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Tesla 01-03-2012 05:38 PM

New to poly and so many questions...
Hello All,

First, I'd like to apologize for the length of this post. Although I have read many of these forums as a visitor, this is the first time I am posting. My boyfriend introduced the poly idea to me about a year ago (maybe longer) and said that we'd talk about it in the future as it was something that didn't feel right in our relationship at the time.

He admitted to having feelings for a friend, an ex-girlfriend. And he said that she felt the same way. I had always known their history, but had never felt any ill will towards her until the moment those words left his mouth. Suddenly, I wanted her blood (okay, I'm being a bit dramatic, but it felt like a dragon had risen up inside of me and wanted to breathe fire across the earth, as if this was the only solution to my problem-I have quite a vivid imagination). I asked him some questions as calmly as I could and tried to listen to and absorb his answers above the sound of the ringing in my ears. He told me to think about what we had talked about, to realize that this is who he is and what he wants and how he had hurt people in the past, but now he was going to be honest and hope that things could work out.

So I thought and I wrote about it and I researched poly. And I really do think it's something I can embrace for him and for myself. :) But I am having the same problem so many before me have struggled with...that so very predictable green-eyed monster :eek:. I am on a roller coaster of emotion. One day I think this is a great idea and the next I am sure the world is going to end if we proceed.

Before he revealed his feelings I was very friendly with this girl and her boyfriend (they are both poly). We spent time at their house hanging out, but now I am a different person around them. I barely talk or smile. I just stare and inside I'm crying and/or furious that they would step into my life and try to ruin everything (because obviously this is their fault! Kidding). I know I am placing blame where it doesn't belong. I know there is no one to blame for anything because a)nothing has happened that is worthy of blame (i.e. no lying, cheating, or deception), and b)the only person I can blame for my terrible reaction is myself.

I have talked to my boyfriend numerous times about this. About what he wants and why he needs her in that capacity in his life. And I try to tell him about my jealousy because I think that talking about it will make it go away. This is where lies a big hurdle for us. He thinks I should keep my jealousies to myself because a)if I don't give it the attention it craves I'll see that it will pass and b)he doesn't want to talk to me about it anymore because he'll just be restating things he's said many times in the past. I asked him how it would be if it were the other way around and I was the one who admitted to feelings for a friend....would he feel this way? He said that even if he did he wouldn't tell me and he wouldn't make me feel guilty about talking to or spending time with the person. I never thought i did anything to make him feel guilty, but upon further review, I "turn off" when he starts talking about her, only nodding and/or saying, "uh huh." And if he is talking to her on the phone, my eyes probably reveal my pain and I again "turn off" and sit tight lipped and stare ahead. He tries to make me feel better, puts his hand on my leg or rubs my back or shoulder while he's chatting with her, but it doesn't change my reaction.

The other night we talked about it again and I told him that yes, I am jealous/envious of her even if nothing has happened between them yet. He said he has nothing more to say to me, that he's told me everything and I have to work it out myself because she's not going anywhere (although right now I'd like her to go to hell :mad: and, no, I'm not proud of that feeling. I'd like for it to disappear because at one point I really liked her. *sigh*). I told him that's not fair because I don't have anyone to talk to about this (I most certainly cannot go to my fiercely mono friends and family) and he has her to talk to and I'm sure he's told her about my issues with everything (he has-another thing I am not happy about). He suggested that I talk to her bf. He keeps trying to throw her bf on me, who is attracted to me, as if he's going to have a relationship with her, I'll have one with her bf, and he and I will have ours and we'll all live happily ever after. How would I even go about bringing something up to this person?

What can I do? Am I being difficult to deal with? I am trying so hard to make this work, but it's very difficult to get past the way I was raised and how I was taught romantic relationships should be. Should I talk to this girl's bf? He really is easy to talk to although I've never spoken to him about something this serious. How do you bring something like this up? Do you think I'll be able to eventually get over my upbringing and be able to embrace this fully? In theory I think it's wonderful, but the minute she's around or brought up I want to put on my hulk hands and smash everything in sight. Am I doing something wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ThatGirlInGray 01-03-2012 09:10 PM


Originally Posted by Tesla (Post 118444)
he doesn't want to talk to me about it anymore because he'll just be restating things he's said many times in the past

While I can understand him feeling like he's going around and around the same things with you, and having to constantly reassure someone can get tiring, it sure seems like he's made this all about HIM, and not at all about YOU.

