PQ 16.7 — What accommodations do I make if one of my partners experiences jealousy?

a close up of a matrix of prison bars
Image by mitchell haindfield / CC BY

PQ 16.7 — What accommodations do I make if one of my partners experiences jealousy?

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You know, when it comes to my anchor partner, I’m really lucky.

Not because he never experiences jealousy (he most certainly does), but because he understands a very crucial distinction between the following two things:

  1. What you’re doing is causing me pain.
  2. I want you to stop doing what you’re doing.

Justin doesn’t assume that #1 leads directly to #2. It can. But it doesn’t necessarily.

He knows that just because he’s hurt, it doesn’t mean that anyone’s done anything wrong. And he also knows that just because something hurts for a moment doesn’t mean that it’ll hurt forever. And that in the long run, pain can lead to better things.

In fact, a lot of positive outcomes involve enduring pain or stress on the way to your goal. People understand this when they’re talking about going to the gym, but they forget about it when we’re talking about personal challenge and emotional growth.

But not Justin. He’s well aware of all of this. And because of that, Justin is very unlikely to ask me to make any accommodations if he experiences jealousy.

In fact, he actively discourages me when I offer.

That said, it’d be dishonest if I said that I don’t accommodate him when I know he’s having a hard time. I do. Not always even in ways that I’m cognizant of. But I’ll try to be extra sensitive about how much I say about other partners and when. And I’ll make a concerted effort to make sure that I’m paying enough attention to him, spending enough time with him.

Depending on the specific point of jealousy or insecurity, I might take additional measures to try to be reassuring.

But overall, Justin has had a high commitment to doing the same emotional security work I do myself, building compersion, and stepping away from comparisons, when possible.

And I haven’t had to place restrictions or rules on my other relationships because he feels the occasional bit of jealousy (as do I, nothing to be ashamed of).

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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