Earlier this week, I mentioned my advice to a Redditor to describe his jealousy as “stupid” and “irrational”… which got me an earful from several quarters. And rightfully so.
This is one of those instances where the specific audience matters. The Redditor in question was wanting a poly relationship. They knew their fears and jealousy weren’t based in anything… but still kept feeling them.
In such a case, it is vital to acknowledge that our fears are not based in anything…. because that helps keep people from getting defensive. And if people manage to avoid becoming defensive, then they start being able to be problem-solving, and to work through whatever issues exist.
But… and this is a big one… there’s lots of people for whom these fears are not imaginary. Perhaps their last relationship – or last several – have been blown up by infidelity.
Thing is, in such cases, the advice stays roughly the same:
Ask them if they’d be able to temporarily (again, use that word) slow down and perhaps have some temporary limits to help you adjust.
Again, stress temporary. This should NOT be an ongoing thing – this is you untraining your old reactions to stimuli by having them do more and more things and nothing happening so that you unlearn this old reaction.
And that goes regardless of what shape your relationship takes. We all have baggage; being respectful and empathetic of our partner(s) baggage is something necessary if we’re going to have genuine relationships with anyone else.