Author Topic: Jealousy and insecurity  (Read 4066 times)

katscratch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Location: Minnesota
    • Freedom From Scratch
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2017, 12:42:40 PM »
I think there is a massive chasm between "being okay" with non-monogamy and being excited by it.

I've been in both monogamous and non- relationships, and have no preference for one over the other. For myself, a healthy non-monogamous relationship is one where my partner brings his enthusiasm about another back into our relationship, where talking about his being with someone else excites both of us, where we both are inspired and feel more love as a whole as a direct result of the other relationship. Finding joy in the knowledge that my partner is fulfilled in the way that he needs.

For me, anything less than that is a hard no. If it's not an exuberant feeling of HELL YES within you, I would be very, very cautious about continuing this path. The goal of any relationship should never be to "be okay with". I think the question of exploring non-monogamy is also separate from underlying confidence/security issues - but they are intertwined.



To me your posts sound very hesitant and like you're trying to talk yourself into accepting this. That is a huge red flag for me.

My last relationship ended because I just wasn't feeling that my partner was into non-monogamy for the "right" reasons, even though as a couple we were fine. It felt like he was trying it on to make himself happy because he had underlying issues with insecurity in his relationships. Different side of the coin than you, but some similar undertones. I wish I would have listened to my inner voice in the early days and ended things sooner. It wasn't the exclusivity, but our fundamental needs from a partner relationship that weren't meshing.

Good luck to you figuring this out!

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 859
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #51 on: November 01, 2017, 08:46:26 AM »
ptf.

Just skimmed all the responses, but I think that you might want to consider the role that you want relationship maintenance to take in your life.

No love is completely set-it-and-forget-it,  but my spouse and I each have passionate missions in life which are made possible by the fact that we have basically settled all our romantic issues. So our relationship is not so much the center of our lives as a solid base.  We sometimes feel a flash of jealousy here and there as is natural, but it's more of a feeling of, "you jerk, are you rocking the boat?"

I think this is more possible in a mature monogamous relationship; whereas an open relationship seems like it would require constant rebalancing and maintenance.  I don't see an open relationship as necessarily a route to feelings of security. This is an unromantic analogy, but it's kind of like being a contractor as opposed to being hired on salary... yes you are less dependent on each job (person) but you have to work to get every job, and you can't really relax into any job.  It's even worse when you are a contractor with only one major client (i.e. in a technically open but functionally monogamous relationship)-- dependent yet disposable.

So my feeling about non-monogamy is that it's fine for people who have the time and interest to work on it as a challenge.  Are you such a person, or do you just want to not have to worry about it?

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3988
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #52 on: November 01, 2017, 06:21:24 PM »
ptf.

Just skimmed all the responses, but I think that you might want to consider the role that you want relationship maintenance to take in your life.

No love is completely set-it-and-forget-it,  but my spouse and I each have passionate missions in life which are made possible by the fact that we have basically settled all our romantic issues. So our relationship is not so much the center of our lives as a solid base.  We sometimes feel a flash of jealousy here and there as is natural, but it's more of a feeling of, "you jerk, are you rocking the boat?"

I think this is more possible in a mature monogamous relationship; whereas an open relationship seems like it would require constant rebalancing and maintenance.  I don't see an open relationship as necessarily a route to feelings of security. This is an unromantic analogy, but it's kind of like being a contractor as opposed to being hired on salary... yes you are less dependent on each job (person) but you have to work to get every job, and you can't really relax into any job.  It's even worse when you are a contractor with only one major client (i.e. in a technically open but functionally monogamous relationship)-- dependent yet disposable.

So my feeling about non-monogamy is that it's fine for people who have the time and interest to work on it as a challenge.  Are you such a person, or do you just want to not have to worry about it?

As someone in a 5 year polyamorous relationship, I find the "disposable" analogy to be a rather dismissive interpretation that implies a non-monogamous relationship is less real or significant than a monogamous one.

Poundwise

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 859
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #53 on: November 01, 2017, 07:00:07 PM »
ptf.

Just skimmed all the responses, but I think that you might want to consider the role that you want relationship maintenance to take in your life.

