Oct 142014
 

Emperor's New ClothesI was just talking with someone interested in monogamish relationships and the looming specter of Jealousy (insert ghostly “oooOOOOoooOOooo” sound). As far as I can tell, jealousy is an entirely invented social construct. It’s like God, in that we all have to pretend to believe in it, and act like we believe in it, when we don’t really feel it at all. But we see everyone else acting as if it exists, which convinces us that it is real, and so we have to play along as well or risk being the one weirdo freak. And no one realizes that everyone is faking it.

When I let it go I found that it was complete BS. Maybe it really does exist for some guys? But I think more than anything it’s just that we’re told over and over “You have to be jealous and beat up anyone who looks at your girl, or you aren’t a real man!!” And losing your man cred in this society is fucking TERRIFYING.

I think that’s what the real motivator is. Everyone knows the patriarchy is shitty for men as well as women, but they don’t mention it too much because it’s a lot shittier for women. Well, here’s one way it’s shitty for men. You have to pretend to be jealous, and bluster about and say you’ll attack anyone who touches your mate, because if anyone sees someone other than yourself engaged in sex play with your mate you are automatically less of a man. You lose status, you can’t be taken seriously, you are something to be pitied.

Fuck that. I’ve powered through status-shaming several times already in my life, and every time I’ve been better, freer, and happier for it. Now I respect people who are in open relationships far more than those still stuck in the social straight-jacket of enforced monogamy. With the limited number of years we have here, why would you do that to your life? It’s kinda sad.

And once I let that go, and said “Fuck society, this is bullshit” I actually found that the opposite of jealousy happens. I was happy to see my girl getting that sort of pleasure. Why wouldn’t you want to see the person you love happy? And more than that… it was a complete turn on. It’s really fucking hot. At least, that’s been my experience.

  9 Responses to “Jealousy is a social construct”

  1. Perhaps you are correct, but I most distinctly do not get that impression. Also, I think that there’s a difference between poly and cheating and they therefore invoke rather different feelings.

    • Oh jesus, yeah, cheating is completely different. You can be in an open relationship and still cheat (there are still rules. My SO quips that “Cheating is doing something you have to lie about to your partner.”) Cheating would hurt, and this wasn’t supposed to be a commentary on cheating in any way.

  2. “As far as I can tell, jealousy is an entirely invented social construct.”

    You don’t think there’s a plausible evolutionary basis for jealousy in relationships?

    I consider myself jealous. But out of insecurity more than a sense of possessiveness. It’s just the way it is (for now).

    So, there’s an alternate route to this outcome that is a lot more reasonable. First, I think we’d both agree that if someone engaged in *involuntary* sex play with your mate, it’s okay to do the man-mode routine. And if you don’t stand up for your partner when they’re being harassed like this, then you are indeed less of a man, should lose status, etc.

    … and then if you only select long term partners on the basis that they want to be sexually monogamous with you in the first place, I don’t see how you get this type of patriarchy with meaningless chest thumping. All the chest thumping would be legitimate at that point.

    I haven’t thought a lot about this, but my gut is that a lot of the open relationship framework is a backlash against the whole middle-class-suburban-monogamy package. I think that package sucks for a lot of reasons, and that being in an open relationship is a great way to fix some of its pitfalls while maintaining a core of normalcy that is conducive to raising a family.

    But to me, the open relationship discussions seem a little too symmetrical to be genuine expressions of relationship preference. I can see how it’s a Schelling point when you’re trying something new and taboo for both people to play by the same rules, but from an evolutionary standpoint, I might expect to see women be monogamous with a man who is not monogamous with her, but shares his resources exclusively with her (and their children).

    It’s just that… under this setup, the man is obviously a patriarchical pig who only cares about himself and jealously monopolizes his wife whose pleasure he doesn’t care about barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen yada yada.

    So to eliminate conflict of interest, I feel like a lot of open relationships adopt a symmetrical arrangement in order to sidestep this whole shameful discussion.

    Because you’re not allowed to like sex with anyone other than your mate. But if you *dooo*, then you had better EMPHATICALLY grant everyone else on the planet the same right because two people could never have different needs.

    • Hmm, sorry for the screwed up format. I don’t see a way to edit it :(

    • > You don’t think there’s a plausible evolutionary basis for jealousy in relationships?

      Not really. Especially not considering the ancestral environment of bands of 100-150 people who were all closely related and slept in close proximity. I could see a basis for the emotion of jealousy *in general*, but it can only apply to relationships once people start thinking of their mates as property, and sexual access as binary and exclusive.

