Very jealous partner (help!)

TheModernDeath

New member
So I am dating two people. One is named BB. The other is named Alex. Both are poly and have other relationships.

I am new to polyamory, but I enjoy it quite a bit! It gives me room to be with those I love while meeting new people. I love BB and Alex equally, and both are just as important as the other. I like learning about each one individually, and our time spent together is unique. Honestly, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

However, I have learned, very quickly, that each one of our boundaries is very different. I am pretty flexible. I am okay with BB and Alex's other relationships. I am okay with them having sex. I am okay with them talking about it. I am okay with them flirting with other people. I am okay with expressing who we think is hot. My partners are NOT like this, though. Their boundaries are pretty strict.

Alex is pretty forgiving and bounces back pretty fast. Overall, he's not a very jealous person.

BB, on the other hand, is very very jealous, and very insecure. He demands a lot of attention in the relationship, and this pisses Alex off. They'll fight about it, and I don't know what to do. I confronted BB about this, and he admits he's in the wrong. Regardless, he gets so sad. We definitely need to establish boundaries somehow so this won't keep happening, but I don't know how. I am SO new to this.

Things like diagrams, lists, and questions help a lot in our relationships. We did one for consent (I am Asexual) and it went super well.

Does anyone know of any good questions or guidelines to offer your partner? Seems stupid, but I don't know what to ask!
 
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Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
Has BB sought medical advice about his mood(s)? I'm seeing things in your description that are reminiscent of my ex.
 

LoveForTea

New member
I'm sorry you're struggling with this, TheModernDeath!

BB, on the other hand, is very very jealous, and very insecure. He demands a lot of attention in the relationship, and this pisses Alex off. They'll fight about it, and I don't know what to do. I confronted BB about this, and he admits he's in the wrong. Regardless, he gets so sad. We definitely need to establish boundaries somehow so this won't keep happening, but I don't know how. I am SO new to this.
I'm not getting a good sense of context from this description. How does BB express his jealousy and demands for attention? How does Alex get to know about it? Is he there, do you or BB tell him? In what way do you think BB is "in the wrong"? When he gets sad, how does he deal with that emotion?

Would you be willing to give some more details?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle. I do not understand what parts of this are your responsibility or even how Alex knows. Could you please be willing to clarify?

BB, on the other hand, is very very jealous, and very insecure. He demands a lot of attention in the relationship, and this pisses Alex off. They'll fight about it, and I don't know what to do.
Is it that he DEMANDS rather than requests or ask for attention?

If BB asks you for lots of attention? Isn't it up to you to determine if you have the bandwidth? If you have space, go ahead and schedule extra time/dates with BB. If your calendar is already full, you say no.

How BB feels about it? That's BB's emotional management to do. Each person could do their own emotional management.

Presumably Alex has dates with you on the calendar and you schedule those with Alex. So Alex stuff has nothing to do with BB stuff. Or vice versa.

So how would Alex even know what times you spend with BB? Or the other way around?

If they fight? Unless you are doing behavior that fuels that? Let them sort it out among themselves. Or tell them you prefer a very separate V with no/minimal contact between your dating partners.

However, I have learned, very quickly, that each one of our boundaries is very different. I am pretty flexible. I am okay with BB and Alex's other relationships. I am okay with them having sex. I am okay with them talking about it. I am okay with them flirting with other people. I am okay with expressing who we think is hot. My partners are NOT like this, though. Their boundaries are pretty strict.
Are you respecting their personal boundaries? Is it that you overshare info?

Like you telling Alex all your BB problems? Or you telling BB all your Alex problems? And then your behavior leads to them being grumpy at each other when really they'd do better if you DIDN'T overshare and respected their stricter boundaries?

If so, you could stop oversharing. Just because you are ok hearing about things about their other relationships, doesn't mean Alex or BB are.

Just because Alex "bounces back" and forgives, doesn't mean he enjoys having this personal boundaries crossed.

And then BB? If oversharing with him just leads to whatever upset of his? Why stir things up? Ultimately he's responsible for doing his personal work to solve whatever root causes of his fears, jealousy, insecurity. But you don't have to push trigger buttons.

I confronted BB about this, and he admits he's in the wrong. Regardless, he gets so sad.

When he does something he knows is wrong, is it appropriate for him to feel sad/bummed out/contrite about doing this behavior when he reflects on it?

You are not able to let him experience all his emotions without you jumping in to "fix his feelings" for him?

We definitely need to establish boundaries somehow so this won't keep happening, but I don't know how. I am SO new to this.

"We" do not set boundaries. To me personal boundaries are something I set up for ME to obey and enforce.

