In the first part I dissect it and then I had a real life example to work on:
Trigger – finding out by accident that a past relationship might want to join a trip he is planning
Emotion – shock, sadness, sudden urge to join in… rationalisation – before I decide whether I really want to do that I should check whether I like the event rather than my flash in the pan insecurity, also I might enjoy the time on my own, it’s too far in the future to make a decision now. I remember he’s already told me I’m welcome to go to any event he’s at anyway so it’s not like I’m being excluded this was on a shared document he knew I would read.
Behaviour – nothing beyond googling the event
This was quick and easy to process but I realised that there are other elements to take into account.
Timing just like in anything else is an important element for a trigger some timing can be worse than another, such as if I’m already stressed about something else or in a situation which demands my attention and I don’t have time to deal with that right then. Feelings don’t have timing they can be overwhelming and can stop me from doing anything else until I’ve given them the time I need to process them. I must say that being in a distance relationship doesn’t have much advantages but this is one of them. I can have instant space to allow my feelings to subside before I act or say something. I also don’t like to think about my obvious depressed face visible to him whilst he is happily telling me about someone else. How will he be comfortable telling me if I’m making the face of death? Meh. I can’t lie or pretend for shit. Hence why I hide behind the silence and behind the distance. It lets him get on with it without feeling that he needs to take care of me there and then.
Trigger intensity diminishes with time and like a wonderful sponge the brain absorb situations and normalises them. It also stretches the limits of what I accept, I’d seen myself get used to all kinds of abuse in this manner in previous relationships – it’s hard to draw a line as to what is and what isn’t acceptable. Keeping in mind that suffering for love as noble as it sounds can be excruciating. Perhaps some might read this as an argument in favour of monogamy – it is not. There could be as much suffering in monogamous relationships as in polyamorous ones.
I realise as I write this that I’m far from a solution if there was one at all I couldn’t see it. Damage control was ok but it’s certainly not utopian rejoicing and not flowering compersion. But perhaps compersion deserves a blog post of it’s own. Because in the absence of jealousy it certainly fills in the void and if it doesn’t then contentment does the job.
So when people ask me “don’t you get jealous when your partner is with someone else?” The answer it depends on many variables nicely summarised as “sometimes”.
Was this something to worry about? Perhap trying not to ignore repeated triggers and lovingly tugging on them to unravel the cause might just be the only way to reduce the risk of them reappearing. This a exercise in self care and self improvement. I am responsible for my own triggers and with that knowledge comes not only responsibility but also reassurance from him that we are ready to work on each of our own together to limit pain and discomfort these situations may cause us.