open marriage jealousy

Why You Get Jealous in Non-Monogamy

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In ten years working with jealousy in relationships I've seen a lot of folks through the shadowy sides of envy, insecurity, and fear.  No two experiences look the same, and yet there are a lot of clear themes.  

Lots of people want to figure out why they're jealous.  If you notice yourself wondering, I urge you to ask only with compassion.  All too often we ask why looking to pathologize, judge, or fix.  Instead, I suggest asking more compassionately:

  • What is my jealousy trying to teach me?
  • What does my jealousy want to know?
  • What does jealousy want to know?
  • What would bring me security or reassurance in this moment?
  • What does meaningful support look like in this moment? 
  • What other emotions travel alongside my jealousy? (anxiety, fear, envy, admiration, lonliness, grief, and anger are common buddies of jealousy) What do each of them want from this situation?
  • If my jealousy wasn't present how would I be different?
  • What is my jealousy hoping for?

WHen you have time to sit and interview your unique experience of jealousy, there's likely a lot to learn about yourself, your needs, and your relationship from the interview.  Often folks find out the intentions behind their jealousy are:

  • I want to feel special
  • I envy the desire I see in someone else
  • I want to know I am a priority in my someone's life
  • I want more fun/spontaneity/play/sex/curiosity/connection in our partnership
  • I envy the learning/self-awareness my partner is getting right now because I want some of my own
  • There are thing's I want to change about my own self-care
  • I want to spend more time investing in my own desires and passions
  • I want my partner and me to invest more time in each other
  • I need to get out more
  • I've experienced broken trust in this relationship, and I'd like attention to repair it
  • I realize I need a richer social life
  • I'm holding old resentments I haven't shared with my partner
  • I'd like to take better care of my body
  • I crave adventure
  • I really like this relationship and I don't want to lose it
  • I've grown dependent on this partner to meet a lot of my needs, I'd like to foster more friendships/relationships of my own
  • I want more close friends
  • There are parts of my relationship history I need to work on to resolve
  • There are things my family taught me about relationships I want to work on in therapy/coaching

If you'd like help sitting with jealousy and insecurity to learn from it please give me a call.  I'm always here to help.