jealousy

25 Things to do When Your Partner Goes on a Date

opening relationship open marriage polyamory help

Even the most secure folks sometimes have trouble when opening a relationship goes from philosophy to practice.  And the first times your honey is out with someone other than you can be particularly challenging if you've only experienced monogamy before.  

Its totally common for me to hear from folks who say they've been fine all along and suddenly when the house is empty- or their partner isn't available by phone insecurity, jealousy and anxiety swoop in for an unplanned visit.  

If you haven't thought ahead it's really easy to get swept away in an anxious surprise.  So I often urge clients to think up a self-care action plan before that trifecta of emotion comes knocking.  Here are some of the ideas my clients have come up with:

  1. Take a colleague to dinner
  2. Call/Skype/Facetime that far away friend you haven't spoken with in a while
  3. Got to the spa
  4. Take a run/hike/jog/walk/roll
  5. Go to therapy
  6. Find an art gallery you haven't visited (or return to your favorite one)
  7. Take yourself to the movies
  8. Plan a date with your sweetie in the future
  9. Yoga
  10. Go to a concert
  11. Wander through Powells (or whatever your favorite bookstore is)
  12. Plan your own date
  13. Find a meditation space near you and join others for meditation
  14. Go to happy hour
  15. Try that class at the gym you've always been curious about
  16. Host a dinner party
  17. Travel to see that friend all the way across town you never get over to see
  18. Take a long bike ride
  19. Eat something you normally wouldn't with your sweetie
  20. Enroll in that class you're curious about and see it through
  21. Find somewhere to dance it out
  22. Plan a big trip you've been dreaming about
  23. Find a poetry reading to attend
  24. Play with your pets
  25. Slow-cook yourself something special

If you want more ideas about structures that support healthy open relationships give me a call- I'm happy to help you create a tailored plan for success.


when spouse is polyamorous

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect
  • change communication & codependent patterns
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

You Asked, I Answered: Questions About Polyamory

open marriage poly questions | polyamory advice | nonmonogamy | open relationships

I get asked a lot of great questions about my work- especially my work with polyamory and non-monogamy.  Here's a short list of the most commonly asked questions about open relationships.  

Read more of the most frequently asked questions by my clients here

poly questions | polyamory advice | nonmonogamy | open relationships

Do you believe polyamory or monogamy is healthier?

I don't think relationship health is determined by the number of partners involved- but I do believe it can be measured by the level of communication, empathy, trust, and connection experienced by partners.  

For some people open relationship structures are overwhelming.  And for others monogamy is stifling.  I don't think you always have to choose one or the other, but I want all my couples to be able to openly discuss these with kindness and ease.

How did you learn about open relationships?

I became interested in couples work when I was in graduate school studying couples counseling.  I was fortunate to study in a holistic program that emphasized non-traditional therapeutic styles.  I was also really lucky to intern at the Gottman Relationship Research Institute when I finished school and really learn about strengthening trust in relationships.  

I wrote my final research on non-monogamy in couples therapy and have only expanded my research and education since then.  I left the profession of mental health therapy in 2016 to focus on coaching this population.

Does non-monogamy really work?

Absolutely.  If you define "working" as being together a long time, I will tell you I've supported couples who are married or who have been together for 14, 17, 22, and over 40 years while practicing many forms of nonmonogamy.  

If you define "working" by being generally satisfied with your relationship, supporting one another's growth, feeling empathy and desire for your partner I will tell you I've supported couples who are married and/or who have been together for 4, 17, 22, and over 40 years while practicing many forms of nonmonogamy.

But to make non-monogamy work, you need to be willing to do some work.  That's where I can help you.

Do you work with monogamous couples?

Even for clients who choose monogamy, it can be important to know this is a specialty of mine. These clients love working with me because I apply the same open non-judgmental approach to my work with all couples.  

I love all kinds of love - monogamous love too!

What about affairs in polyamorous relationships?

