If you experience Jealousy in your Open Relationship you are in good company....
Dealing with jealousy and insecurity in an open relationship is one of the most common problems faced by people and couples in this lifestyle. When it comes to counselling, I believe in a 2-prong approach. The first prong is to deal with symptom management, which is in dealing with the symptoms of jealousy and insecurity. The second prong is to actually deal with the source of the jealousy and insecurity.
Open and Honest Communication
To deal with the symptoms of insecurity and jealousy (the first prong), open and honest communication regarding your own feelings is absolutely pivotal in overcoming them. The main foundation of any successful relationship, open, closed, or otherwise is always going to be transparency and honest communication. However, make no mistake these are very difficult conversations to have.
Setting Clear Boundaries
Other techniques to deal with the symptoms, include setting clear boundaries, and what is comfortable and uncomfortable for both of you. As many people have noted, boundaries must be universal for everybody, or we risk setting double standards and creating imbalance. Compersion and positive reinforcement are also key factors in managing jealousy and insecurity. Seeking support and community, such as connecting with others in this group, can also provide insights and advice. And mindfulness and emotional processing can also help us manage strong emotions when jealousy arises.
These symptom management techniques will go a long way in mitigating symptoms when they are experienced. However, eventually the root causes will need to be addressed, as over time symptom management can become less and less effective. Therefore, it is always recommended to start working on the root cause of jealousy and insecurity.
To manage the actual root cause that we need to address, one must be very open and transparent with themselves regarding their beliefs around who they are as a person, including their self-worth, concepts of not being good enough, body attractiveness, and beliefs about love, conditional versus unconditional love, and love as an infinite source of energy versus a finite commodity.
Jealousy is not just envy of someone’s achievements, or the suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship. Jealousy is the underlying fear that someone else will take someone who is dear to us. This is very important. Jealousy is not just rooted in fear but also in the “threat of loss”. And many of us will be very defensive to protect those we care about for fear of losing them.
The question is, why do we believe that someone will take someone from us? Especially if we both love each other so dearly?
Typically, the root cause of jealousy will be along the lines of “I am not good enough”. If I am not good enough, then my partner may be looking for ways to leave me, or they will leave me when he/she/they find someone better. For example, what happens if someone pleasures my partner better than I do? Then my partner will leave me. This is rooted in the underlying belief that I do not satisfy my partner enough, and I am not good enough. It is also rooted in self inadequacy beliefs.
Another common belief is that love is finite. For example, some people will say that love is like a pie and if you give a piece to someone else the new partner does not get a full pie. The common response to this example is that love is not just one pie, but there are a great multitudes of pies, in many different flavors. There are two different mentalities out there that people find themselves in and one can lead to feelings of jealousy, an abundance mentality and a scarcity mentality. The abundance mentality says, “there is more than enough love out there for everybody, if someone else is receiving love I am very happy for them”. The scarcity mentality says, “there is not enough love for everybody and if someone else is receiving love, it is taking love away from me.” Changing our perspectives on what love is, and how it can be demonstrated in relationships, often frees us entirely from jealously, and goes from a place of mistrust to “I hope that other person gives you mind-blowing pleasure so we can enjoy it together, later.
The above are only examples of deep-rooted beliefs about ourselves, or love, that become our sources of jealousy, insecurity, and anxiety. Learning to deal with these root causes effectively in changing our outlook on how we feel about ourselves and those around us, will make those feelings of jealousy and insecurity go away.
Come heal, grow and create together
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