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jerflan 06-25-2012 03:52 AM

Help with Nonmonogamy
 
Hi all,

I apologize if my inquiry is similar to others on here, but from my perusal, I was unable to find anything tat directly related to what I'm here for.

I've been with my partner for 2 1/2 years and we have been consistently grappling with how to make our nonmonogamous agreement work. Originally it was his request, and over time, I certainly like aspects of it, but I suffer from a sometimes unhealthy amount of jealousy. Here's some background.

When I play outside of our relationship, it's typically with someone I've met on an online forum, mobile app, or out at a club, and our connection is physical and usually non-repeating. This satisfies me as my sexual interests differ greatly from that of my partner. When he plays, it's often with friends, involves an emotional connection as well, and in several instances is an infrequent but regular occurrence. This is the part that makes me jealous. I'm very fearful that someone will try to take him from me, or less so that he will grow to love someone more than me.

In an effort to find a common ground, we have adapted our rules many times, with no success. Most recently, we closed the relationship as an experiment. It yielded a lot of positive things and brought us closer in many respects, but we both knew it was not a lasting solution.

In an effort to combat my demons of jealousy, I suggested we now try the complete opposite, and open the relationship without any of the previous rules (which were mostly to assuage my concerns). This weekend is SF Pride, and my partner went up, and I stayed home. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out this new phase. I had someone over on Friday, as per my normal procedure. He was fine with it. I'm fairly certain he has already enjoyed others, but again, this feeling of someone taking him from me, especially when I'm not there, is eating away at me. I really want to make this work, and learn to deal with these issues.

If there are others who have encountered similar experiences, or know how to beat the jealousy, I'd be ever so grateful!

Thanks for reading!

~J

NovemberRain 06-25-2012 04:45 AM

Welcome.

Did you do a tag search for 'jealousy'? There's oodles of great threads about it here.

Have you considered therapy?

I'm not much use other than that, as I'm the one being shared.

jerflan 06-25-2012 04:48 AM

Thanks for the search suggestion. We went a few couple's counseling sessions, and they were somewhat helpful. Despite the frustration and desperation in my initial post, I am actually confident that we'll (I'll) be able to work through this, but I came across this forum and figured a lot of others would have good suggestions.

GalaGirl 06-25-2012 05:55 AM

So you hard swing, and he's more poly because he wants emotional relationship and not just sex in there.

Quote:

I'm very fearful that someone will try to take him from me, or less so that he will grow to love someone more than me.
Isn't that kinda backwards on the first bit? How can anyone TAKE him from you? He's not a cookie. Isn't it enough to be a good partner he doesn't want to leave and enjoys coming home to and being with?

I used to have a partner that drove me so crazy. I loved him so, I was fully present, loving all my hardest. I wasn't even DATING anyone else at the time but he was SO stressy with the jealousy and anxiety about "worrying someone would take me away?" It shattered the rship. It was more the nonstop anxiety yammer, and the unwillingness to process what this was coming from, and worse -- paying THAT "what if?" thing so much attention but not paying ME any attention. I could understand the jealous had there been another partner. But there wasn't. He was "what if" clouding tempest teapotting and it made him not fun to be with.

I started thinking "God, this THING between us. I am not even DATING anyone else. We are essentially closed right now. And he's still going on and on. I make love deposits, and I never get any deposits back,. It's all drain here, he's not even in this rship -- he's guarding me looking out all the time. I feel like a thing, a trophy. Not person. It is tiresome, and I think I prefer to be ALONE and not dating anyone than WITH HIM and not dating one. It's THAT tiresome. So I broke up.

Food for thought.

On the second part grow to love someone more than you? When I think about who I love most, my kid and my spouse... I don't see my loving my kid taking anything from loving my spouse. They are different people, and I enjoy them for different reasons.

We are closed now, but when we were open? I loved my loves -- I didn't love any of them MORE than the others. I loved each for a different reason - one fed my mind and heart, one fed my body and heart.

That's cool that you learned this though:

Quote:

Most recently, we closed the relationship as an experiment. It yielded a lot of positive things and brought us closer in many respects, but we both knew it was not a lasting solution.
Why is this not a lasting solution like seasonal answer? In spring we are thus. In summer we closed for a season to strengthen. In fall we are thus. In winter we are thus. In your hard swing style, a "summer break" is nothing to your partners.

For his poly people, a "summer break" might require more negotiate-y depending on what stages his rships are at. But seriously? Can't give the primary a summer vacation? When he's present the other 9 mos a year?

Or maybe some other pattern. 3 mos open, 1 closed maybe.

I'd explore what you learned about that period of "closed" if it fed whatever it was that needed feeding so well you were able to go all the way open afterward as the next stage of your relationship process.

I think you are on the road to a solution for yourselves... just gotta hit the sweet spot pattern maybe? And learn more what IS getting fed with that?

Just some thoughts.

GalaGirl

SNeacail 06-25-2012 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GalaGirl (Post 140818)
I'd explore what you learned about that period of "closed" if it fed whatever it was that needed feeding so well you were able to go all the way open afterward as the next stage of your relationship process.

