Jealousy: The Line Between Insecurity and Manipulation

I have a new dog, a little female. I’ve wanted a female for a long time to be a companion to my male dog. I’ve had her a week, and there are many signs she’s blending in nicely. However, there are signs of jealousy between the two. If I pay attention to one, the other tries to push in-between to interfere with the attention being given to the other. I am working to reduce the behavior, as ultimately my goal is for them to be close to each other, metamours as it were. It’ll take time.

Humans aren’t much different. We start dating someone, and jealousies arise. I was reminded of this tonight. Earlier this evening, I found out that someone whom I consider a professional colleague had deleted my phone number after I sent him a simple “hope you are doing well” text and he responded asking who the text was from. For full disclosure, he was once a potential suitor until I had “the talk” with him and he ghosted me. I’ll refer to him as “P.”

P at first tried to say his phone got wiped. I played it cool, told him no worries. I guess his conscience pricked him, because then he told me he was working on a new relationship, and she wasn’t comfortable with some of his friendships. I responded and said I considered him a professional colleague and nothing more. He said he felt the same way but that perspective was not shared by all.

It made me think about jealousy, poor communication, and manipulation.

I think a bit of jealousy is normal. I believe the human who doesn’t feel jealous is a rare thing, and for most people, not feeling it at all isn’t a realistic expectation. I think what makes jealousy healthy is how it’s handled:  how do you talk about it, how do you explore the root cause, and how do you work on the root cause so that the root cause doesn’t control you in the future.

What isn’t healthy is when one partner manipulates the relationships, connections, and activities of another partner. Making your partner delete phone numbers, unfriend connections on social media, and feeling jealous of people your partner has little contact with is a sign that your jealousy is out of control. And if you have a partner who treats you this way and you allow it, there is a co-dependency in you that likewise is not healthy. Boundaries have not been set, and such behavior is evidence that there is little self-awareness and constructive communication is severely lacking.

My human story in this post is about a monogamous couple. But jealousy is found everywhere. In non-monogamy, having multiple partners can open the door to experiencing jealousy. Sharing partners, sharing intimacy, exploring experiences, these things can wake up the green-eyed monster within all of us. We, however, can control the green-eyed monster. We can own it, we can explore it, and we can resolve it. Our partners can help us with those tasks, but they are not responsible for those tasks. And likewise, we cannot control or manipulate our partners to make ourselves feel better.

As I sit here typing, my new little female dog is on my right side. My male dog is wwaaayyy over to my left, perturbed she is sitting so close to me. I give him love, but I also give him space to realize I’m still here, and I’m still his loving two-legged mom. I understand why he’s feeling jealous, but eventually, as I give him the same stable home, he’ll realize he isn’t being replaced, but that we have a new family member.

As for P, when I’m done with this post I’ll delete his phone number, and move on. As I told him in my last response, I wish him well.

I’m glad I’m not in his shoes. cropped-georgian-ghan1.png

Learning to say NO

The last six weeks I’ve been undergoing a number of transitions in my romantic life, my career, and in my business. Those transitions, which are not complete yet, make me think about my existence as a woman, and a woman living a non-monogamous life.

The news regarding Havey Weinstein and allegations of rape and sexual misconduct really bring my thoughts to the forefront. Weinstein isn’t the first to misuse and abuse his power and influence, and he for sure won’t be the last. He forced himself on women, promising opportunities and careers if his victims just let him take what he wanted.

I’ve been molested. I’ve been abused. As I grew up and chose a career path that was very male-dominated, I was told I needed more tact. I was told by a woman in that same industry I needed to stop wearing makeup and quit doing my hair to be taken seriously. All before the age of 22. Each year for a three-year period, “tenacious” was used by different supervisors to describe me. Sometimes I wondered if that was male code for “bitch.”

I’m in my 40s now. Just in the last three weeks, I’ve had things said to me by men in power that I know they would never say to another man. I was called a control freak, because I recounted to a C-line exec when he implied I needed to work voluntarily on the weekends that not only do I work for the company, I own and take care of my own house, and I run a business, in which I am my own admin, my own accountant, my own marketing, and I do the work of my business. Recently I was told I have a “bad reputation” for being “difficult” to work with, and that was the reason why I couldn’t be promoted or given a pay raise. For background, I was hired to implement processes in my company, and bring order to absolute chaos, which I’ve done as much as my realm of influence allows me to do so; sometimes I say “No” because it makes business sense to say no.

At this age, it’s becoming more apparent to me that there will always be people who will tell you that you are not enough, too much or both, and somehow you are supposed to reconcile that and become what they want you to be. As I get older and become more intimately attuned with my value, I realize I couldn’t care less if I’m too much for you, or not enough. Either way, we obviously shouldn’t be acquainted with each other. I’m okay with that.

NO.

NO is empowering. For a time in my young life, I didn’t KNOW how to say “NO.”  I LEARNED to say “NO” as I had experiences that were meant to marginalize me, demean me, to put me in my place.

My non-monogamy is emphasizing the value of YES and NO in my life. I say YES and give myself permission to have multiple loves and partners. I say NO and give myself permission to draw boundaries, to define what I will not tolerate in my life.  And I’m learning every day what I will and won’t tolerate in my life. What I thought I could tolerate last year I cannot tolerate this year. My tolerance for poor communication, flimsy excuses for half-assed commitment,  and a lack of value on words has diminished tremendously.

My fellow sisters…if you’re afraid to say NO, I encourage you to say NO. If you don’t know how to say NO, LEARN to say NO. It isn’t always negative to say no; some people can’t handle it when you say no, but how often is that really YOUR problem? Very little.

Give yourself permission to draw boundaries that work for you. cropped-georgian-ghan1.png