Turning Romantic Jealousy into Power
We’ve all felt it…that uncomfortable pang deep in the pit of our stomachs that comes with the fear that our partner may be attracted to someone else. That feeling may be fleeting or it may linger over the course of one’s entire romantic life.
Many believe that when we fall in love with someone, that mutual love should be enough to banish romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. But how realistic is this? Not very. Rather than deny these primal urges and the associated feelings of jealousy, how can we make them work for us?
As a married, polyamorous woman, I have not been immune to jealousy. But, as my husband and I are both free to pursue deep, romantic relationships with whomever we wish, what that means is that I’ve had a lot of practice in repurposing those deep jealousy rumbles into more useful, empowering thoughts. When I’ve felt jealous, it hasn’t been due to the threat of losing him to someone else, it has been all about my own insecurities.
In one instance, during the early stages of the opening of our marriage, my husband had started communicating with a woman on a dating app. When he showed me some of the public content on her dating profile, it awakened jealous feelings within me. I knew it was time to look inward. What was it about this woman that made me nervous? Yes, she was beautiful and seemed very intelligent, but that wasn’t the problem.
I did a deep dive into this feeling, and then, it clicked! Her dating profile pictures were a collection of sports and activities that required something I had often felt lacking in…superior upper body strength. Yes, it was that simple! That was the insecurity my self-exploration process had uncovered. As a former parkour instructor, I’ve always been keenly aware of the physical limitations of my upper body when it came to any activity related to climbing. Even as my strength developed, I still felt far behind what I knew I was capable of. But that insecurity didn’t dampen my spirits, it fueled my training.
Though no relationship resulted from my husband’s connection to this particular woman, I gained something very useful, the awareness that my perceived lack of upper body strength still had a hold on me that I would not have otherwise uncovered. That was what I then pledged to work on within myself! And, for that, I am grateful.
Jealousy can be a destructive force when our reactions to it are imposed onto our partners. When I’ve helped clients turn jealousy into power, the most commonly reported result has been improved communication and intimacy. While we use this skill to improve our relationships with others, it’s vital that we also recognise it as a source of personal power.