Am I really that abnormal? (lack of jealousy)

It doesn’t really bother me, I’m happy with the way I am, but I am curious if anyone else is like this.

My husband and I have an open marriage. If you’re not familiar, that means we can see other people on the side. We always check with each other before we start seeing someone, and we each always have the right to put a stop to things if we ever feel uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never had the slightest bit of jealousy/discomfort/whatever with my husband seeing someone else, so long as he 1) doesn’t lie to me and 2) still wants to be with me. Even in monogamous relationships, cheating would have only upset me because my SO had broken a promise and/or lied to me. I know my husband loves me, and that attraction or even love for someone else won’t make him love me any less.

On the other hand, my husband has use his “veto card” twice because he got jealous of someone I was seeing. He’s told me that every time I’ve been with someone else he’s felt at least a twinge of jealousy. It’s just that usually is small enough that he can just ignore it. On the whole he feels being able to pursue women he’s interested in is worth the price of feeling a bit jealous from time to time.

The only times I’ve really felt jealous were when I had feelings for someone I couldn’t be with (because they didn’t feel the same way, or they were already in a monogamous relationship, etc). Then I felt jealous of whoever they were with because they got to be with someone I wanted, but couldn’t be with.

I’ve talked to a number of friends about my lack of jealousy, including other people in open/poly relationships. I’ve yet to find anyone who has no jealousy at all with people they’re in relationships with. Am I the only one who feels this way?

I have a friend who could have written this OP, so no, you’re definitely not alone. She actually gets excited when her husband scores a date. She really roots for him to enjoy himself with other people and doesn’t seem to have a jealous bone in her body, except for the very circumstances you describe (when she can’t be with people she’d like to be with).

I do worry, though, when I hear that your husband’s feelings aren’t quite at the same level as yours, but it sounds like you guys have it worked out OK.

Yes, it’s totally and completely abnormal. We’re just not wired like that. I don’t know you or your husband obviously, but based on what you’ve said I can’t help doubt just how attracted you are to him and how much you really love him.

I can’t even begin to comrehend what that would be like. I control my jealousy, and consider it to be my problem, not his, bt I definitely have it. I could never consider an open relaitonship like yours. To me, the whole point of dating is to find that special someone who only wants to be with me, and I only want to be with him. To settle for someone who was not satisfied with “just” me would defeat the whole purpose.

Your way sounds more serene, but I know myself well enough not even to try it.

Yeah, I’ve actually set him up on dates once or twice.

We’ve talked about our differing feelings about our open relationship, and yeah, we’ve worked it out. I don’t mind occasionally having to dial back my pursuit of other people to stay within his comfort level. I’d actually be OK with a monogamous marriage if he ever decides he wants that. But if I can pursue other people I’m interested in, I’m gonna. :slight_smile:

Rigamarole, I definitely do love and am attracted to my husband. I understand, though, that not everyone groks the whole open/poly relationship concept.

I was thinking of posting something similar after reading the “better to tell if you cheated?” thread. Because most of the people there were talked about how cheating=divorce. Or, if not divorce, then devastation from which they may never recover. While I have never been even close to married, I couldn’t help but feel alienated because whether or not I was told would not have been an issue for me and the dilemma wouldn’t occur.

Here’s my perspective: relationships are formed because you and another person have a strong bond, trust and offer each other some kind of fulfillment. To completely shatter all of that just because of sex doesn’t make sense to me. That’s like saying that out everything you have and have built with your partner, the most important thing is who you have sex with. Like one day I’m “the one” and someone’s best friend and life partner, and if they find out someone else touched my body, then suddenly I’m nothing, if not a villain. Secondly, love and marriage isn’t ownership of someone else’s body. If the relationship was really special then he/she would come back to you at the end of the day and grow old with you. So what’s the fear? That you’re partner will be happier with someone else? S/he picked you first so s/he isn’t allowed that?

