Episode 128: Stopping Emotions

Is there really a way to stop your emotions in their tracks or fully control them especially if you’re in a difficult housing situation?

That’s what’s on this week’s episode of Non-Monogamy Help.

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Thank you to Chris Albery-Jones at albery-jones.com for the theme music.

Podcast transcript

How do you get over or stop jealousy feelings?

I have started seeing someone. They [are] already in a non-monogamous relationship that they started. When the one I like started seeing me and it’s been crazy so far, mainly because I moved in with them. I was homeless at the time and they offered and I said yes. 

Sadly at times I am crying due to the “grieving” of not having [an] experience alone with her. I also get paranoid when she goes to the bedroom where the partner sleeps and start either imagining them [having sex] or hearing it and then feel horrible feelings. 

I want to understand non-monogamy more or maybe accept I am not meant for this but I have feelings for one of them and I feel I’ve made good friends too. I feel I need more tools on how to block on control my emotions and thoughts.


So the first concern that I have here is that already the situation even if you were all just friends, the situation is quite an imbalanced power dynamic. So you were homeless at the time and they offered you a place to stay. And I'm really hoping that you have your own room and that you're able to contribute now towards rent and expenses and things like that, because it's not necessarily a great situation to begin a relationship on – where you're dependent upon the other person.

And I know that always can't be helped and I'm not trying to say that's a horrible thing. And obviously like there's lots of reasons why you would say yes in this situation to being in this situation. But it's not the best way to start a relationship because it is an extremely imbalanced power dynamic.

Adding that to the fact that you know you're dating someone who's dating someone else, and you're all living together – and we had this actually quite similar situation in the podcast that I just recorded, would be a few weeks ago called “Living with partners'' and you should definitely check that out when it comes out. Or it's already come out by the time I've said this, but yes, you will hear it later on – anyway. The point is that it's not generally a great situation to begin with when you're moving in with a partner and their other partner and then that's not an addressed  situation.

So I think that that is something that needs to also be acknowledged and I'm hoping that your partner and in this case your friend – I assume you made friends with your metamour (or your partner's partner). I hope they're helping you pursue your own independence in whatever way possible. If that means helping you find a job or supporting you in that. If you're in a situation where somebody is super happy to, “take care” of you as much as that may be a relief and a good thing in some situations, I do think sometimes that can lead to not so great places.

Because then you don't have any other choice but – you know, you feel compelled to agree to situations that you normally wouldn't agree to. Because you don't have the power to say no. You don't have the power to leave. You don't have the power to get out. And I don't necessarily think that's a good situation. So as much as possible, please make sure that you're doing whatever you can to pursue your own independent situation. I'm not saying that you can't live with them.

But make sure that that is something that's happening because it's not a great situation to be in, to be dependent upon other adults who may or may not– I don't know these people but it's not a good situation. It's also not a great power dynamic for the situation.

The other thing I would say is that your approach to this… You can't block your emotions. You can't control your emotions or thoughts. That's not something that you can always control. What you do is you experience emotions, you allow yourself to have them, you sit with them and then you will find that they won't stay for very long.

Generally when people try to block their emotions or put off their emotions, or you know, not feel their emotions, that tends to create more problems than it actually helps with and it's understandable why you wouldn't want to feel them but you can't block your emotions. So you are going to– even if you were not in a situation where you were homeless and you just agreed to live with them, even if you were in a situation where you'd been in a polyamorous relationship before, you might still have a lot of sadness about not having time alone.

And I don't know why you've not had time alone with your partner. You might still experience paranoia or fear when your partner is with somebody else and also hearing them have sex. I mean, that's not always the best feeling. So you're going to have these feelings regardless of the situation and there isn't any secret to blocking them and you don't want to block them either because sometimes your emotions are important signals and cues as to things that are going on. There are a few things with this situation that I can address. 

But the first thing that I want to understand from you and or that I think you should understand about yourself – you want to know if you are interested in non-monogamy and the difficult thing about this situation is that you have every reason to go along with this situation even if you don't want non-monogamy because of your living situation and because of the way it is. So that's one aspect of it that isn't great. 

But the other thing that you can do is first ask yourself – can you date someone monogamously who has a time intensive career who will not spend a good majority of their time with you? Because the kind of underlying truth of most – regardless of how you set them up– hierarchical, non-hierarchical or whatever kind of relationship you have in polyamory –generally you're agreeing to a situation where the person that you're with or any person that you're with is not going to spend as much time with you as you might expect in a monogamous relationship. 

