Jealousy & Co-Dependency

NOTE: This is not meant to be a stand-alone resource. This content is a handout meant to accompany our class on “Jealousy and Co-Dependency”. Much of this will not make sense outside of the context that we provide in the class. Please Contact Us if you wish to book the class for your local community. 


  • Who we are and what we do
  • Intro “person focused”
  • Core 1: people > relationship
  • Core 2: People ≠ Things

What does it mean to feel jealous?

People wait until they are feeling jealous, struggling, and chaotic before “solving”

Build a foundation for success (Whether new/curious or active/experienced)

This is a class about Jealousy, but for the  first 60 minutes, we’re going to seem to be completely ignoring it, but trust us

Relationships are hard

  • Mainstream advantages, models, support
  • Non-traditional doesn’t have those
    • Struggles in relationships will be layered and compound
    • Non-monogamy is an emotional marathon
  1. (Physical Check-Up with Doctor) Self-Inventory
    1. Is this for me
    2. Brutal honesty
    3. Check for pressure (Am I doing this mostly for someone else)
  2. (Equip yourself for success, buy shoes and clothes, arrange transportation, etc)
    1. Be proactive to address potentially issues before they are emotionally charged
    2. This will make the road smoother if those things come up, or
    3. Prevent them from occurring at all
  3. (Goal focused training, practicing, stretching, learning to breathe)
    1. Develop sustainable habits which minimize the buildup of resentment, encourage each other’s happiness, and keep lines of communication open and unclogged.
  4. (Running the Race)
    1. Moving at a manageable pace, be aware of your state, stay in your lane, hydrate.
  5. (First Aid Kit)
    1. If/When conflict or painful emotion arise, have tools ready and practiced to discuss them and find solutions that address the core issue, not just a symptom

A> Check Up

  • Resource (Def) Analysis
    • Is there room?
  • Risk Assessment
    • Dependents and Obligations
      • Who else I am committing to this?
    • Sexual Health
    • Family Planning
    • Being “Outed”
    • Fundamental changes to existing relationships
      • Including them ending
  • Health of existing relationships (not just romantic/sexual ones)
  • Assumptions
    • What do I “expect” this will be like and is that a fair/realistic assumption
  • Relevant skills
    • Communication
  • Processing (Def)
    • Scrutinize and determine the central cause of an emotion
    • Distinguish between different emotions and name them
  • Emotional Security
    • How emotionally “Fit” are you
      • Overall mental health
        • Are you generally able to function, interact with others productively, and fulfill obligations during times of stress or instability
      • Triggers
      • Insecurities (Fears, Worries)
    • Emotional security is the measure of the stability of an individual‘s emotional state. Emotional insecurity or simply insecurity is a feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving of oneself to be vulnerable or inferior in some way, or a sense of vulnerability or instability which threatens one’s self-image or egoThe concept is related to that of psychological resilience in as far as both concern the effects which setbacks or difficult situations have on an individual. However, resilience concerns over-all coping, also with reference to the individual’s socioeconomic situation, whereas the emotional security specifically characterizes the emotional impact. In this sense, emotional security can be understood as part of resilience. (Wikipedia – “Emotional Security”)



  • Test Drive
    • Before you buy the expensive shoes, go running to see if you even like it
    • Swingers clubs, non-monogamy socials, etc (NOT DATING)
      • How do you feel about seeing your partner with others?
    • “Go Out” without each other. Get ready, dress nice, and go to a bar or club without checking in with each other, without getting approval for what you’ll do or where you’ll be, etc. Explicitly allowed to meet people, flirt, etc. (NOT DATING)
      • How do you feel knowing your partner is “out” without you?
    • In general, measure your own comfort with the idea of your partner being with others AND your comfort in being with others and your partner knowing.

