So, you’ve decided that you and your partner are going to try being poly. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself part of a poly relationship juts by circumstance. In either case, the result is that you’re going to be sharing your partner, at least some of the time, with someone else. And possibly, your partner will be sharing you,
Enter the green eyed monster. You guessed it: Jealousy.
Kathy Labriola, a nurse and counselor, has come up with a workbook to help those in polyamorous relationships work through feelings of jealousy and insecurity. The Jealousy Workbook goes through a variety of situations, starting with the initial stages of a poly relationship when the partners involved are trying to figure out who can be with or do what with whom. The 42 exercises help you develop through the stages of a poly relationship, from the logistics (who’s going to sleep with whom, and when and where) to comperson (feeling pleasure at your partner being with someone else).
Most of all, these exercises show partners how to confront and discuss jealousy openly and honestly. While some couples will work through jealousy successfully, others will not survive that confrontation. This is a positive thing as those relationships that don’t survive would probably fail soon enough with unresolved jealousy seething through them. One on one relationships can be difficult enough – when third (or fourth, etc.) parties are brought in, the potential for issues obviously increase. However, if done well with intention (and compromise), poly relationships can also be very successful.
It’s well known that jealousy and insecurity can occur in non-poly relationships too, so Kathy’s exercises can be of value to all couples. In particular, Kathy discusses how to recognize jealousy itself, and how it may manifest in different people under different circumstances. She offers suggestions on how compromises can be reached and especially how partners can communicate their feelings to each other. The bottom line appears to be open and honest communication – which is important in any relationship, poly or not – and many of the discussions outlined in the book deal with things such as needs and boundaries.
As a non-poly person reading this workbook, I grew in appreciation of those who are poly and committed to the lifestyle enough to work through all of the issues that jealousy can raise. I can see how starting to do these exercises before opening up a relationship to others could possibly preempt harm that jealousy could cause. And certainly, going through this book together can definitely help with a potential crisis situation. If the primary relationship still doesn’t work out, then perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.
Pick up The Jealousy Workbook for $22 at The Traveling Tickle Trunk.