If I have a personal boundary of "I honor commitments in the order made" and "I honor my own need for rest", if BB calls me up wanting extra dates/time and my calendar has open slots? I can offer him the time. If it's already full this week or I need total rest or rest time with my family and friends away from dating partners? Then I have to say "Not available" and suggest scheduling further out.

And nope. I'm not canceling dates with Alex for BB unless it is actual emergencies. Having a bad day at work, not being able to sleep -- these things are not COMFORTABLE. But neither are they actual emergencies to me. Maybe that is a conversation you could have with each partner. What is and is not an actual emergency?

If I have a personal boundary of "I do not share personal information about my partners without their consent" and BB wants me to tell him (Alex+ me personal things?) I say "No, thank you. That is personal information about another partner. I cannot share that."

If BB has other poly partners, what makes THIS so different? Is the problem is that BB wants open/poly for him but not for you? His other partners only see him and not anyone else?

I think BB could be looking up his own resources if he wants to address/solve his jealousy stuff. He's the one who has to do the work. I don't know if this would help any. It's just 2 -- there are others. You might be willing to point to a few, and then tell him to search for more on his own.



But just because you are the hinge? That doesn't mean you have to be doing everything for everyone. Each person could do their own fair share.

Galagirl
 
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TheModernDeath

New member
I split up my time equally among the two guys. BB wants more time with me because me spending time with Alex makes him sad. I would give him more slots if I could, but again their time is equal. I don't think BB is being manipulative or anything. I just think he feels the human emotion of jealousy. The reason why Alex knows is because BB and Alex are friends. So when he asks for more time, and I ask Alex about it, Alex gets upset. They also talk to each other.

I think what makes this different is that BB wants me to be a primary, and I don't want him to be the main guy. I want to date Alex and BB equally. Which I understand I need to talk to them about.

I think it's important to address that I simply don't know. I don't know how to form boundaries in poly relationships, which is why I am asking. I understand that I am messing up, and I understand that I am very ignorant. I'm not doing anything on purpose, so I don't know where the assumption comes from. I never said I was doing things like "oversharing information", so I don't know why it's assumed I am purposing triggering BB. I would like to improve my actions which is why I am on here.

Thanks, Kdt, I'll check those resources out!
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thank you for a little more detail. It helps.

I never said I was doing things like "oversharing information", so I don't know why it's assumed I am purposing triggering BB. I would like to improve my actions which is why I am on here.

I apologize for any discomfort. I am not assuming you are doing anything mean spirited. Your original post didn't really give much detail. So based on what I see a lot? I was guessing to try to help you.

Like... Could it be from this this? Could it be that? How about this thing? Are you accidentally doing __ without realizing?

I expected you to go... No, not any of A or B, maybe a little C, actually now that you mention it maybe D is a possibility. Or similar. Or maybe none of the guesses are right.

I think it's important to address that I simply don't know. I don't know how to form boundaries in poly relationships, which is why I am asking.

Well... could you elaborate? How is forming boundaries in poly relationships any different that forming your personal boundaries in any other relationship? Among family/relatives? Among friends? Among coworkers?

You didn't mention that they were friends before you started dating them.

Sometimes people put friends on the "messy people" list. Like you could ask "Please don't date my parents, siblings, boss, roomie, best friend, etc. People that would just get too weird and messy if you date them AND me. In return I won't date any of your messy people list."

Usually people turn to the friend for support if something goes wrong, but it's hard to do that if the friend IS the other dating partner. YKWIM?

So maybe some of this upset stems from that?

However it pans out with these two? You might talk with each of them separately about the "messy people" list.

I split up my time equally among the two guys. BB wants more time with me because me spending time with Alex makes him sad. I would give him more slots if I could, but again their time is equal.

Sounds like you prefer to keep them on equal time at this point and don't want to think about an uneven schedule like 3 days for BB and 2 days for Alex. So maybe BB may have to accept this is all you are willing to do at this time.

And maybe you may have to accept that he feels sad right now without doing anything else about it? You can't go bending yourself into pretzels. If that's all the time you have, that's all the time you have.

The reason why Alex knows is because BB and Alex are friends. So when he asks for more time, and I ask Alex about it, Alex gets upset. They also talk to each other.

The behavior in bold is the part you can change. You can stop asking Alex about it. You can just decide what's going on with your calendar yourself.

The part in blue is their behavior. You could ask them not to compare how many dates each one gets from you or not. But if they do it anyway and it leads to them having an argument with each other?

You might set these personal boundaries.

1) You expect them to deal with arguments that ensue from them comparing calendar on their own. Without any help from you.

