Hi. My name is Martha Kauppi. I’m an AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor. I want to help you deal with uncomfortable emotions around jealousy. If you ever experience uncomfortable emotions like jealousy, like when you have a partner that’s out on a date with somebody else, or under any other circumstances, you tend to get lonely, feel like there are loose ends when your partner’s out of town, any kind of situation like that—it doesn’t have to be polyamory or any particular situation—But if you ever feel lost, lonely, and ungrounded, I would love to help you build some skills so that you can feel happier in those circumstances.
Let’s dig in a little bit. One thing you might want is some list-making materials. When I’m feeling ungrounded, I like to make lists. What I like to make lists about, specifically, are what things do I particularly enjoy doing alone? I prefer to do them alone than with a partner. I prefer to do them alone than with a friend. It’s extra fun or extra self-indulgent to do them alone. Let’s make a list. What are those things for you?
If you know, for instance, that something is coming up and it’s a time when you’re going to feel a little wobbly, perhaps, I would recommend you do this list-making ahead of time so that this is a list that you can have on your wall, posted prominently, that you can refer to often. Or you can open to this page in your journal when you need it and go down the list. Some of the things are not going to appeal. That’s perfectly fine. The goal is to be able to look at a list of 20, 30, 40, 50 things that might be fun to do alone and think, “I wonder which of these things would be nice right now. I wonder which of these things feels the most manageable.”
Some things from my list would be taking a bath, garden, and going for a walk. I like to go for a walk particularly in places that I think are really beautiful and that don’t appeal so much to my partner. I like to go for a bike ride. I like to knit. I like to cook particular kinds of food for myself that feel really self-indulgent and that either are a little pricey, my partner doesn’t like, or something like that. I like to cook for myself when I’m alone. Or, I like to order out particular kinds of food. It feels really nice and indulgent.
I’m curious about what’s on your list. What do you like to do alone or what might you like to do alone? I also like to go into my sewing room and sew. I like to listen to music. I like to listen to music without worrying about somebody else liking or not liking the music. I like to listen to podcasts without earbuds in. Think about what sounds fun to you. Not just fun to do with someone, fun to do alone.
Then, I would suggest that you also make another list. What is it about you that is really just a sense of you? Let me tell you: every single one of us is different and irreplaceable, including you, especially you. You are irreplaceable. Your partner loves you because you’re you. We can love lots of people, lots of friends, lots of people in our lives in lots of different ways, each uniquely because they are uniquely themselves. This is equally true of you.
Make a list of things that you know to be true about yourself. “I am this kind of person. I am this or that.” How do you know that you’re you? I am creative. I am spontaneous. I am playful. I am moody. I love music. I love art. What are some things about you that are just indisputably true and they make you special and unique? Those are things that your partner knows about you, too and that your partner probably chose.
Again, if you know that there’s a time coming up when you might want a little bolstering, this is a conversation that you can ask your partner into. “What are the things about me that are particularly irreplaceable in your eyes? How do you know that I’m special? How do you know that you want to be with me?” Maybe your partner can either contribute to your list, write their own list, or write you a little letter that says, “These are the things about you that are irreplaceable. No matter who else I might ever love, care about, like, or spend time with, you are irreplaceable and these things are you to me.”
There are a couple of ideas. I would really love for you to dig into them a little bit. If you’re feeling a little wobbly, it can be difficult to do that. It works a lot better if you do it before you get wobbly and then use it as a tool when you’re feeling wobbly.
Let’s do a third one. What if you’re already wobbly? What if you’re already having a little bit of a hard time and it’s hard to recruit your brain? It’s hard to make your brain think thoughts that will help you feel better, even though you would like to? Now is a time to get in touch with your body then. You might close your eyes. You don’t have to close your eyes. You can look right at me. I’ll look right at you.
What I’d like you to do is instead of being in touch with what’s right in front of your face, I’d like you to be in touch with what’s going on with your other senses. More than what you’re looking at, focus on what you’re hearing. Focus on what you’re smelling. What are you tasting? What sensations are you feeling? Feel the chair, feel your feet, feel your body. I’d really like you to take some time with this.
When you’re ready and comfortable, you might want to close your eyes so that you can really focus on the other things. I’m hearing lots of sounds in the room that I’m in. What sounds are there in the room that you’re in? Can you hear them? Listen for them. Take a breath in. What do you smell? Let it just run through your body and receive. Receive the sounds. Receive the smells. Feel the sensation. I feel a lot of sensations in my chest and in my back when I take a deep breath. Can you feel anything when you do that? I can feel the chair under me. Can you feel yours?
Look inside your body now for sensations. Can you feel air going in? Bring some air in and feel it. Have you eaten recently? Can you feel anything in your abdomen? Just put your hand there. Can you feel your hand? Without your hand, can you feel signs of life inside your body? Can you get in touch with that? This is you. This is you. This is your body. All of our amazing senses. It’s a miracle and it’s you. You are a miracle and this body of yours is a miracle.
Using all of those senses helps to break the focus on thinking and I want you to not think so much. Let your focus go outside of yourself to what’s real, though, in your environment and just be neutral about it. There’s sounds. There’s smells. There’s colors. There’s things. There’s tastes. Just experience. Let yourself have a body experience that’s all yours.
You can actually sit in that space, just a neutral space of experiencing, for quite a long time. It gives your body and your mind an opportunity to rest and to heal. If you’re feeling a little emotionally wobbly or if you’re not feeling physically so terrific, this is equally good. Just have an experience of sensing. Let your body take the lead and let your mind take a break.
I hope this helps. Feel free to leave questions in the comments. Tell me what else you would like me to make a vlog about. Take extra care of your irreplaceable self.