A mono man and his Jealousy. Therapy options, thoughts.
I have only just had my first serious poly talk with my partner of 18 months (more on that later). I am mono (I think) and though she has alluded to poly I kept stuffing my fingers in my ears and pretending it wasn't happening as I was completely smitten, and am mono. I thought I'd be such a good lover this would change. I was wrong (not about the lover thing!). I thought I could forgive her, thus be some kind of saint, and she would want only me - this was wrong too. Forgiveness implies she has done something wrong, which for poly people who do not understand they are poly must be a huge source of pain. Always thinking of herself as flawed, and that 'relationships' could never be serious as her men would eventually hate her, get fed up, and move on. This is her history, trying to be honest, being rejected for her beliefs, looking for love elsewhere, scenes and accusations, pain, solitude again, or stuck with a secondary while the man you love goes off and hates you. Belief she was flawed, abnormal, destined to loneliness.
I have been driven to despair trying to understand this women who obviously loves me, yet refused to commit. At wits end I was going to leave (for about 6 months). I'm quite lucky I didn't go insane, it was a very dark period but I do not give up on love, nor on friends, easily. I knew something didn't add up, and did my homework. LOTS of homework. I had to somehow keep it together enough not to drive her off while gaining some understanding of what I was actually dealing with.
I did (look them up if you want to deal with feelings better do yourself the favour) NLP, EFT, CBT therapies. All of these are amazing to learn about and do, I have grown emotionally in leaps and bounds. I highly recommend all 3 methods as self help therapy. EFT online - find Brad Yates on you tube. NLP - Tony Robbins is a master at this. CBT has an exercise - TEA. Thoughts, errors, action, this is really deep stuff, hard and it hurts at first. 3 days of this I was sane enough to 'talk' to my partner, instead of whine, or demand, or cry, or whatever else never seemed to work. This therapy is for those with dysfunctional backgrounds who have trouble thinking straight at times. The book to read is called 'Been there, done that, do this'. It seems a let down, very small, large print. BUT, do the TEA exercise and you will find relief. mine was rapid, some take months. many 'depressed and 'anxiety disorder' types come off medication after doing the TEA exercise. I am typically a happy person, but all that incongruity of who my partner was brought up loads of old wounds.
None of these therapies fixed the cause of the problem, my utter confusion as to where I stand. But it was important I was sane and rational enough to have 'the conversation' with my partner.
I told her I thought she was polyamorous, not flawed, and that she can have her needs met, if she were to understand and commit to meeting mine, which are simple, love, no more lies (only trying to protect me then, i said i don't want to know). I said the pattern of her life pointed strongly toward polyamory, and that her secondary was now approved, and yes it hurts me a bit, but there are ways to cope with jealousy, and if she will help, it's all workable, it's all ok.
She is stunned. She was convinced she was flawed - 'fucked' as she said. She was convinced she was destined to keep people at length yet she couldn't. she said she is over her head in love with me and an absolute mess as she was sure her behaviour would drive me away eventually. She hates keeping me at length but couldn't see another option, yet she couldn't keep me at length, I was wounded a lot, she was hurt by this, it was very hard for both of us to make sense of this thing.
All the pain just began to fall from us. It was incredible. I still have to deal with jealousy, but I have therapy tools, and more importantly, her willingness to help me. I will spend a bit of time now reminding my partner she is not 'fucked', and will introduce her to other polyamorous people so she can meet kindred souls and not feel so 'unique' (alone).
I am very grateful to have found the polyamory community, without reading your stories I would still be despairing, then we'd be split up, and both despairing.
This has been nothing short of a BREAKTHROUGH. Thank you.
"The course of true love never runs smooth."
Wow, she's lucky to be with someone like you! Sounds like you are supportive, eager to learn, willing to look deeply at yourself, wanting to understand her. Bravo! I wish you both happiness. I know for me it was a relief to hear about polyamory too, since it explained my destructive past relationship patterns.
Now I'm going to google TEA and the exercise you mentioned. Thanks!
Yay! So glad you are hear. I hope to hear her story too some time. I am in no way "fucked" and if this life I lead is "fucked" then I am happy with that. Because its fucking awesome! :D
I do hope you do a search here in the tags for "jealousy." There is a lot to be said by some very wise participants here. It could be helpful and add to what you have learned and accomplished in therapy.
Welcome to a new day :) Good luck to both of you.
Hi AC, thanks for the support. It is a little bittersweet for now for me, but the bitter is due to fear. Love is the polar opposite of fear. As a mono I fear that polyamory means 'not really loving' - which is nonsense. This is where TEA helps.
Get that book (Been There, Done That, Do This - Sam Obitz) out of your local library if you can. It's only a 2 hour read. Might be good for you, people you love, it's a cracker, but will force you to look at stuff objectively. I guess it's difficult at first as it is fairly dispassionate in dispatching thoughts which are attached to feelings (passion). It does help.
Here's an example of how I do TEA.
Thought: I am not truly loved/lovable as she loves another.
Errors: Jumping to conclusions; Reality filter (one aspect becomes the reality, instead of the whole picture); Ignoring the positive; Omnipotence error (think I'm responsible for things beyond my control).
