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In other words, when my partner is out on a date and I am at home with the cat, rather than stomping around in a jealous rage or torturing myself with what-if-he-leaves-me-for-her thoughts, I would aim to acknowledge my jealous pang as a normal feeling, but remind myself that my partner loves me, that they aren’t leaving, and to be happy that they’re enjoying themselves tonight and to enjoy my alone time with the cat. In comparison with monogamy, in fact, it forces a kind of work on trust that monogamous relationships bypass via the terms of monogamy.
Many take the trust experienced in monogamous relationships to be the epitome of the thing, but from another perspective, the “trust” experienced in monogamy isn’t trust exactly, but rather dutifully carrying out the terms of a treaty.
Trust that a casual tryst will not threaten your love.
Trust that a new partner is truly an addition and not a replacement.
That, however, is like saying that stealing is a type of trade.
While cheating does indeed exist and the people who cheat may declare themselves non- monogamous, it is not a relationship style in and of itself, but instead a clear breach of monogamy and/or non-monogamy depending on what style is being practiced by the parties involved and what agreements have been put in place.
That, or you’re in serious denial about your emotions. People who practice non-monogamy are more than aware of the existence of jealousy, and more than capable of experiencing it themselves.
Rather than the absence of jealousy, non-monogamy relies on an acceptance of jealousy, with the ultimate goal of acknowledging it, unlearning it, and replacing it with compersion - a feeling of happiness in one’s self derived from the happiness of another. Jealousy, while it can be worked with and talked through, is a natural emotion that even those of us who choose to take a non-traditional path still experience. Especially when you’ve grown up in a society that equates love to possession, the work of dealing with jealousy is not easy.
If a couple agrees to threesomes only but one partner makes out with a stranger in a bar? Four parties in a group relationship agree not to involve new partners before getting tested, but then someone does the deed prematurely? Non-monogamy is not something that takes place in dark corners and on password protected apps without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved. Another idea that’s floating around out there is that non-monogamous relationships are becoming so popular in our monogamy dominated society because monogamy is this challenging thing that takes time, dedication and hard work, whereas non-monogamy is…well…easy.
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You won’t love or sleep with anyone else, and neither will I. Once possession is removed, the love between two or more people is no longer defined by what they will not do with others, but by what they actually feel and have together.
You are not being asked simply to trust that your partner will obey your mutually established rules, but instead to trust in your mutually established love.