Monday, 15 December 2014

On jealousy

Jealousy. Oh boy. You know what made me jealous? Boyfriend #1 told me he'd discussed the decorating of his new house with his PNG. They had their first date. I wasn't jealous on or after the date, though I was having a slight personal meltdown and the time would have theoretically been very ripe for jealousy. I wasn't jealous when he told me what a lovely time he'd had, or how much he really does like her. I wasn't jealous when he told me that he hopes she's keen to take that P out of Potential New Girlfriend. (Not to make it Otential. Don't be silly, reader. <wink>) No. I got jealous when he told me, during a conversation about his new house, that he'd chatted to her about paint colour. I mean... Good grief. Plus, she's actually qualified to talk about interior design, so her opinion is actually valuable. It would be valuable anyway - she's very creative and has an eye for colour.

Yes, I do have a point. The point is that you don't know what's going to make you jealous. And it's usually not one of the obvious things. Most people assume they'll get jealous of a partner doing intimate physical things with someone else. Many people do experience that jealousy. Me, I'm weird about domesticity. I once got really pissed at a girl who was only just showing interest in #1, because she put his wallet and phone in her bag when we were all out somewhere. I always used to put it in my bag (still do - the man just will not get a bag of his own).

What you can do, and what I did, is look at what just happened when you had that spike of jealousy. What spiked it? Was it the tone of your partner's voice, the circumstances in which the spike occurred, or a reaction that is purely internal to you? Now, when I say that - jealousy pretty much is an internal thing. By and large, your partner is not doing things intentionally to make you jealous. If they are, it's time for a serious chat and possibly a relook at the relationship, because that kind of behaviour is toxic. So, assuming they're not, they're simply proceeding with other relationships that you are aware of, and presumably sticking to the agreements that you've both made around those relationships. If you have a jealousy spike, it's probably something in you. I hope you're following. I may be meandering.

When I got all freaky about the paint colour comment, I immediately recognised that as something not at all to do with #1 or PNG. It was to do with me. I'm ashamed to say I did not bite back the sarcastic comment that my jealousy brought straight out. But I did apologise immediately, and tell #1 what was going on. Then I thought about it a little, and we chatted. Obviously, it's that domesticity thing. I feel threatened when another relationship seems to be intervening in my personal space. Which is kind of hilarious, because I'm one of the few people I know who is completely happy to let my partners share my bed with other partners, even when I'm not there. That's a pretty personal space, let me tell you. Plus I'm a pretty dominant person, and nowhere more so than in my home. Even if I'm sharing that home with someone else. Domestic space is my refuge, and I need to feel very safe in it if I'm to get any r&r.

Oversharing makes my blog posts very long. I hope my point is coming across. I'm still working out what other points may create jealousy spikes for me, but now I'm even more aware that the home space, and certain other domestic, 'coupley' things, are important for me. Being aware of that means I can communicate it more effectively to my partners, and their partners, if necessary. Oh, I don't need to sit the lovely new girl down and chat with her about my weirdness. I just mean that I now know I can say to her 'Hey, I heard you have some nice ideas for the house. It's a bit weird for me because I'm oddly jealous about that kind of stuff, but actually I do really want to hear what you think.' And I'll mean it. I do want to hear it. And I probably won't get jealous at all. Because the thing about jealousy is, it's a monster under the bed. And when you switch the lights on, it turns out to be a dust bunny.

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