No love is completely set-it-and-forget-it,  but my spouse and I each have passionate missions in life which are made possible by the fact that we have basically settled all our romantic issues. So our relationship is not so much the center of our lives as a solid base.  We sometimes feel a flash of jealousy here and there as is natural, but it's more of a feeling of, "you jerk, are you rocking the boat?"

I think this is more possible in a mature monogamous relationship; whereas an open relationship seems like it would require constant rebalancing and maintenance.  I don't see an open relationship as necessarily a route to feelings of security. This is an unromantic analogy, but it's kind of like being a contractor as opposed to being hired on salary... yes you are less dependent on each job (person) but you have to work to get every job, and you can't really relax into any job.  It's even worse when you are a contractor with only one major client (i.e. in a technically open but functionally monogamous relationship)-- dependent yet disposable.

So my feeling about non-monogamy is that it's fine for people who have the time and interest to work on it as a challenge.  Are you such a person, or do you just want to not have to worry about it?

As someone in a 5 year polyamorous relationship, I find the "disposable" analogy to be a rather dismissive interpretation that implies a non-monogamous relationship is less real or significant than a monogamous one.

Sorry, that was not my intent.

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3988
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #54 on: November 01, 2017, 07:40:34 PM »
ptf.

Just skimmed all the responses, but I think that you might want to consider the role that you want relationship maintenance to take in your life.

No love is completely set-it-and-forget-it,  but my spouse and I each have passionate missions in life which are made possible by the fact that we have basically settled all our romantic issues. So our relationship is not so much the center of our lives as a solid base.  We sometimes feel a flash of jealousy here and there as is natural, but it's more of a feeling of, "you jerk, are you rocking the boat?"

I think this is more possible in a mature monogamous relationship; whereas an open relationship seems like it would require constant rebalancing and maintenance.  I don't see an open relationship as necessarily a route to feelings of security. This is an unromantic analogy, but it's kind of like being a contractor as opposed to being hired on salary... yes you are less dependent on each job (person) but you have to work to get every job, and you can't really relax into any job.  It's even worse when you are a contractor with only one major client (i.e. in a technically open but functionally monogamous relationship)-- dependent yet disposable.

So my feeling about non-monogamy is that it's fine for people who have the time and interest to work on it as a challenge.  Are you such a person, or do you just want to not have to worry about it?

As someone in a 5 year polyamorous relationship, I find the "disposable" analogy to be a rather dismissive interpretation that implies a non-monogamous relationship is less real or significant than a monogamous one.

Sorry, that was not my intent.

I do agree with the general sentiment behind your post.  I feel similarly in my current relationship (minus the "you jerk, rocking the boat" sentiment if any jealousy crops up) - we are basically on autopilot.  The time/challenge aspect was dramatically greater in the early phases than it is today.

Cali Nonya

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
  • Location: California
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #55 on: November 01, 2017, 07:50:11 PM »
JLee:

Not to ask anything too personal, but I wonder if you are a younger or older person.  And why I would ask, is that when you are getting along in years and viewing relationships in terms of retirement and aging (the care and compassion part gets more important than the love & sex part), the more easily defined mono relationship seems more ... logical? simpler?

(Not throwing stones, I just have noticed some of my more alt friends aging into much more conventional relationships)

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3988
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #56 on: November 01, 2017, 09:05:46 PM »
JLee:

Not to ask anything too personal, but I wonder if you are a younger or older person.  And why I would ask, is that when you are getting along in years and viewing relationships in terms of retirement and aging (the care and compassion part gets more important than the love & sex part), the more easily defined mono relationship seems more ... logical? simpler?

(Not throwing stones, I just have noticed some of my more alt friends aging into much more conventional relationships)

Care and compassion is not something only available to those who practice monogamy, though it is not necessarily involved in non-monogamy as the world of non-monogamy is quite broad.  Unfortunately, I can attest from life experience that monogamy does not guarantee care and compassion either!

This branches off more to polyamory specifically, but polyamorous relationships aren't necessarily sexual either (see the polyamorous asexual).  Regarding logic; while I recognize and respect those who make it their choice, I find monogamy to be illogical - it is a product of the concept that women are property. Regarding the underlying societal assumption that polyamory is all about sex, this is relevant.

