From a reader;
My boyfriend, Justin, and I have been dating for about a year and a half and became poly about two months ago when I met another man and fell for him. It has been great; my boyfriend is one of those rare people who is so secure with himself that his jealousy has been minor. Now Justin has found someone he is interested in. I am having some jealousy problems but Justin is being supportive, reassuring and communicating. As I already hate it when I have to sleep alone, we agreed that Justin would only date on nights I am sleeping over with my secondary boyfriend, Michael. When they went on their first date, I knew I was scared and nervous so we agreed that he would text me regularly just to keep connected. Eventually, the whole night turned out horribly with me panicking and texting him like crazy and him having to stop during the middle of sex with his new date in order to text me back with reassurance. It kind of killed the mood and I feel so terrible. I am still doing research and trying to work out my jealousy and insecurity but my question is whether or not we should avoid texting each while on our separate dates. Before Justin texted me the first time, early in the evening, I had been having a great time with my other boyfriend. After that first text though, I was a ball of nerves because I was sucked back down into thinking about it. Is setting a “no texting unless extreme emergency” rule a good way to manage my jealousy? I want to be ok with him being on other dates, not just trying to forget about it.
I don’t know that I am going to be completely and utterly rational about this one, but I’ll try. You see, you had a button and a freakout that intersects with a button of mine! (Of course I have them. We all have them. We’re human).
While I agree with the “No texting except in cases of emergency” rule as a necessary rule of etiquette, I think it’s a Band-Aid over a bone-deep flesh wound in your case. It’s a desirable behavior, but it’s not ultimately going to solve your problem.
The real problem is the jealousy and anxiety. Today must be my day for recommending it, but I really want to encourage you to read Jealousy Management for Love and Profit or, how to fix a broken refrigerator. It doesn’t detail how to get over jealousy, but does analyze a great deal behind not only the emotions but the fallacy of creating external rules as workarounds to the problem. I think it would be quite useful to you. Also his How to Become a Secure Person article. That does detail specific methods to try.
So, what are some ways to get over jealousy? (I applaud the fact you’re working on it, mind.)
Depends on where it’s coming from. What are you feeling? Are you afraid you’ll be dumped for someone better in bed/prettier/younger/newer/whateverer? How does this jibe with reality and facts?
At some point, it would do you a lot of good to learn to cope with be alone, even if it isn’t your first preference. Even if you generally dislike being alone, I’d hesitate to recommend it being a “Date only when I date” thing. If your preference is as strong for company as you imply, you probably have lots of friends. Plan to hang out with friends when your partner is on a date! Plan for something good for yourself during that time.
Now, you weren’t alone, you were with Michael. He can’t have been too flattered by the freakout, I would imagine. I hope that you’ve smoothed things over there, too.
Oh, my button?
Dates interrupted for “emergencies” not involving blood or fire, or even if they do involved blood or fire if it becomes a pattern. It’s such a button I have a protocol for dealing with it that keeps me from being unfair about Life Happening.
That you’re so determined to work on this is good. I think ultimately, you’ll learn some valuable relationship skills and wind up having a great time.