Analysis: The lady loves me, has stuck through thick and thin, has always tried to be honest, has lived with a weight of regret for her very nature and deserves love and acceptance. She feeds me, loves me, buys me books, always comes when I'm in need, plus much more despite her schedule is greater than mine which is plenty to cope with. I am loved by her, my family, friends, colleagues - plus general public when I perform. I can give and get a lot of love. I choose to be with her and acceptance of her is part of that choice. The other guy can not alter her feelings for me as she is polyamorous. Everything I have read about polyamory and all I have observed in her and her 'confessions' points to the fact she is polyamorous. Her professed deep love is true, the evidence is blindingly obvious that she loves me deeply - so the thought is nonsense.
Yes she's lucky it's me :D Those other guys who rejected her are schmucks. Well, not true, but she's worth the 'growing pains'. I'm not in the clear, but its ok, I'm here.
Hi Red Pepper, thanks for the welcome. And the advice. I read polyamory stuff on jealousy early to identify core issues to adress in myself. I will be reading what I can find here for sure.
Baby steps, we can heal, grow, and do what we're here for, love.
Great story to read. Congrats on overcoming the initial hurdle and being able to look behind the facade of things. How familiar her story sounds, I have been in that place as well. thoughts like "How dare you? - What is wrong with you?" crossed my mind more than once. It seems that you two have a strong connection, that will help with all the things in front of you. Wishing you luck and happiness to be discovered on your way.
We were out last night and I had the green eyed monster jealousy playing in my head. Some young guy hanging around, her (as host) greeting men. Fears that other flings were going on. Fears that she is somehow juggling everything I know - and managing a third secret life - so ridiculous! But oh boy, it all sounded real swimming round in my head as we sat through a two hour talk. Every man became a potential enemy.
Jealousy is pure evil. It festers in the imagination of the fearful. It is horrible.
I admitted my jealousy this morning and it didn't get a great reception. I didn't really know what to say, to explain how it was something I dislike just as much as she does, and I REALLY want to rid myself of it. This was unreasonable jealousy, but it is tied to me knowing things weren't right for a long time, it is an old wound salted at the moment.
It turned out ok, but I'm not that keen on approaching her with my imaginary jealousy any more, I think reality is one thing to discuss, but paranoia perhaps should be discussed with others whose jealousy might slip beyond 'reasonable' bounds at times as well.
It is wierd writing this stuff here, a jealous person in a polyamory forum, but I do not feel I'm in the wrong place. And jealousy is an emotion I get, not me as a person. There must be many here who have dealt with people with my conditioning, and perhaps helped them to find peace around their polyamorous selves/partners.
Jealousy of course is rooted in fear. The major underlying fear of all of us, according to Anthony Robbins is that I will not be good enough, therefore I will not be loved.
Being a good man doesn't just involve getting my head straight. Through this episode I have begun smoking too many cigarettes, eating poorly, lack of fitness, and a fair bit of 'self medication'. I had my priorities - emotional health, then back on track with everything. So now it's time for the everything.
We are going hiking tomorrow. It's going to kill me for the first half hour.
My quit date for cigarettes is Monday. I begin walking to uni (an old habit, 1 hour there) the same day. A large grocery run to supplement the large gardens and chicken run is planned Sunday. A gym is being set up in the greenhouse to muck about with. Weed, ah me old friend in times of grief, needs to be severely curtailed, there's research to be done.
Diet, exercise, study, WTF. Understanding my ployamorous partner took an extreme toll on me. I love her so much it was worth every tear and ounce of breath, but now, it's time to balance things out with some serious self love.
Thoughts: Now that I know what's going on, and that she loves me, I have no need to be fearful of her leaving me. I feel raw, edgy and tired as it has been a long road. I can continue to work on jealousy as part of my daily TEA. It is time for self love.
Analysis: Wow I am a lucky guy. She loves me. I am not perfect, but I am working on myself and it is all good, I am good enough, and I am ok. :)
What a warming story to read. I wish you all the best!
Wow, nice to hear such a great success story - welcome to the world of mono/poly relationships! There are quite a few of us out here, dealing with the issues that are specific to trying to have a relationship where each partner has a very distinct mindset which some would regard as incompatible.
Your "does not compute" thought processes are very, very natural - I'm glad that you found that the analysis helps you work things through.
And I think I have been spending too much time on fetlife when all I can think of when I see CBT is "Cock and Ball Torture"... *sigh* (If you are squeamish, do NOT look this up - it really is what you think it is)
I also want to point out that as wonderfully accepting of her polyamory as you are striving to be, and as aware as she is of her history of struggle with monogamy, it's not a given that your relationship will end up in a certain way -you as one of several boyfriends, or whatever you might imagine she would like. I'm speaking as a polyamorous woman whose monogamous husband as been coming to terms with this recently. For me, his growing acceptance of this aspect of me, along with a certain amount of freedom to explore it, has been satisfying. I don't feel a need to have sex with anyone else, or give other relationships any more of my time than my husband feels comfortable. It is enough that I am free to love. Limiting what I do about it is a concession I am able to make, and you may end up discovering that she is too. In other words, your feelings are as valid as hers, and the two of you can work this out together.
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