Me: The same way I keep track of all my siblings and cousins. I know who they all are and what I've done with each.
Him: But it's different when you have a real intimate connection. Then there's jealousy that you don't have with friends or family.
Me: See, this is what I hate about emotional labor. You guys are socialized to have women do your emotional labor for you and to only view your sexual partners as "intimate". Women are socialized to have many intimate connections. I can have several platonic girlfriends who are all deeply intimate connections, so I know that it feels the same as the connection I have to my romantic partner, sometimes it's a deeper intimacy, even. If you could develop intimate connections with anyone other than your lover, you'd know that jealousy and all the other emotions exist whether there is sex or not and monogamy doesn't prevent them.
Him: but don't you all feel sexual jealousy?
Me: 1) yes, but 2) not being poly doesn't prevent anyone from feeling sexual jealousy either.
Him: But for me, sexual jealousy is this primal, internal, instinctual thing.
Me: Yeah, all jealousy is like that. Babies feel jealousy about parents and siblings. You just happen to attach your feelings of jealousy to sexual activity, but it's still the same jealousy that everyone feels over anything. Think of it like anger. Jealousy is just an emotion. Anger is just an emotion. Some people are pretty laid back and don't really get angry or upset over much. Some people get angry over very specific things but they're ok most of the time.
And some people are just Angry. They see red. Their anger is primal, and always there. It's a part of who they are, it's in their identity, they are an Angry Person.
People who get angry have a few choices. They can choose to only date people who never do anything to make them angry. They can have random bouts of anger and that's just how a relationship with them goes. Or they can try and learn some anger management skills and learn how to deal with their anger without making other people responsible for managing them.
But no matter which option they choose, the anger never "disappears". There is no world in which anger is gone. People who choose to date only people who never make them angry never lose their anger, they just don't have it triggered very often (but inevitably, *something* will, because nobody is perfect at managing other people's emotions).
People who choose anger management never lose their anger, they just learn how to manage their own emotions and, more importantly, how to choose reasonable behaviours in response to their emotions.
Now imagine that society said that the Angry Person is the default, that this is just how things are, that anger is immutable and fixed, and that all relationships should alter themselves to avoid triggering anger at all costs, and any relationship that allows the kind of behaviour that might make someone feel angry are "weird", "abnormal", and even "immoral", even if the people in those relationships are OK with having that kind of behaviour in their relationships and even if that behaviour doesn't actually trigger any anger in them at all.
Poly people are just normal people with the same range of angry feelings as everyone else but who said "I don't buy that, I think some anger is learned and angry behaviour is excused, and I think that there is a better way to feel and deal with anger."
Him: See, that's why I admire you poly people. I'm just a jealous person, so I couldn't do that.
Me: #FacePalm That's the thing, you *could* if you wanted to. But society is set up to support you in not addressing your jealousy, in just accepting it. As long as you think it's "too hard" or you can't do it, you won't be able to because society will support you in not trying, and will actively work against you if you do try. You could change this about yourself. But only if you want to.
Poly people aren't special or better at any of this, we're just more deliberate about our relationships. Anyone *could* do it, it's whether they *want* to overcome the hurdles that society has put in their way. For some people, it's not worth the effort. If you do not *want* to, then don't do it. Don't come into my communities kicking and screaming and not wanting to be there. You'll just fuck things up for all of us.
Just know that you're a making a choice. Your jealousy doesn't have to dictate your relationships, if you don't want it to. It only does because you choose to let it.
This blog has been moved to https://joreth.dreamwidth.org/ due to the new Russian laws regarding LGBTQ content. The new blog will continue to cross-post to LiveJournal as long as the LJ blog still stands but comments at LJ have been disabled. Please update your RSS feeds for my new home.