t know how to react, and consequently (sometimes) fails.
Last night I watched Bowling for Columbine. I had read so much about the parts of the movie that are factually inaccurate (or anyway questionable), that I was totally unprepared for the flurry of other powerful messages in the movie. Underlying the entire thing was one overwhelming question: What makes Americans kill each other far more than citizens of any other country? And the answer, at least as put forth by the movie… seemed to be fear. We’re spoon-fed reasons to fear and loathe our fellow Americans, so much so that we’re more likely to pull the trigger on them when things turn sour.
Interesting parallel in open relationships: What causes jealousy? Fear.
I think ultimately the bulk of jealousy in relationships is fear of abandonment, but there are also smaller and more subtle fears that cause jealousy in open relationships specifically. Fear that you are not as important as you once were. Fear that other things will change negatively in your current relationship. Fear that the “other” party is better than you are in some way.
In my personal experience, it’s been incredibly important for me to talk about all of these possible fears with my partner, get them out onto the table, and break them wide open. Once you’ve faced a fear, and talked about that possibility and what it would do to you and your relationship, it is often much easier to deal with the fear… and consequently the jealousy.
Earlier this week Laura was jealous of my new fling. But when we talked about the subject, it became immediately obvious that she wasn’t so much jealous of what we were doing, or what was happening, but rather afraid of the possibility that this new person was going to somehow make me less enamored of her. (We also hadn’t spent enough time together the week before the fling started, and communication had been too scarce for either of our tastes.)
I don’t know if any of you have already heard about this, but I ran into this site yesterday dedicated to John Titor. This guy posted on a public forum, claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. I mentioned this, not because it’s incredibly fascinating stuff (which it is, in my opinion), but because, when I began writing this paragraph I thought I was going to tie it in with the discussion of openness and honestly. I have since forgotten how I was going to do that. Maybe it was just that Titor had some good messages, whether he was from the future or not, but I really can’t remember.
And with that mental derailment, I’ll conclude this tirade by saying that (unless some elaborate practical joke has been played on me,) I think laura and e took a shower together earlier today. All the while, I was here. At work. Lather in my imagination.