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-   -   New, lost, looking for some guidance. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22562)

mostlyclueless 03-23-2012 05:37 PM

New, lost, looking for some guidance.
 
I just found this forum and have been browsing a little bit -- I hope this is the right place to post. I could really use some help. Sorry in advance if this gets long.

My partner and I have been together for coming up on a year, living together since January. It is very serious; we have discussed marriage and kids, and he feels ready for both. He has had a long history with poly relationships. I have been more of a dabbler.

He made it clear up front that being poly was non-negotiable for him. Even though my experiences had been limited, I thought that was what I wanted too. The experiences I'd had were all very positive, and the ideology made perfect sense to me, and just felt right.

Early in our relationship, we went on a few dates with people together, nothing too serious, and had a great time. I thought everything was going very well.

But then as our relationship started to transition into more of a settled, routine thing, my partner decided he was ready to start looking for a secondary. I was reluctant and did not really feel ready, but I also knew that it was important to him and he would feel like something was missing from his life without it. I also thought it would be important to find out for sure that I was capable of being completely open and non-monogamous.

It was a disaster. My partner and the girl he was seeing were both very understanding and patient with me and both complied with any request I made immediately (e.g., I want to meet her, I want to develop a relationship with her on my own, I want you to take a break). But I think I can say it was one of the lowest points of my life. I was in constant pain, completely irrational, eaten alive with jealousy and sadness, and all for no f-ing reason. Nothing was taken away from our relationship or damaged by it, yet I was completely devastated. I just felt shattered.

So they ended it. I am feeling like a normal human being again. But my confidence/belief in a poly relationship -- and therefore this relationship -- is completely gone. And I am more jealous, controlling, and insecure than I have ever been in my life. I don't recognize this side of myself and I hate it. I am so disappointed in myself for not being able to live up to these ideals, and for being so completely unreasonable.

My partner seems to think that we can find a system that works for both of us, and we just need to tweak the rules. But right now, I feel so burned by the whole thing, I hate the idea of even trying and want nothing to do with dating other people.

So I don't really have a specific question -- I guess I am just looking for some perspective. Right now I feel so hopeless and confused. I don't want to end this relationship, but I also don't know if I will ever be able to give my partner the level of openness he clearly needs. And I want so badly to be able to do that, and not be driven by being weak and batsh-t crazy. Any advice or shared experiences would be so deeply appreciated.

strixish 03-23-2012 06:13 PM

If you want perspective, here's mine (and I don't mean for this to sound harsh). You might not be compatible with your partner. If you can't be poly with him, and he doesn't want to be monogamous with you, it might not be a good match.

But I haven't had your particular experience. Hopefully, someone here who has may have better insight for you.

opalescent 03-23-2012 08:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mostlyclueless (Post 130102)
It was a disaster. My partner and the girl he was seeing were both very understanding and patient with me and both complied with any request I made immediately (e.g., I want to meet her, I want to develop a relationship with her on my own, I want you to take a break). But I think I can say it was one of the lowest points of my life. I was in constant pain, completely irrational, eaten alive with jealousy and sadness, and all for no f-ing reason. Nothing was taken away from our relationship or damaged by it, yet I was completely devastated. I just felt shattered.

There was a reason, maybe not a good, rational, logical reason, but there is a reason(s) for your pain and jealousy. Did you ever try to understand why you were feeling these feelings? Did you fear his loss? Did you feel 'less'? These are some of the more common feelings behind why people feel jealous. In other words, what was the emotions driving your jealousy? If you truly don't know, then jealousy can't be easily addressed, even when everyone involved does everything right, like what you described. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for you and your partner to proceed with poly until the underlying causes are brought into the light.

