New and having some serious difficulty. Help part 2.
Thank you to all who replied to my first thread. Your comments and suggestions helped me gain ALOT of clarity about my situation and also gave me a few things that I should give thought to.
So heres an update...
My girlfriend returned from Jamaica last Saturday and we had a few hours to bond and talk about the week. I let her know my feelings, fears, and emotions in detail.
I let her know that I needed some time to get through what I'm feeling and she let me know that she, in turn, felt very sad that the situation had caused me pain. We both agreed that we should have talked about the subject, and feelings that might come up more beforehand, and agreed to do so in the future. After both of us have thoroughly processed the situation. She let me know everything that went on during her trip. Good conversation, sex with a guy and a couple girls, alot of flirting, touching etc. Not too big a deal, its just sex, and she'll probably never see the guy again.
Now heres the part that is, for me, hard to deal with;
I know what im feeling, and I know what bothered me about the situation. I know what I want to do different and I know what I need from her in order for me to be ok in this type of relationship. I believe that I have, for the most part, processed and internalized the situation.
We both have busy lives. Kids. Jobs. Friends. etc. She let me know that she would need two weeks for herself before she was willing to sit down, stop the wheels upstairs, and get a firm understanding of how she feels about the situation. The situation being the week in Jamaica. The attitude, the level, if any, of spirituality, her opinion of that lifestyle, and generally just how she FELT about it. Being there and being a part of a "swingers" resort. She put the experience in the back of her mind to be pulled out and dealt with later. Something wich I am definitely NOT able to do.
Well during this first week I am experiencing some common fears almost on a daily basis. Inadequacy. Abandonment. Etc. I feel like I need physical affection, love, and communication from her constantly. And I am not a "needy" person. I believe this "need" would go away if not for several factors.
1. She is not good with showing "physical" affection. Great with communicating, and telling me what I mean to her, the reasons she fell in love with me, etc. But actually physically showing me is hard for her. Especially right now when, she hasnt come to terms with the situation in jamaica, and seems to be kinda like on autopilot.
2. She seems to withdraw from me when she can tell what I'm going through or, when I tell her that I'm having fear issues. (Wich I have to admit, have been often over the last few days) It's like she's afraid of getting intimate or vulnerable right now. Something I have not seen from her thus far in our relationship.
I asked her if she was feeling guilty (wich I explained she shouldnt) and she explained that she felt sad and partially responsible for what I went, and am going through. She empathizes and is compassionate towards me but it always seems that its from an arms length. Weve talked and talked but I dont seem to get the "realness" I need. Everything right now is surface and "put on hold".
I'd really like for her to hurry up. Process the situation so she can get intimate and loving again, and in turn help me with what I need. But this seems very selfish and self centered to ask.
So whats the solution? Should I somehow try to put my feelings and emotions on hold? Am I missing something that I should be doing to reassure myself? Any ideas?
I 'suspect' that her delay is due to the fact that she's discovered pieces of you she may have not noticed - or chosen to ignore - previous. You're sending out signals of insecurity and potential 'neediness'. That takes some thinking to weigh out the positives you have vs the negatives. It naturally puts someone on shaky ground.
If I could look inside her head I'd be expecting to find a question there saying..."Is this guy REALLY capable of living any form of alternative lifestyle without all kinds of drama ?"
And obviously the jury is NOT in on that yet.
So it seems the progression of this relationship is primarily in YOUR hands - not hers. You really have to process your 'stuff' - honestly - and she's sitting, watching, waiting.
Get to work :)
Take this free advice for what it's worth--you must decide for yourself if it works for you.
Yes, you must work on your own insecurities. No one else can do it for you. If you are allowing your insecurities to cause you to act like a whiny, jealous oaf, then you need to take a step back. But if not, I can't see why you can't mention to her the same things you've mentioned to us--that you feel like she's withdrawing, that you feel like you need more affection. A relationship is about give and take, even and especially poly relationships. Would you want someone you love to suffer because they felt they shouldn't express their needs to you? (my husband, who is reading over my shoulder, would like me to point out that there is a book which has helped us called The Five Love Languages. The author states that people feel love in different ways and helps explain how to show love in the love language of your partner. It sounds to us like you and your girlfriend express love in different ways, and perhaps the book would help the two of you express love in ways that each of you recognize. It sounds hokey, but again, it's helped us a lot.)
You are the only one who can see inside your head and figure out what you really need. You must be the best you that you possibly can, and it's up to you to do the work. If you have done your soul-searching, and you are sure that yes, you do really need more affection, why is that a bad thing? If you talk with her, and she says, no, I can't give you that and I don't feel it's reasonable to ask, then the two of you work to find a compromise, right? I know for sure that when I feel insecure and I can't deal with it on my own, 1) talking with a partner helps me figure it out or find a solution and 2) when I don't talk it over with someone it snowballs and starts affecting everything.
If you do decide to talk with her about this, I can offer some advice. Make sure you take some time beforehand to sit down and visualize what the ideal solution would be for you. What could happen that would make you feel comforted? Actually run the scenario in your head with possible outcomes. Do you need to hold hands? Do you need a hand on your shoulder? Do you need a hug? Simplify it as much as possible. I know that I originally asked for a lot more than I actually needed. What is the absolute minimum that you need? How will it make you feel? Why? It's also important that you communicate in a non-judgemental manner and own that it's your problem and you're asking her to help you. People who love us don't mind helping, but they don't like being blamed for our problems. Use "I feel like you pull away" instead of "you pull away"--because really, sometimes the way you feel is not really the way it is.
That said, I do also recommend telling yourself things like, "She loves me" and "It will be all right". Say it every time you feel the butterflies in your stomach or see yourself in the mirror. Again, sounds hokey, but it works. Say it until you're sick of hearing it.
I understand what your syaing about self-reassurance and dealing with my own issues. Normally I have no problem doing that. Unfortunately circumstances, I believe, have changed a bit.
Couple more factors I forgot to include:
1. I have told her that I need a more physical affection and she has let me know that she is unable to provide that.
2. She cant say "I love you". If I say it I get silence, or "I know".
3. There has been zero interest to spend time with me since shes been back.
So bad timing I guess.
I believe I deserve to be loved. I am a loving human being and I act with integrity, honesty, and intimacy in my relationships. It kind of sheds light on the situation writing it down. I am not getting back what I'm freely giving out.
What's changed ? Are you saying you are questioning your ability now to work with/on yourself ?
What caused that do you think ?
Can we help ?
First of all, big hug and please accept that I may just be projecting here and I may be COMPLETELY WRONG, but, since you're asking... what I'm hearing is that you already feel that you "know" that she's pulling away, or not really in love, or whatever... but her words and your lack of certainty about how being poly changes the dynamics of relationships that you thought you "knew" is confusing the issue and making you wonder if you need to just hang on and be patient cuz, hey, maybe you don't really know and this is how it's supposed to go and if only you could be more secure in yourself, or not feel scared, or.... This is an awfully hard place to be. I'm sorry you are dealing with it. If this sounds like it might be on track, let's talk about it some more. If not, sooooooooo sorry, again, I could be wrong.
5 Love Languages is a Christian book, but does indeed put forth a useful concept.
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