Entering the lifestyle can bring up a lot of feelings that should be addressed if you don’t want a really bad experience. One of the more common and frightening feelings associated with starting a lifestyle journey is jealousy. Jealousy has an interesting place in society; it’s encouraged in some situations, vilified in others. Society often encourages jealousy in relationships. Think about all those rom-com movies where the guy has no idea how much he cares until he sees the object of his desire being swept off her feet by a new suitor. Society practically demands some level of jealousy in committed relationships: heaven forbid that you are “too” secure because if you’re not jealous “enough” you could be judged for being an inattentive or unfeeling partner. We personally find this idea pretty crazy. Why on earth should such an unpleasant emotion be the hallmark sign that you sufficiently love your partner? Wouldn’t it make more sense to demonstrate love by focusing on positivity and support?
Life is too short to spend feeling jealous; we feel that our time is better spent loving and supporting each other as we travel together on an honest and open path. Jealousy might be natural, but we should strive to overcome it in the same way we would strive to overcome resentment, frustration, and other natural negative emotions.
Still, striving to overcome jealousy doesn’t mean that it will magically disappear overnight. You’re going to experience it at some point in your relationship – everyone does. That is not a bad thing, and it’s important to recognize these feelings instead of trying to ignore or repress them. Jealousy is subjective and can be different for each person and each situation. Some people feel jealous when someone else uses a special nickname for their partner, while other people have no problem with that. Maybe you don’t feel jealous of your partner holding someone else’s hand or even touching them sexually, but the thought of them kissing someone else drives you crazy. There is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings. What is important is that we identify, understand, communicate and evolve to better address our feelings, jealousy included.
At various times in our lives we might feel insecure or confused, and that can flame the feelings of jealousy. The first step to positively handling unpleasant feelings like jealousy is to acknowledge them. By acknowledging our feelings, we remind ourselves that we are all humans and this is real life, not a scripted sitcom. Not everything is going to be perfect. We may feel lonely, insecure, or jealous, and that is 100% natural. We are doing nothing wrong by having perfectly natural human emotions. There’s no point in beating ourselves up for having these feelings. Most swingers and other people in the lifestyle have experienced these unpleasant feelings. Participating in this sexy lifestyle does not mean that you flip a switch and become some shiny little sex machine devoid of any unpleasant human emotions. The good news is that there are ways to handle and address these unpleasant emotions so we can move forward towards a more positive future.
Once you realize you are having unpleasant feelings like jealousy or insecurity, you should take a moment to reflect on why it is happening. We want to understand the underlying contributors to our unpleasant feelings. That is easier said than done, since these unpleasant feelings can be quite powerful and be confused with other strong feelings. You may need to take several days to relax so you can more clearly reflect on what has triggered your emotions. Is there something specific that has caused you to feel jealous? Is it a new feeling, or have you been feeling jealous for a while? Can you think of anything you or your partner can do to help soothe the jealous feelings and boost your confidence?
Taking a step back from the situation is a great tool for gaining perspective. Once you have had a chance to reflect on what triggered your feelings of jealousy, you can use this valuable information to learn more about yourself and what you value in your relationship. Did you get jealous seeing how excitedly your partner got ready for a date with someone else? Perhaps you miss experiencing that level of excitement yourself and need to plan a special adventurous night out (with your partner or someone else) to do something brand new or something you love but haven’t been able to do in a long time. Did hearing your partner talk about how great another person’s eyes looked the other night feel like a blow right to the gut? Perhaps you haven’t felt very noticed lately and need your partner to really see you (and your eyes!) too.
One helpful step to dealing with jealousy and maximizing your happiness is to cut out the negative and judgmental people in your life. Negative people who teach us that we need to be jealous to prove our love should be ignored and avoided. If they aren’t complaining about one thing, they will be complaining about another thing. We want to surround ourselves with positive people who encourage us to make the best decisions for ourselves and our partners based on love and support instead of fear or jealousy.
Jealousy is one of the first emotions that comes to mind when people think about swinging. But there’s another emotion that very few people will think of when they consider swinging: it’s called compersion, and it’s the opposite of jealousy. It’s a very positive feeling you experience when your loved one is enjoying something. It’s a form of empathy, where your partner’s good time becomes your good time, even if you’re not directly involved. Basically, compersion boils down to “whatever gives my partner pleasure gives me great pleasure.”
Imagine you are eating a great new snack that you just discovered. Let’s share this snack with your loved one, because even though this snack is amazing, you really love your partner and want to share it with them. If you enjoy that snack more after sharing it with your loved one, you are feeling compersion. You are not jealous that your loved one is also enjoying your new favorite snack. You don’t resent having less of the snack for yourself. There is excitement and happiness that your partner is having a great experience. Vicariously, you are enjoying your partner’s happy taste buds. You are experiencing compersion.
To go a step further, imagine that you’re at your local spa for a couple’s massage. You’re both getting massaged in the same room, sharing a wonderfully romantic moment together. Do you feel a little happier than you would during a normal, solo massage because your partner is also enjoying a great massage? This is another example of compersion.
Many people join the swinging lifestyle without even knowing about the joys of compersion but soon come to experience it deeply. Swinging doesn’t cause them to have jealous fears over losing their partner. Instead, they experience an exciting, warm and positive feeling by seeing and/or hearing about their partner’s additional sexual pleasure. Bringing that excitement back to their private bedroom, to fuel their intimate enjoyment of one another, only helps that feeling grow!
Compersion is a feeling, and like all feelings it can’t really be manufactured. You can’t force yourself to feel compersion, just like you can’t force yourself to feel happy when something good happens to your worst enemy. If you are someone who generally experiences a lot of jealousy, it is less likely you will experience compersion without a great deal of emotional work. Not reaching compersion doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that swinging is not for you, but compersion can help you and your partner share even more happy, sexy, fun experiences in the lifestyle.