Monday, August 21, 2006

I am consumed by.......

I have a friend who is dedicated to life-long monogamy. He was a virgin when he married and plans to only have sex with this one woman for the rest of his life.

I admire his dedication.

I couldn't do it.

He openly admits that he enjoys living vicariously through me though, because he could never do what I do: have sex with people he wasn't married to.

He asked me the other day, how do you both NOT become consumed by jealousy?

I laughed. I don't know. We just don't. Or rather, we do, but we deal with it and own those feelings.

First of all, jealousy, like all other emotions, is a choice. You decide how you react to the feelings you have. You can confront your feelings of jealousy, recognize that how you feel is YOUR problem, not your partner's problem, and deal with it. Or, you can blame your partner's behaviour for "making" you feel bad. The thing is, not many people realize that NO ONE can MAKE YOU feel anything. You decide how you feel. You decide how you react to the feelings. You decide how to deal with them. So, when I feel a twinge or pang of jealousy, I have to take a good hard look at myself and figure out why. Do I not want him to have fun? Nope, that's not it. Do I not want him to have friends? Nope, that's not it either. Do I want to control his every movement? No, geez, no thanks. So what is it? Am I worried he'll leave? Maybe. Am I worried he'll enjoy sex with someone else more than he enjoys it with me? Maybe. Well there you go. No more jealousy. What's at the heart of the issue is fear, and once you can identify what the problem is, you can go ahead and fix it (or ask your partner for the reassurance you need to help you get through YOUR feelings).

Second, sex is not love and love is not sex. If my partner was in love with someone else, I'd have a pretty big issue with that. Sex is an activity. I don't want to marry the friend I go for coffee with because I had such a good time. He doesn't want to marry his tennis partner after an exhausting, challenging game. Sex is fun. We've worked hard on being able to separate sex from love. Sex is another form of play. I certainly don't have any desire to control what he plays or who he plays with. "Honey, am I allowed to play golf? Honey, am I allowed to play a board game? They're both fun activities to do with someone I'm not married to, so is that ok?" Yikes, no thanks. Sex is a fun activity. Sex is play. So, we allow each other to play.

Third, a huge part of this non-monogamy thing is relinquishing control. No, let me re-phrase that. A huge part of this non-monogamy thing is reliquishing the control that you THINK you have. No one has ultimate control over their spouse (I'm talking functional relationships here, not the psycho marriages that make headlines). Truth be told, you don't have control over any part of your partner. You might think that by insisting on monogamy, you have their sexuality under lock and key, but that's not the case. Think of how many people cheat. We have relinquished the fantasy of control and the desire to perpetuate that. Freedom is freedom. I want him to be free to live his life and enjoy himself. I want him to be free to make his own decisions. Yes, maybe he might find someone else. However, he could do that in a monogamous relationship just as easily as in a non-monogamous one. If it happens, well it happens. Again, relinquishing the fantasy of control.

So far it works. So far, the only feelings I am consumed by are lust and passion.....nothing wrong with that.


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