Partner Rivalry

Dear Dr. Darcy:

My boyfriend and I are both in theater.  We both sing, dance and act.  We are similarly built and are often sent out on the same auditions.  Last week I was cast for something and he was passed over.  My question is this:  How do you handle jealousy in same-sex relationships?  Particularly when you're both in the same field.  I know that your partner and you are both therapists.  Do either of you get sucked into jealousy?

ANSWER

Jealousy is tough in any relationship ~ but when it’s directed toward your intimate partner, it takes on a different level of ugly.

It can’t be easy to have a partner going our for the exact same castings as you.  I could have a field day discussing the irony that you were each attracted to mirror images of yourselves, but I’ll control that temptation and instead focus on your question.

I think the way to overcome this issue is to prioritize the variables in order of importance.  Pick your number one priority ~ Career or boyfriend.  They can’t be equal. One has to come before the other.  If career is number one, you need to go to your auditions and completely block him from your mind.  Stagger the times that you go to auditions so that you’re not showing up at the same time, give it your all and let go of the outcome.  If the boyfriend is number one, you need to consider passing on those auditions that mean the world to him.  Don’t expect your agent to understand – he or she doesn’t need to know why you’re passing.

Ultimately you need to learn how to celebrate one-another’s strengths and successes.  You picked a partner who shares your love of performing arts.  Wouldn’t it suck if he was completely untalented and was never cast in anything?  Tap into the part of you that is attracted to his talent and as you nurture that, you’ll find yourself battling jealousy less and less because they can’t coexist.

As far as my own relationship is concerned, our shared profession does not evoke jealousy.  There are two primary reasons for this:  One, I‘m about a thousand years her senior so there is a huge discrepancy in the amount of clinical experience that we each have.  Lest she ever feel competitive in this regard, she need only reflect on the second reason why we’re not burdened with jealousy:  She has more natural clinical abilities than I’ll ever have.   So it’s actually only fair that I have more experience insomuch as we are somewhat equal in our clinical skills.  Now back to you.

Jealousy is an emotion that will erode the good in your relationship.  It can only exist if you feed it with your attention, so decide that you won’t indulge it, replace it with admiration for your partner’s talent and count your blessings instead of your shortcomings.