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-   -   am i being irrational? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10470)

forelsket 05-31-2011 02:41 AM

am i being irrational?
a little background info: my boyfriend and i have been together for 3 and a half years and live together. we have often discussed polyamory in the past (then we did not know about the word polyamory or that there are so many of us). recently, within the past few months, we have been discussing it more seriously (reading books together, talking about our needs/what we would be comfortable with at least at first/etc.) we have decided to not give the green light on this yet, as we still have quite a lot of transitioning and researching to do.

i would like to begin by saying that i know that this is minuscule compared to hurdles you other members may be facing, so i apologize for that in advance.

about a week ago, our friends planned a potluck at their home. my boyfriend (i will call him oso) invited a coworker that he thought would fit right in. this is very out of the ordinary for oso - he is very introverted and other things that make this seem not ordinary. when he told me it was a woman, i asked him if he saw her as a potential addition to our lovely group of friends or something more. we have been doing great about being open about our feelings so i feel that this was a legitimate question. i wanted to remind him that since we have not given this a green light, i would prefer him not bringing a potential lover to be a part of our lives and our group of friends just yet. i just had this feeling that this was what was happening. we are not generally an ultra jealous couple, but i felt this was jealousy, so i let it slide and got over it pretty quickly.

after we got home that night, he admitted to me that he realized he had more feelings for her. of course, i am hurt because i feel betrayed. i had let him know before the potluck that i would be uncomfortable with this situation. i do not want to bring potential lovers into our lives, into our group of friends, until both of us are ready to venture onwards. i am upset because i feel it is unfair for me and unfair for the girl (we definitely hit it off - she seems to be a really great person). he is sorry, and i truly believe it, but now i am in this awful spot of feeling uncomfortable if she hangs out but horrible if she doesn't hang out because she did nothing wrong. i know that you cannot control your feelings, and maybe he realized his feelings at the potluck. however, i still feel awful. at the beginning of this, i thought our communication and respect for each other about this particular part as such a solid thing. now i sting in the chest. i am afraid that oso and i have moved back instead of forward because of this incident and that does not make me feel good at all.

am i being irrational? i really believe that this lifestyle is for me, but the fact i am so hurt by this and the trust i have for oso has been damaged in some way makes me feel that i may not be a good partner in this kind of circumstance and that saddens me.

Kittywitch 05-31-2011 06:25 AM

The very first thing to remember about being polyamorous (ESPECIALLY if you are just starting out, or looking into it) is that jealousy WILL happen. And, to me at least, it sound like that's what's happening here.

The difference between being poly and not, is the ability to talk through the jealousy/problems with your S.O.s and get passed them. If your SO has taken a step forward too quickly, explain to him, and the potential that you need to slow down and make sure that everything is working out. Assuming that the girl is mature and used to the poly lifestyle, then she should understand.

That's all I can really say. Because each relationship is unique to the people who are in it, the exact steps for fixing problems only you can come up with. However, as for being irrational, no, I don't think you are. Perhaps nervous and/or scared. But, being the fact that you are new to this, some bumps in the road are bound to happen.

Anneintherain 05-31-2011 07:17 AM

It is certainly not irrational to feel what you are - however, I would give kudos to your boyfriend, if you haven't already, for being honest as soon as he was. My husband has been poly for 20+ years, and he can still go through a period of being less than upfront when he likes somebody, because he can feel guilty about it.

In your place I would probably ask that he follows your original agreement, and in the future he doesn't introduce people to your friends until you are in agreement to have potential lovers involved more with the rest of your life. Make sure he is really agreeing to this though, and not just saying yes because your request is so reasonable - I've been suffering from a rash of this myself - husband agreeing to all my reasonable requests and then dealing with the aftermath when he does whatever anyway, mainly because he doesn't understand WHY I request something, so he doesn't think to actually stick to our agreements.

This has actually happened a dozen times in the last few months to me, and all of them were miniscule things, but all were broken agreements. It is a fine line between not getting hurt by these things because there was no bad "intent" on the part of our partners, and feeling betrayed. I live in a black and white world and my SO inhabits the gray area. Misunderstandings in relationships are certainly going to come to the forefront whenever new things are happening, trusting the love of your SO is going to help a lot, even when they are acting in a way that doesn't make you feel so great.