Monogamy is certainly simpler - I doubt you'll find many to disagree there. Relationships get exponentially more complex as you add people. A relationship with AB just has the relationship between A and B. A relationship with ABC has relationships between A and B, A and C, B and C, and then A, B, and C combined.  Add a fourth person, and...well, you see how complicated it can be!

Working a desk job til I reach social security age and then retiring with a fat 401k and social security check would be a lot simpler than managing investments and side gigs to retire early..but what can I say, the simple life is not for me. ;)

To answer your question, I'm in my mid 30's.

expatartist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 856
  • Location: The Big Lychee
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #57 on: November 01, 2017, 09:58:29 PM »
I do think it's important to listen to what my partner has to say about worrying that being strictly monogamous is going to be hard for them/is a concern, and to see if I can overcome some recent programming to be open to it. But it's not like I'm going to evolve light years because of that! Slow and steady is probably the best I can hope for, or slow and then not at all, and then maybe a bit slower.

NB, sorry if you've posted this up-thread and I'm asking you to repeat, but did you initiate these conversations, or did he?
Enjoying the frugal life while living in 150 sqf in the world's most expensive city https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/squeezing-the-most-out-of-life-in-hcol-hong-kong/

Cookie78

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
  • Location: Canada
    • Cookie's Goals
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2017, 10:38:01 PM »
So, what are the appropriate ways to control one's feelings while still trying to express them but not using them as manipulation?

The best advice I have is to practice communication. The best way to express your feelings without using them as manipulation is to start a conversation in way that's clear that you want to discuss your feelings and that you in no way are blaming your partners actions. Emotions happen, trying to ignore them, even when they may not be rational, sucks. Face them head on, accept them, and ask your partner for support if you need it. Other support like counseling is awesome too.

How to handle knowing you are one part of a partner's life, but that other parts are important (sometimes equally or even more so) too?

I had this problem once or twice in the first year of my polyamorous relationship. I wrote down all the things I was insecure about on post it notes and put them on a poster board, I'd also write down possible reasons for the insecurities, then wrote down answers and ideas on other post it notes (or immediate actions I could take to help at the time). They were positive things I knew or believed, but couldn't remember at times of insecurity. Then, whenever I had a stumble I could look at my board and immediately remember why my insecurities were irrational. Having it in writing helped. After awhile I didn't need the board anymore.


Does this impact your relationship or has it in the past and what are your ground rules for yourself and your partner?

I haven't even been terribly jealous of other people, but the uninvited events part hits a chord for my past self!
Ground rules: Open honest communication. In the past if we've struggled with something we talk to each other about it and work through it together, without blame.

As for monogamish, it may be harder to feel comfortable with if you are already feeling jealous. It may work out to be really beneficial if you can work through the insecurities, or it may backfire spectacularly. I'd recommend proceeding slowly. If I may ask, how exactly do you 'go haywire' when you bring up the mongamish topic? Do you react immediately during the conversation? Or is it more of an enhanced jealousy reaction in the following days or weeks?

The thing is that what I actually most want is to be free of being totally afraid of non monogamy. Like, I know I could be okay with it (under terms that I get to pick!) if my activated terror brain could calm down. Which I think it is maybe going to be able to do! Or, I'm wrong, and it won't be for me, and we'll go from there.

Completely understand this. Even knowing for sure I wanted to try it was still really scary to jump in. SO much societal conditioning to work through before I got to all the comfortable awesome parts! And some of it may hurt. That's ok. In my experience each new 'first' is a little hurdle. Some hurdles are higher than others.

If you are still working through past painful experiences I can imagine it would be a lot harder. Honestly if you find this to be the cause of your insecurity I'd try to work through that first, ideally with a counselor, before adding potentially more complications.

I would 100% rather be free of all my anxiety around this. Because it bleeds into all sorts of other things in the relationship (time apart, friendships, independence) by wanting to control a feeling of safety and set all the terms and that's just not healthy!

I think the fact is, desire is scary, because we don't totally control it. And monogamy is a way of trying to control it that prioritizes the stability/safety of the relationship which I totally get! But there are totally ways of being monogamish that still prioritize the same. Like...it's really just sex. And it can even be something that happens together! And why would I hold back from new experiences just because there is programming that the right way is to keep everything just between two people? The fact is, there are totally things in being a little more open that intrigue me, it's just the fear gets in the way. Because the unknown is alarming! but if it becomes less unknown, it probably becomes less scary, or at least I can know for certain what I think, rather than having a knee jerk reaction control me.

