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-   -   Adrift's Challenge to Herself (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22248)

adrift 03-13-2012 06:25 PM

Adrift's Challenge to Herself
A bit of background:
Poly is a struggle for me. By habit, I'm a jealous and insecure creature with a lot of pessimistic tendencies. Trying to be positive and compersionate about my triad almost feels as painful as pulling teeth. And I feel like I shouldn't have to be. When I'm upset or afraid or jealous, I do the exact opposite of what is good and healthy for me; I withdraw into myself, avoid communicating with my partners and get lost in dark, horrid fantasies where I realize all along that my partners don't care for me, don't love me, or don't care/want me as much as they do each other. It makes me feel crazy, like I can't trust my own mind. These dark fantasies become so real in my mind that I question what the hell I'm doing in a relationship that doesn't provide for me.

So I decided I needed to do something to change this. I love both of my partners very deeply and I've never felt this way about anyone else previously. I want this relationship to work. I decided that I need to start being proactive instead of reactive whenever jealousy rears its ugly head.

So this blog is about doing that. It's about confront what makes me feel afraid one step at a time (however big or small) and doing something about it. So my challenge to myself is to take at least one moment every day and do the exact opposite of what my fear is telling me to do. It may be as simple as instead of wondering why my girlfriend isn't as affectionate with me as with my boyfriend, get past that little voice that says "It's because she doesn't love you," and reach out to her first. Show her that I love her and desire her and hope that she shows me the same in return.

I plan on coming here and to my personal journal everyday to document it. This is how I plan to keep myself accountable. I want to do this for 30 days and then evaluate how I feel afterward. If I still feel like my relationship is disconnected or ill fitting, then I realize maybe I need to reconsider if it's right for me. But if I notice a change in those 30 days, then I'll (hopefully) be able to see where my actions have caused a disconnected and keep working toward fixing it.

Truth be told, this challenge scares me and I don't really know why. I suppose that fear is like a caged and tormented animal that is afraid of it's potential freedom. Wish me luck!

AnnabelMore 03-13-2012 10:17 PM

Welcome! This challenge seems like a great idea and I wish you the best of luck.

When it comes to noticing the differences in your two relationships, don't forget that *every* relationship is different. It's ok if they develop at different times, in different ways, and at different rates... in fact that's the only way it could possibly work, because just as no two people are the same, no connection between two people could ever be exactly the same as another. But that's the beautiful thing -- because no two relationships are the same, no relationship can ever really replace another, each person you love is irreplaceable and if they truly love you then you are irreplaceable to them too. Ok, I've gone on enough. :)

dingedheart 03-13-2012 10:29 PM

Good luck....

I suggest you read up on triads.... From what I've read equal doesn't exist, sort of the dream that everyone wants to shoot for. So your thoughts and feeling could be completely valid.

NovemberRain 03-14-2012 03:12 AM

That sounds like an awesome challenge! I kind of learned this by example. Current bf has almost always been nothing but sweet to me. I can see from his parents where he learned this. My heart just swells when he goes the extra inch for me. I think one of the reasons we were able to live together longer than I had previously lived with anyone (apart the parents) is that we both reached out and touched when a tiny part inside really wanted to reach out and smash.
I know that I always felt better when I was cranky or unloving and I took direct, loving action.

I'm so looking forward to cheering you on!

adrift 03-15-2012 03:18 AM

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I know I'm going to need all the support I can get when I feel really down on myself!

I figure I ought to warn everyone who reads this now that much of what will be posted here will be heavily emotionally charged and not really fair. But it's just my perspective and my venting place. I want a safe way to vent all the bad things I'm thinking without placing the burden of it on my partners. This does not mean I'm not communicating but I feel that taking the time to work out my emotions first before explaining them usually helps me deal with the crazy.

As far as equality goes...this is such a touchy issue I feel when it comes to poly. When I say equal, I don't mean keeping count of every action or non action that happens. But I do mean in feeling like my partner values me just the same as they value their other partners. And right now...things have been hard and I haven't always felt that way. And I'm doing this challenge to see if I can change that and to see if I'm making the situation worse by my internal dialogue.

Thanks again for stopping by!

adrift 03-15-2012 03:33 AM

Day 1
So day 1 did not start this challenge off in the best way. Nancy was completely stressed out about money and our household finances which left her stressed, anxious and in a bad mood. She pulled out of it for the most part until bed time where she had a bit of a freak out.

So her general mood made the atmosphere feel uncomfortable for a while and generally when that happens is I avoid touching her becuase I'm never sure if it'll make her snap at me, (she can be testy during her stressful moments but aren't we all!). So the brave thing I did was ask for alone time with her wherre we watched our favorite tv show. I tried to intitate cuddling or show her affection by hugs and kisses but she was generally unresponsive. I tried my hardest not to let this make me upset, especially when I saw her being very loving with our boyfriend.

What was helpful:
I moved outside of my comfort zone and acted instead of waiting. I proved to myself that I can move beyond what worries me.

Unfortunately, her reaction didn't make me feel any less like she was disinterested me. But she did reveal that part of her weird behavior toward me was a really bad dream she had about me that made her uncomfortable. So at least I understood why she was weird that night. But it didn't make me feel better in the sense that it was one explanation for tonight and not for previous interactions.