So if you're somebody who can't even monogamously – Doesn't even monogamously want to date somebody who won't be able to spend as much time with you as you might normally expect in a monogamous relationship, then non-monogamy may not be for you. Because on a basic level without even getting into jealousy or any other emotions, your partner will be spending time with other people and if that's not something – if you want more time with them, and you want the typical amount of time which you might get in a monogamous relationship, then you aren't going to be happy within non-monogamy.

Because on a basic level, you won't have what you need, which is more time. And then I feel like in terms of exploring – if that's fine, if you're like “Oh, they don't have to spend all the time with me”. Maybe explore what is the personal benefit that you can get out of non-monogamy? Do you have an interest in having multiple romantic relationships with more than one person? Do you have an interest in having multiple sexual relationships?

What is it about non-monogamy that you can see yourself in? Can you see yourself in it? Is there an ideal polyamorous situation that you can see yourself in? So think about things like that. If you really struggle – if the only thing that is like, “Oh, I just want a roof over my head and to date this person”, then maybe it's actually not about non-monogamy. So you really need to think about what is the actual personal benefit that you would get out of it. Do you have an interest in having multiple romantic relationships? 

And then I think once you've answered some of those questions, then maybe you can have an idea of whether or not this is for you. Again, the specific issues that I see in this situation, one, is the power imbalance which really needs to be addressed. I very, very much hope that this person that you're dating is encouraging you and wanting you to have your own independence in any kind of situation. Because if you are dependent upon both of them for lodgings and food that's not a great situation to begin any kind of relationship with, monogamous or otherwise. 

And the other aspect is like you've not had any time alone with this person and that needs to be addressed. And again, as the same with Episode 126. There are a lot of times when people live together as couples and when they've lived together for – if they've lived together for a long time or if they've gotten used to it, sometimes they just slip back into old habits and they don't think about intentionally scheduling time. So asking and bringing up like, “Hey, I feel like we aren't having our own alone time and I would like to schedule that”. That is something that you can do. 

And you're going to experience a paranoia and a fear when your partner spends time with the other partner because they've been together for longer, and you don't have a relationship with this person that is similar, and you're still building that relationship and you're still building that trust. So you're going to have those feelings. And I think that you know you can navigate situations where if they want to have sex and they want to make noise, similar to roommates, like not everyone wants to hear their roommates having sex either. 

So navigate that as you would a typical non-romantic adult relationship and say, “Can you give me a warning? Maybe you can put some music on? Maybe I can put some headphones on?” There's lots of different reasons why you might not want to hear that don't necessarily have anything to do with feelings or jealousy.

So there are a couple of things that you can kind of negotiate with and address but I think that if you are dependent upon both of these people for your living situation, for buying food, for all of this kind of stuff, it's going to be very difficult for you to feel like you can negotiate this kind of stuff, even if they haven't necessarily threatened to kick you out or anything. Because automatically the power imbalance is already set in a specific way that is not helpful and isn't conducive towards asking for things and setting your own kind of boundaries and things like that. 

Another thing is: Do you have your own individual space in this house? Are you crashing on the couch? I just feel like if you're if you're crashing on the couch right now and you're reliant on them for rent and food, I really don't know as that you need to worry about right now whether or not non-monogamy is for you or not. I think you need to prioritize getting steady income in the best way you can – I just think that dating right now.. maybe you should take a pause on it. Maybe you should be like, “Look, I don't know if non-monogamy is for me. Can we take a pause on this? And then we'll get back to this one when I'm on my feet”. 

Because I just feel like trying to navigate the situations of being financially dependent or even in such a way dependent upon two  other adults, and then also trying to negotiate a relationship in this situation is a little bit tricky. And it may be best for you to get as much independence as you can get before trying to figure out if this is necessarily for you. You know what I mean? 

So yeah, to sum up, in general, it's an imbalanced power dynamic, not the best situation to be in. If it's so imbalanced. That you don't even have your own room or your own space, you're not paying rent, you're not buying your own food, I genuinely think that it might be better to pause this relationship and focus on getting your own independence before you start trying to figure out if this – because there's already a lot of this that I addressed in 126 which is already an issue that would be difficult even if you didn't have this so please try to your best to kind of pursue your own independence first. 

Secondly, you can't block your emotions. You're not a Vulcan. You're not going to be able to stop having bad feelings. But you can mitigate that by asking for your own time with this person, by figuring out the way polyamory works in their life and how you fit into it, and asking yourself some of the questions that I put forward about whether or not non-monogamy is really for you by kind of figuring out if you have a personal interest in this or if it's just something that you're doing so that you can have a roof over your head because that's not ideally the best situation possible. So yeah, I hope that helps and good luck.

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