Jealousy and non-monogamy

In response to “Feedback request: What do you want to see in a book about non-monogamy and players?“, Nash asks about jealousy.

I would be interested in jealousy. I’d like to hear not only “it can be avoided,” but some EXAMPLES of how it has come up, show both sides, and then your best practices, some case studies of how you’ve managed that in YOURSELF and the GIRLS.

Jealousy… I don’t think it can be wholly avoided, for most guys. It’s like pain in the gym. You’re going to feel it sometimes. Most guys, including me, don’t like to see other guys railing their chick, even if the guy and chick are dating casually. In my view, some amount of jealousy, however small, can come up when a guy is in a situation where he’s going to nail another chick and his chick is going to get nailed by another guy.

Jealousy is adaptive because jealous guys have, historically, been more likely to ensure that a chick is bearing his child and not some other guy’s. The vast, overwhelming majority of human existence (99.9999%) occurred before reliable contraceptives and DNA tests. We are not going to overcome our evolved instincts to do “mate guarding” (the term evolutionary biologists use). Not perfectly. This excerpt, from The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve, further describes jealousy from an evolutionary perspective:

Throughout the course of our evolution, any trait that increased the chances that a man would end up investing in his own offspring, rather than the offspring of his good-looking next-door-neighbour, had a good chance of being selected. One such trait was jealousy – the kind of jealousy that would lead a man to keep a wary eye on his partner and the good-looking neighbour, and to do what he could to keep them apart.

For most guys, jealousy can’t be avoided. So if a guy wants to go down this path, he has to know that some amount of jealousy is probably coming and be psychologically prepared to experience it, before it happens. A guy can rationally understand that he’s doing a quid pro quo: he’s going to get his, so she’s going to get hers. This helps, but the jealous response is more emotional than rational. It is very hard to overcome emotional response through rational thoughts, but it can be done and for many guys must be done.

If a guy is in a casual relationship, he knows (intellectually) that the girl is probably sleeping with other dudes. How big a jump is it from knowing that intuitively to seeing it happen in front of you? A big one, emotionally, but a small one, intellectually, particularly if the guy is busy with another chick.

In addition, I deal with jealousy by focusing on the other chick. I wrote that Libido Girl, who properly introduced me to this world, made sure that I was having sex with another girl before she had sex with another guy. Smart girl. It is hard to get that angry while you are deep in another girl. She did check in with me after all four of us were done having sex, to see how I felt, and again later that night, and again the next morning. She was helping me to emotionally process what had happened.

Now I do something similar with most girls I’m introducing. I encourage them to go first, or for us to go concurrently. Often, we don’t have sex with other people on the first night we go to a club. I try to get them involved somewhat gradually, unless they are very gung ho, like Ms. Slav was.

Jealousy can be better overcome when you (the man) and your date agree to only bang other chicks together, or to only do a couple-to-couple swap. You don’t want her entering a threeway with another couple on her own volition. Problems often happen when another couple appears ready to swap, but then the other chick doesn’t want to do it. That way lies problems. A guy’s date must be willing to call off the sex, and both people in a couple have to look out for each other. If the other couple is not committed to equal swapping, the whole thing must stop. If the other guy is into it and his date is not, it all must stop. I have done this before. It’s like throwing the emergency brake.

Jealousy goes away over time, or a guy becomes acclimated to it. The first time a guy brings a date to his party, jealousy may be overwhelming. But as one becomes acclimated, it decreases. If someone is desperately scared of flying, a psychologist won’t get her on a plane right away. A psychologist will gradually ramp her up (first he’ll have her in a plane-like dwelling, then talk to her about it, etc.). Jealousy can be the same way. Now it’s normal for me to have sex in groups or trade couple-to-couple, so much of the jealous response is gone.

The other way I see people deal with jealousy is, realistically, boredom. Many couples have been together so long that they aren’t that sexually hot for each other anymore. For those guys, jealousy can be a bit useful, because it might make him want to “compete” for the woman he’s tired of listening to every day. Couples who have been together so long that they’re bored may feel less jealousy and, when they do feel jealousy, it may help them.

Another word about swapping: Guys who don’t want their chick to bang other guys are in for likely problems. If the chick is bisexual, she may be okay with seeking another woman, but other single women are called “unicorns” for a reason. This path is not impossible but it is also the route of much drama and nonsense. I’m not going to speak to it here because the reader can search for “unicorns and swingers” or “how do I find a unicorn” and read the endless shit written about this overdone topic.

To summarize, I don’t think there’s a single cure for jealousy because jealousy is evolutionarily adaptive. Jealousy can be overcome, but it can only be overcome by applying rational thinking to an emotional sphere, which has its own problems (I’m aware of them). It can also be overcome by the guy focusing on his own experiences: when you’re in another chick, who has the energy to feel jealous? These methods are imperfect and there is no final “right” answer. That is why everyone discussing swinging, open relationships, and polyamory online discusses jealousy. If there were a simple solution, everyone interested would do it, ending the discussions. But there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s probably the most-discussed topic in non-monogamy. Many people dream about a mate who is loyal while allowing some screwing around. In reality this is a rare circumstance. Many people attempt to resolve this dilemma through covert cheating. Some are merely miserable. Others try non-monogamy, as I do.

Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

6 thoughts on “Jealousy and non-monogamy”

  1. Really great post. Did you circulate elsewhere? Really good notes on a very tricky topic.

    With all that said… I got a bit nauseous reading it. I know, for certain, that “having it all out in the open” is not for me, and being in the same room is beyond out of the question. No “fucking” way.

    > If a guy is in a casual relationship, he knows (intellectually) that the girl is probably sleeping with other dudes.

    Great note. And I did this exercise myself, when it was clear to me that I wasn’t fucking virgins, and if not… then there were certainly other dudes in her life. It’s only a questions of how recently.

    My favorite version of this thought-experiment is: Would you fuck a girl with a BF? Most men quickly say yes. But if she’s your girl… and you know she is fucking someone else… me, personally… I am done with her. She is cut off. No exceptions. She is worthless to me at that point… the world can have her.

    I say this ^, having fucked a couple of married girls this year. One was a traveler, so it was a single episode, and I never saw her again. The other… was ongoing for weeks. So that was a kind of sharing, but I was never “jealous” of her husband, in part as I was the “thief,” and also as I’d never met him, seen him… in no way was he a part of our affair.

    I am okay being the “other guy.” But I have no tolerance for “other guys.” None.

    > the jealous response is more emotional than rational

    Totally agree. I know I’m irrational on this. But even as I say that, as soon as I try to imagine a scenario… full “yuck face” for me, that nauseous feeling, and it’s out of the question.

    > The other way I see people deal with jealousy is, realistically, boredom. Many couples have been together so long that they aren’t that sexually hot for each other anymore. For those guys, jealousy can be a bit useful, because it might make him want to “compete” for the woman he’s tired of listening to every day.

    I think this ^ is one of the most insightful bits in your post… and I can imagine (especially for married folks), this could be of practical use for some couples. For me… it’s making two problems where there was once only one… but I admit my limitations in this area.

    ………….

    Thank you for laying this out. I am interested in the topic… but in a way that a guy that is lactose intolerant might still be interested in how the cheese is made. I’m glad you can provide the real-life part… as I’ll have nothing to do with it.

    ………….

    (It is interesting to observe how adament I am about this. Even the language I use is strong. It’s such a “hot” issue that I have physiological responses just thinking of it. And I don’t have any personal reasons to feel this way. I am sure girls have cheated on me (based on statistics, and knowledge of girl-psych… not evidence), but I don’t know of any instances. None. And yet… full stop to any situations that include jealousy. Interesting.)

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    1. >> “I think this ^ is one of the most insightful bits in your post… and I can imagine (especially for married folks), this could be of practical use for some couples. For me… it’s making two problems where there was once only one… but I admit my limitations in this area.”

      This bit in the post comes from Esther Perel’s books, as well as other reading and simple experience. People who’ve been doing it only with each other for five years… ten years… at some point they want to try another restaurant. Human life is played between the extremes of order and chaos (a JBP point). Too much order is stultifying. Too much chaos makes people crazy. Ultra-long-term monogamy is excess order. I don’t think it can be totally overcome. Maybe very low and very high libido people can do it.

      For a lot of people, cohabitation kills the erotic mystery. Cohabitation almost has to. That is part of the reason why I have been floating the “separate bedrooms are a good idea for long-term couples” idea, which most of my friends reject instantly and being unromantic. Maybe I would’ve thought the same… a long time ago.

      Will write a longer reply when I have time.

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  2. Specific Question: Have you ever been in a position, where you were going to swap… you liked the girl you would receive… but the interest of YOUR girl in the other guy was a turn off?

    As in, “She is turned on by that?”

    This is kind of in the same vein as girls seeing you with a “HOT” girl raise your value. While seeing your interest in a homely/ugly girl would lower your value.

    Have you ever held a girl in lower esteem after a swap because she was into the guy she was matched with in the swap (and you thought he was off putting in some way)??

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    1. Specific Question: Have you ever been in a position, where you were going to swap… you liked the girl you would receive… but the interest of YOUR girl in the other guy was a turn off?

      As in, “She is turned on by that?”

      Not really… I tend to bring girls who are above, often well above, the sex club average, so I’m pretty used to it. There have been couples I’ve had to cut off, after the first or second meeting, because the guy is too interested in my date, or the other woman isn’t sufficiently into me. I’ve never actually had a girl I’m with permanently leave me for a guy from a sex club.

      Have you ever held a girl in lower esteem after a swap because she was into the guy she was matched with in the swap (and you thought he was off putting in some way)??

      Probably a little bit, but I tell chicks: this only works if we put each other first. If we don’t, the whole thing will fall apart. Which I’m okay with: most relationships fail, for all kinds of reasons.

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