Communication · Polyamory · Relationships

mine, but so much more than mine

Some of the questions I get asked most often from monogamous or polycurious folk are “Do you get jealous?” or “Don’t you feel possessive?”

One of my partners says they don’t think I feel jealousy the way most people do. They’re probably right. I have things that I like, want, and need, and as long as the other person (partner, friend, family member, etc) is providing those things, I really don’t care about what they are doing with someone else. I’ve pretty much been like this for as long as I can remember. In my first relationships in high school and college, I had partners say I didn’t love them as much because it seemed like I didn’t care what they did.

I don’t think I experience jealousy a lot, not in the way it is usually protrayed, but I do experience envy – where I want exactly what the other person has but only if I don’t have it and it’s something I would want regardless. If they are doing A Thingβ„’ with someone else that I also wanna do, I feel down and disappointed. In those cases, I tell them that I, too, want The Thingβ„’. If they say “Hell yeah, let’s do it!” and then don’t follow through, or say “Um, nah homie, not with you…” then that leads to futher conversations about why we can’t do The Thingβ„’ as well. How I feel after that and how I handle it depends on how those conversations go. Sometimes, it’s easy for me to accept not having it, and sometimes it’s not. In the past, I certainly didn’t handle all of these situations so well; I have a temper and I did not have the communication skills nor nearly as much patience as I do now.

So I tend to say that I can’t emphasize with folks as much on the jealousy bit since I very rarely have comparable emotions. HOWEVER, I did have one instance fairly recently where my insecurities flared up, even before any tangible instances of hurt or exclusion happened. Their relationship triggered a very specific insecurity, where I looked at every little thing a partner and metamour did, analyzed it, and sometimes felt either “why don’t I get that?” or “I wish she didn’t get that.” I thought all kinds of petty thoughts about her and ended up somewhat resenting her. And it was hella unexpected, because I was so used to my insecurities centering around what my partner is or isn’t doing in our relationship themselves and not having anything to do with their other partners. As long as they are treating me well, I’m happy. Secure.

But when he started this relationship, he was treating me so well…and yet I still had these overwhelming fears, insecurities, negative feelings. The woman he started dating was basically the complete opposite of me – white, middle class, tall, skinny, prim & proper, articulate, precise, presented herself as very “cultured.” They seemed to always have cool activities planned for their dates from their shared interests, plus she is a fucking beast at shit that I just dabble in (i.e. sewing, accessorizing). He seemed head over heels, and I loved it because it was so cute.

But then also a part of me remembered that I was the first Black person he had dated (and only the second POC – but being Black, specifically, matters in so many ways here in the US). Him dating her, that was the first time in our relationship where his other emotionally-invested partner was white. He hadn’t done anything specifically, but my brain couldn’t help but go to all the things he could do with her (that he can’t with me) and wouldn’t have to deal with with her (and does with me) by the very nature of that racial divide. Based on my past experiences of white men and me vs white women, where I was always the loser in a fight I didn’t sign up for or even want to have, I was feeling all types of ways before anything negative even occured. I’m usually okay with the thought of “I can’t offer those things but it’s fine because I got plenty to offer,” but this time I wasn’t okay. Not at all. I didn’t foresee the specific nature of this situation. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t anticipate it beforehand, seeing as it’s something that had actually happened to me so many times before.

See, I understood why I felt this way. I have a long history of white people dating me, me being the first or second Black person they’ve dated, and then once they started dating another white person, drifting away from me. They start to give me less care, less consideration, and the other partner more care, more support, more excuses because “she’s not as strong as you are.” Some even outright said it was easier and less drama to date another white person because they didn’t have to think about certain things (i.e. places I wouldn’t be accepted or would feel subtly excluded, confronting people who may say problematic shit to me, how to/if they could touch my hair in its current style, things like that). To be honest, I feel I’m pretty low on the ENM (social capital) totem pole – dark skinned with the kinkiest hair type, in-your-face Blackness, depressed, introverted but uncensored and won’t hesitate to bring the BS to your attention. It’s cute or whatever, a novelty for a time. Until they meet someone white and pretty much go: “oh wow yeah this is so much better; why did I even invest in such a curiousity as a Blackity Black woman and all that difficulty?” And then at the very least I’m neglected, politely cast aside, or at the worst verbally abused.