He has these feelings for her and wants her in his life. Fine, that's his choice. But if he also want you in his life, then it seems to me like he needs to treat your needs with more consideration than he's currently doing. If the way for you to work through it is to talk about it a lot, then he needs to listen (assuming, of course, that you're talking THROUGH it as your own issue and not blaming/accusing him). He doesn't even necessarily have to respond verbally- if he's said his piece and there's nothing new to add, then non-verbal support can be good too. Just being there to listen could help a lot, since it also seems like no matter how many times he's SAID something, you aren't FEELING the way you want. "Actions speak louder than words" might apply here.

(For the record, I'm also someone who needs to talk things out multiple times to work through them, but I ALSO reached a point in a relationship where I had to say, "This is going to happen. You need to decide what you want to do about it." But that was after YEARS of communication and negotiation and him being uncomfortable with the unknown, which, turns out, can't become "known" until you try it! So I see both sides, but I identify with what you're saying and think he could handle things better.)

ETA: My husband and partner would both LOVE your name! :)

nycindie 01-03-2012 09:40 PM

Ugh, I hate that he thinks you're trying to guilt him when you're only trying to work things out and communicate. Guys tend to do that when they feel they are done talking about something, I think. Anyway, while I don't think it's productive at all for him to just shut you down and refuse to talk with you about how you feel, it is true that your jealousy is yours to work through on your own. He cannot do it for you. However, just telling him how consumed with jealousy you are isn't going to do anything for you.

Jealousy is sort of a conglomerate of emotions, and is never all there is. Usually jealousy "sits on top" of deeper, more difficult feelings that we don't want to face. It's much easier (and very full of lots of explosive energy) to feel the jealousy instead. But what is at its root?

Usually jealousy is a cover-up for feeling hurt, inadequate, and often fears of abandonment. There can also be anger, loss, and a sense that you've been betrayed. When we're jealous we start comparing ourselves with others and always come up short. But it's more important to get at what's underneath the jealousy.

There are a ton of threads here about jealousy - you can do a search. I will share an excerpt from one of my posts on jealousy, which I wrote in another thread to someone else (so as not to duplicate all that writing):

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 82538)
When I feel jealous, I ask myself, "What is it specifically that I am jealous about?" I keep digging deeper and deeper, because I think that jealousy is there over top of other feelings. If you can get to the deeper feelings and just experience them, it helps dissipate the jealousy.

For me, jealousy usually pops up because I have doubts or insecurities, or the person I'm jealous of has either lied or been deceptive in some way, because I think the degree of jealousy I experience is also closely related to trust. But jealousy is also tied in with comparing oneself to others and seeing yourself as coming up short somehow, or more deserving of what the other person has, or less deserving if your esteem is really low.

I have somehow learned to step back from the jealousy when it occurs and examine it. I don't get it right every time, but when it works, it's very freeing. I just ask myself why I was jealous, and get really analytical abut it. I don't think it's enough to say, "Okay, I'm jealous, this is unbearable, how can I stop feeling this way?" Ya gotta look more closely, I think. In so doing, you might find out that what you think you are jealous of isn't it at all. It could be hurt, loneliness, envy, feeling left out, feeling abandoned, feeling somehow "less than."

For example, late last year, I was jealous of another woman who was getting attention from a guy I was seeing, even though he made it clear they were only platonic friends. I realized my jealousy stemmed out of my loneliness (he and I didn't get to see each other very often), and feeling a little sorry for myself.

It's much easier to feel jealous than it is to feel lonely! No one wants to feel lonely. Heck, most of us don't want to admit we're lonely, ever! I know I am much more willing to get caught up in the emotional drama that is stirred up by jealousy than to just sit and feel lonely or whatever else is underneath it.

I have read that jealousy usually involves a mix of different emotions. Perhaps yours is "sitting on top of" other feelings that you are less willing to look at. It's something to consider.

... is there a part of you that you feel is being neglected, hurt, or that you've lost something? People often want the other person to fulfill something in us. We often project something onto them, which could be an aspect of ourselves that we want to come to terms with somehow.

... Have you genuinely asked yourself ... NOT, "oh why does this bother me" -- as if there's something wrong with you for feeling this way but, rather -- "what is bothering me? What is it? Hmmm," like a scientist. Get down to the nitty-gritty to see it. Simply seeing things for what they are, without "doing anything" about it, is enough to let it go. The jealousy and other emotions will stop having any power over you when you know exactly what it is.

