How to Deal with Jealousy In an Open Relationship

How to Deal with Jealousy In an Open Relationship

Written by Benjamin Goldman, LMHC

It doesn’t matter who you’re having sex with or what kind of relationship you’re in: jealousy is a familiar emotion to most people. In this era of ethical non-monogamy and sexual freedom, do people in open relationships somehow not get jealous? If jealousy is basically inevitable, is there a way to actually use it to fuel the sex you share with your primary partner?

As a therapist based in New York City who focuses on sex, intimacy, kink, and relationship collaboration, let me assure you: having an open relationship (or being a big slut) doesn’t exempt you from jealousy. In fact, my experience has suggested that people in open relationships are often navigating, confronting, and reexamining their jealousy most of all.

Let’s talk about how to spot jealousy, address it, and use it to make your open relationship hotter.


Some negative feelings get intense faster than others. In open relationships, jealousy specifically can heat up very quickly. Knowing or not knowing who your partner is fucking can contribute to this. It’s easy to catastrophize or judge ourselves for things not going the way we want them to, and those bad feelings only make jealousy worse. 

Since there are more sexual partners on the table in open relationships, there’s a greater risk of being triggered. When you or your partner(s) feels that hot, bubbling jealousy you’ve got two options: try to ignore it, feel terrible, and grow to resent your partner, or unpack and evaluate what makes you feel that intense jealousy and use those moments of vulnerable connection to actually get closer to your partner. 


A non-monogamous relationship is all about staying open to sexual variety, and exploring your sexual identity. Being open means you can have incredible sexual experiences and also introduces more risk. That risk is part of what makes your hookups hot, but it can feel like a threat to the intimacy you share with your partner. That’s why it’s so important to establish clear boundaries around intimacy.

It helps to see sex on a spectrum from playful and transactional, to deep and intimate. Kinky sex can be very intimate, and getting a blowjob in the car can be very transactional. Going to a sex party can start off playful and become very intimate. 

Setting boundaries around how intimate you’re both allowed to be with other people you’re fucking can help you live in the exciting risk, and focus on exploring while avoiding jealousy in the first place.


An open conversation about jealousy with your partner could actually turn you on. There’s nothing hotter than talking about the piggy fantasies you’re craving while also feeling safe and connected to your partner. You might even find you enjoy thinking of them getting that intense pleasure you once felt jealous about.

Conversations like that are a two-for-one: you can make plans to integrate things you were jealous of into your sex life, and you create a deeper emotional connection with your partner. Who knows? Maybe your deep, intimate talk about jealousy leads to your cuck fantasy finally coming true.

Jealousy can become a catalyst for self-discovery. It can allow you to start a hard conversations about insecurities, navigate the boundaries in your relationship, and, yes, help you discover the intricacies of your newest kinks and desires.



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