Because you told them from the start not to share/compare calendar details if it just makes them upset. You aren't not a tug-o-war toy. You get to pick how you spend your time.

2) If they keep at it? You can decide if you are tired of it or not. And if you want to keep dating them or not.

I think what makes this different is that BB wants me to be a primary, and I don't want him to be the main guy. I want to date Alex and BB equally. Which I understand I need to talk to them about.

If you date BB? And he wants to practice a primary-secondary model and be your primary? Where you prefer a different model? The issue lies there. You tell him "No, thanks. I don't want to do primary-secondary model. I prefer a co-primary model." He either lets go of the want, or if it is a deal breaker for him? He can bow out. Initially compatible, but not deeply compatible.

Could talk to Alex separately about what sort of poly model he wants to practice with you separately.

To me this is just part of the "getting to know you" stuff of dating.

How long have you been dating each one of them? Do they have these problems with their other poly partners? Are you the only one they have in common as a dating partner? Maybe its from that?

Galagirl
 
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TheModernDeath

New member
Well... could you elaborate? How is forming boundaries in poly relationships any different that forming your personal boundaries in any other relationship? Among family/relatives? Among friends? Among coworkers?

Not to get too personal, but I guess that might be an overall problem with me. My family growing up didn't believe in boundaries, so I had to learn them at a later age. I guess that's why I am asking if anyone has any good ideas on questions to ask to establish boundaries. Or if they have diagrams. Or articles. Those sorts of things help me establish those kinds of things.

Sometimes people put friends on the "messy people" list. Like you could ask "Please don't date my parents, siblings, boss, roomie, best friend, etc. People that would just get too weird and messy if you date them AND me. In return I won't date any of your messy people list."

Oh, I didn't realize this. I dated BB first and asked him if it was okay to date Alex. He said sure, so I didn't think it was messy.

Usually people turn to the friend for support if something goes wrong, but it's hard to do that if the friend IS the other dating partner. YKWIM?

So maybe some of this upset stems from that?

However it pans out with these two? You might talk with each of them separately about the "messy people" list.

I see what you mean. Luckily Alex and BB aren't THAT close of friends. They just know each other and communicate.
Sounds like you prefer to keep them on equal time at this point and don't want to think about an uneven schedule like 3 days for BB and 2 days for Alex. So maybe BB may have to accept this is all you are willing to do at this time.

And maybe you may have to accept that he feels sad right now without doing anything else about it? You can't go bending yourself into pretzels. If that's all the time you have, that's all the time you have.

I guess this is another problem I have. I can be very "momma bird" with the two of them and want to fix their insecurities. BB is sad, so I feel like I need to fix his sadness somehow. But no matter how many times I give him kisses, he's still going to feel jealous and that's his problem.


If you date BB? And he wants to practice a primary-secondary model and be your primary? Were you prefer a different model? The issue lies there. You tell him "No, thanks. I don't want to do primary-secondary model. I prefer a co-primary model." He either lets go of the want, or if it is a deal breaker for him? He can bow out. Initially compatible, but not deeply compatible.

To answer a question you ask later, I've been dating BB for one month. I've been dating Alex for a week. Doesn't sound like a long time, but I've known both of them for three years. I guess where it gets messy is that BB has had a massive crush on me for a long time. Even though he's with other people, he fell madly in love with me and wanted me to be his primary. I said sure and said he would be my primary as well.

However, my sister and Alex wanted to go on a speed dating event, (we weren't dating at the time. The three of us wanted to go as friends to support my sister) and I asked BB if I could go with them. We both knew that if I went, I might find a second partner. BB said he was fine with this. I get paired up with Alex during one of the dates. Alex confesses that he likes me.

I asked BB if it was okay with BB that Alex and I date. They're friends, so they'd find out anyway. He said yes.

The problem is I really like Alex. So it changed from BB being the primary to them both being a primary. I talked with BB and it's not a deal breaker. It just makes him sad.

How long have you been dating each one of them? Do they have these problems with their other poly partners? Are you the only one they have in common as a dating partner? Maybe its from that?

He gets jealous with his other partners as well, so I think this is just a trait BB has. He just likes me a lot, so his jealousy is even worse.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Not to get too personal, but I guess that might be an overall problem with me. My family growing up didn't believe in boundaries, so I had to learn them at a later age. I guess that's why I am asking if anyone has any good ideas on questions to ask to establish boundaries. Or if they have diagrams. Or articles. Those sorts of things help me establish those kinds of things.

Questions to ask yourself so you can figure out what is and is not acceptable behavior to you?