This! Did you communicate more? Did you spend more quality time together? What was different between the two of you? Have you read "The 5 Love Languages" book? When we are busy away from each other, it's easy to let the necessities slide. Also what do you really need from your partner to feel safe and loved? Are you effectively communicating that to your partner?

I need "quality time" (among other things) with my partner, but his activities kept him so busy that he was never home. As a response I would constantly complain that he was "never home", so he would stay home and then proceed to spend 6 hours engrossed in the computer. He thought he was doing what I wanted and staying home, but I felt even more alone and disconnected. When we were finally able to figure out that I needed QUALITY TIME, things improved.

jerflan 06-26-2012 12:15 AM

Hey all,

Thanks for the input so so far. Gala girl, I would like to apologize if my wording made my view of my partner seem more possessive than it is. While I am comfortable exploring my polyamorous side, I still prefer the notion of having a very devoted primary relationship. My partner shares this view, albeit a little less steadfastly than I. When I types, "someone taking him from me," I meant that I'm concerned about his sexual partners developing a strong emotional connection that could potentially contest the one we have. That may sound a bit selfish from the perspective of a true polyamorist, but at this stage in my development, I'm not ready for that.

The period in which we were closed greatly improved our trust of one another. Knowing that I didn't have to worry about what he was doing when he was out made me feel less of need to request curfews or hourly updates. Furthermore, we were much more affectionate while together, whether it was cuddling on the couch or hugging and kissing more, etc. We were even more communicative, but sharing with each other in that sense has always been a strong point in the relationship.

I think it's safe to say many of my initial concerns with non monogamy have been assuaged, but I really want suggestions on how to deal with the jealousy. Earlier today, he told me about his long weekend at Pride thus far, and while I felt jealous, I was able to be more objective about it and not lash out at him or make him feel like he did something bad. My end goal is to not have those feelings surface at all.

Tonberry 06-26-2012 05:22 AM

It might be a matter of time. I don't think you can stop feeling jealousy immediately.
When you have these feelings, I think you need to step back, ask yourself why you feel that way, and see if the cause is reasonable or not. Reassure yourself. Once you feel better, it should be easier the next time you reassure yourself, until at the end, you might still feel the jealousy, but you should be able to nip it in the bud.

Your feelings are part of who you are. You need to accept them, because that's the only way to "fight" them. Don't fall into the trap of burying them or calling yourself a terrible person. Look at the feelings in a factual manner. "Okay, I feel this. Why? How do I fix it?"
Staying rational is the first step and the hardest one. Once you've done it, you can look at the whole thing clearly and analyse it.

At some point, you will need to let go of the fear of losing him, but that's probably going to be the hardest step. At some point you should reach some kind of "zen" point in which you'll "realise" that if he wants to leave you, he will. And that point is both terrifying and liberating, because you start feeling like there is nothing you can do, it's going to be 100% his decision. And therefore, you don't have to fight things that are happening. They are happening. You can focus on the part you do have control over, your relationship, and trust that he loves him, and therefore won't leave.

I'm not sure how clear I am, and I can't promise that it happens the same way for everyone... But for me, I'm a control freak, and someday something just clicked inside of me, and I realised I have no control over whether he stays with me or not. I mean of course, I can be good to him rather than horrible to him and that will affect his decision :P But his decisions and actions are out of my control.
And although it felt like I lost something there, I started letting go of jealousy as well. He wasn't mine, he was never mine, he was his and he was letting me have him. I had no claim on him and therefore I lost the possessiveness, the idea that something might be taking him from me. Because he wasn't mine, nothing was actually taking him from me.

I really hope I'm not making you feel worse here. For me it's still a little bit scary at time, but the idea that I don't have to monitor the relationship because it's NOT my responsibility, and I'm not the captain, and I'm not to blame for everything that happens, was really a weight off my shoulders.

GalaGirl 06-26-2012 06:52 AM

hey -- great response! No need for apology. I hope I didn't sound crabby. I was just trying to understand where you are coming from. I really liked how you owned this...

Quote:

When I types, "someone taking him from me," I meant that I'm concerned about his sexual partners developing a strong emotional connection that could potentially contest the one we have. That may sound a bit selfish from the perspective of a true polyamorist, but at this stage in my development, I'm not ready for that.
That was interesting to me because in MY development?

When we were dating and non-exclusive? I had no jealousy. Pings maybe, but pings I could put down. He went off to talk to an ex who wanted to get back together. And I didn't know what that would turn out to be because our policy in OUR rship was "Don't need to know all, just tell me when there's something for me to get excited about."

Now we have decades under the belt and kids and guess what? Where I thought I wasn't really a jealous person? I AM! He's just increased in value to me, I hold him him that much higher esteem, etc. So the green-eyed monster comes out sometimes and surprises me. Like-- hello? We're closed. Where's THAT coming from?

I'd have to deal with big ol' PONGS rather than PINGS if we are open again later. so much different place in my/our development than when we began.

And that would mean me keeping me busy. Hobbies, reading, volunteering, etc. The old fashioned expression is something like "take you out of yourself" -- so you AREN'T sitting around stewing and what iffing.

