How do YOU handle jealousy?

I was drinking with a friend – one of the select few from my “real life” whom I’ve let “under the tent” with regard to knowledge about my wife’s and my… peregrinations.  “But how do you handle jealousy?” he asked.

“How do you handle jealousy?” I asked him.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, is your wife the only woman you want to fuck?”


“Are you the only man she wants to fuck?”

“I assume not, but we never talk about it.”

“So the deal is, rather than expose yourself to the possibility of feeling jealousy for a moment, you shut off a large portion of your erotic imagination from your wife.  And how do you handle your relationships – and your relationship to those relationships – with women you’d like to fuck but don’t because you’re married?”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you ever feel resentment, or regret, or sadness, or the sense of loss, or opportunity missed, or whatever?”

“Sure.  But that’s just the price of marriage.”

This is the point for me.  I know so many people who treat jealousy as a sort of must-avoid emotion – they’ll go to enormous lengths to avoid it, and in service of avoiding it, will expose themselves to all sorts of other negative emotions without batting an eye.

I’m not saying this is unwise – only that it’s mostly unthinking.  We privilege jealousy, and the dangers that come along with it, over all other emotions, no matter how painful.  And in so doing, we think we are doing something natural, something inevitable.

I feel none of the loss or resentment or repression that my friend does.  In exchange, yes, I do have to contend with the complexities of jealousy (and envy, for what it’s worth, which is at least as salient for me in all this), but for today at least, I like that trade-off just fine.


  1. Seriously interesting, my friend. I've often found myself on both ends of the jealously spectrum at the same time. Perhaps originating from the short time I actually dated a stripper. I got to know jealousy quite well during that time, and may have even learned how to transmogrify(yeah, that's a word, it even spell-checked it;) it into passion. I think that we all (esp men) LIKE to be a little jealous. We like to be a little more, "get over here, you sexy thing," after she's being flirtatious. Great post though about avoiding certain aspects of yourself. In the quest to become fully realized members of the human race, we should leave no stone unturned ๐Ÿ™‚

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