How to Eliminate Jealousy From Your Relationship
My relationship structure falls outside of the current mainstream accepted model (a.k.a. - monogamy). My partner and I were naturally this way from Day 1 - before we knew there was a label for what we were doing, or what it meant.
People consistently ask us the same questions and the most common one - the one that people just can’t fathom - is how we manage jealousy.
The 100% honest truth is there is zero jealousy in our relationship. If you spent any time with us you’d know this was true, but for those of you that don’t know us personally - you’ll just have to trust me on this one.
Jealousy is not a healthy, normal emotion as we have been led to believe. A lack of jealousy does not indicate apathy. Jealousy is a surface emotion that is an indicator of something deeper.
Yet, most people stop at jealousy. Their solution to “I’m jealous” is “You can’t do XYZ anymore”. This is a way to avoid the deeper issue at hand. People use jealousy as a way to manipulate another person into stopping a behavior because that’s easier and more socially acceptable than turning inward and figuring your own shit out.
So, how do you eliminate jealousy?
Have you heard of “Attachment Parenting”? It focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can develop with their child by meeting the child’s emotional needs. That nurturing connection is viewed as the ideal way to raise a secure, independent and empathetic child. A secure, trusting attachment to your parent(s) lays the foundation for secure relationships, self confidence and independence as an adult.
The main argument (from the mainstream) against Attachment Parenting is that by responding to a baby’s every need, you are creating a spoiled child who can’t do anything for himself and is still breastfeeding on the eve of his high school graduation. “They” say babies need to learn to self soothe and take care of themselves. Babies are seen as manipulators who turn adults into ultra-responsive doormats. A common approach here is the cry-it-out method where a baby is literally left to cry by itself. Adults think they’re teaching the baby valuable lessons and think it works because eventually the baby stops crying. In reality that baby, who should be spending its precious energy growing and learning, is spending energy screaming and crying. They literally wear themselves out and pass out. This is seen as victory for the adults.
In reality, baby learns its needs are not important and its cries don’t mean anything. When you respond to your baby’s needs you create a child that trusts the world they are in. An emotionally stable child with healthy independence versus an emotionally crippled child who is clingy and dependent.
How this manifests in our adult relationships
I love this list from AttachmentParenting.Org - you can apply each point to parenting the same as you can to adult intimate relationships:
- Prepare for parenting
What if we did this with relationships? What if we learned about sexuality, the complexity of human emotions, what a healthy relationship looks like, and the basic principles of trust and connection.
- Feed with love and respect
Food is love! Eating fresh, whole, healthy food together, preparing meals, sharing responsibility in meal planning and "what's for dinner?", and recognizing the connection between what we eat and how we feel - so important!
- Respond with sensitivity
How different would things be if we cultivated the patience to respond with sensitivity, instead of reacting, getting defensive, making it about us and taking everything so personally?
- Use nurturing touch
It's not just babies that need this! Humans of all ages need snuggles, hugs, massages and affection.
- Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
Even if you go to bed at different times or sleep on wildly different schedules - find ways to stay connected and create rituals so that you can still feel nurtured.
- Provide consistent loving care
Obviously adults also need consistent love. We need to know we're loved even when we fuck up or break down or look like shit.
- Practice positive discipline
Replace "discipline" with "reinforcement" and you've got a win. Positive reenforcement is so important: That dinner you made was so yummy! That sex we just had felt so great! Thank you for filling up my water bottle! You look hot in those pants! Whatever. It's not difficult. Just say what you feel. Don't assume the other person already knows or doesn't need to hear it again.
- Strive for balance in your personal and family life
A thousand times yes.
What we are programmed to do
In relationships we often let our partners cry it out because perceived negative emotions make us uncomfortable. Think about how squirmy most adults are in the presence of another adult who is crying. It is the same with babies - it is rare that you see a calm, relaxed person holding a crying baby. They’re typically frantic, anxious and so desperate for it to be over. To the point where they’ll just leave the baby to cry it out alone.
It is not the usual response to sit and be present with the crying person (be it child or adult). We want to fix it, make it stop, make light of it, or just plain ignore it. Especially in our intimate relationships. Typically it’s one person with the “issue” and the other person hardening and putting up walls with the approach of “that’s your deal, you’re the one with the problem, you figure it out”.
We literally turn our backs on our partners and just want them to cry it out.
Which they probably will. They’ll realize, just like the baby left to cry, that their needs are not important and their cries don’t mean anything. They “toughen up”, shove their feelings down and now you’ve created a cycle where you’re afraid to express yourself for fear of upsetting your partner and having them retreat until you’re “over it”. This is where we get awesome terms like “pick your battles” (insert sarcastic tone here).
