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-   -   Should I "go first" since I've been most insecure? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1934)

Krazykitty 01-09-2010 03:31 PM

Should I "go first" since I've been most insecure?
Hi all, I have not posted much and I'm so freshly new to polyamory it's insane. My husband and I started "negotiations" last month and neither one of us has dated or anything else outside of our relationship. So please bear with me. I hope this makes sense. He and I have become so close since he asked for us to become polyamorous. It' brought out many issues that lay hidden between us and washed them away or helped bring them out. Some of my personal hang-ups were healed more than before. Just for clarity, my husband and I have been together this time for 5 years, married for 2 years, but we were "off and on" I guess you'd say for a long time previously and have an almost 18 year old together. Long story.

I am dealing with a desire to get a jump on the process of polyamorous dating and find someone else right away before he can do so. My husband saw someone, a co-worker of mine, and that caused him to ask for a non-monogamous arrangement. I don't really know the girl but I can't help comparing myself to her (finding myself deficient in looks, femininity, and fashion sense) and then pretty much coming to the conclusion that I need to locate a secondary partner, someone who thinks I am very beautiful. I think this strategy might help to mitigate the effects of my husband's desires and the true things he's telling me. If another person might be involved with me that would tell me how wonderful I look, I think this would make it bearable... is that unethical? I can exercise, put on more make-up etc. but I'm still an average looking 42 year old woman and as long as he's fantasizing about this absolutely STUNNING 26 year old creature, I feel as if I'm fading into obscurity. This can't be right.

Please, please try to be nice... I don't even know what I'm feeling half the time... all I know is my heart breaks JUST a little (I'm getting better about it) when he starts going on and on about this girl. I know he's tried to tone it down but I can tell he's practically salivating every time he even thinks of her (I found her picture on facebook, she's friend of a friend and showed my husband last nite and he went a little crazy. our usual bedtime play and teasing turned into him being like "I want to fuck other girls"!! I was trying to be nice and trying to find "compersion" of some sort when I found her picture, and that's what happened...). This is one reason I have so much fear of a time when he might actually start seeing her. I want a safe nest I can be in when/if this happens and I don't wanna be alone!! Does this make sense to anyone?

See, my husband rarely (I think it happened once) tells me I'm beautiful and in fact, I'm not, I guess. He tells me I'm "cute" sometimes. I'm kinda average looking. Also, about 16 years older than the other girl. Can't really compare to the movie-star type beauty in my co-worker. Also I am not his "type": I'm very tom-boyish and he likes the primped, preened, "girly" girls quite a bit better, to look at that is. He and I are together because of being basically soul-mates, long story like I said, life could not keep us apart and our life experiences are spiritually incredibly similar. We're not together so much because he thinks I'm so beautiful. So if he can go out and be with someone more beautiful than me, it makes sense to me that I should find someone soon, whose favorite women look a lot like me. I feel that this would pre-emptively fill the gap that would appear if/when my husband is actually seeing, being friends with, or sleeping with this woman that he finds so incredibly beautiful.

I have a funny feeling that I am wrong in this circumstance. I know I need to rely on myself emotionally, but it's just too damn hard. I'm hurting so much, especially about the looks/"beauty" issue. How can I get my needs met? Is it wrong to look for someone to date or hang out with, in order to prevent or mitigate being emotionally harmed later? Can someone help me sort things out a little better? Anyone else dealing with the issue of not being your primary partner's physical "type" or not as good-looking as your primary's "other" partner? How have others dealt with this sort of thing, if at all? Thanks so much for taking the time to read my rambling post. PMs welcome. :)

Quath 01-09-2010 04:37 PM

I think dating someone else to make you will beter will be addressing symptoms rather than the root issues. It could also backfire if you go faster than you can adapt to the new situations.

It sounds like you have some good security in your relationship since you know you are connected together on more than a physical level. It may be that he doesn't feel drawn to the tom boy look, but I know a lot of guys who are.

If your husband does go on a date, I think it is good if you find something to do suring tat time that makes you feel good. Watch chick flicks, go to a movie with a friend, take a relaxing bath, do cross words, or whatever you like to do that makes you feel good. A date is not a bad idea, but I worry it will be done to avoid dealing with the feelings you have.

I think you should find someone you want to date because they feel a need or a desire. Don't rush it because you could wind up in a bad relationship.

NeonKaos 01-09-2010 05:50 PM


Originally Posted by Krazykitty (Post 19284)

I feel that this would pre-emptively fill the gap that would appear if/when my husband is actually seeing, being friends with, or sleeping with this woman that he finds so incredibly beautiful.

First of all, looks only get you so far. I'm sure you are aware of this by now or you'd never be with the guy this long. Second, it does sound like the two of you have some things to address in your relationship that adding more people is not only not the answer, but would actually complicate things for the worse. Third, I wouldn't want to be the new person getting involved with you only to come to find out that I was there to "pre-emptively fill a gap".

HOw does she feel about him? Has he talked to her? Gotten to know her as a person? Is she even open to dating someone in a non-monogamous context? I realize these questions are not what you are asking, but it matters as to how much of your husband's attitude is dictated by fantasy versus reality.