And, yes, ultimately, it could be that monogamy is a better choice for you than polyamory. You could be monogamous with a poly partner but you would still have to deal with understanding and managing jealousy.

mostlyclueless 04-05-2012 02:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by opalescent (Post 130133)
There was a reason, maybe not a good, rational, logical reason, but there is a reason(s) for your pain and jealousy. Did you ever try to understand why you were feeling these feelings? Did you fear his loss? Did you feel 'less'? These are some of the more common feelings behind why people feel jealous. In other words, what was the emotions driving your jealousy? If you truly don't know, then jealousy can't be easily addressed, even when everyone involved does everything right, like what you described. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for you and your partner to proceed with poly until the underlying causes are brought into the light.

And, yes, ultimately, it could be that monogamy is a better choice for you than polyamory. You could be monogamous with a poly partner but you would still have to deal with understanding and managing jealousy.

It took me a while to come up with an answer to this. I am not 100% sure, but I think the source of the jealousy was that I felt (feel) inadequate. There are little issues that, I suspect, in a monogamous relationship, I would be able to deal with and move on, or ignore. But it all centers around a sense of feeling inadequate.

I think that I felt like my partner is always going to be looking for someone a little bit better than me -- someone with a different body type, someone more artistic/creative, someone less caustic, someone less of a know-it-all, someone more interesting, etc. I suspect that I always felt a little bit like he didn't REALLYreally love me, and then when he wanted to find a secondary that was just proof.

And I don't know if I'm right. I don't know if this is an irrational fear that I need to talk myself out of, or if I am correctly picking up on something that neither of us wants to admit.

Thanks for asking those questions. I was surprised by how hard it was to answer them.

NovemberRain 04-07-2012 04:20 AM

I vote irrational (and I know that I don't get a vote!) :D

Welcome.

I understand that, a lot. I felt inadequate most of my life, and I didn't even have any guys wanting to be poly with me. It's usually an inside job. Came to its worst when I chose a verbally abusive partner, who simply 'proved' all that crap that I already believed about myself.

So, even if you think you're 'picking up on' something 'real' in the relationship, that still doesn't actually mean that you're actually inadequate. I feel quite certain in telling you there's nothing wrong with you. Unfortunately, I'm also quite certain that statement doesn't help. (sorry about that)

Anyway, there are a lot of people in the world who believe 'I'm not good enough.' And the answer is to unbelieve it. Who the hell ever let you believe you weren't? I, personally, think it is an unintended consequence of socializing children (from wild animals into civil human beings who can function in society with others). Parents must teach children how to get along and most parents have no training in how to do so without making children feel they aren't good enough.

(okay, I'm ranting now so I'll stop)

Very brave of you to look deep and find hard answers to hard questions.

mostlyclueless 04-09-2012 02:01 AM

Thanks. When I first read your response, I was going to disagree and say that the problem isn't that I feel inadequate so much as I feel like I'm inadequate for my partner. But then I read what you said again, and I think there is probably a lot of truth to it. If I felt adequate, in general, in life, I wouldn't need so much validation from him.

I still don't know how to fix it. But I really appreciate your perspective. Thanks for replying, and I enjoyed your rant :)

Derbylicious 04-09-2012 04:56 AM

It could be that you aren't cut out for a poly relationship or it could be that this particular woman didn't jive with you. Take some time to work out the reasons behind what brought up the emotions for you while he was in the secondary relationship.

He's been very clear with you right from the start that this is who he is. That isn't going to change. If he is poly there are going to be other people who he is going to develop feeling for and relationships with. It's up to you to decide if this is something that you feel like you can live with.

mostlyclueless 04-09-2012 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derbylicious (Post 131936)
It could be that you aren't cut out for a poly relationship or it could be that this particular woman didn't jive with you. Take some time to work out the reasons behind what brought up the emotions for you while he was in the secondary relationship.

He's been very clear with you right from the start that this is who he is. That isn't going to change. If he is poly there are going to be other people who he is going to develop feeling for and relationships with. It's up to you to decide if this is something that you feel like you can live with.

You are completely right. Sorry if I was unclear. I do not want a monogamous relationship; I do want to find effective ways to work through these jealousy issues, and find the style of poly that works for us.


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