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Don’t You Get Jealous? The Mono-poly Perspective.

Don’t you get jealous? The mono-poly perspective.

Hi! I’m guest blogger Phi!  This was originally posted in December 2016 on my blog: ohthatphi.wordpress.com

I’m excited for the opportunity to guest-post here on polyfor.us from the mono/poly perspective.


Usually when I tell people that my relationship is unconventional, they have one of two reactions:  curiosity or concern.  Nobody has really shunned me for it.  Some people have surprised me and shared that I’m not the first person they’ve met who’s been involved in a poly-type relationship.

By and large, the most frequent question I get asked when I explain that my partner has multiple partners is, “But don’t you get jealous?”

The way they’re asking the question, you might think they’re talking to someone who smokes two packs a day and asking, “But won’t you get cancer?”  OHMYGOD, NOT JEALOUSY! But jealousy isn’t a fatal emotion.  I mean, I suppose it can be if you let it unhinge you, but I don’t let a whole lot unhinge me in that fashion.

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Rules Are Made For Those That Break Them

Rules Are Made for Those That Break Them

There is a school of thought in the polyamory community that you shouldn’t have rules, only personal boundaries, which you make agreements around. This may seem like a subtle distinction, or maybe even just wordplay, but it’s an important difference.

In poly, making a distinction between rules and boundaries is important, because it’s no longer about two people. Two people in a relationship with only each other can make rules with each other all day long as long as they both agree to them. In poly, when you create a rule between two people instead of stating your personal boundaries, the rule also affects any future third party but they didn’t have any say in it.*

Rules are declarations, whether agreed to or not, that you will enforce someone else’s behavior otherwise they will face consequences. Boundaries are clear definitions that you state about what you are comfortable with, and you act on your boundaries, instead of demanding that someone follow your rules. When it comes down to it, you are deciding whether you’re controlling someone else’s autonomy, rather than your own.

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Why Fair Does Not Mean Equal: On Keeping Score

As everyone finds out at some point, jealousy is something that will come up in every relationship, polyamorous or not. It’s really easy to try and find an easy way out of it, some way to tame the beast without actually trying to solve the jealousy.

Our culture tells us that jealousy is a healthy thing, that if you love someone, you will be jealous when they even glance at someone they find attractive. Hell, there’s even a popular song that came out recently titled Jealous that glorifies it. Some people even try to stoke jealousy in their partners as some sort of “proof” that they love them. It’s getting out of hand.

Instead of facing jealousy (which is a whole different series of posts…), so many people try to make up rules to try and skirt around the jealousy. One idea that keeps coming back for many new poly couples is making sure things are equal. Tit-for-tat, keeping score, even – whatever you want to call it, it only makes things worse.

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