I don't think my green eyed monster would be slain, but if we opened my goal would be to get the big ol' PONGS back down to PINGS and mostly? That's getting used to a new config and the passage of time helping to ping the PONGS back down.

Once he told me he'd be fine open later most likely but he wanted to meet the person and get to know them a bit and know I'm in good hands because it's totally NOT fair to have them mess me up and run off and BAM! He's left holding the bag with me in a mess. He'd feel very upset with that other jerky person!

He made me laugh, how I love that man. :D

The other times I feel jealous of DH and kid is when he makes special effort to take her out to do whatever to "give me a break" as the Mom. But he doesn't check in with me well to see if I want break away from kid and him or if I want break away from kid with HIM. And I'd rather he arrange babysitter so I don't have to arrange my own break! That's not giving me a break. That's making more chores on my list! Sometimes I get so mad and I'm so tired I'm just like "fine, whatever, take her to the park and I fume because the exact need is not met.

My need to be away from HER (much as I love her) but with HIM. Quality time is one of my languages. So is acts of service. But which ONE and WHEN? He has to ask me because while I try to put it out there, if I'm tired? I'm not wanting to be Miss Relationship Captain either. It all goes meta. Like if I HAD the energy to articulate all this perfect, I wouldn't need the break and reconnect with spouse now would I?

Its a tender spot. Could some of your jealous spring from some of that? Watching special prep/consideration for his other and you don't sense that "special concern" aimed at you too? Cuz I hate watching getting kid whisked away for fun time and all her needs are thought for, and I get no whisky with all my needs thought. If I have to planny I no be whisky! #sulk #pout #envy

I know that's a family unit thing but it's the same in a romance thing. How come you can get it up after work on friday for dinner movie OSO and fri nights with me you are just too tired and clonk out? I don't rate pizza and a movie?



We talk about falling out of love with each other and wanting to be good exes. We're real -- things can happen. Life is long. Who I am at late 30's may not be who I am at mid 60's

But in talking about it? It's a bondy thing, and it makes it help not be so afraid of what may lay out there "in the relationship dark."

Because we both want to be good exes if it ever came to pass and somehow talking about it makes it feel more ok to be open to whatever comes, comes.
And that feeds my secure bucket. Which makes it less likely we break up, or if we did, we're gonna be good exes.

Everyone can BREATHE. Not tense up.

Back to this... at this stage in my development...

Can that help? Breathe. Accept you are in this stage of your development.

If you were a baby learning to walk, at that stage of your development, it would be natural to accept a lot of clonks and bangs while you learn to drive this body of yours, right?

So... clonks and bangs here = some jealousy pongs. It is what it is. Time will pass, you could occupy yourself with busy that takes you out of yourself, you could figure out your love languages and articulate when these are met/not met like the weather channel report. Not NAGGY, but just weather check ins.

I dunno if that perspective helps.

GL!
GalaGirl

SchrodingersCat 06-26-2012 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GalaGirl (Post 140818)
Isn't that kinda backwards on the first bit? How can anyone TAKE him from you? He's not a cookie. Isn't it enough to be a good partner he doesn't want to leave and enjoys coming home to and being with?

I completely agree that people are not cookies and cannot be stolen.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean people won't try.

People can, and sometimes do, try to get between partners in order to steal them away. That's why they're called cowboys: Cattle herders come between a head and its herd, in order to take it away. They deliberately try to sabotage the existing relationship, to arrange so they can have your partner all to himself.

The way to protect your relationship from cowboys is through trust and communication. You can't stop other people from trying to break you up. But you can do everything in your power to make sure your relationship is not worth giving up. If your partner says he won't leave you for someone new, you have to trust him. Because only he has the power to stop himself from being stolen. You can't stop it with rules, which will actually be more likely to have the opposite effect.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jerflan (Post 140907)
When I types, "someone taking him from me," I meant that I'm concerned about his sexual partners developing a strong emotional connection that could potentially contest the one we have. That may sound a bit selfish from the perspective of a true polyamorist, but at this stage in my development, I'm not ready for that.

I don't think it sounds selfish. It sounds honest. It's important to distinguish between rules and boundaries. It's perfectly fine to tell a partner that you have the boundary that you can only be with someone if you're their most "important" relationship. That's different from telling your partner he's not allowed to love anyone more than he loves you. In other words, one of them accepts that if he can't live within your boundary, it will be your own responsibility to leave and take ownership. The other means that he's expected to sacrifice his happiness for your own.

bassman 07-04-2012 04:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 140954)

I don't think it sounds selfish. It sounds honest. It's important to distinguish between rules and boundaries. It's perfectly fine to tell a partner that you have the boundary that you can only be with someone if you're their most "important" relationship. That's different from telling your partner he's not allowed to love anyone more than he loves you. In other words, one of them accepts that if he can't live within your boundary, it will be your own responsibility to leave and take ownership. The other means that he's expected to sacrifice his happiness for your own.

Gosh, this paragraph has struck a chord with me. Though I am struggling to get the full meaning really clear in my mind.

Please could you paraphrase, rephrase, and/or give some more examples? I really want to grasp this !!!


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