Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Is it Jealousy or Envy? (Jealousy revisited)
The other weekend M and I went to the Rochester Erotic Arts Festival. Some of their workshops were on polyamory. We went to one that was about how polys deal time-wise with handling multiple relationships. One presenter had a live-in partner and an outside relationship. The other presenter had two live-in partners (his wives as he called them) and an outside relationship. All of the partners and others were in attendance and gave their views and asked them to explain things to the audience. It was interesting on many levels. One was to see how real people handle all this and not read it in a book. Another was that even in these relationships there are disagreements between people and how they work things out (talking about it was their answer). One person in the audience then asked about how they deal with jealousy. The answer they gave was thought provoking.
One of the wives answered that question with a question: Is it jealousy or envy? She went on to explain her view. “If you are upset that the other person is happy and you want to destroy their happiness, then that’s jealousy. If you are glad that the other person is happy but you’re upset that it isn’t you, then that’s envy.” That got me thinking. All the books discuses jealousy; but is it really jealousy or just envy?
I know that M is poly and when he goes out with someone else, I’m glad that he is being who he is. For him, this makes him feel whole and good about himself. I may not like the fact that he is doing something and I’m not, but in no way am I going to sabotage his time with that other person. This makes him happy. When he checks in with me after his time/date I ask how it was. I’m not looking for all the juicy details, because I don’t want to know, I just want to know that he enjoyed himself. In this aspect, I’m going through envy and not jealousy.
Now if I was to blow up his phone with texts and/or calls while he was out with another and not give them a moment’s piece, then that’s jealousy. I’m sabotaging M’s time out and therefore destroying his happy time; let alone M then having a really loud discussion with me afterwards about my behaviour. If I complain and/or rag on M when he texts or calls me when he’s home from being with someone, again that’s jealousy. He’s feeling good about the time he had, and I have to be the bomb that destroys it all.
So, is envy compersion? No, it isn’t. Someone did ask this, and the answer was no. In order for it to be compersion, everyone involved has to be doing the happy dance. In envy, you’re not happy because it isn’t you who is involved.
I feel that books should not call it dealing with jealousy when you are in this mono/poly relationship. Instead they should define jealousy and envy. Now, people, comes the hard part. You should look at your own relationship and ask yourself, “Is it jealousy or envy that I am dealing with?” If your answer is that you’re glad that your partner is being who they are and you are upset that you’re not doing it too, then that’s envy. If your answer is that you want to unleash the hounds from hell whenever your partner goes out with someone, then that’s jealousy and my advice to you is to think about staying in this relationship. Jealousy is not a good thing.
Every relationship requires work to keep it going strong; but look at it and say to yourself: “is it jealousy or envy” and go from there.
If you would like to check out the festival: www.rochestereroticfest.org