Nadav Spiegelman

The Ethical Slut

Author
Janet W. Hardy, Dossie Easton
My last highlight
2019-07-11
Number of highlights
13

My Highlights

But…but…but. What if you open your heart to someone, and you don’t like what happens next? Suppose that person gets drunk or treats your open affection with scorn? What if this person doesn’t fulfill your dreams? What if this one turns out just like the last one? Suppose all those things do happen. What have you lost? A little time, a brief fantasy. Let it go, learn from it, and walk away a little wiser.
What you are not responsible for is your lover’s emotions. You can choose to be supportive—we’re great believers in the healing power of listening—but it is not your job to fix anything. Once you understand that your lover’s emotions are not your job or your fault, you can listen and really hear without falling victim to an overwhelming need to figure out whose fault it is or to make the emotion change or go away.
Fix-it messages can feel like invalidation to the person who is trying to express an emotion. “Why don’t you just do this…try that…forget about it…relax!” sends the message that the person expressing the emotion has overlooked some obvious and simple solution and is an idiot for feeling bad in the first place.
Jealousy is often the mask worn by the most difficult inner conflict you have going on right now, a conflict that’s crying out to be resolved and you don’t even know it. Because it’s rooted so deeply, it can be incredibly difficult to stay conscious when jealousy peeks over the horizon: we twist and turn and writhe in our attempts not to feel it. This is when your emotions are most likely to bring you to grief—when you believe that you need to avoid feeling them at any cost.
How many times have you rejected the possibility of love because it didn’t look the way you expected it to? Perhaps some characteristic was missing you were sure you must have, some other trait was present that you never dreamed of accepting.
A basic precept of intimate communication is that each person owns their own feelings. No one “makes” you feel jealous or insecure— the person who makes you feel that way is you. No matter what the other person is doing, what you feel in response is determined inside you. Even when somebody deliberately tries to hurt you, you make a choice about how you feel. You might feel angry or hurt or frightened or guilty. The choice, not usually conscious, happens inside you.
Occasionally, our discomfort means that we are becoming aware on an intuitive level that our partner is moving away from us.
The real test of love is when someone sees our weaknesses, our stupidities, and our smallnesses, and still loves us. This unconditional love is what we want from our lovers, and we should expect no less from ourselves.
When we tell our partners that we feel jealous, we are making ourselves vulnerable in a very profound way. When our partners respond with respect, listen to us, validate our feelings, and support and reassure us, we feel better taken care of than we would have if no difficulty had arisen in the first place.
Most of us resent it when another person tells us how we feel—whether or not they are correct, it is a violation of our boundaries when another person presumes to tell us what our inner truth is. Try asking a respectful question. “How are you feeling right now? I’m wondering if you’re sad.”
anger is an emotion that tells you what is important to you.
We may feel pretty vulnerable in and around our emotional limits, so it’s important to recognize that these limits are valid: “I need to feel loved,” “I need to feel that I’m important to you,” “I need to know that you find me attractive,” “I need you to listen and care about me when I feel hurt.”
Sluthood means, among other things, that you don’t have to depend on any one person to fulfill all your desires.