Affairs happen in both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships.  I work with couples to rebuild trust and overcome jealousy every week in session.  I have helped hundreds of couples move forward after an affair.  (Read more about my work with infidelity here)

I can to help you build and repair trust no matter your relationship structure. Schedule a consultation to get started with me here. 

Are you poly/open/non-monogamous?

Yup.  But I won't give you a lot of information about my relationship structure beyond that because if we're going to work together I want to keep the focus on you.  


sex counselor in portland sex therapist | couples therapist portland sexuality counselor

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She can help you:

  • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
  • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependent patterns
  • open your relationship or practice polyamory with care
  • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnect
  • break unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

ASK ME ANYTHING: Comparing Myself to Others

relationship advice | marriage advice | polyamory advice

Submit your Ask Me Anything question right here.

Read more ask me anything here.

This Weeks Relationship Advice Question:

Let's see, I'm in a monogamous relationship (and super happy about it. It's the right person).  I feel super embarrassed about being jealous sometimes. I do healing work with people -so shouldn't I have this one figured out by now?  My jealousy seems to stem from comparing myself to other women something I've been doing since I was a little girl. This is the biggest problem: I compare myself. It sets the stage for jealousy and deep shame. 

Oh my gosh, I am so glad you wrote about this. Comparison (and related shame) is a HUGE part of the work I do with so many people.  So many of us get caught up in comparison traps and end up feeling small, or reacting with jealousy.  

[side note: I often daydream about what a wonderful world this might be if more of us were set free from limiting beliefs and diminishing emotional experiences... I digress...]

I wonder what might happen for you if you sat with your comparison a little bit.  I think it might have something to tell you.  Try asking it a few questions in meditation and journaling whatever responses come up.

Ask your comparison:

How is it serving you?  Is comparison protecting you in some way?  Does it think it's being helpful?

What does your comparison really need?  What is it looking for?  What does it want?

Is your comparison traveling with other emotions?  Often envy, admiration, bitterness, desire, curiosity, aspiration, jealousy, insecurity, or fear might be traveling alongside comparison- who is there for you now?  

I imagine your comparison has a message for you about what you really need, want and are feeling.  Comparison might be the thought pattern on the surface, but by giving it a little space we can really see what's underneath- and take more meaningful action.  

I know there are times my comparison is all about my admiration for another.  Sometimes it's a reminder of an aspect of myself I want to grow.  Other times it tells me where I want to nourish a relationship.

Ultimately a dedicated self-compassion practice is one of the most solid antidotes to comparison I've seen (I talk a lot about this in my Daring Way workshops and retreats if you ever want to join me).  

Until you're able to join me at a workshop I highly recommend taking a look at the following resources and tools to fortify your self-compassion practice:

Self-Compassion, by Dr Kristin Neff

The Gifts of Imperfection, by Dr Brene Brown

relationship advice | marriage advice | polyamory advice

relationship advice | comparison in relationships | marriage advice

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

  • rediscover passion in long-term relationships
  • repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move past jealousy, insecurity or codependent patterns
  • open your relationship or practice polyamory with care
  • resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnect
  • break unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Partners

Comparison | Uncommon Love Counseling for Open Relationships in Portland

Comparison is the thief of joy.  

Think about it.  

All too often I work with clients in my couples practice who are struggling with jealousy, comparison, and insecurity in relationships.  

Nobody wins when comparison comes to play.  It thrives on us feeling small and alone and can feel overwhelming to think about working through it.  

Comparison is like an unwanted houseguest who shows up unannounced and reminds you of all your imperfections.  It's hard to shake them or set boundaries.

But the truth is, you can move forward with careful intention and action.  Overcoming insecurity in relationships might be challenging, but you CAN say no to insecurity.  You don't have to feel small.  Read through the list below to learn to deal with this unwanted guest with ease:

Acknowledge your insecurity- honestly.

There is no getting around insecurity- the only path is through it.  You need to admit that it's a real problem that is keeping you from loving healthy relationships with yourself and others.  

Insecurity can be truly debilitating and isolating. Instead of letting it break you down in silence, name it to take some of its power away.

Reflect.

