In my essay that looked into the idea of polyamory fixing cheating, I leaned heavily into the topic of jealousy. But I didn’t get to go into it quite as deeply in some ways as I would have liked. It just wasn’t the right article for it, so I’m doing it here instead. Jealousy is a really interesting topic to me because from what I can tell I’m fairly unusual in my views. So I wanted to get a bit personal with jealousy.
For the sake of this article, when I refer to jealousy I’m specifically talking about romantic jealousy, not the jealousy you have for boss after he got a new Tesla. As I mentioned in the polyamory article, jealousy is not a universal constant across all humans. Some people have no romantic jealousy at all while others will get jealous if their significant other so much as looks at someone of the appropriate gender.
Below are my views on the various things that people say make them jealous which I’ve divided up between the ones that don’t make me jealous and those that do. For reference, I am a 30something cisgender bisexual woman and these are just my views. Your mileage may vary.
Things That Don’t Make Me Jealous
These are the things that don’t make me jealous that you commonly see people getting jealous about on social media and other forms of media including TV and film.
Looking at Someone of the Appropriate Gender – Look, this isn’t normal and it isn’t healthy. If you’re in a relationship and someone gets jealous over this it is a massive red flag. You are not in a healthy relationship, it is not your job to fix that person. Run.
If you’re the type of person who gets jealous when their significant other looks at someone….get help. You are clearly hurting or have deep psychological issues.
Having Friends of the Appropriate Gender – Everything I said in the previous applies here. It absolutely is possible to be friends with people of the gender(s) you’re attracted to without being attracted to them and if anyone tells you differently, run.
Checking Someone Out – It is perfectly natural to want to admire a work of art, be that a gorgeous painting or fantastic curves. Just because you’re looking doesn’t mean you’re going to jump ship and go after them. In high school, I called it the “Look but don’t touch” rule. I’ve grown up more than a bit since then. If you’re checking someone out give me a sneaky elbowing and a nod, I want to look at what you’re looking at!
Dirty Dreams About Someone Else – How many times have you woken up angry at someone and had to remind yourself that it was just a dream and that you shouldn’t be mad in real life? I will admit it has happened to me more than a few times. The truth is we can’t control our dreams and getting upset with someone over something they can’t control is just cruel.
Hugging – A hug is the most natural thing in the world. I hug my cats, I hug teddy bears, I hug my mom, I hug friends, I hug trees, I hug the people and things that I care about. If you get a hug from me, even just as part of a quick greeting, it means that I care about you as a person. So if I’m willing and wanting to hug all these things, how could I possibly turn around and tell you that if we’re together you can’t get hugs from anyone but me? Well, I could, but momma didn’t raise no hypocrite.
Cheek Kissing – I live in Europe and I’m a lifelong Fag Hag, cheek kissing as part of a greeting or parting is just the name of the game. Now, I will also say that intent matters. If you’re going around kissing your BFF’s cheek 100 times in an hour…that’s a bit different and getting awfully close to crossing a line.
Holding Hands – Just because you’re holding hands with someone doesn’t mean you’re into them. It doesn’t even have to be intimate. I see nothing wrong with friends walking hand in hand or with one arm looped around another. But, if there’s stroking involved, then it’s a little bit more intimate and creeping closer to crossing the line.
Porn – In my mind watching porn isn’t cheating and isn’t a reason to get jealous at all. In fact, I think it is perfectly healthy to enjoy it and it’s something you might even enjoy with your significant other. I would never date someone who thinks watching porn is cheating either.
Cuddling – At this point we’re getting into the more controversial areas where more people might start disagreeing with me. For me, cuddling isn’t something to get jealous of. But, once again, it depends on intent. If I walk in the room and you’ve got someone sitting on your lap and your arms around them, not a reason to be jealous. If you’re laying in bed with someone and you’ve got a leg over their hip, then we’ve got problems.
Exchanging Dirty Photos – This one is a bit complicated. If you receive photos from someone because they’re offered or just out of the blue, no reason to be jealous. I’m a woman who has been on the internet since the late 90s, I’ve seen my fair share of ass, titties, and cock. In fact, if you do get photos like that, I want to see them! It’ll make for a fun conversation.
If you go out seeking them without telling me, that skirts a little too close to the scummy person line for my liking. I won’t get jealous but I will start reconsidering our relationship.
If you’re sending pictures of yourself without a reason or without telling me, then there’s going to be a problem. Acceptable reasons in my mind include; a 1 for 1 exchange to share the pictures you get with me or showing off a tattoo, piercing, or other remarkable feature that happens to be in a private spot.
Flirting – I love flirting. I flirt because I’m awake. I flirt just by saying hello. I flirt because I’m breathing. It doesn’t mean I’m interested or that I am ever going to act on it. I would expect my significant other to be as comfortable with it as I am. Does that mean they have to be flirty too? No. But if they do flirt or make a dirty joke towards someone else, I’m not going to be upset. Hell, I might even be turned on.
Brief Kiss on the Lips – A kiss on the lips is a sign of intimacy, but not necessarily romantic intimacy. Once again, maybe this is my inner Fag Hag coming out, but a quick peck on the lips doesn’t mean anything more than “you’re important to me, and I love you.” But not all love is romantic love.
Sexting – To me, sexting, or erotic roleplaying via chat isn’t something to get jealous about at all. It’s like combining porn with flirting. Have fun with it! It only becomes a problem if you try hiding it or you become emotionally involved.
Things That Do Make Me Jealous:
Forehead to Forehead Contact – There are only two reasons to be so up in someone’s face that you are forehead to forehead, nose to nose. The first reason is you are trying to calm them down from a panic attack or something similar. That will not make me jealous at all and in fact, I will be incredibly proud and totally turned on. You’ll be getting some when we’re alone, that’s for sure.
But, the other reason is intimacy and I’m not ok with that level of intimacy between my person and another person.
Unexpected Sexual Contact – If I walk in on you groping, making out with, or fucking someone and I’m not expecting it then yeah, I am going to get jealous big time. In fact, that’s a relationship killer. If it’s a poly relationship then the expectation is that our communication is good enough that I won’t ever walk in on that unexpected. Avoid jealousy by:
- Telling me who you’re interested in and if you might make out with them.
- Letting me know when you bring someone over or go out with them.
- Communicating everything!
Emotional Cheating – Don’t cheat. The above talks about physical cheating, but this one is really all about the emotional side of things. Having a bit of a crush on someone is fine, I do it all the time. Acting on it is something different though. Telling someone you love them in a romantic way is not ok unless it’s expected. If we’re in a poly relationship the expectation is that you will have feelings for the other people you’re dating. It’s also expected that you’ll tell me when you start catching feelings. It won’t work without great communication between us. So I expect my partners not to be afraid to share their emotions.