Newly poly, advice on insecurity/anger
This post might get long, but I'm brand new to poly relationships and my emotions are getting the better of me. I hope you stick around to read my note. Any feedback is appreciated!
Anyway, here's what I've got going on:
My partner of 7+ years and I have always had an "openish" relationship, but this is the first time that he has pursued a "more than a fling" relationship that didn't involve me. I feel like such a cliché, but I am having a really hard time with the whole situation.
A little background: He's 44, I'm 30. We love each other a bunch, we're part of the BDSM community, and we have both played with multiple partners in the past. I've had physical/emotional short-term relationships with other women, and he has played with my girlfriends in addition to having had physical flings with some of my friends/acquaintances.
A few weeks ago, we were at an event and he hit it off with a young lady. I gave him my blessing, and they went off for a fun, sexy evening. Long story short, my partner and the new girl have kept in touch and are negotiating a more in-depth, power-based long-distance relationship.
It's important to note that I was the one who encouraged my partner to pursue a relationship with this girl. She seems really cool, she lives a few states away, and he's thrilled to have her attention. Plus, I think that the idea of him with other ladies is incredibly awesome! It's sexy and emotionally fulfilling at the same time, so I wasn't concerned about my emotional well-being, much less any potential backlash.
Fast-forward a few weeks:
I don't know what's going on! I know that my partner loves and respects me, but all of a sudden I feel like I just want to throw a temper tantrum and tell him to stop spending time with this girl and pay attention to me!
Crazy amounts of insecurity and doubt keep flooding my thoughts. Whenever we talk, I can't help thinking "Oh, are you saying this because you want to spend more time with the new girl?" Or "does this decision make it so that you get extra Skype time with the new girl?"
The things, in particular, that are tweaking my fears are:
- This new relationship is moving way too fast for my comfort. They are in contact via Skype, phone and email almost every day. I'm excited for all the new relationship energy floating around, but I feel like things are progressing really quickly. I've brought this up with my partner, and he gets it and has offered to break it off with the new girl. But that's not what I want at all. Unfortunately, I can't find a way to say "cool your jets" without specifically micromanaging their relationship. And that makes me really uncomfortable.
- I got a surprise day off from work this week, and I felt like the new girl was stealing my time when she and my partner spent time chatting over Facebook for a bit during the afternoon. I work out of state 3 days a week, and when I'm in town I basically don't want to see my partner interacting with the new girl. I love the idea that they're in touch when I can't be there, but I feel completely miserable when I actually see them chatting/on the phone/emailing/etc. What is wrong with me? Why am I being so Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
- The new girl is still in college. The nature of this new relationship is friendly, physical, mental, and most likely short-term (6 months to a few years) with my partner in a kinky mentor position. I promise that it's way less creepy than it sounds. Anyway, I'm completely secure in my many good qualities. But something primal in me is reacting to the new girl's age. She's only 21! How the hell am I supposed to compete with that? And why do I want to compete in the first place?
- I wasn't able to join my partner on an upcoming trip to D.C. Usually, he'd plead with me to find a way. But this time he didn't pressure me at all. Normally, I'd be thrilled with the lack of pressure! I have a demanding job, and don't love feeling guilty about having to spend so much time at the office. Instead, my partner waited an hour and invited the new girl to join him instead. I know it's crazy, but I feel like I'm being replaced.
It all just makes me want to just break down. I'm sure this isn't the first time a new poly relationship has bred insecurity. I just really wanted to talk to someone about it. So, that's it. I came to polyamory.com to share my story, and to get a little support. I don't really know how to handle all of these feelings. I just know that I want to be happy, I want my guy to be happy, and I want this all to work out.
Can anyone share their thoughts with me? Thank you, thank you...
It is on BOTH of you to propose ideas to solve this. So far he offered to break up. You prefer cool jets. Find cool jets shape both of you like then.