Though I will again qualify my comments by saying that I haven’t been in a super-serious relationship and maybe my feelings would change if I were actually in the muck of it. Also, there is the added complication of kids… maybe. ButDan Savage (probably NSFW due to language) thinks that open marriages with children could be successful as long as the parents provided stability for the kids and, and kept their sex lives completely out of their view (which you should probably do with monogamous marriages as well).

Despite what this board would have you believe, I’m going to echo Rigs here and say yes, you are that abnormal. I’m not a jealous person --don’t care if my guy goes out with a woman friend, don’t care if he looks at porn, don’t care if he happens to gasp notice that another woman is attractive-- but he doesn’t get to run off and fuck that woman. If he wants to go serial-bang other chicks, he is free to, but I’m gone.

We have a word for that emotion now: compersion. :slight_smile:

OP, define “abnormal” and then we can talk. :smiley:

A six foot tall woman is abnormal. Most women are not 6 feet tall. But there’s nothing *wrong *with being a six foot tall woman, it’s not unhealthy, nor is it impossible, or even really that hard to find a woman who is six feet tall. She’s “abnormal”, but there’s nothing at all wrong with her and she does exist.

Are you “abnormal”, statistically speaking? Yes, you probably are. Most people get jealous when their sexual partner has another sexual partner. We can talk for hours about whether that’s due to biology or socialization or parenting or whatever other hypothesis people have about that. But it’s hard to argue with numbers, and it’s clear (from threads like the ones you mentioned, from books and movies, from talking to people) that *most *people feel sexual jealousy.

But is there anything wrong with you because of this abnormality? I don’t think so, and it doesn’t sound like your husband thinks so, either.

For my own point of view, I *learned *how not to be sexually jealous, but I didn’t start out that way. I intentionally used cognitive restructuring (although I didn’t know that’s what it was called at the time) to change my jealousy into compersion, and was a much happier person as a result.

I couldn’t do it. I hate being jealous, but I don’t know how to get rid of it.

I can’t fathom being in your situation. I’d go stark-raving mad. And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to be in your situation. But if it works for you, that’s cool, I guess.

I don’t like the word abnormal, because it implies that something is bad or wrong with you. Perhaps you are unusual, but I too know someone like you.

Oh, on review, it looks like WhyNot said it better than I did.

Perhaps you’re not not jealous, but instead are confident and/or naive. You say yourself that you do experience jealousy, but you do not feel the need to be jealous of your husband’s other lovers because you feel confident enough that what you want - his undying love - is yours to keep.

I don’t think it’s normal - however, it’s certainly not for me to judge whether or not you and your husband love each other.

I can’t say I’ve ever felt any sort of jealousy in my marriage. Screwing around is an absolute deal-breaker for me, but not because of jealousy; I’m wired to give someone 100% of my romantic and sexual focus, I want, deserve, and expect the same in return, and someone who can’t give me that is obviously not a good fit. I don’t know, maybe I would be jealous if I honestly believed he wanted someone else.

I agree, as usual, with WhyNot. It’s definitely not normal. However, this doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad. In the end, if you and your husband love each other and nobody is getting hurt, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

This here ^.

I don’t know if “abnormal” is really a nice word, but what else would it be? In our society yep it’s abnormal. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. A really cool guy once said without deviation from the norm progress is not possible. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it sounds about right.

I seem to have much less jealousy than the average, but I don’t think I compare to you.

But then I’ve never been in an open relationship like that… who knows.

Bwuh? You do know that cheating and open relationships are not remotely the same thing?

it sounds that you have a lifestyle and a lovestyle worked out for yourself and it is working well for you. way to go. for some people working things out comes easy and for others it takes some focus and intent.

jealousy can be caused by fear of loss and you don’t have that fear with your spouse. people can be that way in their relationships.

good for you and your spouse, you are in a good place.

I’m confused by your comment.

Of course I know that. I was saying that, to me, there are more important things in a relationship than who has sex with who. If it’s that you’re confused because you think I conflate cheating in a closed relationship with an open relationship, then I only meant to say that I wouldn’t freak out over a little infidelity because humans tend to be naturally nonmonogamous (YMMV) so it may be better to use that to inform the way we form relationships.