Janet (j4) wrote,

I didn't mean to hurt you ...

Took the Jealousy Test as seen on simonb's LJ, and got very irritated by it.

My comments in red:

Okay, so this test clearly wasn't designed with poly people in mind. But there are a whole lot of other serious problems with it. For a start, they have four versions of the questionnaire: one for straight women, one for straight men, one for lesbians, one for gay men. If you're bi, you're supposed to "just pick one of the above". This doesn't make sense. I'm bi, I'm not a straight woman some of the time and a lesbian the rest of the time. The main problem with this approach is that the test can't take into account the reaction that bi couples may have to their partner fancying somebody else -- they may fancy that person too! I certainly don't mean to speak for all bi people here, but in my experience it's much easier to understand your partner fancying somebody else if you find that person attractive as well.

My other problem with the test was just my usual problem with the standard "fit your life into little boxes" test -- I don't fit in the boxes. Most people don't. I wanted a "none of the above" or "other: please state" box for almost every single question on the test, and not just because of poly issues.

Results of the Jealousy Test
General Index
Your score = 5

What does your score mean?

Most people who are involved in an important relationship carry a certain amount of fear and feel threatened by the possibility of being displaced and losing a partner to someone else. After all, these things happen, and when they do, it is usually very painful. Very few people display a blatant lack of jealousy. You appear to be one of them.

If you were honest with yourself while taking the test, this means that you are so secure, so strong, independent, and rational that the possibility of losing your partner to someone else is not threatening to you. That does not mean that you do not care; you would certainly be sad or crushed as anybody else. However, you know that if it ever happens, you will survive with your self-esteem intact, with your head up and with dignity. You realize that even though you might love your partner very much, s/he is not the only compatible creature on earth, and that you would eventually find happiness with someone else. Such feelings give you a sense of security and strength to trust, and allow you to be comfortable in the relationship. This, in turn, boosts the chances of a lasting and fulfilling relationship. The only word of caution: Make sure your partner does not perceive your unshakable lack of jealousy as lack of interest or affection.

This last bit is a pretty good point. I think they equally could have said "Make sure your partner doesn't think you're taking them for granted" -- it's very easy to start thinking "Oh, s/he's not going to leave me", particularly (in my opinion) if the relationship is one where having other concurrent relationships is acceptable. And it's easy (again, this is all just in my experience, not attempting to speak for anyone else) to go from that to not making enough effort for one's primary partner. I don't seem to get jealous of NRE -- it's just so lovely to see people happy with other people -- but I do occasionally feel wistful, in a sort of "I wish we were still that fluffy about each other". And sometimes we are that fluffy; but sometimes we're just comfortable. I think that's a valuable thing as well -- so-called "Old Relationship Energy" (there was a whole workshop on this at BiCon last year, actually).

Jealousy and your emotions/thinking patterns

Your score = 5

At the emotional and cognitive level, you seem to be perfectly in control. Your test score shows that in terms of trusting your partner, you are a total optimist. You expect the best and give your partner the benefit of the doubt. You do not get upset about minor things. You can perfectly deal with the fact that your partner interacts with other people, even if you know that your mate might find them physically or spiritually attractive. The basic trust enables you to feel secure and in control. This way, you can avoid feeling anxious, hurt and betrayed because of things that are not worth such emotions. This certainly makes your relationships very pleasant, for you as well as for your partner.

Secure? Maybe on some levels, but definitely not on others. I don't often worry that sion_a will leave me, but I frequently worry that he's staying with me for the wrong reasons -- because I'm somebody (i.e. better than nobody) rather than because I'm me, or because it would be too difficult to leave, or because he's afraid that he wouldn't be able to find anybody else.

Jealous behavior

Your score = 3

WOW! You seem to do the right thing in every potentially jealousy-evoking situation. If you are not jealous, then this is just a logical consequence. If you are jelaous, then you somehow manage to keep your head and control your behavior. You still feel tormented but you have the restraint not to act upon it. On one hand, that is fantastic - jealousy can wreak havoc on the best of relationships. On the other hand, you may be accumulating a lot of pent up frustration; a time bomb just waiting to go off. The solution is not, though, to let it all out in a big explosion. Instead, you should work on the emotions that are at the root of your jealousy and continue to keep the behavior in check.

