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twinmommy123 12-05-2011 08:40 PM

Poly Question
 
I have been in a great marriage for the past 7 years, my husband and I were together for 5 years before that. We've gone through a deployment separation together, the birth of twin girls who are now 2.5 years old and have been in an open marriage since last August. We currently live with our mutual girlfriend of about a year.

My question is this: How do other couples work out their rules when it comes to intimacy and being with your other partners? Currently my husband and I each spend one night a week with our girlfriend in her room. My husband is fine with my doing whatever I'd like with her but I can't seem to return the favor. I want to be able to because I want them both to be happy, and that is what part of being in an open relationship is, but all sorts of insecurities start creeping up in me when it's their sleepover night and I'm left to ponder that I must not be enough for him if he's off with somebody else. But logically I know that I am and I'm just so frustrated with myself that I can't get past these feelings. I'm perfectly okay with them doing whatever they want if I'm not home, which is why I'm feeling so stuck.

Currently we have it worked out that I have to come up with something that I'm okay with them doing one week at a time to hopefully ease myself into them being fully intimate but it's still a hard thing to let go of. I know I don't own my husband but there is still a part of me that feels like he should only want to be with me (stupid cultural/societal norms).

Has anyone else ever felt this way? Any tips on how to get over the anxiety that I know isn't really there?

AutumnalTone 12-05-2011 10:13 PM

This is your issue. Please don't try to make it theirs in any way, shape, or form. Seriously, relationships work best when personal issues don't get imposed on others willy-nilly.

Have you tried to unpack your feelings on the matter? Most folks experience a bunch of emotions at the same time, all knotted up into a little ball, that then gets regarded as a single bad feeling. In reality, it's a bunch of feelings.

The thing is, where that knot of feelings is difficult to handle, each of the individual feelings involved is a good deal easier to handle. If you can pick apart all of the separate feelings, you can deal with each in turn and free yourself up.

I suspect there are additional feeling lurking there because you've already got a good response to the idea of societal norms and "I should be good enough" stuff. What else is tangled up with those?

Anneintherain 12-05-2011 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twinmommy123 (Post 114562)
I know I don't own my husband but there is still a part of me that feels like he should only want to be with me (stupid cultural/societal norms).

So I am wondering. is there a part of you that feels like you should only want to be with him? I wouldn't find that so odd if you didn't have one night a week with her alone, where I assume you aren't thinking you should be with your husband instead?

Since you are OK with them doing things when you aren't home - have you considered just...taking the plunge, letting it happen when they have their next night together, and then dealing with it? It just seems that if you've been trying to work up to this for awhile, and the situation is going to cause stress for quite a bit longer before you might get comfortable...a lot of misery is being prolonged when you don't want it to be. I can even imagine that the sexual tension between them would get worse over time, and they would be tempted to overstep boundaries due to frustration at some point. Is there a chance you're testing them to see if they care enough about you to behave?

You could always try something like just biting the bullet, telling them to go ahead and have sex, but ask your husband come back to your bed the first night at some point to hold and comfort you and reassure you that you're still loved. I might not suggest this if it was a new relationship, but after a year, I think I might try that if I were in your place.

BigGuy 12-05-2011 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twinmommy123 (Post 114562)
Any tips on how to get over the anxiety that I know isn't really there?

Of course your anxiety is there. To deny that your anxiety has every right to be one of the emotions you experience in life is to invalidate yourself. You have every right to feel anxious because feelings are neither right or wrong, they just are.

As far as feelings go, anxiety is about as uncomfortable as they get.

So how do we deal with it?

Well, usually, you just have to be brave and face your fear. Bravery isn't the absence of fear. Bravery is being scared sh*tless and doing what you got to do anyway. There are veteran actors who still get stage fright, yet, they still get up there and perform. In most cases, when you face your fear, you become desensitized to them and they're not as scary anymore, but not always.

By limiting what your husband and girlfriend can do, all you're doing is prolonging the anxiety. The monsters are on the back of YOUR bus and no matter how fast you drive, or which way you turn, they're not going to go away. Someday, you're just going to have to turn around and say "Hi, you're scary looking dudes".

When you are anxious, do things that relax you. Meditate, pamper yourself, take a bath, drink hot tea. Whatever works for you. For me, its chocolate milk. It's kinda funny to see this big guy mixing up a glass of chocolate milk, but for me, it allows me to tap into my childhood when life was more serene and peaceful (yes, I am fortunate).

So, accept your fear as part of who you are. There is nothing wrong or shameful about it. Fear is your friend, your ally, your protector. But, sometimes you have to show your emotions who's the boss. Who is going to run your life? You, or your fear?

twinmommy123 12-06-2011 12:00 AM

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I appreciate you all taking the time to help me out with this. I will take your ideas to heart and see what works for me in the end. I may just have to "bite the bullet" on this as you said, Anneintherain, I feel like a lot of my anxiety builds up when I have to decide on what they should do. Guess we'll see what happens when Friday night rolls around.

AnnabelMore 12-06-2011 02:14 PM

I agree that just facing your fears is gonna be what's best here. Good on you for working on it. Does it not help at all to think about the fact that the time you spend with your gf doesn't make you love your husband any less?

There are some resources here that may be of help to you: http://www.morethantwo.com/becomingsecure.html

nycindie 12-06-2011 02:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twinmommy123 (Post 114607)
I feel like a lot of my anxiety builds up when I have to decide on what they should do.

Hmm, that should tell you something, methinks. It's probably time to let go of making decisions for their relationship.


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