This is a REALLY good point. 
Re: 'it's really just sex'  Other posters are correct, it's not necessarily always going to be or remain just sex. But that's ok too. In the end, trying to ensure everything is 'just sex' is just another method of control used to feel safe and secure. (Not that there's anything wrong with that between two consenting adults imo)


koshtra

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
  • massage therapist, database guy, worder
    • Mole
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #59 on: November 05, 2017, 12:38:16 AM »
Oh, this sounds stressful as all git out.

I found it reassuring to learn that adultery is quite common among many birds and some mammals that were originally thought to "mate for life." A public pairing with surreptitious outside episodes now and then is actually a fairly common set-up. There are two countervailing forces: a force for family building and stability, and "the selfish gene" which doesn't give a damn about those things. Give them each some room and you end up with the semi-fictitious monogamy typical of many human societies.

So some especially conscientious people want to make everything aboveboard. But official monogamy IS how we say we're committed. It's our language for it. And you don't really get to make up your own language, not for long, not for keeps. So if someone says "I'm totally committed to our relationship but I want these other episodes too" it basically sounds like "I'm totally committed except that I'm not committed at all." And of course that's going to make us jealous and anxious.

Back when I thought of all the arrangements as basically cultural I thought we should be able to just overcome our anxieties and jealousies, by force of will and trusting in love and all those good things. But maybe we're just biologically stuck with semi-fictitious monogamy because we're pretty much a pair-bonding species and that's how pair-bonding actually works.

Which probably helps not at all, except possibly in offering a new, distressing-but-in-different-ways model.

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3988
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #60 on: November 05, 2017, 06:26:23 AM »
Oh, this sounds stressful as all git out.

I found it reassuring to learn that adultery is quite common among many birds and some mammals that were originally thought to "mate for life." A public pairing with surreptitious outside episodes now and then is actually a fairly common set-up. There are two countervailing forces: a force for family building and stability, and "the selfish gene" which doesn't give a damn about those things. Give them each some room and you end up with the semi-fictitious monogamy typical of many human societies.

So some especially conscientious people want to make everything aboveboard. But official monogamy IS how we say we're committed. It's our language for it. And you don't really get to make up your own language, not for long, not for keeps. So if someone says "I'm totally committed to our relationship but I want these other episodes too" it basically sounds like "I'm totally committed except that I'm not committed at all." And of course that's going to make us jealous and anxious.

Back when I thought of all the arrangements as basically cultural I thought we should be able to just overcome our anxieties and jealousies, by force of will and trusting in love and all those good things. But maybe we're just biologically stuck with semi-fictitious monogamy because we're pretty much a pair-bonding species and that's how pair-bonding actually works.

Which probably helps not at all, except possibly in offering a new, distressing-but-in-different-ways model.

You may want to read through the links I posted - notably the one that explains how monogamy is a modern social construct that evolved over the concept of women as property.

koshtra

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
  • massage therapist, database guy, worder
    • Mole
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #61 on: November 05, 2017, 12:07:50 PM »
Oh, this sounds stressful as all git out.

I found it reassuring to learn that adultery is quite common among many birds and some mammals that were originally thought to "mate for life." A public pairing with surreptitious outside episodes now and then is actually a fairly common set-up. There are two countervailing forces: a force for family building and stability, and "the selfish gene" which doesn't give a damn about those things. Give them each some room and you end up with the semi-fictitious monogamy typical of many human societies.

So some especially conscientious people want to make everything aboveboard. But official monogamy IS how we say we're committed. It's our language for it. And you don't really get to make up your own language, not for long, not for keeps. So if someone says "I'm totally committed to our relationship but I want these other episodes too" it basically sounds like "I'm totally committed except that I'm not committed at all." And of course that's going to make us jealous and anxious.

Back when I thought of all the arrangements as basically cultural I thought we should be able to just overcome our anxieties and jealousies, by force of will and trusting in love and all those good things. But maybe we're just biologically stuck with semi-fictitious monogamy because we're pretty much a pair-bonding species and that's how pair-bonding actually works.

