Learning the juggling act and feeling a bit overwhelmed....
Been trying out the poly thing in my family for a little over a month now. I think some reality has begun to set in, and I'm suddenly feeling a little freaked out I guess. While being with Y and E is a dream come true, I am coming off that high a bit and am seeing more clearly now that happily ever after is going to take some work.
I'm also having my individual stresses with Y and E. With Y, I feel very unable or unsure of how to express my feelings about E around him. Even asking him if I can go out with E on such and such day feels very stifling because I am constantly afraid of the jealousy or hurt it will cause him to feel. His expression was full of jealousy when I told him that E and I started kissing, and the same thing with us groping each other. However he did not chastise me or anything like that and tried to accept this change. I told him a couple days after the fact just so he had the heads up, and he never indicated that I should have told him beforehand what I wanted to do, but now I wonder if telling him beforeheand would have been more appropriate. I asked him about doing "pleasuring" of sorts that's not intercourse, and he said I could use my own discretion as long as I don't let it slide to sex. Yet he also indicated that knowing about these stages would set him up far better for the eventual sex. I feel very confused about how to inform Y of my progress with E in a way that's respectful to Y but not so unnatural that I essentially make Y a monitor of my relationship with E. What I really want from Y is for him in some form to...I guess support E and me? I know he doesn't support it fully right now emotionally due to various reasons, but the hope is that with time he can, which is why this whole thing is being "tried out." Until Y is more okay I feel unable to feel okay being who I want to be with E, and this is upsetting to me.
Then there's E.....he's an incredibly physical person. He's very super excited to be with me and is VERY serious about me. While we realize things may change in the future we both like the idea of him being in my life for the long-term. (Y is aware of how serious I am but not so much of how serious E is about this hopefully being a long term thing.) In some ways E's struggling to help himself when his hormones kick in. I'd love to go further myself but I personally feel Y definitely isn't in a position to be okay with that, and E is flat out going hormonally bonkers because he doesn't like the idea that him wanting more with me is wrong. He wants it to be okay with Y for E to love me the way he wants to. He wants Y to let up sooner than later, and I just want both of them to be happy with me so I feel like I'm being tugged hard in two directions and that I'm not in a good position to make either of them very happy. My own NRE feelings with E makes this additionally challenging.
I also wish E would see it from Y's perspective a bit more and work a bit harder to control himself out of respect for his best friend's wishes. E would listen to me if I told him to back off, but I wish he'd also do it for Y, too.
Their friendship has been a bit more strained since we agreed to try this poly arrangement and that has been saddening for me. I wish it wouldn't hurt their friendship, but Y seems to view E as a rival now, which has bred some animosity on Y's part. This fuels E's mindset that Y is being unfair and overly jealous about certain restrictions. Both of them are kinda stubborn in this and I wish they'd both compromise a bit. If anything I wish the two of them were communicating more effectively more often.
I would definitely love some perspective, especially if any of you can relate and share how you overcame such challenges. I'm still very new at this and I want everyone in my family to be happy. I have some insecurities of my own to work through and I hope I can open up about these topics with Y and E soon and hopefully find a constructive way to work on this with them, too.
I would advise you let them interact more and sort out the trouble each one is having with the other on their own. It isn't helpful if you stand in between them all the time, as an obstacle or mediator. This leads to an unhealthy dynamic as they need to re-form their former friendship as well.
It seems the progress you are making, is too fast. Everyone should be comfortable with the other (including the two guys) and as long as Y is struggling and E isn't aware of his perspective, things are bound to become more dramatic bit by bit. There are some things you can't 'fix'. And the work that has to be done right now, isn't on your plate. All you can do right now is watch out for both of them, keep the current level and wait for them to come to some kind of understanding. Encourage them to keep more in touch and check in regularly with the other and to not mediate their problems over you exclusively. I have a hard time with withdrawing as well. I don't feel comfortable when not in control. But those problems are theirs to sort out.
When our v began living together last year, there were many talks I just wasn't involved in. They needed those times to set the boundaries of their relationship. It is important that everyone is able to speak up for himself and knows how to communicate with everyone involed in the relationship(s). Don't become their spokesperson, this won't do you or them any good.
On a very happy note I did get to discuss my relative concerns with both Y and E. E was very receptive to my concerns and we agreed that getting Y comfortable benefits all involved, so we will slow things down for a while. Y and I didn't quite cover our topic quite as much yet as I wanted because he was very preoccupied with his own personal issues with E, but getting it out there still felt good and I feel we can build from it at least. I guess Y feels that if E improves on his own personal faults Y is saying he'd feel better about supporting this arrangement, I think.
A lot of the issues between Y and E have been building for months before I told Y about my feelings for E, so I feel that both of them have failed to address their respective concerns very well. Y tends to get pissy when he's irritated and E is overly defensive and the two reinforce each other endlessly. I've told both of them now that they really need to start talking it out, and doing so in a way that's productive. They easily tell me about their frustrations but they really suck at doing so with each other. I've told both of them that maybe we should write down succinctly what is bothering us when it happens and put it into a shoe box. Then once a week pull out a few slips and discuss the concerns with the person involved. Do you guys have other ideas for getting them in the habit of communicating effectively with each other?
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