Hi I'm Josie, I'm 19 and I've been in an open relationship for over a year now.
I would not describe my self as polyamorous but more as 'currently not monogamous'. Before my current partner I had only ever been in monogamous relationships, however, he is polyamorous and so we agreed to enter into an open relationship.
My most standards I'm not a particularly jealous or possesive type so for the most part I've settled quite well into an open relationship and being bisexual it has been nice to be able to express attraction to women whilst in a straight relationship.
The problem is: I can only seem to go so far. I have no problem with having sex with other people or having relationships with others but on the topic of love I have trouble.
Before me and my partner got together he was madly in love with another girl and were only seeing eachother casually. Because of this he repeatedly told me not to get attached as she was his main priority and he would always choose her. However, he was not her main priority at the time and so we eventually got together.
During the 1st 5 months he talked of her often and was endlessly comparing me to her. There were also many suggestion that I should change my fashion style or hair colour etc. and each of these suggestions would have made me more like her.
After 5 months this decreased however just a few days ago she told him that she loved him and I know that he loves her.
We've been together quite a long time now and I know that he loves me more but whenever I think of them entering a relationship in which they both love eachother it makes my chest ache. I wonder if perhaps this is my limit, if I've finally found something that I can't handle.
Is my feeling this way selfish? I've always said that I wanted to be able to give him all these things but I'm not sure if I can handle this. Would it be wrong of me to ask him not to?
On the one hand, I've made many, sometimes difficult adjustments to his lifestyle because I know he can't change who he is and love him for it, but does this mean he should also be able do the same for me if it's something that I can't change about myself?
However I'm worried that if I were to prevent them going out that he would grow to resent me and I hate the idea of that even more.
I know we work incredibly well in all other ways as a couple and there's no doubt about me wanting to continue to be with him. I'm just not sure how to compromise between our different relationship needs.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)
It was wrong and hurtful of him to keep comparing you to her and asking you to change. Like, really, that's messed up, he should apologize even if it's happening less now.
That said, I don't think you can justifiably ask him not to do this. Like, poly is ok except for with the one girl you love more than anything? How could he NOT resent that? All you can do is absolutely require that he show respect for your relationship (not cancel preexisting plans to be with her, not give her gifts and favors while not doing the same for you, etc), NEVER compare you two like he had been doing (so not cool), keep you in the loop, and commit to doing things that make you feel special, valued, important, etc.
I'm concerned that he won't be able to hold up to those things, because of his behavior in the past. But if you want to give him the opportunity to prove himself, to prove that he can do poly in a healthy, balanced way, that is the list of requests I'd recommend.
Thanks for your reply.
I know I can't really ask him not to. I had always known he had strong feelings for her and when he had seen her in the past I dealt with it really well. For some reason knowing that she loves him too has stirred up all sorts of emotions and I'm entirely sure why.
It's possible that in part it's because she's polyamorous. Since the relationship began I've been very insecure about the fact that I'm not polyamorous and wonder if he would be happier with someone who was. I know it's irrational, I just don't know how to get around it and stop thinking of it that way.
However I also know that's not the full picture, I guess I need to do some self-searching and try to figure it out.
It seems petty straightforward to me why you'd be upset. By consistently comparing you to her and asking you to be more like her he's been sending the message "I like her better than you"... even if he might not really feel that way and was just being thoughtless, he was still definitely sending that message.
But that can be overlooked if there's no chance for them to have a relationship, if she doesn't like him back. No real need top worry about it because it's just a fantasy of his. However, now that she does like him back again, the obvious question is -- does he, in fact, like her better than you, and will he, therefore, prioritize her over you, thus slowly dismantling the trust and love in your relationship?
This may seem like a harsh way to look at it, but that'show I would interpret your fear, and that's why all of my suggested requests to him focused on him a) ceasing those negative messages to you, and b) treating you as special and important so that the trust and love can remain in your relationship.
Yeah, it does. Thanks very much for your help :)
At least I would think so.
Also, even if you are a secondary relationship to him (which it sounds to me your being cast as) it doesn't mean you should be treated as a second-class partner.
I feel that perhaps I should clarify abit. When he made suggestions about changes in myself, I don't think they were that serious and logically, I know that he wasn't thinking of her when he said them. It's just that they were all very similar to her and because of my existing insecurities I associated them that way.
As for comparing me to her and talking about her a lot, I did evetually tell him about it and how it bothered me over half a year back and he apologised and said he never meant to make me feel second class.
It's simply that when he's excited about something he can't help but express it (it's actually one of the things I really love about him). When we got together, he had recently ended a long term monogamous relationship due to his guilt that he had pursued other partners (including her). When we agreed to enter an open relationship he was just so excited that he would be able to see her without feeling guilty about it. So he talked about her a lot and made the comparisons.
I know and understand why he did it but because I was so new to open relationships, it made me insecure and some of that insecurity is yet to fade.
However, in good news, I no longer feel uncomfortable about the idea of them being together! (Although sods law dictated that about the moment I came to this revelation, it turned out that, whilst loving him, she doesn't want to engage in a relationship after all).
After hearing your advice and doing some self-searching I realised the reasons why it scared me so much:
1) It was unexpected. Me and her, we've become friends, and a few months back she had expressed to me that she didn't feel like she could engage in a relationship or anything sexual with him again. So when she told him she loved him it was a shock. I've discovered that if I expect something, I'm unlikely to be upset or particulary uncomfortable with it. I expressed this to my partner and he agreed and said that for as much as possible he would always talk to me about any possibilities with other people (no matter how small) so that if something did come of it, I wouldn't be shocked.
2) Love scares me. When I first discovered that I loved my partner and he loved me, I freaked out. Love has a lot of power over people and can make each party very dependent. So the idea of them loving eachother scared me. It meant that not only were me and my partner vulnerable to eachother's feelings but he would also be vulnerable to his feelings for her and because of that I would be vulnerable to her feelings for him.
This is obviously a risk you take in any relationship but I have some deep seated issues with dependency, so I guess that's why it bothered me.
However now that I know that's what it was I can work on removing those issues.
Sorry for the belated and long-winded reply.
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