      >I consider myself jealous. But out of insecurity more than a sense of possessiveness. It’s just the way it is (for now).

      It’ll get better as the trust grows :)

      >First, I think we’d both agree that if someone engaged in *involuntary* sex play with your mate, it’s okay to do the man-mode routine.

      Oh crikey, how is that even part of the discussion? Obviously if one’s SO is being assaulted all the filters drop and you do whatever is needed to end the situation immediately, regardless of the context.

      >if you only select long term partners on the basis that they want to be sexually monogamous with you in the first place, I don’t see how you get this type of patriarchy with meaningless chest thumping

      Right. The fact that all this posturing and social pressure even exists is evidence that people do not naturally want this sort of arrangement. While there are some people who really are purely monogamous instinctively (I’ve been told), it’s obviously not the default for many others. The social pressure to conform to monogamy has probably resulted in a lot of people marrying who never should have (naturally mono with naturally poly couplings) resulting in unhappy marriages. Not unlike the 50s era gay men who married women for the same social pressure reasons, which ended up screwing up quite a few lives.

      >from an evolutionary standpoint, I might expect to see women be monogamous with a man who is not monogamous with her, but shares his resources exclusively with her (and their children).

      Sure, but I disagree that “an evolutionary standpoint” needs to be dragged in. There’s lots of ways to have open relationships. Why not monogamous men who are ok with a woman who’s not monogamous with him, but shares her resources exclusively with him and their children? The “women as property”model is not evolutionarily robust.

      >So to eliminate conflict of interest, I feel like a lot of open relationships adopt a symmetrical arrangement in order to sidestep this whole shameful discussion.
      > Because you’re not allowed to like sex with anyone other than your mate. But if you *dooo*, then you had better EMPHATICALLY grant everyone else on the planet the same right because two people could never have different needs.

      I think I understand what you’re saying, but it feels a bit like a misunderstanding. These sorts of arrangements aren’t unheard of in… um… I guess what one could call the “open community”? Some couples have only one partner that plays outside the relationship, or one that does so far less frequently. The acknowledgement of different needs is pretty universal, at least among the people I know. If anyone’s been giving you shit because (for example) you have multiple partners but your SO doesn’t care to, tell them to go fuck themselves. It’s your relationship and if everyone in it is happy, what are they doing trying to police your bedroom? Are they going to *force* your SO to go have sex with people s/he doesn’t want to? >:(

      • My guts turns t the thought of my lover being with another and i t fucking think he is my property.How to u explain jealousy in females in time where they where not even allowed to own a chicken left alone a man ??look i come from polygamous cultures where women are nothing close to being taught or conditioned to be jealous,quite the opposite,and they stil hell don’t like the idea of their husband taking another wife.The once that do not usually mind are the on who do not have an emotional bond w the husband and are only in the marriage for material benefits and provision

        • I’m not trying to explain everything that everyone feels. I’m trying to point out the ways that our culture tells us to feel, and saying that a lot of us would be happier if we’d challenge that crap.

          If you want me to guess as to why you’re jealous, my assumption is always that people are scared their lover will leave them. To me this sounds like an unjustifiably fearful view – people love each other for a lot of reasons. If your partner is just looking to drop you as soon as s/he finds someone else willing to fuck them, why would you even want to be in that relationship? That sounds awful, ditch that person. I’ve found that for me, it makes for a much happier life to know that my SO loves me just as much no matter who either of us is fucking.

          For what it’s worth, trying to keep a partner prisoner by declaring all other pussy off-limits and telling him that the only way he’ll ever get any is by coming to you… tends not to work. Unless he’s into that, of course! Some guys love that! But as a controlling tactic, historically it doesn’t work well. It’s far too easy to cheat. (Amazingly, most people who cheat stay with their wives! Which should say something in itself…)

          Also, this culture that you speak of where the women don’t like the idea of “their husband taking another wife”… am I correct in assuming that the first wife doesn’t get much say in this matter? Because that’s a pretty shitty thing to do to your significant other, and I’m not surprised people aren’t happy if that’s the case. It’s a lot different when both the husband and the wife feel strongly for the new third person, and both of them want the third in their lives & home, and invite him/her in jointly. When it’s a decree handed down by one person against the wishes of the other person, that’s not a good situation. I feel very sorry for anyone stuck in that sort of relationship.

  3. If you want to get a clear picture on how sex relates to evolution, read this book: Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You, by Agustín Fuentes.

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