So yes, when he started dating this woman, my insecurities were triggered. This voice that told me that white women were more precious, more important, more valued, that had been drilled into my head by words and actions from society, the media, and people in my own life got louder and louder, and I got more and more jealous and resentful as time went on. I told him this within the first few months of them dating – because I wanted him to know my feelings but also as fair warning that I was on high alert and that this was a spot of vulnerability for me. I let him know that as long as he continued giving me the same considerate care as usual, I would be okay and be able to work through my feelings with my coping strategies, therapy, and in time. Because I knew that the only thing that could prove me right or wrong was time, cuz my body and mind don’t care about logic sometimes; they just react by having panic attacks and mentally pulling away to protect me. How it all eventually played out, and steps I took to process and ensure it doesn’t happen that way again is a long story that I’ll tell one day, but I will say that I feel more secure in that relationship after that experience.

The point is, you can feel jealousy and still be non-monogamous. Of course! Non-monogamy can place you in situations that you wouldn’t be in if you were monogamous, so it can trigger jealousy in ways you haven’t even thought of. But jealousy is just an emotion, like any other, to be felt fully, examined, processed. It’s a signal that something prompted some feelings (anger, hurt, fear, inadequacy) that you need to work through. There are so many resources out there to aid you: several articles that have been written about ways to combat and overcome jealousy (here are a couple), as well as some books (like the Jealousy Workbook – we love interactive material!).

As far as the other question, I can say with certainty that I’m very possessive. Of EVERYTHING that I consider mine, really. It just manifests itself…differently?…with my people. Yeah, they’re mine, but that doesn’t mean I’m tryna hold them away from everything and everyone. I’m pitiful, I’ll admit that: I wrap myself around them (literally & figuratively) when we leave each other, I go through π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘** as soon as they leave, and I miss them terribly when we’re apart – though I try not to show any of this at first. I still have some things to work out in regards to feeling like I’m “too much,” so I try to temper myself down and act cool in the beginning. 😬

But I also want them to do other things, so I can be like “EVERYBODY THAT’S MY PERSON OVER THERE, LOOKING CUTE, BEING SMART, BEING TALENTED, FLIRTING IT UP, DOING THINGS. LOVE THEM!” And I get highly offended if people do not love them. Like, how dare? MY person is amazing, fool. I get very angry if they are mistreated, and I will cut a bitch. I love when they are happy, giddy, content in any way. I get super excited when people are talking about someone with the same name as them, and make the distinction who they’re talking about using the possessive: “not your Austin, though,” “yeah, your Nicole,” “is that your Fran?” And I definitely emphasize the “MY” when I talk about em, cuz they are mine. MINE.

Maybe I need to work on it, cuz it’s prolly a bit much. I kinda feel like Gollum. *shrugs* But I’m just as much theirs, even if they don’t realize how deeply they got me. Something that really helped me through that rough patch mentioned above, that I like to remind myself frequently is the reason I love my people, is a phrase that one of my partners says: “You’re mine, but so much more than mine.”

So, I mean, yeah, they can also be yours, too. I’m ok with ours. Only if you recognize they are wonderful, though.

**π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘ π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘“π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘  π‘‘π‘œ π‘Žπ‘› π‘’π‘šπ‘œπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘›π‘Žπ‘™ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘β„Žπ‘¦π‘ π‘–π‘π‘Žπ‘™ π‘™π‘œπ‘€, π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ 𝑏𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑠 π‘Žπ‘›π‘¦π‘€β„Žπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘“π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘š π‘Ž 𝑓𝑒𝑀 β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘  π‘‘π‘œ π‘Ž 𝑓𝑒𝑀 π‘‘π‘Žπ‘¦π‘  π‘Žπ‘“π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘Žπ‘› π‘’π‘šπ‘œπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘›π‘Žπ‘™/π‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘β„Žπ‘–π‘› β„Žπ‘–π‘”β„Ž π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘π‘Žπ‘› π‘™π‘Žπ‘ π‘‘ β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘  π‘‘π‘œ π‘€π‘’π‘’π‘˜π‘ 

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