Jealousy, lack of compersion or just normal?
I'm not really sure what it is that is going on in my brains :D I talked to my husband about this last night and it's not making any more sense to me.
In short, I am in a triangular relationship with my husband and gf. My relationship with her is great, there are no issues on that count from any of us. Husband is happy for us, willingly gives us time together, no jealousy, save that he would quite like to join in (never gonna happen chaps...). She and I have a very romantically based relationship, things are good.
My relationship with my husband is, being worked on. He has a very high sex drive, and the NRE when we got together may have given him false hope for the future. I physically can't keep up with him, not consistently. Certainly not with a toddler and another baby on the way. I don't have the sex drive I did, and I don't have the urge for kinky stuff I did, still some, but not the heavier D/s we once did. Part of the reason for the poly in our relationship was so he could have his needs satisfied, and get back to having a more affectionate (rather than a frustrated and gropey) relationship with me. That worked. Actually it works both ways, he sees GF and is all lovey and chilled with me, I see GF and am high on oxytocin, and he is being nice to me, our sex life is better. Brilliant.
Their relationship is very BDSM based, she has told me that she feels bad for not giving him any affection (but we got over that when we agreed that was what I was for, and she didn't have to feel like she had to fulfil that role if she didn't want to) and that in her words "if he stopped beating me I wouldn't let him touch me". Essentially it is about them getting their S&M kicks, playing punishment games etc, and both of them are very happy with that.
I don't ask for details, but sometimes stuff filters through, I am aware of the dynamic of their relationship, and some of their activities. On the surface I am very happy for both of them. But sometimes, I get an intense feeling of sad.
When it was just the 2 of us, it never really bothered me that there were things he wanted to do that I didn't, it was never an issue, some stuff he liked was outside my limits, end of story. Sometimes I didn't feel like stuff, other times I did, such is life. Now that he is able to get that from someone else though, I feel sad that there are those things that he can't share with me. I feel like I am not doing my duty as his wife almost, and a bit crap that he had to bring someone else in to pick up my slack, so to speak. In a Relate session he once said to me that he wouldn't want to be with anyone else if he could get everything he needed just from me. I feel like I am letting him down somehow, even though I know I simply cannot do that.
I want to be happy for them both, that they are able to get the things I can't give either of them, and mostly I can be, but I broke down in tears yesterday because he told me to expect a parcel of BDSM stuff in the post today and I knew it wasn't for us, but felt it should have been. I'm not sure if this is a proper issue, or just part of the settling in process. We had a bit of a rocky start (I found out he had been unfaithful in the past, and then that he had been sleeping with GF before discussing non-monogamy with me), and I am not sure how much of that is seeping in either, though I thought we were past that.
First, regarding your title, it's not an either/or thing. Jealousy, compersion, lack of jealousy and lack of compersion are all normal.
We all have our triggers and it's good to know them. In your case, it seems your trigger is whatever he does with somebody else that you wouldn't or couldn't let him do with you.
It is possible that everything they do and you always do fails from making you jealous because you feel you are providing it too, but the second it's something that isn't in your relationship, there might be a fear he would leave you as a result.
I think it's normal to have this kind of feelings, but I want to assure you, there is no reason to blame yourself. You cannot personally fulfill 100% of someone's fetishes. The odds of finding someone whose fetishes match with yours completely are astronomical.
But you ARE providing him with fulfilling these fetishes. You are, because you guys are in a triad, and that's because you, personally, are not requiring monogamy.
What I mean is, there are several ways to be what you call "a good wife". If he wanted to learn to paint, maybe you wouldn't be able to teach him. But maybe you could help him find a class, and take care of the kids while he goes to it, or something to that effect. In that case, he'll get to learn to paint, and you'll have supported him and helped him.
And you can't beat yourself up because you don't know how to paint. You don't have to. He can go to other people for some things, being a good wife means being there for him, and finding solutions together.
Similarly, he can't fulfill all of your needs. It seems your GF is helping you a lot with the emotional stuff, both by making him more affectionate with you and by (did I read that right?) being affectionate with you as well.
That doesn't make him a bad husband. There was a problem in your relationship, you talked about it, you tried out something that is working for you. That's good.
Still, if you are still feeling bad about it, I suggest talking to him, or to both of them really. Explain that you feel like a poor spouse, and you just want to understand your feelings, talk it through, and hopefully at the end of the talk you'll be completely reassured.
Good luck :)
Normal, definitely normal.
Hugs - it's hard to come to terms that we can't be everything to our partners at first, and then... well, then it becomes freeing, in my experience. Been there sistah - it's hard to watch your husband (in my case, literally) get down with another chica in a way that he doesn't connect with you. When stuff filters down to me it still gets to me a bit, but it gets easier over time for sure.
That sadness and those tears are a sign of your gentle loving heart, of your desire to be a good partner to your husband, and your fear of losing the sacred connection that the two of you share. All of those things are beautiful, and deserve to be honoured, because they're part of who you are.