Which probably helps not at all, except possibly in offering a new, distressing-but-in-different-ways model.

You may want to read through the links I posted - notably the one that explains how monogamy is a modern social construct that evolved over the concept of women as property.

Thanks! Yes, I've read them.

Humans used to be like the other great apes, and like most primates -- they basically had zero tolerance for strangers and lived in small close-knit bands. Monogamy was probably not typical of these bands. At some point agriculture and property and tolerating strangers explode on the human scene and change everything. We're still picking up the pieces. I suspect the presence of strangers and acquaintances had more to do with the development of pair-bonding (and other marriage constructs; pair-bonding is probably the most common but there have been lots of others) than property, but I'm familiar with the property argument.

I probably inadvertently made it sound like I was a biological determinist. I'm not: but I think there's a lot of convergent social evolution. When a species that evolved as a small-band social animal starts to live in large groups, lots of things start happening, including a risk of "abandonment in the crowd." Small-band primates don't have to worry about abandonment -- it pretty much never happens. But it happens to us, all the time, and it's pretty terrifying. There's nothing remotely irrational about jealousy and anxiety.

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3988
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #62 on: November 05, 2017, 08:27:53 PM »
Oh, this sounds stressful as all git out.

I found it reassuring to learn that adultery is quite common among many birds and some mammals that were originally thought to "mate for life." A public pairing with surreptitious outside episodes now and then is actually a fairly common set-up. There are two countervailing forces: a force for family building and stability, and "the selfish gene" which doesn't give a damn about those things. Give them each some room and you end up with the semi-fictitious monogamy typical of many human societies.

So some especially conscientious people want to make everything aboveboard. But official monogamy IS how we say we're committed. It's our language for it. And you don't really get to make up your own language, not for long, not for keeps. So if someone says "I'm totally committed to our relationship but I want these other episodes too" it basically sounds like "I'm totally committed except that I'm not committed at all." And of course that's going to make us jealous and anxious.

Back when I thought of all the arrangements as basically cultural I thought we should be able to just overcome our anxieties and jealousies, by force of will and trusting in love and all those good things. But maybe we're just biologically stuck with semi-fictitious monogamy because we're pretty much a pair-bonding species and that's how pair-bonding actually works.

Which probably helps not at all, except possibly in offering a new, distressing-but-in-different-ways model.

You may want to read through the links I posted - notably the one that explains how monogamy is a modern social construct that evolved over the concept of women as property.

Thanks! Yes, I've read them.

Humans used to be like the other great apes, and like most primates -- they basically had zero tolerance for strangers and lived in small close-knit bands. Monogamy was probably not typical of these bands. At some point agriculture and property and tolerating strangers explode on the human scene and change everything. We're still picking up the pieces. I suspect the presence of strangers and acquaintances had more to do with the development of pair-bonding (and other marriage constructs; pair-bonding is probably the most common but there have been lots of others) than property, but I'm familiar with the property argument.

I probably inadvertently made it sound like I was a biological determinist. I'm not: but I think there's a lot of convergent social evolution. When a species that evolved as a small-band social animal starts to live in large groups, lots of things start happening, including a risk of "abandonment in the crowd." Small-band primates don't have to worry about abandonment -- it pretty much never happens. But it happens to us, all the time, and it's pretty terrifying. There's nothing remotely irrational about jealousy and anxiety.

It sounded like the modern "traditional" relationship style was the only one that mattered and anybody living outside of that construct was temporarily "making up their own language." The conclusion drawn is that any relationship that does not fit your predefined mold is "not committed at all"...and as someone 5 years into an open/polyamorous relationship who has seen "committed" monogamous relationships end in divorce, I must disagree.

koshtra

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
  • massage therapist, database guy, worder
    • Mole
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #63 on: November 05, 2017, 09:57:00 PM »
Oh, this sounds stressful as all git out.

I found it reassuring to learn that adultery is quite common among many birds and some mammals that were originally thought to "mate for life." A public pairing with surreptitious outside episodes now and then is actually a fairly common set-up. There are two countervailing forces: a force for family building and stability, and "the selfish gene" which doesn't give a damn about those things. Give them each some room and you end up with the semi-fictitious monogamy typical of many human societies.