But I'm sticking to my plan!

adrift 03-15-2012 03:45 AM

Day 2
Today was school day for me and those days I don't see Nancy too much. I was lucky to have time with Hardy since I didn't have to work. It was so wonderful to spend time with him and just hanging out until my class. I was still weird from last nights events. Nancy's freakout kept us both up late as I was trying to help her relax and calm down. But she was still weird because of the dream she had where she got violent with me.

So the brave thing I did tonight: I sat on the couch with Nancy and spent time with her before bedtime. God, that sounds weird doesn't it? That something that simple can be a brave thing for me. But I guess when my natural tendency is to go, "Well, you aren't showing me affection so I'm not going to show you any!" changing that to, "You've been standoffish lately but I love you and I love us so I'm not going to run away." feels like the hardest thing I've ever done. There's just a part of me that screams, "You're being so effing stupid! You're being used!"

So when I worked myself on my drive home thinking that she doesn't care and that's why x,y, and z happens, I was prepared to be somewhat ignored by her. That's kind of fucked up isn't it?

But I sat on the couch with her, just us because Hardy was on the phone with his mother and we just talked. We talked, we bitched, we giggle but more importantly we shared. God, I felt like that hadn't happened in so long! She sat close, she touched me and showed her interest.

I'm sorry to say that emotionally I wasn't as receptive as I would have liked to be. I was so ready to be upset, to be hurt, and emotionally numbed myself to deal with it that I wasn't totally present in the moment.

But tonight showed me something. It showed me that it doesn't have to be bad all the time and that my girlfriend actually does care about me to some extent.

There's still a long way to go for me. I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish in terms of my jealousy and my perception of my triad. But for now, I'm focusing on celebrating the little steps.

Here's looking to tomorrow's bravery!

adrift 03-19-2012 08:45 PM

Day 3
Today was frustrating for me and did not start off well. Last night Nancy told me she wanted to wake up early in the morning to have alone time with Hardy before she left for work. I was hit hard with jealous and negative emotions when she'd said that. Though to be fair, I was already in a bad place all day about the state of her and mine relationship that I was grumpy and exhausted by the time I got home tonight. I felt extra bad because she was trying to show interest in having a conversation with me but I was so deep in my negative space that I was barely present in the moment.

In general, I don't like watching them or hearing them have sex. Luckily for me, if I'm downstairs with the tv I don't have to see or hear anything I don't want to while they are up in our bedroom. So when she said she wanted alone time in the morning, not only did I feel like she was taking something away from me (Hardy and I actually had the day together and under normal circumstances we would have been intimate in the morning just after she left for work) but I felt inconvenience. Because I don't want to hear anything, I wouldn't be able to stay in the bedroom while they went to the other bedroom to have sex. And being a slight sleeper, I would have woken up when her alarm went off then been unable to go back to sleep because I'd be too concerned with making sure I didn't hear anything and having general anxiety. So I chose to sleep on the couch. Nancy and Hardy weren't very happy about it but understood that it was the best choice for me at the moment.

Unfortunately, being downstairs means anything they wake up to go to the bathroom I wake up with the pipes carrying water away. So I didn't sleep well, and I ended up awake around the time they would have been having sex anyway so I just stayed awake. I regret to say, I did not act bravely this morning. I let my jealousy keep me from being truly in the moment with my alone time with Hardy and affectionate with Nancy as she left for work.

I carried this anxiety with me all day and then something strange happened. I'm in the middle of my night class and all of the sudden, something inside of me goes, "You know, it's really not a big deal if they have sex." And just like that, like a switch flipped, my perception changed. I don't know what happened but I'm so happy it did! I hate feeling so ugly inside about the people I love.

When I came home, I was just happy to see my partners and my girlfriend seemed so happy to see me. I felt like the affection and interest I'd been missing from her was finally visible and tangible like I'd been dying for it to be. And I felt so stupid for being so moody. I still felt a little anxious at the thought of them having sex but not nearly as bad as I had this morning.

adrift 03-19-2012 08:50 PM

Day 4
I had a good day today, I'm happy to report! I visited with two friends of mine, a married couple that my partners like to joke about as "my other triad." I usually shake my head at this because who the hell would have time or energy for that? If that's you, more power to you because I damn sure don't have the energy for it.

Hardy was working today so that meant Nancy and I had the house to ourselves until the morning. I was a little sad that I had to work right before she got home from her job but Nancy called me after she got out just to talk to me for a bit. And it lit me upside just to hear her voice and hear her say how much she wished I was at home. Not only that, but to have her recognize that Hardy being off from work for a week was wonderful for our relationships with him but that she and I needed our time together. It's amazing how little things like that can change everything.

My brave thing today? Allow myself to just be happy. I didn't talk myself down from that little victory I felt I'd had. I didn't convince myself that she didn't mean it or that she really wished she was home alone with Hardy instead. I let myself feel happy that she wanted me and missed me too.

adrift 03-19-2012 08:53 PM

Day 5
I had a wonderful night with Nancy despite the both of us being exhausted last night. It was just nice to cuddle with her, talk and eat grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I hated getting up in the morning and going to work. But I did get to talk to Hardy before I clocked in. And the wonderful man that he is, he brought me breakfast so I got to see him briefly too. :) I love them both so much.

Today my brave thing was not getting jealous with hints or comments made about them having sex. I managed to laugh and joke with them and generally feel connected to both my partners when I got home. Nancy and I both felt icky so we mostly cuddled until we managed to drag ourselves up to make dinner. And we made an awesome dinner together then sat around watching one of our favorite tv shows with Hardy. It was a quiet night but a happy one.

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