Working Through Jealousy: What To Do When You Feel Like A Third Wheel

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When exploring the possibility of alternative relationship dynamics, a primary concern for many couples is jealousy. Jealousy is a tough emotion to work through, but it’s important to know that it’s normal and natural. In this article, we’re discussing tips for navigating jealousy and ensuring that all parties in a relationship feel fulfilled. 

woman working through jealousy in a relationship

The truth is, monogamy doesn’t come naturally to most humans. Oh, of course, we try. In fact, we try hard. But, all of human history is littered with the failures of forced monogamy. We cheat, sneak behind our partner’s back, have one-night stands, and operate under a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. Yet, all the while, we’re still struggling with the difficulties of enforced monogamy.

Not you and your partner, though! You are brave and bold and ready to try new things. Your relationship can’t be held back by old, outdated relationship constructs. And, you can handle polyamory, swinging, and open relationships without a shred of jealousy. That sort of thing is a breeze for your advanced self. Until it’s not.

When Polyamory Leads to Jealousy

So, you tried it. You opened your relationship and explored the possibility of sex with other people. And, to your surprise, you feel the stirring of the old green-eyed monster.

Jealousy. It’s a beast you thought you had conquered.

Your partner is out with their other partner and as opposed to feeling effortlessly okay, you are anxious, fretful, and unsettled.

What if they like their other partner more?
What happens if they don’t want to spend as much time with you anymore?
Could this whole open relationship concept destroy your relationship??!

This is way harder than you first thought it was going to be.

Two of the most common challenges for people in the poly lifestyle are working through the feelings of being alone and allowing their partner’s other relationships to be separate from their own. It can be difficult, not knowing what to do with yourself while your partner is away. However, it’s important to remember that their other relationship(s) takes nothing away from your own. However, feeling like a third wheel is still a horrible feeling. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help.

polyamorous triad working through jealousy

Tips for Staying Sane in Your Polyamorous Relationship

The most important thing is to relax and take a few deep breaths.
Then, bring your focus to yourself and identify why you feel so unsettled. Why is your partner being with someone else triggering feelings of inadequacy in yourself?

You’re not going to be able to address and resolve the issue until you identify the trigger behind your feelings. Then, you can move forward to healthier ways of thinking.

Are you actually afraid that your partner is going to leave your relationship for this other partner? Or, do the feelings of jealousy tend to manifest out of boredom? It’s okay to feel a little off because you are used to having someone else around to occupy your time and attention. But, instead of feeling left out while your partner is off having fun with someone else, why not look at the extra time in your schedule as a blessing? Take this as an opportunity to love on yourself.

Practice Self-Care to Battle Feelings of Jealousy

One of the best ways to navigate jealousy is to focus on yourself.

Take some time for self-care.
Reconnect with old friends that you lost touch with.
Use your partner’s date night to go get your nails done, run errands, or, catch up on some old TV shows.
Reorganize your closet, do that home improvement project that you have been putting off, or pick up a new hobby.
The list is endless, and it’s totally focused on you. Change your narrative. Instead of focusing on your fears or worries about the relationship, try viewing your extra time as a blessing.

And, don’t forget to take some time to speak rationally to yourself. This is especially important if your partner is just entering a new relationship, where NRE (new relationship energy) is very common. In these times, it’s normal and natural for them to become dazzled with the new relationship, which might lead to less focus on you.

Naturally, this can feel like abandonment. In these instances, it’s important to remind yourself of all the reasons why you and your partner opened the relationship. This will help calm your fears and anxieties, while also allowing the rational side of your brain to take control.

woman working through feelings of jealousy

Prioritizing Communication in Your Relationship

If you are being triggered because you genuinely feel neglected and your partner is not putting in the necessary time and attention, it’s important to talk to your partner about your feelings. This is especially true if doing so seems scary and challenging. That’s because keeping your feelings to yourself accomplishes nothing. Your partner needs to be aware of your feelings so you can both address them in a respectful manner. Everyone has responsibility in the current situation, and you must work together to resolve it.

Without proper communication though, nothing can be resolved.
And “proper communication” means no anger, no blame, and no resentment.

You need to sit down like adults and calmly discuss the situation at hand without bringing in any hurtful baggage. Yes, this might be far easier said than done, but it is possible, even if it takes multiple conversations to bring everything out into the open.

At the end of it all, you and your partner are unable to resolve your feelings of neglect and jealousy in a manner that makes you comfortable, then it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. However, that is an entirely different conversation. With the right care and effort made on both sides, though, no relationship need be threatened by the occasional bout of the green-eyed monster.

Remember, it is completely natural to feel jealousy. What matters, in the end, is how you choose to deal with those feelings. Good communication and self-reflection are the best tools that slay the annoying beast of jealousy.

Members of the SwingTowns Community can discuss this article and its implications on the lifestyle community forum. If you’re not a member, you can sign up today and see what you’re missing.

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