Navigating jealousy and insecurity in polyamory

Polyamorous relationships are growing more popular by the day. But just like any type of relationship, some complications come with polyamory.

In polyamorous relationships, it’s normal for one or multiple people to feel jealous and insecure. While some people believe that jealousy and insecurity aren’t a thing in a polyamorous relationship, that’s far from the truth.

Just like in any relationship, it’s critical to address jealousy and insecurity immediately to prevent them from hindering the relationship.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can navigate jealousy and insecurity while practising polyamory. While everyone has their own approach to polyamory, these tips serve as a good foundation when entering the poly world.

Let’s jump into it.

Are feelings of jealousy and insecurity normal in polyamorous relationships?

Polyamorous relationships offer unique dynamics for everyone involved. Unlike traditional relationships, people in polyamorous setups typically engage in a primary partner and a secondary or even a tertiary partner. This isn’t your typical relationship, but just like any relationship, feelings of jealousy and insecurity are normal for polyamorous relationships.

Just because a person has relationships with multiple partners doesn’t mean they can’t feel jealous. It’s common for polyamorous individuals to immediately dismiss jealousy and insecurity because of the unique dynamic of these relationships. However, rest assured that any type of jealousy you feel when in a polyamorous relationship is valid and deserves attention.

That said, jealousy and insecurity may manifest themselves differently in poly relationships. This is why people in these dynamics sometimes struggle with approaching these feelings.

However, you must remember that just because the feelings manifest themselves differently doesn’t mean they’re invalid. Jealousy and insecurity are feelings essential to the human experience.

So, if you or one of your partners experiences these feelings while in a relationship, there are many ways to approach the issue and find an amicable solution, which we will delve into below.

How to manage jealousy and insecurity in polyamorous relationships

The first step in managing jealousy in a polyamorous relationship is to acknowledge the feelings and recognise them as valid. You won’t be able to manage these feelings unless all parties acknowledge them. From there, it will be easier to have an open and honest conversation about your feelings, allowing you to find the right solution.

That said, you must approach every issue in your relationship differently. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to relationship problems, including jealousy. This is why you must consider your partner’s situation, feelings, and needs when opening up these conversations.

Here are some tips to make it easier for you to start opening up conversations about jealousy and insecurity with your partner, whether they’re a primary, secondary, or tertiary one.

Approach the issue with empathy

If your partner or partners approach you and open up that they’re feeling jealous or insecure in the relationship, it’s always best to empathise with them. These feelings are valid, regardless of your agreement with your partner.

So, the first step should be understanding why they are feeling jealous and acknowledging that everything they feel is valid. That way, it will be easier to talk about the issue and get down to the main causes of the issue.

It’s unfortunately pretty common for some partners to disregard or even vilify the other’s feelings of jealousy and insecurity. This is an unhealthy practice as it completely invalidates what your partner is feeling while also sowing the seeds of larger issues down the line.

There’s no shame in feeling uncomfortable or confused if your polyamorous partner talks about jealousy and insecurity. However, it’s important to validate your partner’s feelings and remain open with them when discussing the issue. That way, you can have a healthy discourse and find a practical solution to the issue moving forward.

One way to openly talk about feelings is to use “I” language. Essentially, you only approach the conversation from your POV using “I” statements. An example of this could be as follows:

I feel really hurt when you don’t include me in your evening plans.”


You really hurt me when you don’t include me in your evening plans.”

The difference between these two forms of communication is that you avoid blaming the other person. This means you will minimise the sudden setoff of defensiveness, which can lead to a more open conversation where no party feels the need to invalidate and minimise your feelings for themselves to feel heard and understood.

Get down to the root of the problem

Jealousy is a very strong emotion. It can blind and confuse people, making it hard to pinpoint exactly why they feel a certain way. In fact, most people struggle with determining why they feel jealous of their partner, which is a major hindrance to healthy conversations about jealousy.

That’s why if you or your partner is feeling jealous, one of your priorities should be getting to the root of the issue. Try to determine if the feelings of jealousy stem from insecurity with their metamour, if you feel like you aren’t getting enough time and attention from your partner because of their new relationship, or if it’s something completely different. The bottom line is that all parties must determine the root of the person’s jealousy.

While it may sound simple, determining why someone feels jealous isn’t easy. This may take longer than a single conversation, as some people need a lot of time and reflection to determine why they’re feeling jealous.

From there, you can start figuring out how the person responds to these feelings of jealousy and the best way to address the issue.

Face the heteronormativity that comes with jealousy

At times, ideas of heteronormativity may cause jealousy and insecurity in polyamorous relationships. Heteronormativity is the concept that certain relationships are “better” or more “normal” than others. Specifically, heteronormativity is the way most people see straight, monogamous relationships as “normal” and everything else that doesn’t fit this category as “weird” or “unnatural”.

As most of us know, these ideas are simply not true. While many people are happy and satisfied in their monogamous relationships, many individuals desire something else. In fact, not only is it possible to be in love and be in a relationship with multiple people, but this approach to relationships works better for some individuals.

Understanding how heteronormativity affects our daily lives and relationships can be a great stepping stone to approaching feelings of jealousy and insecurity in polyamorous dynamics. This can be hard for those who are new to this type of relationship, which is why there are numerous sex-positive blogs and message boards you can read.

It’s hard for polyamorous people to find like-minded individuals who won’t judge them for their relationship orientation. Again, so many people have grown up thinking that monogamous relationships are the only relationship type that works. So, naturally, those who want to break out of this pattern have difficulty expressing themselves.

But if you and your partners read up on the right media and find people to talk to about polyamory and heteronormativity without judgment, it will be much easier to navigate your feelings.

ALWAYS communicate

Communication is key in any relationship dynamic. Whether in a monogamous relationship, a threesome, or a polyamorous dynamic, partners need to be open and honest with each other. This is especially true when managing relationships with multiple people.

Again, being open and honest with your partners is the key to getting to the bottom of problems and finding solutions. The more your partner knows about your feelings and understands where they’re coming from, the easier it will be to address topics that are typically difficult to discuss.

Respect the rules

Before entering a polyamorous dynamic, it’s crucial to discuss the rules that you and your main partner must follow. These will serve as the guiding blocks to your relationship as you meet new people, develop new relationships, and grow with your main partner.

When you’re in a polyamorous relationship, these rules need to be solid, and everyone must respect them. That way, you and your partners stay within each other’s boundaries, reducing the chances of jealousy and insecurity.

The takeaway

Polyamorous relationships take a lot of work, especially when managing the jealousy and other feelings that may arise when managing romantic and sexual relationships with different people. However, always remind yourself that jealousy is completely normal in any relationship. From there, it will be much easier to navigate these feelings and adjust your dynamic until everyone is comfortable.

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