GroundedSpirit 01-09-2010 05:58 PM

Hi Kitty,

Well, being male, I obviously can only relate from a distance to what I'm well aware of in the department of insecurities around looks etc.
But I CAN offer this.
The deeper parts of a relationship are so much more the glue that binds people than other superficial things like looks, body styles etc. I think we all know this - but selectively forget :)
Bottom line, relationships aren't (shouldn't be) a competitive sport. There will always be people who we might compare more and less favorably with ourselves on any number of issues but if someone loves us, they love us for the qualities we have. We can't have ALL of them ! And it's a non-issue.
From you're writing I feel you're being unreasonably hard and critical of yourself. Fear will only make this worse. Believe in yourself - obviously HE does :) And trust that a shiny new toy can't add any depth that he desires deeply any more than you can.
I would just suggest you not put too much energy into being concerned about physical and sexual attractions. That's just not what's critical in a relationship in the long term. No relationship (that I've seen) can hold together based on sexual chemistry alone. There's other stuff more important in the long run. But that doesn't mean that that sexual piece isn't nice to have at times. It's all in understanding the nature of the beast.
Just be yourself. You're obviously special :)


Krazykitty 01-09-2010 07:19 PM

Good points everybody. Thanks especially for this:

I wouldn't want to be the new person getting involved with you only to come to find out that I was there to "pre-emptively fill a gap".
I wouldn't want to do that to someone either, esp if they were looking for a serious or dating type relationship. This was my hurt talking mostly, however I have not ruled out a casual fling type scene with someone (being totally honest about my intentions up front) to coincide with a potential date or hook-up between my husband and the "other" person.

and this:

Just be yourself. You're obviously special
Since I wrote the OP, my lovely husband and I have talked and many of the things mentioned in this thread were drawn out... the fact that superficial considerations aren't what keeps us together it's the deep stuff... the fact that we are incredibly close and neither of us is going anywhere... along with the knowledge that younger, prettier, isn't "better" and I don't have to feel less than her just because we're different and reach my husband's heart (or whatever other parts!) in different ways. It's a process I know I will be working on for at least a little while, but it's very worth it. I need to better deal with my issues around looks and being "beautiful" and then all of this will become less confusing I'm sure...

Also there is the fact that no dating, sex or even talking between the two of them is imminent or even a distant possibility right now. It is all in the realm of fantasy. But just having the discussions about the possibility... has helped us as individuals and as a couple, I think. I'm sure I'll have more to write later... thanks for the words of wisdom and for caring!

NeonKaos 01-09-2010 07:45 PM

Dear Kitty -

It pleases me to see that our input was helpful to you, and it also pleases me that you took it in the spirit which it was intended (trying to point out things that may not be obvious) instead of jumping to the conclusion that we are "judging" you, your husband, or your relationship(s).

Krazykitty 01-09-2010 09:24 PM

Yup, this is the crazy edge of everything, where I apparently learn best... and I know at least SOMEone here has been thru something similar. Wisdom from the experiences of others is generally where it's at, if people are willing to share... :D I know also there are millions of thoughts in my head when I get anxious/depressed like this about his outside interests, perhaps none of which are accurate. It takes an outside viewpoint sometimes to show what's really going on or to point out what's rational or important. Thanks again...

River 01-09-2010 10:00 PM


Originally Posted by Quath (Post 19291)
It may be that he doesn't feel drawn to the tom boy look, but I know a lot of guys who are.

>Enthusiastically raises hand<

>Requires cold shower<

sunnydee 01-09-2010 10:27 PM

Looks and Competition
It seems like you know what's up with the concern about looks. Everyone seems to have helped with that.

I was noticing, too, though, your feeling about being in competition with your husband. Naturally, we all know that this isn't the healthiest attitude but, I think, it's understandable and predictable, as well as being damn uncomfortable. If it makes you feel any better at all, if you are up for a casual fling, that is very likely to be way easier for you to accomplish than for hubby, given the differences in how men and women react to these things.

I know it's not going to be popular to say this, but, shrug, you could "go first" if you want. It might help you transition to being ok with him going on, especially once you see that you won't be left out in the cold and that you can feel attraction for someone else without it changing how you feel about your spouse. As long as you are honest about what you're doing and treat all parties with respect, I don't see that as such a bad coping mechanism even if it's not the ideal.

DrunkenPorcupine 01-09-2010 10:33 PM

Glad to see you guys are communicating. :)

I feel that a lot of the relations between myself and others, and my wife's relations with others, have helped us build our own relationship. I very much empathize there, and an excited to see it. :)

I do want to add a tidbit from my perspective as a male about looks and beauty. My tastes evolve. Or more specifically, I don't have "tastes", I have many.

I've found the most gorgeous ladies. Beautiful slender bodies, bright eyes, beautiful hair, nice faces, et cetera. And then I've talked to them and they're immature, or stuck up or whatever on the list of things I don't like. And I find them less attractive.

The opposite is true as well. I've met people who I wouldn't ever have found attractive if I judged by their bodies alone. And yet, as I get to know them and like them, they become more and more attractive to me. In fact, I think my wife was one of these cases. I think I found her to be a really amazing friend before I stared thinking she was hot.

Working on your own "attractiveness" is kind of a subjective thing, and attempts to address it from a physical perspective might as well turn "other guys" off as turn "new guys on".

To me, a "plain" looking woman who walks into a room confidantly and isn't afraid to strike up conversations is far more likely to get me thinking she's attractive than a model who seems afraid to chat with me.

I know sometimes it's hard to feel confidant enough to do that. I had severe body image issues for years, and while I'm more or less past them now, they creep up now and then. Enough that I felt a little nervous but DID participate in a nude, non-sexual event with about 15 friends over New Year's Eve. So I've been on opposite sides of that spectrum and know how it feels to have both perspectives. It can very much be done and makeup and clothing are a tiny, tiny part of it.

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