I’m Jealous

Here’s another scenario I’ve run across repeatedly over the years, either as a question in a symposium or in a counseling session. The specifics vary from case to case, but the question is pretty much the same.

My wife and I have been married for (10-15) years. Recently (1-4 years ago) we decided to open up our relationship. From my point of view, other people are just really good interactive sex toys. It’s just sex, there is no emotional involvement. She has an ongoing relationship with someone she is starting to really care for. I’m feeling jealous.

When you decide to open up your relationship, it’s so easy to assume that you know what your original partner wants. After all you have been living with them for a long time, maybe a decade or so. You know each other so well you often finish each other’s sentences… obviously you want the same things from an open relationship, right?

Not necessarily… in fact, probably not!! The choice to open your relationship is just the first step in the hard work that needs to be done to make that choice work for everyone. There need to be long discussions about what you each need or want to happen… and these discussions will need to be ongoing, because needs and desires will change over time.

With each new experience, each new relationship, whether it’s casual sex, or the beginnings of a new, exciting romance, those needs and desires evolve. People evolve and grow. Change is the norm! You may not remain on the same page with your original partner. You may start out feeling that others are “good interactive sex toys” and suddenly find yourself falling for someone new.

The important thing is to stay in touch with each other. Talk about how things are going. Communicate repeatedly about what you expect, what you are seeking with your new partners, and from each other. Also, and this is really important, try to avoid trigger words like “jealous,” and be more specific about what you are actually feeling. What is it that you are afraid of, exactly? Of course this necessarily starts with being honest with yourself – no minor task, that!

There are challenges, but they can be met. Your original relationship will change, because nothing in this world is stagnant. In fact, it really doesn;t matter whether you choose to open your relationship or not. Your relationship may grow deeper, it may fade, but it will change… that’s just the way of these things.

Enjoy the love you have every day.

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