If you’re going to really change the way insecurity shows up in your life, you have to understand why you are having these feelings to begin with.  Most people experience insecurity in the forms of scarcity, comparison, fear and anxiety.  

Spend a little time journaling to learn more about your unique experience of insecurity to get clearer on what you can do to move forward.

Focus on self-improvement. 

If you’re a chronically insecure person, chances are  you don’t think highly of yourself and get caught up comparing yourself to others you admire.  It's time to work on making yourself into a person who has no reason to be insecure because you're so happy with who you are.  

Take a class, try something new, meet a few friends, and cross a few things off that bucket list to take the strength away from your insecurity.

Reach out to friends.

Insecurity really likes to thrive all on its own- and wants you to isolate and wallow.  

Instead of letting it take control, call in your community of compassion- those people who see you and accept you no matter what- and tell them what you're feeling.  Ask for empathy, distraction, affection, and support.

Practice gratitude.

When scarcity and fear visit, they are often protecting the things that matter most to us.  Their greatest antidote is gratitude.  Remind yourself that you're lucky just to be alive, and turn your energy to the greatness all around you.

Cultivate self-compassion and acceptance.

Improving and appreciating the life you have will go a long way to resolve your insecurity, but the truth is, nobody is perfect and someone will always have it easier/better/prettier than you. 

Learning to accept your imperfections with compassion is key to letting go of your insecurity.

This week in action:

Start by noticing when and where insecurity shows up.  It may be at work, in your family, with friends, or in your romantic relationship.  

Move through these processes: acknowledgement, reflection, self-improvement, community, gratitude, and self-compassion.  

Try them on like you are shopping for shoes, give each one a full moment of your complete attention.  Notice how they feel on your body.  

This was first published on Amplified Good.


gina senarighi couples therapist in portland | couples counseling and sex counseling in portland

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

 

Two Kinds of Jealousy

Kinds of Jealousy | uncommon Love Open Marriage Counseling in Portland

The most common question I get (as a therapist who works with open relationships and non-monogamous marriages) is how I help people work through jealousy.  

Although jealousy takes many forms in these diverse relationships, there are two sources driving most of our conversations on the topic.

Most of the time, jealousy is based in fear.  It is an incredibly common emotion, and is important to acknowledge as a natural and healthy occurrence- when handled with integrity. However, when jealousy gets out of hand, it can be incredibly destructive to the foundation of any marriage or partnership.

All too often jealousy results in worried and distrustful behaviors (like snooping, spying, and interrogating).  It seems to impact relationships regardless of demographic- everyone experiences some bitter envy from time to time.

The first kind of jealousy worth noting is reactive.  

Reactive jealousy happens when you are experiencing an actual threat to your relationship.

Reactive jealousy is painful, but due to its specific focus, it can appear easier to problem solve (by addressing the threat openly, and lovingly).

On the other hand, suspicious jealousy can be very difficult to resolve.  Suspicious jealousy is not based in fact or evidence, no commitments have been broken and the relationship isn't at risk.  

Instead of being driven by a real threat, suspicious jealousy originates in one partner's insecurities.

Insecurity can come from any number of life experiences or current situations in a partner's life and in the course of a relationship it is only natural either partner will feel some insecurity rise from time to time.  Regardless of its cause, insecurity, it is important the couple work together to prevent damage that can be caused by this kind of jealousy.

Here are a couple simple but effective strategies you can work on when the green-eyed monster attacks your relationship.  

If you want help moving past jealousy in your relationship call me for a free consultation to see fi I can assist you.

 

poly counselor | polyamory couples counseling | open relationship threapist

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

 

How to Work on Jealousy

How to Work on Jealousy | Uncommon Love Infidelity and Polyamory Counseling in Portland

Lots of client's tell me they need to work on their jealousy, but few have a clear idea of how to work on it.  

Here are the things we focus on in session to help clients move through jealousy to greater confidence and connection in relationships.

Have a loving and honest conversation

Take a moment to be fully present with each other and talk directly about the insecurity and worry that is showing up in the form of jealousy.  Do your best to really listen with warmth and be open to opportunities to support one another.

