Jealousy or Envy?


Many people consider the two terms to be synonyms.

In the poly world you hear discussions about the two ad nauseam. And for good reason, unfulfilled longing can kill happiness and relationships.

But today I discovered a term for an emotion I have been battling: Baby Envy.

So, being the logophile that I am, I had to analyze if envy was the correct term for my emotions.

Envy is defined as “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck,” while Jealousy is defined as “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” We feel envy about something we don’t have but want, but we feel jealousy over something we already have but are afraid of losing.

So it depends. Sometimes both are appropriate in different ways.

In the baby realm, I don’t have that second child I long for. I am envious of Krys’ baby mamma for the simple fact that she gave birth. I am jealous because the fact that she bore his child means I most likely have lost the potential for Krys to father my own child.

In the poly love realm, I do not fear losing the love and affection of my sole sexual partner, Writer: I am not jealous. He still shares a home and bed with his legal spouse and supports that family financially. I have never possessed the time Writer shares with her nor have I had the benefit of his financial support – I am envious of that time and commitment he shares with her rather than with me, even though I accept that the situation will never change and that I do not wish him to change for me.

Where do you see jealousy and envy in your life? Do the two overlap?

Image  adapted from original © Copyright Mark Derbyshire and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

About Apophenias

I'm human. Female. Self-employed. Searching for connections in the randomness of life. Currently residing the US. ... And not quite defined by being in the midst of a biological ticking.
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2 Responses to Jealousy or Envy?

  1. I think it is wonderful that you look at where your emotions are originating. You have a great head on your shoulders and will be able to make poly work for you! I can understand the baby envy. It is a very special bond that I did not understand until years after my son was born. Maybe your next look should be at whether it has to be Writer’s baby, or can it be with someone else. (I hope I haven’t overstepped, I don’t know what your relationship allows, but just a thought I felt I should put out there.) Wishing you healing either way!


    • Apophenias says:

      LOL Melissa. It can’t be Writer’s baby. He was snipped years ago and unless I won a huge lottery jackpot, he has no desire to be un-fixed. Actually, he has hinted that if I do have another baby he would want to be fully involved as a father – but without the financial responsibilities that go along with legal paternity. That’s OK – he contributes nothing financially to my life, save for some of the food we eat together.


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