So some especially conscientious people want to make everything aboveboard. But official monogamy IS how we say we're committed. It's our language for it. And you don't really get to make up your own language, not for long, not for keeps. So if someone says "I'm totally committed to our relationship but I want these other episodes too" it basically sounds like "I'm totally committed except that I'm not committed at all." And of course that's going to make us jealous and anxious.

Back when I thought of all the arrangements as basically cultural I thought we should be able to just overcome our anxieties and jealousies, by force of will and trusting in love and all those good things. But maybe we're just biologically stuck with semi-fictitious monogamy because we're pretty much a pair-bonding species and that's how pair-bonding actually works.

Which probably helps not at all, except possibly in offering a new, distressing-but-in-different-ways model.

You may want to read through the links I posted - notably the one that explains how monogamy is a modern social construct that evolved over the concept of women as property.

Thanks! Yes, I've read them.

Humans used to be like the other great apes, and like most primates -- they basically had zero tolerance for strangers and lived in small close-knit bands. Monogamy was probably not typical of these bands. At some point agriculture and property and tolerating strangers explode on the human scene and change everything. We're still picking up the pieces. I suspect the presence of strangers and acquaintances had more to do with the development of pair-bonding (and other marriage constructs; pair-bonding is probably the most common but there have been lots of others) than property, but I'm familiar with the property argument.

I probably inadvertently made it sound like I was a biological determinist. I'm not: but I think there's a lot of convergent social evolution. When a species that evolved as a small-band social animal starts to live in large groups, lots of things start happening, including a risk of "abandonment in the crowd." Small-band primates don't have to worry about abandonment -- it pretty much never happens. But it happens to us, all the time, and it's pretty terrifying. There's nothing remotely irrational about jealousy and anxiety.

It sounded like the modern "traditional" relationship style was the only one that mattered and anybody living outside of that construct was temporarily "making up their own language." The conclusion drawn is that any relationship that does not fit your predefined mold is "not committed at all"...and as someone 5 years into an open/polyamorous relationship who has seen "committed" monogamous relationships end in divorce, I must disagree.

Wow, I'm really sorry. I apologize. That was not what I meant to convey at all.

JLee

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3988
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #64 on: November 05, 2017, 11:10:53 PM »
Oh, this sounds stressful as all git out.

I found it reassuring to learn that adultery is quite common among many birds and some mammals that were originally thought to "mate for life." A public pairing with surreptitious outside episodes now and then is actually a fairly common set-up. There are two countervailing forces: a force for family building and stability, and "the selfish gene" which doesn't give a damn about those things. Give them each some room and you end up with the semi-fictitious monogamy typical of many human societies.

So some especially conscientious people want to make everything aboveboard. But official monogamy IS how we say we're committed. It's our language for it. And you don't really get to make up your own language, not for long, not for keeps. So if someone says "I'm totally committed to our relationship but I want these other episodes too" it basically sounds like "I'm totally committed except that I'm not committed at all." And of course that's going to make us jealous and anxious.

Back when I thought of all the arrangements as basically cultural I thought we should be able to just overcome our anxieties and jealousies, by force of will and trusting in love and all those good things. But maybe we're just biologically stuck with semi-fictitious monogamy because we're pretty much a pair-bonding species and that's how pair-bonding actually works.

Which probably helps not at all, except possibly in offering a new, distressing-but-in-different-ways model.

You may want to read through the links I posted - notably the one that explains how monogamy is a modern social construct that evolved over the concept of women as property.

Thanks! Yes, I've read them.

Humans used to be like the other great apes, and like most primates -- they basically had zero tolerance for strangers and lived in small close-knit bands. Monogamy was probably not typical of these bands. At some point agriculture and property and tolerating strangers explode on the human scene and change everything. We're still picking up the pieces. I suspect the presence of strangers and acquaintances had more to do with the development of pair-bonding (and other marriage constructs; pair-bonding is probably the most common but there have been lots of others) than property, but I'm familiar with the property argument.

I probably inadvertently made it sound like I was a biological determinist. I'm not: but I think there's a lot of convergent social evolution. When a species that evolved as a small-band social animal starts to live in large groups, lots of things start happening, including a risk of "abandonment in the crowd." Small-band primates don't have to worry about abandonment -- it pretty much never happens. But it happens to us, all the time, and it's pretty terrifying. There's nothing remotely irrational about jealousy and anxiety.