Focus on accountability

Often it can be hard to have this kind of conversation without becoming defensive, or blaming one another.  If you feel yourself moving in that direction, take a break (and come back), or refocus on each of your personal accountability in the process.  It is so important you each receive empathy in this sharing process.   Use compassion and warmth with one another.

Use critical analysis

Recognize when and if the jealous feelings are based in fact or fiction.  Acknowledge the behaviors that contribute to this jealousy.  Own the individual fears and insecurities that may be contributing to your jealousy.

Reassure and offer empathy

While it is important neither of you is completely dependent on the other for confidence and self-worth, it is also essential to your relationship that each of you is confident they are respected, special and loved by the other.  Take intentional time to fill your love bank if you haven't in a while, and build practices to fortify it regularly.

Cultivate independence

Often jealousy happens when couples are spending too much time and energy focused on each other and their relationship.  Find a strong place of balance where each of you also draws a sense of purpose from activities and healthy friendships outside the partnership.

See a therapist

It can be helpful for both of you to see a couples counselor or individual therapists to get more clarity about the insecurities that are showing up.

 Often therapy can offer insight you might never uncover on your own.

 

Give me a call to see if I can help you move through relationship difficulties


Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

How to Deal When Your Partner Has a Crush

Dear Ones, 

My clients often come to me when they are just beginning the open relationship/non-monogamy journey and one of the most difficult period of growing pains is when one of you gets their first crush.  

If you have been practicing traditional monogamy this can really be difficult.  Most couples don't practice acknowledging attraction to other people when in a relationship, so acknowledging the attraction alone can seem like a huge leap.

That said, with some care and honesty you can easily get through this together.  Here are a few things to focus on:

Acknowledge other people are attractive.  

It's true and if this is going to work out you are going to have to face it.  Other people are attractive.  Pretending this is not true only forces you and your partner to be dishonest with each other.  

Even if you never have intimacy with another attractive person, being able to openly acknowledge other people are in fact interesting, smart, funny, or beautiful allows you an opportunity to learn and connect at a deeper level.  

Understand other people's attractiveness does not diminish yours.

Many of us like to believe a fantasy that we are the only smart, special, funny, interesting, or beautiful person in our partner's life.  However, clinging to that fantasy puts undue stress on the relationship, both for you to try to be all of those things and for your partner to try to get all their needs met just with you. 

We fear that if someone else is funny, smart, interesting, or beautiful that makes us less so.  Fortunately there is plenty of funny, smart, beautiful and interesting to go around in this world.  You are still all of those things even if someone else is too. 

Getting stuck in comparison will only bring you pain.

Practice self-soothing.

Your emotions are yours to take care of.  It would be nice to hand off all our emotional responsibility onto our partner to "make us" feel more confident and secure, but the kind of confidence we get from others isn't as long-lasting as the kind we build for ourselves.

When you find insecurity and distrust comes to visit practice focusing on gratitude for your awesome relationship instead of fear you will lose it.  Start a gratitude list in your head to remind yourself why you want to hang onto this relationship.

When comparison and insecurity start to sneak around remember why you are special and important.  Do something that helps you feel great about yourself.  Surround yourself with people who you feel strong around.  

Do things to remind yourself instead of depending on your sweetheart to remind you.

Ask for reassurance.

Once you have practiced self soothing it is perfectly fine to ask for specific acts of reassurance.  Think about a time you felt really strong about your relationship and remember what you and your sweetheart were doing.  What specific behaviors helped you feel so safe and strong?  Ask your partner to engage in those with you now.

Sometimes I see clients mistake information for reassurance. They ask a lot of questions or start doing detective work about the crush as a way to find security.  Usually that kind of information really only feeds comparison and insecurity.  Instead try engaging in specific behaviors that build you up together (instead of secretly internet searching for information, checking phones, or other detective work).  

You can totally get through the first crush one of you has, but it will take care and intention.  If you want help moving through this difficult time please set up a free consultation with me.  

Gina

 


Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).