My partner has started dating someone new. How can I deal with the jealousy I'm feeling?

Belle Bound
Profile Picture of Belle Bound Belle Bound is an educator at heart. She loves sharing knowledge and her experiences on a wide variety of subjects including rope bondage, responsible non-monogamy, bottoming and consent. Belle is the Co-Founder and Education Director of the Bellingham Sex Positive Center in Bellingham, WA.  Full Bio

My partner has started dating someone new. How can I deal with the jealousy I'm feeling?


You’re already on the right track! You’ve identified how you’re feeling. Jealousy is a very common feeling in poly relationships. Here are a few ways you can respond to your jealousy as effectively as possible:

Revise Your Perception of Jealousy

We’ve all been taught, to varying degrees, that experiencing jealousy is a bad thing; that if we experience jealousy we’re doing something wrong in poly, and that we should be experiencing compersion at every turn. The truth is that jealousy is an instinctive emotion, just like pain or pleasure; almost everyone experiences jealousy at some point. Let’s think about it like physical pain instead--it’s a warning. It’s our brain’s way of telling us that something is wrong so that we can get away from danger. Simply put, pain is there to protect us; so is jealousy! If you can see your feelings of jealousy as protective instead of destructive, they can be much easier to manage.

Sit With Your Jealousy

It can be really appealing to push feelings of jealousy down, to hide them away, and to refuse to acknowledge them. When we do that, the jealousy itself might pass, but the underlying cause will still be there and it will (no doubt about it) poke it’s head back out when you least expect it. If you want the jealousy to really, truly go away, you’ll have to spend some time figuring out what’s behind it. The most common roots of jealousy are a lack of self confidence, poor self-image, fear, and insecurity. Do some self-reflection, be honest with yourself, and find that root.

Find Strategies for Self-Care

Once you know (or at least have an idea) what is at the root of your jealousy, think about ways you can combat the underlying problem. If we’re looking at jealousy like pain, the root of our jealousy is the hot stove that our pain is warning us about. We can’t get rid of the pain unless we take our hand away from the burner. So, what can you do to turn off the stove? Having these strategies in your back pocket can be incredibly helpful when that critical inner voice starts whispering in your ear.

Talk to Your Partner

Have an honest, open conversation with your partner about how you’re feeling and why you think you’re feeling that way. Communication really is the "42" for all things poly (it’s the answer to everything)! Especially if your partner’s other relationship is fairly new, they might be experiencing New Relationship Energy (NRE). During this stage of a relationship, people experience elevated levels of testosterone and oestrogen (in both men and women), followed by an increase in adrenaline, cortisol, dopamine, and serotonin. All of these biochemical responses can leave our partner seeing things through rose-tinted glasses and they may not be aware that you are struggling! To get the most out of this conversation, do your best to use "I" statements and active listening strategies.

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