I think that it is important to become aware of things like this and look clearly at the dynamics of a relationship, and at the feelings of jealousy themselves. I am always surprised at the sense of calm I experienced when I step back from my jealousy to look at it more objectively. Consider your jealousy an opportunity to learn more about yourself and how your mind works.

We don't need to get wrapped up in our emotions, we can actually observe them. Becoming clear about who one is, what one wants, the mix of emotions we experience, and what needs one hopes our partners (or exes!) can fulfill, would help deal with any jealousy (and any other uncomfortable feeling) that comes up.

I hope you find this helpful!

jasminegld 01-03-2012 09:53 PM

Do you know about the PolyMono email list? It's designed for people who prefer to be monogamous and who are in a relationship with someone who prefers to be polyamorous, so they can talk with each other.

PolyMono Yahoo group


Tesla 01-04-2012 12:54 AM

GirlinGray, I think you're right. I think he could definitely be handling this better, but I am sometimes an emotional basket case and I'm sure this hasn't been easy on him either. I know he loves me very much and I know that he hates to be hurting me, but he cannot help who he is and I have no desire to change him. So, we shall trudge on through the mud until we reach sturdier ground, I guess.


Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray (Post 118470)
But that was after YEARS of communication and negotiation and him being uncomfortable with the unknown, which, turns out, can't become "known" until you try it!

^This! Sometimes I would just like it to happen, to see what the result will be. I have a habit of building things up in the worst imaginable light. I almost want to give him the green light, just so that I'll see that it isn't the end of the world, he still loves me, values me as a person, and wants to be with me. But, then again, I don't want to rush things, find out that I'm in no way ready for it, and it completely ruin our relationship. He is far too important and brings too much good into my life for me to rush into a possible disaster.

Thank you. I appreciate and am thinking about everything you have said. :)

Tesla 01-04-2012 01:17 AM

NYCindie, I think I know what he is referring to. One night he was going to a party with her, her bf, and our friend. I was invited also, but I had work early the next day and it didn't make sense for me to go (it was too far away and we were going to have to stay the night). This was a couple of days after we had a LONG conversation on the subject and I was feeling very vulnerable, angry, confused, sad....a whole stew of emotions was boiling inside of me. I didn't want him to go. We invited our friend over to hang out and then after a few hours he decided they were going to go to this party. She was upset when she realized I wasn't coming, but I was devastated when I realized they were leaving. I was actually crying.

What made me more upset was that he never called to see if I was okay. I was a complete emotional wreck when they walked out the door. I heard from him after I texted him to say goodnight, sometime around 2 and he texted back telling me how much fun they were having and that there was a room full of pillows that they were all sleeping on. Well, that sent me into another emotional downward spiral. I am sure everyone can imagine the things I started telling myself was going on. We had to have another talk after that because I needed to know what happened there (and I needed to tell him that I was upset he never checked to see if I was okay). They were apparently all laying down and cuddling all night. Well, I know it's not cheating, but it sure felt like it! Like someone punched me in the gut! Oh, he said, but we all talked about how we wished you were there cuddling with us. Gee, that makes me feel so much better. Ugh. I'm getting angry just thinking about it. Anywho, that's the time I think I really made him feel guilty about hanging out with her.


Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 118476)
Usually jealousy is a cover-up for feeling hurt, inadequate, and often fears of abandonment. There can also be anger, loss, and a sense that you've been betrayed. When we're jealous we start comparing ourselves with others and always come up short. But it's more important to get at what's underneath the jealousy.

The most frequent google search I do is poly and jealousy because I am so prone to the emotion, so I've read a lot about it. I really liked what you shared, however. I know that my jealousy is irrational. I know I have nothing to fear from this girl. I've been thinking about it and I really think it all boils down to my horrible self esteem. I compare myself to this girl all day every day and I see all the things about her that he loves and I just beat myself up over it. :( I just keep thinking over and over, how could he want to be with me after he's with her? I mean, obviously he's going to leave me once he realizes how much more beautiful (inside and out) she is, how much better in bed she probably is, how much more "together" her life is. I could go on and on. I stick her on this pedestal as some kind of ideal and I know that I'll never be her.