B> Equip For Success

  • Learn the Community Terminology/Lingo
  • Read Books
  • Join Discussion Groups
  • Find Friends and Advisors and Coaches
  • Online Calendars
  • Discuss Intention – What do you want this to look like
    • What will you do if (when) one of you wants something else
  • Negotiate Rules/Boundaries
    • Assume NOTHING
      • You don’t “deserve”… You are not “Owed”…
    • What do you need to feel safe and happy
    • Love versus Fear (plus Extortion and Desperation)
    • Set nothing in Stone, make space for Flexibility and Renegotiation
    • “Special-ness”
  • Gently Disentangling Codependency – Reclaiming You
    • It’s a relationship in which the two individuals lean so heavily on one another that both of them are left “off-balance.” In their desperately trying to get core dependency needs met, their true identities are distorted, and their development and potential—personally, socially, and professionally—is stifled. The relationship is reciprocal only in that it enables both of them to avoid confronting their worst fears and self-doubts.
      Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. – Psychology Today
    • Reclaiming your time and your autonomy
      • No one owns me, but me.
    • Move at a comfortable and reasonable pace. Beware of frenzy.
    • Establish support systems that don’t rely on one person
  • Safety blankets don’t work.
    • Vetoes, Rules, “Protecting the relationship”



C> Practice, Train, Stretch, Learn to Breath,

  • Recognize when you’re a-feelin’ a feel
    • Learn words to communicate that feeling
    • Center language on you. Don’t say “You made me feel…”
    • Don’t react in the moment, don’t make big decisions while volatile
      • Affirm your feelings, choose your actions
    • Be willing to feel things without suppressing, fixing, numbing, or exaggerating
      • Set aside space/Time for Emotions
      • Emotions are good, they are a tool
      • Emotions are not negative, they can be painful
      • Don’t judge/guilt yourself (or others) because they feel things
      • Don’t predetermine your emotions. Resist the urge to think you are “going to” or “supposed to” feel a certain way.
    • Be courageous. Feeling afraid or worried is ok, but allowing that to dictate your actions or others’ privileges can be destructive.
    • Check your assumptions about intent (assume positive intent and love)
  • Get hobbies / Interests that don’t rely on your partner
    • Be able to entertain yourself and exist without them
  • Practice scheduling
    • Your time together has to be planned, negotiated, and scheduled.
    • Don’t assume either of you is entitled or obligated for time, events, occasions, holidays, etc

D> Running the Race

  • NRE
  • Honor Obligations – Especially to dependents
  • Be honest with “Other” partners about
    • The elements of your existing relationships
    • Your availability
    • Your intentions
  • Act with compassion, be positive and honest with your intentions
  • Trust your partner
    • Be willing to share the things that make you happy
    • Be willing to share the things that cause you pain
    • Don’t be ashamed or fearful
    • Don’t assume they will react badly
  • Enforce the negotiated boundaries and assert your needs
    • It’s ok to not want to talk about something or hear about something
  • Reduce/Mitigate Risk
    • Birth Control Infection protocols
      • Prevention / Incidents / Accidents
    • Safe calls
    • Discretion

E> The First Aid Kit – Responding to Painful Moments

  • Jealousy
    • vs Envy
    • Other painful emotions
      • Paranoia, Obsessiveness, Inadequacy, Sadness / Loss / Grief, Boredom / Loneliness, Vulnerability
    • “Competing” for resources
  • Reacting to Pain
    • Trying to preserve or save relationship at expense of people
      • Safety blankets
      • Hierarchy, Restrictions, Unicorn Hunting, Veto
  • Love for yourself
    • Attitude: I feel — and that’s ok
    • Asking for what you want/need
  • Other mantras:
    • I don’t own my partner.
    • My feelings are my responsibility, not my partners
  • Removing the romantic component: how would I feel if this was my best friend and not my partner/spouse/etc?
  • Processing
    • Get consent to dump/unload intense emotions (Good time, good place, schedule for later)
    • Therapy, friends, partners, solo
    • But still maintaining healthy boundaries w partners
  • Dealing with neg emotions as the person who’s being brought the emotion. Responding to.
    • Resist the urge for defensiveness
    • Listening, actively
    • Reassurance that you care about them and that you want to solve the problem with them
  • Open renegotiation at all times, for big and little things. Taco Tuesday into taco Thursday.
    • Not taking that too personally, being pragmatic.
      • Honoring commitments you’ve made, as much as you’re able. Not constant renegotiation every day about the thing you just agreed to. Your line is your line, ymmv.

F> Q/A & Workshop