This is what I give my kids. I think they could help anyone of any age to clarify what they are and are not ok with in their relationships.







HTH!
Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
I think what makes this different is that BB wants me to be a primary, and I don't want him to be the main guy. I want to date Alex and BB equally. Which I understand I need to talk to them about.

My personal approach would be to focus on this bit here. I understand that BB has some behavior issues he's working through, but that's his burden to bare. While it would be appropriate for you to be kind and compassionate regarding his struggle, it would not be appropriate (in my world) for you to take his suffering on as your own.

So for me, you would want to focus on what it is that YOU want, and less on how to make everyone happy. Some folks are just not going to be happy with what they get, and that's just a bummer and something they'll need to deal with. Sometimes you aren't going to be happy with what you get, and that's something you'll need to deal with.

Things like diagrams, lists, and questions help a lot in our relationships. We did one for consent (I am Asexual) and it went super well.

I'm glad to hear that you guys are addressing your communication constructively and that you already have some solid groundwork set up. That can be tough to do, depending on the personality types involved, so good on you.

The chart I would recommend would include your boundaries about how you willing to spend your time. Here are a few examples based on what I've gleaned (not to be taken as literal suggestions, just concepts that might help illustrate):

"Date time" is any pre-scheduled period of time that is intended exclusively to include one or the other of you.​
I will split my date time between each of you as equally as I can.​
When I am having date time with one of you, I will not have correspondence with the other.​
I will not discuss the specifics of my date time with one person, with the other. I will of course have friendly chat about it, but there will be no details.​
"My time" is any time that is not currently scheduled as "date time"​
During my time, I may not respond to texts quickly, or at all. Ordinarily I will respond quickly, but this may not always be the case.​

The most fundamental boundaries will always be about you and how you intend on living your life and interacting with the world. In a healthy relationship where everyone is behaving themselves, you would first discuss what everyone's expectations are and then align your existing relationship in the overlap. Then, this type of boundary should be all that you need. When someone is being a shithead you may end up needing what I would call restrictive boundaries, which are behaviors that you will NOT allow in your life.

I don't generally recommend them. Usually I would say that someone isn't being an adult, and that the association may need to be adjusted because someone has expectations that are out of alignment with reality. If you find yourself needing these, go back to the step of openly and clearly discussing what everyone's expectations are, because something is going sideways.

Do not reach out to me while I am having date time. The times are posted on our shared calendar.​
Do not prompt me about details of my dates. This is private information that I am not willing to share.​
Do not prompt me about texts I have not responded to. I will get to them when I get to them.​
 

TheModernDeath

New member
My personal approach would be to focus on this bit here. I understand that BB has some behavior issues he's working through, but that's his burden to bare. While it would be appropriate for you to be kind and compassionate regarding his struggle, it would not be appropriate (in my world) for you to take his suffering on as your own.

I do have trouble doing this. I guess I inherently think it's my fault they are jealous, and that I need to fix it. Thank you for pointing this out because it forces me to think about the fact.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I've been dating BB for one month. I've been dating Alex for a week.

Not very long with either side then. So maybe it's reasonable to expect some "growing pains" as everyone adjusts and figures out how you all want to be doing poly together.

You don't sound like you are doing anything mean on purpose or by accident to anyone.

Why is it your fault if BB or Alex feel jealous? Is it bad to feel jealous? I get some feelings are more fun to feel (ex: happy, excited) and other feelings are less fun to feel (ex: sad, mad). But whether sunny days or stormy skies, they all pass over time and some other feelings ensue.

Everyone sounds like adults who consent to be here of their own free will. Presumably they are willing to deal with the ups and downs of polyshipping.

If anyone changes their mind about participating this a poly model? They are free to bow out. You aren't forcing them to be here.

You don't have to be here either if you change your mind. In dating, some initial connections pan out. Some don't. It's early days here still. Enjoy getting to know each partner and be ok letting it unfold as it does.

Galagirl
 

IvanTrentBrown

New member
I was in a relationship with a married woman. Her husband had major jealously issues and did not approve of me.

I wrestled with this because he was a friend and I had guilt for being a source of his jealousy.

As time went on I came to the realization that I wasn't to blame. It was something the husband and wife had to work out and never did.
I wasn't going to let that stand in the way of my relationship with the wife.

But the wife and I eventually ended our relationship on bad terms. I feel if the husband was less closed off and willing to talk to me our friendship could have been saved. I know it would have been difficult for him to do, but it was on him to open up communication.

In a way, I'm angry with the husband because in a way it ended what I had with the wife. I can only learn from this and hopefully grow.
 
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