Tesla 01-04-2012 01:27 AM

Jasmine, the thing is, I don't prefer to be mono. I too have hurt people in the past because I wanted to be with others and gave in to those desires without being up front and I've hurt other people because I ended friendships with them because I was afraid of how I felt about them and how they felt about me and how that would affect whatever relationship I was in at the time. By trying to not hurt a SO by cheating, I hurt a potential partner (and good friend) by closing them out of my life.

The fact that this is probably a good choice for me doesn't make it too much easier. I still have my catholic upbringing and I still have the examples set by my incredibly jealous and possessive mother. On a family cruise once (I'm talking about 30 family members) my father saw a woman he knew. She had been our neighbor and he had known her father quite well. He asked about him, found out he had passed and took her hand to console her. Woooosh! That's the sound of my mother's purse flying past their heads because obviously he's cheating on her in front of our entire extended family. See where I'm coming from now?

So, while I may have these desires in me, I've have 27 years of the opposite beliefs shoved down my throat.

Anneintherain 01-04-2012 02:18 AM


Originally Posted by Tesla (Post 118444)

II "turn off" when he starts talking about her, only nodding and/or saying, "uh huh." And if he is talking to her on the phone, my eyes probably reveal my pain and I again "turn off" and sit tight lipped and stare ahead. He tries to make me feel better, puts his hand on my leg or rubs my back or shoulder while he's chatting with her, but it doesn't change my reaction.

I agree with others who've said that you shouldn't have to "keep it inside" My husband also is of the school that talking about bad feelings gives more power to them, but for me it's the opposite, so I do what works for me.

So - a lot of people don't want to hear their partners talk to the phone to other romantic interests with them in the room, or have to hear them talk nonstop about other people (I don't know if you think he is talking about her too much, or more than he used to?)

I don't see why you don't just ask him to talk in another room? Considering you aren't an open poly couple as of this moment, and he knows you are struggling with this, it seems rude to keep subjecting you to this until you are ready to be comfortable with it.

Conversely, is part of it because you want to make sure you know what he is saying to her so you want him to have the conversations in front of you? If so you might want to ask him to have the conversations elsewhere even more, to get used to not knowing everything that is going on/being talked about between them, because if he starts dating her, they will have private stuff, and you will want to get used to that.

I am sorry for what you're going through. Just remember you cant "make him feel" guilty. Do your best to work through your feelings and see if you can or want to try this. Read the stickies and check out the website recommendations etc.

Tesla 01-04-2012 03:01 AM

Anne, they're not having lovey-dovey relationship conversations. They're friends. They were friends before we met and they'll continue to be friends if our relationship ever ends. I would feel quite immature and rude if I asked him not to talk to her on the phone in front of me. I just don't think it's right and I think it would make him feel worse about the situation. He wants us all to be friends....and (when I'm not being angry or jealous) I do too. I don't think I should feel angry and jealous when he's talking to her on the phone because I know their relationship is platonic at the moment and they're just really catching up as friends.

Maybe you're right, though. Maybe I am trying to "catch" him saying something that will justify my negative emotions. I wouldn't put it past myself to subconsciously do something like that. Sometimes I just like to wallow in my pit of despair and I'll look for anything that will hinder me from climbing out.

The times I'm thinking of that he's been talking to her we've been in the car (so obviously he or I cannot leave the area). And I think that when it happens and we're home on the couch and she calls I think he stays in the room because he doesn't want me to think he's sneaking around behind my back. Almost as if he wants me to see that they only have a friendship....nothing to see here folks, move along.

Anneintherain 01-04-2012 05:38 AM

Oh, I didn't think they were lovey-dovey conversations at all. But since he is feeling shitty that you shut down, and you are feeling shitty that you're shutting down and letting your emotions be so visible on your face, there's no reason to not take conversations elsewhere when possible while you are still feeling really vulnerable and trying to figure out what you want to do.

Then again, I'm of the school of thought that phone conversations others are having should be had out of my earshot anyway unless it's going to be short, because i find it distracting, even rude if it's a regular occurrence. If I am in the car, with a partner OR friend, I either want to be chatting with them or listening to music. If they want to spend their time on the phone, and it's not important, they can wait until they have a bit more privacy. But sure, if this is the normal routine in your house, it would be weird to change it now, but it's not like he doesn't KNOW you are having trouble dealing with the new relationship ideas he's brought up.

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