New w/new feelings...HELP.
My wife has always been interested in a group marriage arrangement, always telling me that loving more than one person was not just do-able, but easy and understandable. Yeah, great from an intellectual standpoint, but from a practical one, sure, I'll concede it's possible, but not for me, I'm too jealous, possessive, and didn't know how she could love someone in addition to me unless I had failed or she felt like she was missing something I couldn't give, regardless of my approval of the concept on an intellectual level (thank you R.A.H. - Grok?).
Next comes the sledgehammer to my forehead. I fell in love with a close friend of mine just by going out and shooting pool and talking over the course of several months. I've really been in an extremely close, yet non-romantic relationship with her and her husband for a couple of years, but now things are somewhat strained, especially since his wife and I both admitted that we are in love with each other.
Her husband is a lot like my wife in seeing a compound marriage as a "good" thing and an ideal that would be nice, but he's accepting our new relationship, and my wife's accepting it as well, and so far so good on this road to one big happy family unit with 4 strong personalities and 2 major alphas, her husband and me. Biggest problem now...we've started calling them "pricklies". The things that are shared, the sweet nothings, the more intimate moments, and not just the bedroom ones (which haven't happened yet), that can cause pangs of jealousy, possible misunderstandings because of an inability to communicate as well as maybe we should be able to. Especially since we all are and all have been happily married for a long time (them for 10 years, and me and my wife for 22 years).
How do you deal with the "pricklies" and how do you deal with the inevitable power struggles that will sooner or later end in an impasse???
Check out the communication
It has some great suggestions for that.
Personally-I think the biggest key is SLOW DOWN.
As our communication counselor says (ALL THE TIME)
CONNECT then correct.
1.You have to LISTEN actively-
2.Repeat back (in your own words) as a summary to be sure you understood.
3. Explain why YOU DO accept and understand it and how you think it might make them FEEL.
4. THEN you get to say one thing-they listen and do the above three steps.
(laid this out in detail in hte communication thread)
It sounds obnoxious at first-and it takes TIME to do it.
It's not a "FAST" process.
BUT it does work-and it works well.
Thank you! By the way, this is so new to me I'm feeling real weird. The new feelings are intense, almost "high-schoolish" in the intensity since we both verbalized that we loved each other, even though we both agree that "maybe" things would have been easier if kept at a distance and treated as the equivalent of the romanticized middle ages "courtly love", like the ideal Lancelot n Guenivere. I'm afraid, very afraid of it all blowing up in mine and my new lover's face...her husband "says" he's okay with everything, but I get a sense that he really isn't, or he's a hair away from just saying, "I was wrong, and this will not continue". I almost want to just walk away now, even though it would kill me, break my heart, to do so, on my own now rather than her hear from her husband that, "it's all got to end, and end now" for his own peace of mind. Nothing so harsh as "It's beyond my control" from Dangerous Liasons, but an end nonetheless...Is the fear normal? Is the though of ending something like this ever "good", or is it just me rationalizing and getting defensive because I'm subconsciously okay with ending it rather than be told by someone else that it's over? I'm so confused by all this...I'm 43 years old and I'm acting like a teenie-bopper who's never been dumped or been through all this before...I'm posting this even though I feel like a moron for doing so...I'm so confuzzled.
If your new love's husband is saying he's okay with the situation, but you're getting the feeling he's not, more communication is called for. Talk with him. Encourage her to talk with him. The four of you get together if that's appropriate. But talk it out. With love, respect and compassion for everyone concerned. Find out what he's feeling, what he needs in order to truly be okay, and together make a plan to be sure his needs are met.
One challenge that is unique to polyamory is handling NRE (New Relationship Energy) while maintaining a more mature relationship. It sometimes happens that the two new lovers are so caught up in all the delicious feelings of new love that they neglect their established relationships. This is completely understandable, but it can be devastating to the the neglected partner.
Take steps to make sure this is not the case for y'all. As her "old relationship" he may be having a hard time seeing his wife overcome with NRE with you. He may feel left out, or envious, or feel that his needs are now less important in his wife's eyes than the needs of the new relationship. (Of course I can't say what he's know what he's feeling, and neither can you at this point; that's why more communication is needed.) If any of these is the case, you need to make a plan with your new love to make sure his needs are met.
Oh yeaaaa, the early lessons - right :)
One of the biggest challenges in learning to love is to learn to release.
Buddhism or Taoism have some good foundational concepts here in relation to "non-attachment". This has NOTHING to do with religion - not into religion here at all.
Jealousy (really fear) seems to be an inherent part of being human and it's probably one of the first challenges that if overcome will change our lives forever.
Maybe it can start as recognizing that despite whatever relationship exists between people - everyone still is an individual person and as such is entitled to little slices of their own life to have & hold. This shouldn't be looked on as a threat.
When two (or more) people REALLY love each other, there is a concern there for their happiness and fulfillment and being able to share in that is the bond that brings us together. Share them when possible - and celebrate !
The "little intimacies" you mention as the "pricklies" are really nothing more than the moment to moment of flow of life's interactions. We all have these moments all the time, with people, the world around us in general. They go in to making us who we are.
They are not something to be feared. They (usually) deserve a smile :)
In any relationship there's always the potential for fear - the fear of loss - whether it's the loss of the total relationship or loss of pieces we feel are important parts. Being disconnected - out of the loop. Natural but.......
We have to trust - and communicate. If those we love (and who love us) realize our feelings about things like this, they'll be much more likely to try to share those things with us.
Stuff like this is why polyamory is really a challenge. It requires rethinking and reprogramming of a whole lot of the stuff we were brought up with, or adopted because of the society we've lived in all this time.
We think the end product is well worth the effort :)
C & K
We interrupt this discussion for an unscheduled Accountability test:
Own what is yours. Be accountable for your actions. If you still think you were correct and justified in your offenses, say so. Or else admit your errors and apologize. Hiding from a problem never solves it.
Returning now to our regularly scheduled discussion . . .
Now Now. We must keep this thread from becoming "counter-productive".
But thanks for the reality-check, Fidelia!
Well, we all got together to define some terms and discuss how they all apply to each other involved at this point. Thank you Wikipedia for the entry on love where the concept is broken down into manageable bite-sized pieces. We've determined that there's a LOT of "storge" to go around with everyone, a little less "eros" than "storge", and "agape" is currently shared in both directions by the primary couples involved (spouse to spouse only...so far).
We're all much happier now and have a better understanding of the differences, which we all "believe" will help control the "pricklies" that are sure to still crop up.
Thanks to everyone here who posted a response!
Later (Friday's gonna be a fun and interesting experience for all of us) ;-)
Something I just realized...being new to this and everything. I'm wondering what I've gone and done. I've just given a second person the ability to rip my heart out...what the hell was I thinking? How do you willingly put yourself into a position that gives that kind of power to multiple people?
I would rather take the chance with the hopes of experiencing that, than sit and worry about my heart and lose out. :)
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