<laugh> at the idea that I "do the right thing in every potentially jealousy-invoking situation". I can't help feeling like I must have cheated on the test somehow ... or maybe it just wasn't asking the right questions.

Irrational jealousy

Your score = 4

You appear to be very rational when it comes to jealousy-provoking situations. If you ever get upset, it is probably for a very good reason.

Ironically, this is almost exactly the opposite of the truth. I don't tend to get jealous for the "normal" reasons, or what this test seems to perceive to be the "normal" reasons -- that is, I don't get neurotic and paranoid if my partners speak to a MOTAS. If I'm upset, it's usually more to do with depression, or my own self-confidence issues -- it's more likely to be the random wibbly feelings of the type that assail one in the small hours of the night. The "Why does he stay with me? I'm so ugly/stupid/useless/clingy/etc." sort of questions.

Dependency issues

Your score = 4

You do not seem to have any dependence problems. You feel you are an individual separate from your partner, and you do not depend solely on him/her for gratification of all your needs. That is very healthy.

Again, this is just comical. I haven't been properly single for more than a month or two since I was 14, for god's sake. I wouldn't know how to live my life on my own. If that's not dependency, what is? No, I don't depend on sion_a for every event in the microcosm, every move I make at parties, etc.; I'm not utterly lost for what to do when he's not around; I don't depend on him sticking by me to the exclusion of everybody else; but to a large extent I think I do depend on him a lot in the macrocosm. I do worry sometimes that I simply don't know how to be single. But there is no way I want to split up with lovely people just to prove something to myself.

By the way, I'm talking mostly about sion_a here just because he's my primary, and I'm his, so I think he's the one that this kind of discussion mostly applies to. It would be ... well, just mad to get jealous of, say, lnr for spending time with ewx. I can't even imagine thinking that way. But I can imagine feeling put-out if somebody else started making such big claims on sion_a's time that I never saw him. I mean, I'd be upset if I never saw my other partners either, obviously -- and I do hope that daneel_olivaw manages to move to Cambridge soon! -- but I think it would be different with sion_a. I guess with daneel_olivaw it's more like a long-distance relationship, so I know we can't spend massive amounts of time together, because simple facts of geography get in the way; and with lnr I know she already has a very well-established primary relationship, so I know that that takes precedence.

Self-esteem issues

Your score = 3

It appears that you do not have any serious self-esteem problems, at least not when your love life is concerned.

So, when I'd finished laughing hysterically and beating my fists on the carpet, I started to think about this. And I started to wonder if maybe (this is going to sound stupid, but bear with me) I don't have as much self-esteem problems as I think I do. I wonder if I've got into the habit of thinking of myself as A Person With Low Self-Esteem, which means that it's all gone horribly meta, and when I find myself thinking feeling-good-about-myself thoughts I just automatically discard them, because that's not how I think. I do have terrible difficulty with what I regard as "being conceited", and I think I need to learn to draw a line between conceit and self-love, self-respect, even just self-acceptance. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think "Yes, that outfit looks cute" (the outfit, mind, not me...) and then immediately think "God, how vain, I don't want to be that kind of person". And maybe I need to let myself be that kind of person occasionally, not so that I become some kind of narcissistic nightmare, but so that when I feel really bad about myself I can at least remember how it feels to feel good about myself.

If that makes any sense at all.

Control issues

Number of endorsed controlling statements: 0

This test did not detect any indication of controlling behavior on your part.

Okay, this is about what I expected. I don't think I'm a controlling person. If I am, I hope somebody will tell me so.

Actually, I think it would be really interesting to see sion_a's results on this test, and daneel_olivaw's (and to read lnr's results more carefully). That might give me a few hints as to whether I'm deluding myself about the relationships I'm in, or whether the problem is not that I'm being jealous but that I'm creating jealousy in other people.


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