You having concerns or limits is NOT you micromanaging him. You can state your wants, needs, limits! Here's what I hear:
Talk to me about how to find the happy medium for the next few months so NRE is balanced fairly with ORE. I am feeling neglected, but do not want you to break up with her. I want to find a "cool your jets" shape we can both handle as we get used to there being a new person's calendar and needs to consider when making our plans.WANTS:
Issue 1: I love the idea that you are in touch 3 days a week with online/phone dates and stuff when I can't be there. I feel completely miserable when I actually see you chatting/on the phone/emailing/etc for long times and I'm not getting my own time with you on my own days with your full attention.
LIMIT: I am in town 4 days a week.Issue 2 : I feel weird about her being 21 and you being 44 and the 23 year age gap. I want help digesting this. (Why? Cuz he could be her dad? She's closer to teen than not and perhaps not emotionally mature? )
NEED: ? (dictated by why you feel weird?)Issue 3 : I want more than an hour to have a chance to think about joining you on trips. I felt replaced and my time/work schedule devalued when you offered it to me and then gave it away within the hour. I had no time to actually SEE if my schedule could jiggle around or not.
NEED: Please show me you value my companionship and my time byHTH!
You make good points, all around. Your reply serves as a good reality check for me, and a reminder for me to keep up the communication with my partner.
I just wanted to restate that, while the age difference between my partner and the new girl might squick some people out, we are still talking about consenting adults. I'd hate for my issue to get recast as a "creepy older guy is taking advantage of immature females" story.
For the record, my partner has dated women who were his age, and older, in the past. And he's not laying any sort of propriety claim on the new girl. She's absolutely free to see other people. The two of them have entered into a relationship that allows the new girl her to explore her kinks and sexuality with a more experienced partner, for a while. The partner and I both believe in the campsite rule ("Do no harm, and leave it better than you found it."), esp. when it comes to less experienced partners.
I guess I'm saying that I don't actually "feel weird about her being 21 and [him] being 44 and the 23 year age gap." I'm just dealing with irrational insecurities of my own, as I compare myself to something that I used to be (a college girl, an honor student, a precocious, bouncier, more naive, more explorative, less experienced human being).
I know that I am currently an awesome lady, whose mental, emotional, and intellectual experience makes me irreplaceable and attractive. But that doesn't shut down the nagging little voice that says "You just aren't as CUTE as you used to be." Cue the louder voice that says "Who wants to be cute, anyway? How much better it is to be capable! Rational is sexy!" Trust me, though. I could go in that particular circle for hours.
Anyway, that last part has more to do with weird personal insecurities that I hadn't been aware of until the new relationship started to bloom.
Which means that my final question is, actually, how the crap does one deal with learning new, unpleasant facts about oneself? I thought I was secure, open and free of jealousy. Talk about shattering my self-image. I'm disheartened to find that all it took to bring my insecurities to the surface was the seed of a new relationship.
I don't have specific point-by-point advice for you like Gala Girl gave you, but it definitely sounds like you owe it to yourself to do some soul-searching and find out what makes YOU tick. Since I don't know you, I can't tell you what areas you need to work on, but you seem pretty self-aware to begin with. So build on what you already know, and figure out why you feel so "old". You're only 30! I'm going to turn 42 in a few months and I like myself better than I did when I was 24! I sometimes wish I could get back the past 20 years and apply the experience I've gained, but in no way would I want to be 21 again just so I could feel more attractive as a dating partner.
I don't know if that helps, but those are the thoughts I had after reading your posts.
That's what I needed to hear. When you put it that way, I see how inane I sound. I really, really, really don't ever want to be 21 again. I'm just looking for ways to fight irrational insecurity. :)
ETA: I can't say that your husband feels as I do. It is entirely possibly that he is trying to "recapture youth" by becoming involved with someone so much younger than himself. But I have no way of knowing or educatedly-guessing because he has not given his input here. I'm just talking to/about YOU.
well you need to set clear rules between you and your partner and also try to talk to him saying that you don't have time with him just talk talk talk
i know its really bad advice but still..........:p thats how my relationship works with my wife;)
Seriously..I dont read Gala Girls responses anymore before I post cause she'll usually hit most important stuff and I'll just feel pointless, so I'll just add on my thoughts before I read any responses. So scrolling through.