I think the best thing is for parties in a relationship to be firm and honest about what they want and need, and to compromise as needed. (Yep it isn't easy at all, my SO feels guilty to ask for what he wants - does your partner have trouble asking for what they want or need? It can be hard to tell sometimes, if they aren't speaking up about things that are bothering them). It sounds like you are probably trying to be clear about these things, and he may be struggling a bit, not knowing what he wants.

I might let him know exactly why you don't want potential partners hanging around until you know what will happen with them, how it makes you feel, if it will make you feel awkward around your friends, what you think would happen if a situation works out, or doesn't, etc etc. If it was just he didn't really understand where you were coming from, so didn't think it was that big of a deal, this might help. Maybe what he really wants is to be able to introduce people he likes to you and his friends to see if they mesh, and wait until he sees how it goes before deciding what he wants to happen - it's his ability to be honest AHEAD of time that sounds like it might be the kicker for you.

If it happens again, or a similar thing with anything else you think you're in agreement on and it turns out not to be the case, you could be in for a rocky road. I've tried making my SO go first in stating what he wants or thinks about a subject before I tell him what I think, because I have gotten too many "sure that sounds good" then he's turned around and done the opposite.

I would also feel hurt by this. I would not decide the relationship was not cut out for poly because of this. I would praise my partner for being honest as soon as you got home, and tell him I appreciate it, but how important it is to me that he thinks and speaks with me before taking action.

Thinking good thoughts for you, it sounds like you have a great head on your shoulders.

Hopeful 05-31-2011 06:41 PM

I think one of the hardest relationship things for me, as an intensely pragmatic and practical person, has been learning to let go of who's being irrational or not. If you feel a certain way, you feel that way. We're talking about emotions here, so maybe the distinction between irrational and rational is sometimes less meaningful than we make it out to be.

When husband and I decided that a poly marriage made more sense than monogamy, I didn't initially take into full account the emotional aspect. It was what I wanted because it made logical sense in a way monogamy never has. It turned out to be what he wanted too, so we went ahead with it. I know my husband to be a more emotional person than I am, so I made sure to reassure him that I'd always be available to talk through anything with him. When he made the same offer, I smiled and said thanks, knowing I'd be fine. After all, I'm the logical one.

Then he met a woman.

I was unprepared to be jealous. Intellectually, I knew he'd made a great step toward even greater happiness. I knew about compersion, and I waited to feel it, waited to be as thrilled for him as he'd professed himself to be for me in the same scenario. It didn't happen, at least not at first, and it was completely irrational, especially considering that he was openly thrilled for me when I made plans to see a man I know and hopefully explain our situation and see what happens (a whole other topic for a whole other thread).

It was the biggest shock of this whole process that I turned out to be the one coming to him saying, "I'm not sure I'm 100% comfortable, can we talk about this?" And we did. And then we talked about it some more. This is still new to us, but we're working on it - at this point I am OK with him seeing this woman, and we're even talking about the three of us getting together for drinks or dinner or something.

So I guess the bottom line is, if you don't express your emotions because you're afraid you're being irrational, that itself isn't terribly rational. :)

Carnita 05-31-2011 07:24 PM


Originally Posted by Hopeful (Post 84084)
We're talking about emotions here, so maybe the distinction between irrational and rational is sometimes less meaningful than we make it out to be.

So I guess the bottom line is, if you don't express your emotions because you're afraid you're being irrational, that itself isn't terribly rational. :)

I don't think this could have been said better.

forelsket 05-31-2011 08:06 PM

thank you for all your responses. it has taken the edge off simply by being able to talk about this with someone else other than him, and your responses have made me step back and see things differently. i can definitely tell this community will be a big part of my journey :p

Hopeful 05-31-2011 09:03 PM

Aw, thanks Carnita. :)

forelsket, I know that this site has been a HUGE help to me, even in the beginning when I just lurked. Just knowing that other people have dealt with this stuff makes me feel all kinds of better. And the fact that these other people are so willing to listen and offer advice so compassionately makes it even better.

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