We receive questions almost weekly from fellow swingers asking how to combat jealousy in their relationships. They’ll ask things like, “I’m worried about my partner seeing me with someone else because I don’t want him/her to get jealous.” Or even, “I became really jealous during this particular interaction, and I want to work through it so that I don’t feel it again.” We totally understand why people have a negative reaction to their partner’s or their own feelings of jealousy. It’s far from a pleasant emotion, and it can quickly spiral into feelings of self-consciousness, anger, or resentment. However, jealousy can also be a positive thing, a catalyst for increased sexual desire or intensity with your partner.
My Experience with Jealousy
To illustrate my point, allow me to explain a situation we found ourselves in recently: We met a couple while traveling for a meet and greet event. We clicked almost instantly and thoroughly enjoyed our time with them (albeit asexual at the time). They then traveled to spend more time with us at our home. The wife, a beautiful older woman, was quite taken by Brian, which she made obvious in text messages to both of us before their arrival as well as her interactions with him in person. When the four of us would talk, she would direct her eye contact, the body of her direction, etc. toward Brian and Brian alone. Brian told me he didn’t notice this but trust me, as a woman, it’s something you notice!
I was not bothered by her attention toward Brian. I actually found it quite flattering. I kept thinking to myself, “I am one lucky woman to have such a sexy man.” I reveled in the energy she was providing him because it felt quite erotic in nature and excited me. That energy is something that has fueled many swaps for me personally. Sure, it’s hot to hook up with someone’s good-looking hubby, but it’s far more enticing to me to see Brian pleasuring a lovely lady. All night, I drank in that sexual energy and hoped it would carry into the bedroom.
The Energy Shift
When clothes came off, however, my mood shifted quickly. The wife focused every ounce of energy on Brian, and he reciprocated. For the first time during our entire swinging journey, I felt like I was watching from the outside, unable to get in. I would try to interact somehow, to make a joke to her or to remark on something sexy they were doing. I even brushed her arm, only to then brush Brian’s arm. Still, I received what at the time felt like an icy response. I was confused. And in all honesty, I was jealous! I was shocked by this since, for our entire time in the lifestyle, I had prided myself on feeling absolutely zero jealousy.
Brian soon picked up on my feelings of unease, and gracefully ended the interaction before getting a chance to experience the wife fully. I felt a mixture of embarrassment and anger in that moment. I didn’t want to feel these things! That wasn’t me! Now, in that moment, I had a choice: I could either get upset and place blame, or I could examine my feelings.
Luckily, I knew something very important about jealousy — that it’s a secondary emotion and can always be attributed to an underlying reason. I took several days to sit with my thoughts and, still now, I feel I am examining them closely to understand what led to these feelings. The conclusion I came to is that I felt slighted in that moment. I didn’t feel self-conscious, I wasn’t angry that Brian was enjoying himself thoroughly and I, of course, was not concerned that he would be more sexually attracted to the wife. It was more about respect. Based on my previous experiences in the lifestyle and what I personally do to make all parties comfortable during an interaction, I felt that my personal desires and comfortability were not seriously considered.
In reality, nobody was trying to disrespect me. Quite the contrary — I am confident (now looking at it from a logical rather than emotional stance) that all parties involved care about me and would not purposefully make me feel rebuffed. So then the question became, what could have been done to avoid the negative feelings I experienced? I have decided now that separate room play is probably best for situations where Brian and the wife want to focus solely on each other. Being removed from that energy transfer is a better arrangement for me. Also, I need to communicate this need in the future: the need for interaction with me, checking in with me, and allowing me to touch and correspond with Brian during our playtime in the same room.
Learning From These Feelings
In short, jealousy is really normal. Even more importantly, it can be very constructive if viewed in the right light. From this particular interaction, I learned things about myself and my style of play, as well as how to more productively interact with others the next time we find ourselves in a similar situation. But that only happened because I didn’t allow the jealousy to fester or, worse yet, to cause resentment for my partner. I will likely experience some form of jealousy again, and I feel well-equipped to take a step back and understand how it can positively impact me as a nonmonogamous person.