If we all practiced the principles of Attachment Parenting in our adult relationships and weren’t so afraid to look at ourselves and our own shit, we’d have relationships that were comprised of healthy adult people who were comfortable being emotionally transparent.
All of this theory applies to relationships of any kind - whether you’re monogamous, monoga-mish, open, polyamorous, or whatever-the-fuck. And just to note - don't start making the excuse that you weren't "attachment parented" as a child. Most of us weren't and that's ok. We can't go around blaming our parents for our triggers. What we can do now is recognize how this has impacted our emotional intelligence and begin to blow out the bullshit patterns and learned behaviors.
So, back to the initial question of, “How can you not be jealous when your partner is spending time with another woman?”
First of all - I trust him. I trust that if I needed him, I could call him while he was out. And he would answer his phone. And he would respond to my needs. I trust that the person he is spending time with would encourage this emotional response - they would know that I was not being manipulative or game playing or on some power trip.
Second of all, I celebrate his connections with other people. They fill him up with happiness, which I enjoy because it’s radiating from him.
As humans, connections with other people recharge us. There is no reason why we should only be able to recharge with one person. Or, if we’re heterosexual, only be able to spend alone-time with people of the same sex.
And for a third: I don’t “need” my partner. I am whole unto myself and choose to share my life with him because I want to, not because I need to. I relish in my alone time, and I too enjoy recharging with other people. (and no - recharging is not a metaphor for sex).
A word about emotional transparency…..
It is the only way to truly live in the present moment. Think about it: if you have a fight with your partner that goes unresolved - where do you think that emotion goes? It doesn’t disappear into thin air. It is stored in your body. Next time you have a fight, not only are you dealing with the issue at hand - you’ve also got the energy from the previous unresolved fight. Can you see what a debilitating web this will weave as your relationship progresses? Not to mention the storage of old crap and patterns and trauma we have built up from previous relationships! You can’t be present if you’re carrying suitcases of old shit around with you to each moment. Those suitcases will get bigger and bigger and continue to cripple you if you let them.
What can you do?
I can just see people reading this thinking, “Ok - yeah, but now what? What do I do if my mom didn't love me and I’m now in an emotionally retarded intimate relationship? How do I start dealing with my shit?”
That’s a big question and I have no idea what will work for you. I can only tell you what I have done that’s gotten me to where I am now:
- Read David Deida. Don’t just read it. Fucking ABSORB it. Read it over and over and over until you can recite it. Particularly Intimate Communion and Way of the Superior Man.
- Get BodyTalk. Loads of it. Or find some other form of body-mind therapy that speaks to you. Maybe it’s hypnotherapy, maybe it’s a life coach. Do whatever you have to do to scrape off the layers of emotional shit.
- Do yoga. Find the kind you like. Is it kundalini? Hatha? Bikram? Find your jam.
- Meditate. In whatever way works for you. Lay in a hammock, sit on your porch, lay on your yoga mat, sit cross legged in bed, listen to CDs, make up chants, find what works for you to clear your mind and take a moment to be present. Even if it’s one minute a day. It can look however you want it to look.
- Educate yourself on human sexuality and the history of human relationships. This will enlighten the mother fucking shit out of you. Read "The Sex Diaries Project", "Sex at Dawn", "Cunt: A Declaration of Independence", and "The Continuum Concept."
- Practice self reflection. Like - all the fucking time. Anytime anything bothers you, upsets you, triggers you, etc. - break it the fuck down, piece by piece, and get to the root of it so you can stop living your life in a state of reaction.
- Take responsibility for yourself, and own your shitty-ness (own your awesome-ness, too - but that's way easier). It doesn't matter how unavailable your dad was or how your ex-wife slaughtered your soul or whatever other woe-is-me shit you want to insert here. This is not the past. This is today. And it's up to you.
- Konmari the crap out of your life. Konmari is a best selling book and theory that says: get rid of every material thing in your house that does not either A) Serve a purpose or B) Bring you joy. BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO DO THIS WITH YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. And your “obligations”. And pretty much every moment that you spend. Not just your material shit.
Practice the Attachment Parenting principles in your adult relationships. You have to create nurturing connections with your partner, and a trust that each other’s needs will be met. This will build the foundation of a joy-filled, drama free life. And oh how different this world will be…..
Are you struggling with jealousy? Do you want to blast that shit out? Come join us in Reality Rehab. It's a four-month online course that will change your life. We go over everything from sex ed to relationships to emotional baggage to jealousy to sexual polarity. It might be just exactly what you need.
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