Don't compete - it will work out between them, or it wont.
Is it a big thing you've known most of his partners well ahead of time, and she's an unknown factor/not your friend that is making you a bit more apprehensive in this case? Feel comfy discussing safe sex and relationship structures with partners previously, but finding it a bit more complicated figuring out what this new person wants/needs when you feel like a third party?
Best thing to always do is identify what you DO want, and present that to him. "I want you to not message or text or email other women when we are on dates, it makes me feel like you dont value our time together." If you have longer/multi-day dates you might amend that to "Please wrap up your emails/texts before 7pm on our dates, then hold off on resuming til I go home" ... whatever you are comfortable with. Really one thing I love about my bf is that he ignores that stuff during our dates unless he gets a double text from a partner, then he checks to see if its important, and only responds if it is. He ignores my texts and emails to him just as thoroughly if its not our date night, and I'm thrilled he accords all his partners that same respect.
That ties right into your...why do I feel like this? Well, it is one thing if you share a home (do you after this long?) but if you don't, are you twiddling your thumbs trying to be comfortable in anothers space while they are putting their attention elsewhere? If it is your place, you're trying to be a good hostess while hosting a bad guest? If you do live together, I'd just ask to schedule home vs paying attention elsewhere hours (vs giving you a heads up...what works best depends on your personalities) so you can leave him to his stuff while he is busy elsewhere. I've asked for a "hey I'm off to check OKC or IM with my gf" statement so I'm not surprised.
So yes, asking him to cool his jets is one thing if its not negatively impacting anything, asking for what you do want and can have...totally AOK. What the books say...what all people want to know is "What does this new relationship mean for you and me?"
Yes, you DO need to learn to be happy when he doesn't pressure you to go somewhere and hears and accepts your "no". (edit - it would behoove you to do so.) Or you need to be open to doing those things. That is envy, which has always been more of a problem for me than jealousy. That sort of issue is a big thing for me, as my husband wants company on work trips but entertaining myself while he works 12 hour days isn't exactly attractive...but I know a new gf would be thrilled to go along.
I feel ok about my own aging. Every age and stage has its charms -- the 40s has it's dealios just as the 20s and 30s do.
It doesn't hurt that DH is very effusive about his fondness for me and I hear "Aw, you are so cute!" all the time from him. LOL.
Perhaps ask your partner for more verbal reassurances? That you would like to hear more of that while he's in NRE? Add his voice to your own voice to help balance out the annoying voice in your head that pipes up about your cuteness factor.
You are 30 -- how long do your people usually last? Into the 70s? 80s? 90s? You are hardly anywhere CLOSE to any of those. DECADES in the future.
Hang in there!
You guys are excellent!
Thank you thinker, Anne and Gala.
Your replies have helped me to put this all in perspective. I especially like the advice to "identify what [I] DO want, and present that to" my partner. That's exactly the issue I (didn't know I) was having... I wasn't getting what I wanted, and I wasn't helping the matter (for myself or for him) by casting my needs in a restrictive light.
So instead of saying "don't do x, y, and z," I'm going to focus on saying "please do a, b, and c!" Who knows? I might get all of my needs met WHILE the partner has fun with the new girl. Amazing. ;)
Also, Gala and BoringGuy, thank you for the reassurances re: aging. I can't tell you how much I hate feeling this stereotypically female. I've never had serious concerns about getting older before. It has always seemed kind of exciting. So this irrational anxiety feels like it's coming out of the blue, and I don't love it. It helps to be reminded that I am "hardly anywhere CLOSE to any of those [ages]. DECADES in the future. Hang in there!"
It also helps to interact with awesome ladies in the forums who aren't my age or younger. Because now that I think about it, most of the women in my social circle are 30 or below. It's scary being the one who has to figure out her 30s before everyone else gets there. Maybe it's time for me to branch out, huh? :)
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