I don't worry about rushing through those feelings, or shaming myself for them; I did at first, and not only did it not make them go away, but it made them harder to express and let go of. Now I recognize that something hurts (ie - overhearing a really sexy phone call between my husband and the GF) and take some space, work out, go out, do whatever, and come back when I'm feeling balanced and secure inside of myself and talk about it. It takes some discipline, but it's working well for me, and I have a hunch that it might help you too. We can never control anyone's behaviour except for our own, and taking care of our own needs is our responsibility. When we become the masters of our own lives, everything changes.
So hugs again, for the sadness that comes with letting go those pieces of your relationship that you no longer need to own. Sink into that sadness and feel it, then let it go, and heck, why not order some sexy stuff for you & your GF so that you have a package coming too?
Thank you both, that is very helpful.
I don't really worry about him leaving me, although when he had previously cheated I did feel like he was lining up my replacement, but I am assured now that isn't the case, and becoming poly has been more about finding parameters within which we can continue to be happy in our relationship (oddly he had suggested we could try monogamy again until things were better between us, but it was the Relate counsellor that pointed out that it was futile to rebuild our relationship on rules that neither of us really wanted.) I also know that GF would not want a primary relationship with him, he drives her nuts!
I do have a sort of competitive urge though, like I feel I have to be "better" at a relationship than her because of my primary status. I suppose I should try to place more value on the fact that I am bearing and raising his children and less on how often we have kinky sex. I think he does, but because we have had issues with our sex life, it feels like the deficiency there dominates.
I had another wobble last night which was mostly boundaries/scheduling related. She is staying with us for a few days and hb had been joking about how he was picking up my gf for me and how nice that was of him. He suggested that as he wanted to take her out on the town on Thursday, Wednesday was "my" night, but I went out to my evening class and got in to find clues that they had been up to stuff, which meant she wasn't up for sex with me. I kind of had plans, but tbh I would have been OK with ditching them if she hadn't been up for it, and just having her in my bed for the night, but she decided to sleep alone. I'm not really sure how I should be feeling about that, but I was annoyed with hb for not holding back after *he* suggested that it was my night with her. I was only out for 2 hours, and he would have spent at least an hour of that putting our son to bed, so why have a great rush to have sex with her after making such a fuss about making it my evening with her. And we had been talking about how she was worried about being overstretched between the 2 of us, and perhaps he should hold back a touch for both our sakes. But then, she could have just chosen him over me that night, or whatever, I don't know, and I should be OK with that.
Part of me thinks he is being thoughtless and selfish and disrespectful, part of me thinks I need to chill the fuck out, and part me me is just sad because I was looking forward to some one to one time with GF for about a week, and we ended up just sat on the sofa with the 3 of us chatting and me trying not to be cross. Just a cuddle and a chat on my own with her would have been nice, but I didn't really feel like pointing that out and asking him to make himself scarce. Then I went to bed, and he came to join me and I was just thinking "I don't want you here tonight, bugger off". Arggh.
Without any more information, it seems to me that each of you has put up a load of various barriers for your own protection, which are at odds with what each of you wants from the situation.
Noone really seems to be communicating honestly about what they want and need.
I think there's a lot of good advice and observations in here; I especially like the comparison to your husband wanting to learn something new, like painting, that Tonberry offered.
As for the more recent "wobble;" have you talked with either/both of them about what you are feeling about what happened that night? Poly doesn't work without communication, and while there might be a middle ground between you "chilling out" and your husband being more thoughtful, that middle ground can only be found if you talk about it. It seems like you really care about your gf, and you clearly love your husband if all of this is on your mind, so it's worth talking about. Ask him if he's feeling any of these things, and if you need it, ask him to provide you with reassurance from time to time of your importance to him. We all need little reminders now and again of how wonderful we are. :)
I too encourage you to look as kink/sexual activities as being in the same category as any other hobby or interest. I don't enjoy certain types of gaming or going to plays or hosting parties for a bunch of people who aren't close friends, and my husband does. If I liked those things my husband would probably be content to be mono. It's not that I'm not a good enough wife, it's that I'm being true to myself and staying the person I was before he came into my life. I can feel a bit guilty sometimes because I know he'd love our house to be a social hub, but I'm a better wife because I don't force myself into a mold that I don't belong in to please him.
Conversely of course, if my husband liked to drink beer, experiment in the kitchen, and have sex a few times a week I'd probably be monogamous. Sure those activities have different benefits but I'd love him to share any of them with me, and don't think less of him because he doesn't. I'm sure you don't think your husband is letting you down by not sharing any hobbies you really are excited about.
And about this last visit - yes you should do that hard thing of speaking up. Next time your girlfriend is coming over, pre-discuss the time with her, tell her you want to spend X night with her, then let your husband know and ask him to keep his grubby mitts off of her that night so nothing gets in the way of your date. Also let him know that you like having alone time with her and that you'll make sure to tell him if he doesn't remember (cause he probably wont). In this recent case, instead of letting myself stay cross I'd work up my nerve and jokingly say" Vamoose sucker, it's time for me to get some alone time with my girl". I find it's often easier to joke when I'm feeling emotionally vulnerable, and it sure goes over better than getting pissy because a partner being obtuse about something.
And again, if part of the reason you didn't say anything is because in that moment, you were doubting if she really wanted you - probably good to talk to her about that. I wouldn't stress the talking quite as much if you and your husband weren't both dating her, but when you all spend time together, it's more harmful to keep things inside like that.
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