Jealousy and compersion, retroactively


New member
Hi all,

I dip in and out of this forum, really want to stick around more.

Anyway, I'm in a relationship with Sagan (m, 36), who is married to Rice (35, f). It's both my and Sagan's first time being actively poly despite both identifying as such for many years and struggling in monogamous relationships. Rice struggled a lot with feeling jealous at the start but she has overcome it and she and I get on well now.

Although it seems to be generally frowned upon, I find that I need to approach the relationship as a hierarchy. Rice is 'above' me and her needs are more important than mine. It may sound unhealthy but it's the only way I can live with him needing her permission to see me, and the way she very occasionally texts him during our dates, demanding he come home immediately, and he drops everything to go and be with her. As long as I consider her to be the primary and myself secondary, I don't feel hard done by in those situations and I don't feel jealous when I think of them living together, having sex, the emotional bond they have etc.

But lately they've been having problems and are currently on a trial separation. I'm very sad that it's happening and I hope with all my heart that they work it out. But it's messing with the hierarchy that was keeping me safe in my head, because now that they're no longer living together and they have set restrictions on how often they will meet up, I see him more often than she does and he no longer has to check with her as part of the process of he and I making plans. I obviously don't consider myself his 'primary' or anything, but it does mean that that safe place beneath her in the ranks isn't there anymore.

Now, I very recently joined fetlife. They've both been on it for a good while now. And because I'm an idiot, I went lurking through her writings. I don't know what I expected to find but of course I found a veeerry detailed description of the sex they had had on their last anniversary. Hotel, four poster bed, champagne, strawberries, restraints, hot tubs... awesome! And I feel like throwing up :(. I want to just feel happy for them both that they had an amazing time, but I just feel jealous and sick and the mental images are burning.

I'm still very much a newbie to all this so I'd be grateful for anyone's thoughts on how I can handle this situation. I feel ashamed of feeling jealous. But I feel jealous. At least I think that's what this hot, nauseous feeling is!

All the best!
Nothing says you have to feel OK with knowing the details of their love life. You have inadvertently stepped over a boundary that you weren't aware existed. You'll just need to move on and deal with it. It's like walking in on your parents having sex. Everyone supports and enjoys the knowledge of their parents loving each other but very few need to know or SEE the details.
If you are all on fetlife, it might be a good idea to not go into detail about your sexlife (or if she does, refrain from reading it). That is something you can discuss with him and possably also her. It has nothing to do with jealousy, it is about disclosure. Some couples choose to tell a lot of details about dates with others, others tell less, some very little, some almost never. I do discuss sometimes relationship problems, or joys, of one with the other, but on the romantic side I am weary of causing problems.

I never share anything sexual with the boys, or that they will find out in any way. I do sometime share sexual details from my life online, but my boys could not care less so there is no chance that one would see what I write about the other. I will sometimes share with one of them that I plan to buy candles or champagne for the other, but even that I have started to keep to myself and just focus on keeping the date part absolutely seperate. I will maybe once a year tell something very wagely related to sexual stuff with the other one but never reffering to one single date or sexual event, that would just be bad form.
Hi Terrsha,

If you are looking for ways to cope with jealousy, I can offer some links:

Let us discuss the greeneye monster shall we?
How to slay the greeneyed beastie.

How To Contain The Green Monster
Jealousy, Envy, Insecurity, Etc.
How do you achieve compersion?

The Theory of Jealousy Management
The Practice of Jealousy Management

Jealousy and the Poly Family
Kathy Labriola: Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster
Brené Brown: the Power of Vulnerability

Unfortunately, once you have "seen" an unpleasant visual, you can't "unsee" it, so you will just have to work through the uncomfortable feelings it conjured up. Hopefully it'll get easier over time.

Kevin T.