Is Jealousy a Magical Emotion?

“I couldn’t be polyamorous, I get jealous too easily”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that statement or ones like it. Tell me a little about your emotions. I imagine you feel a variety of emotions through life, such as happiness, excitement, anger, sadness, confusion, irritation, joy, exhilaration, and so on. Now I imagine the emotions that most folks deem as positive require little analysis, you don’t feel a need to -do- anything with them, you just feel them. But the others, well those are often addressed by all but the most emotionally obtuse people at some point or another. So when you feel confusion, irritation, anger, etc, what do you do? If you’re anything like me, I imagine you try and sort out what you’re feeling, why, and what to do about it. Folks process emotions differently, both depending on the person doing the processing, and the situation in which the emotion occurred. If angry for example, you may reason with yourself until you calm down, vent your anger and let it out, recognize it as unneeded or irrational and let it go, channel it into a healthy outlet of some sort, figure out the source and solve it, and so on. The end result is you see you are doing the emotion, you work through the emotion, and hopefully you continue on with your life. Does it work perfectly every time? No, I doubt it. But are you going to stop leaving the house because people like Douchebag McGee in his Mercedes cut you off yesterday and made you angry and you had to vent to your friendo until you calmed down? Also probably no.

Then there’s jealousy. The way mono folks talk about not being able to be polya because they le gasp would get jealous, just baffles me. Do they suppose us polya folx never get jealous? Wouldn’t that be nice! What is so magical about jealousy that makes it an emotion you would drastically limit your life to avoid, instead of just dealing with it, the way you would any other negative emotion that comes up? (And don’t get me started on “negative” emotions, the strange idea of some emotions being bad and others good is a rant for another time.) Sure, jealousy can be pretty unpleasant as far as emotions go, I’ve felt it to the point of being overwhelmed with a shaky paralyzing heat that seemed to be consuming me alive. Not a fun moment truly, but then I’ve also felt overwhelming grief, fiery hot anger, humiliating confusion and uncertainty, and a whole host of other also at-the-time unpleasant emotions. And when I dealt with them, I often learned a little thing, or came out of it a stronger or better person. The same goes for jealousy, some of the best parts of me are forged from the walks I took through jealousy and managing it when it reared it’s head.

I suppose if one has no desire to be with other people, it would be like someone living in a near-Utopian community choosing not to venture into the outside world and risk being cut off by Douchebag McGee and his Mercedes. Why subject yourself to that when you got all you need already and have no motivation to? I can grok that, but you know, that’s not what I often see. The mono folk I know who are saying “Oh nope, could not do that polya thing, I would be the jealous” are not talking about not wanting to be polya themselves because of lack of interest. They are wanting their partner not to be polya, that’s what they would be doing the jealous of. Look, I could write some nice things about no one true way, and all ways are great, and everyone can live their own life and that’s just fine and dandy, and that would make everyone happy (or almost everyone, someone always finds something to birch about). But I don’t believe that, I don’t actually think engaging with another human being in supreme closeness with the desire to restrict their behavior and potential to connect with other glorious humans just because you get this magical jealousy emotion that you won’t tackle the way you would any other negative emotion, is healthy. I’m not saying monogamy can’t be healthy in other contexts, two little humans who have no desire to engage in romance squiggles or sexy time with other humans and so they just choose each other for that, is lovely. But two people elevating jealousy to some magical pedestal as the untouchable emotion and negotiating a dynamic with their partner in which they decide they will both restrict their behavior -because- of jealousy being a thing you don’t work through and that you avoid at all costs, that ain’t healthy. Jealousy isn’t magic, it isn’t untouchable, and it isn’t healthy to try and avoid at the cost of not living a life of beautiful connections you might otherwise be curious about.

Oh and spoiler alert, if you’re that concerned about getting jealous to the point that you choose monogamy for that reason, you’re shit out of luck. Monogamy isn’t a cure to jealousy, Douchebag McGee is driving his Mercedes into your living room when you least expect it and at some point, you’re gunna feel that jealousy anyway, and you may not have the skills you would have otherwise learned to handle it with.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s