It sounded like the modern "traditional" relationship style was the only one that mattered and anybody living outside of that construct was temporarily "making up their own language." The conclusion drawn is that any relationship that does not fit your predefined mold is "not committed at all"...and as someone 5 years into an open/polyamorous relationship who has seen "committed" monogamous relationships end in divorce, I must disagree.

Wow, I'm really sorry. I apologize. That was not what I meant to convey at all.

No worries! I'm reread it again just now, and I think I've got what you meant. :)

norabird

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5276
  • Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #65 on: November 06, 2017, 02:15:03 PM »
Just wanted to say thank you for all the people discussing! Tis complicated but I especially appreciate the perspective of people who are poly or open because too often I feel a bit weirdly ashamed at the idea of being monogamish, like it's a failure. But of course I know people have thriving lives set up along these lines (or whichever ones work for them!). Am going to get back into some therapy for starters. I took that NYtimes relationship style test recently and got possessive/jealous which was rather upsetting because I think I'm also quite independent and sweet and I really actively try not to be controlling--but the possessive jealous stuff is what I relate to the most, maybe because I see it as such a flaw and am hyper aware of it that it's where I can 100% say 'that's me' when there's a question in that space.

partgypsy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1471
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #66 on: November 06, 2017, 03:32:27 PM »
I wanted to point out, that people saying they are undoing years of recent culturing wiring" of monogamy, well there is a lot of biological and evolutionary data, everything from the size of male penis, to male female differences, that point out we are as they say "monogamish". We pair bond, but there is some amount of cheating going on (yes, from both genders). Which makes sense. Raising human offspring is very time labor intensive, really it was the females in pair bonds or otherwise extended family help that raised those children to the extent they passed their genes on to subsequent generations.so I disagree with those who maintain stable pair bonding aka marriage is some arbitrary cultural construct. There is wiring, even wiring you can be aware of and decide to do differently, but it's deep.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 02:54:12 PM by partgypsy »

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1243
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #67 on: November 06, 2017, 07:02:07 PM »
I wanted to point out, that people saying they are undoing years of recent culturing wiring" of monogamy, well there is a lot of biological and evolutionary data, everything from the size of male penis, to male female differences, that point out we are as they say "monogamish". We pair bond, but there is some amount of chatting going on (yes, from both genders). Which makes sense. Raising human offspring is very time labor intensive, really it was the females in pair bonds or otherwise extended family help that raised those children to the extent they passed their genes on to subsequent generations.so I disagree with those who maintain stable pair bonding aka marriage is some arbitrary cultural construct. There is wiring, even wiring you can be aware of and decide to do differently, but it's deep.

As a biologist, this is accurate.  Monogamish behavior with some outside partnering is evolutionarily advantageous for primates with long dependent periods for young and low reproductive rate.  Society just decided to codify the monogamish part into 'official monogamy' and condemn that occasional outside partnering.  But monogamy is not biologically 'abnormal' for humans. Neither is 'getting a little on the side'.  How these evolutionary adaptations affect our emotions are a different thing entirely.  There are a lot of things that are completely normal in nature that conferred evolutionary advantage in some species (including rape and infanticide, even in our species) but that would probably destabilize society as we currently have it set up, and also give us a lot of personal emotional angst.

koshtra

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 187
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
  • massage therapist, database guy, worder
    • Mole
Re: Jealousy and insecurity
« Reply #68 on: November 07, 2017, 08:15:28 AM »
:-) I don't think a very high level of certainty is warranted about the prehistory of human love lives. But anyway, for me the usefulness of speculating about it lies mostly in bringing my assumptions to light. Notions about what's natural, what's inevitable, what's authentic, can exert a lot more influence on me than they ought to.

But your original question... I don't know if I can even remember our original ground rules. It was an open relationship, in the early years, but we didn't make a point of being public about it, and somewhere along the line the monogamy that other people assumed (we obviously adore each other) became de facto. It's weird being the monogamy poster-children now -- we've been together forty-some years and people have taken to gushing about us and finding us adorable -- when we never had any intention of practicing monogamy, and pointedly omitted it from our wedding vows. But people see what they want to see.