Over the past decade—possibly throughout my entire life—jealousy and its sibling, insecurity, have basically run my life.
They dictated whether my relationships worked or failed, whether or not I enjoyed my sex life, how productive I was at work and school, how I related to both of my parents throughout and after their decision to split, how many friends I had and how safe and close I allowed myself to feel to them. Whether or not I wanted to keep on living.
When I think about the person I could have been had I not let my own self-image issues invade my mind-space to the point of completely crippling obsession, I get ironically jealous of that hypothetical person with their hypothetically wonderful relationship and their hypothetical children and their hypothetically fulfilling career and size 10 hypothetical waist line complete with hints of hypothetical abs.
I was fortunate* enough to find a soulmate in a man who, despite trying so hard, was not a monogamous person, and to simultaneously exist in a world that continually told me that monogamy was the only way to ensure my continued happiness. Because, without some sense of obligation, people would always choose to leave.
Jealousy also became my measure of love. When my partner wasn’t jealous of my ex-boyfriends, my new male friends or my burgeoning awareness of my attraction to women, I concluded that they must not love me.
When my partner admitted sexual or emotional attraction to others—whether or not this was actually accompanied by actions—I concluded that they must never have loved me.
This is obviously a lose-lose situation, and places particularly women in an impossible world of contradiction, grasping desperately to find the sliver of safe space in which we’re deemed worthy and warranted.
The thing I’m finding is: we, mostly, all know this.
But knowledge of these concepts doesn’t alleviate feelings of jealousy. They don’t magically melt away by simply acknowledging that they exist and do much more harm than good—although, that is a good start.
Instead, many of us just end up feeling jealous and guilty about it.
Then, along came Stevie Boebi.
Stevie is, objectively, the most attractive lesbian Youtuber in existence, mainly because she spends a lot of time laughing at herself and normalising being an actual, fully rounded, flawed, magical, regular person.
With a channel that focuses on de-mystifying and de-tabooing topics including but not limited to sexual health, lesbian everything, emotional health, dating, and being an adorable dork, it’s safe to say that her advice has changed my relationship with myself, and therefore everyone else.
In today’s video, Stevie and guest Ari Fitz address the issue of accepting and managing feelings of jealousy, with a special focus on non-monogamous relationships.
Pro-tip: non-monogamous people get jealous, too.
Special mention goes to the moment Stevie and Ari reaffirm that jealousy ain’t cute, and definitely isn’t a measure of how much someone cares about you. In many cases, in fact, it has nothing to do with you at all. This incorrect assumption (read: lesson taught to us by society) has not only cost me a number of relationships that would otherwise have been healthy and successful, but has also caused me to stay in relationships that were so far beyond simply “unhealthy” that sometimes I’m surprised at how well my heart and soul have managed to bounce back.
I know too many other people who can say the same.
It’s time we talked about all of our interpersonal relationships with this level of mindfulness.
Author: Erin Lawson
Editor: Lieselle Davidson