New to poly... Eek!
First of all, hi! Let me introduce myself. I'm Jinxedit, 21 female, Anthropology student. Enjoy music, art, and meditation, and newly polyamorous. Pleasure to make your acquaintance. I will warn you that what follows is a long rant... but I really don't know where else to go for advice.
I've been interesting in polyamory for a while but never found anyone willing to try it out for me. Recently, it happened. I was seeing this really cool guy, W who's interested in being open with me. I should be ecstatic, but I'm not... I'm just confused and sad. I guess I should elaborate. Despite being interested in openness, there's a lot going on in my life and I kind of asked if we could take things slowly. Aside from that, we discussed being sexually open, but I asked him to avoid being emotionally open right away. He said he was fine with that, but about a month into seeing each other, I went away for a weekend and when I came back, he was very much involved with another girl, H. According to him it started out as just sex but within a couple of days he felt that he was in love with her and he wasn't willing to stop seeing her for me, though he still wanted to see me too. I felt incredibly betrayed but I tried to see things from his perspective and communicate with him openly and honestly. I realized that it was a little unfair for me to ask him to take things slow when I am still semi-involved with my ex boyfriend, D; however, I did prioritize my new lover and asked him to set whatever boundaries he felt comfortable with in that regard. Despite feeling betrayed and hurt I decided I was willing to work things out.
Things were really rocky for a while as W started his new relationship with H, but I tried to ride it out. For a while things were better but recently things have just been really, really hard. On top of just being depressed due to having some mood issues, being on my period, and the weather being shitty, I feel jealous and insecure in my relationship with W. I really care about him and I want to keep seeing him, but all the working things out is sapping so much of my time and energy that I just feel constantly shitty. I'm falling behind in school because I can't bring myself to work, especially when I know he's with H. It just makes me hurt inside.
I wonder if maybe I'm just not cut out for polyamory... but I really, really want to be! I'm trying so hard to make things work but I feel like every time we take a step forward we take two steps back. I've realized that both H and I are incredibly emotionally needy people and I'm just not sure W can handle it. I'm trying to be an adult and take care of myself but the stress of everything is seriously dragging me down. I worry that W doesn't love me, I fear that H is stealing him away, even though he continuously tells me that he wants to be with me. It's just hard to trust him after all the drama. But on the other hand, I know he never meant to hurt anyone. None of us have any idea what we're doing.
To complicate things further, over the weekend W and I went to a concert with our friends S and E. We all dropped acid and had a really good time. However, the vibes were kind of weird for me because W hit it off with E really well and they were pretty much together the whole time. I don't want to feel jealous over that, I want to feel happy that W had fun, but I felt a little left out for reasons I can't really understand... maybe because the first part of my trip was really confusing and upsetting on account of originally having gotten bad acid (we got real acid later), and I was wandering around alone for a while trying to find W so I could feel safer. W and E almost hooked up but W stopped and thought about my feelings, which I appreciate, but it still makes me sad that none of that energy really seemed to come my way. I just feel like now that we’re open, he seems to pay less attention to me, want me less, have less energy for me. I don’t want to be greedy but dammit, I want him to want me as bad as I want him! And I just can’t tell if he does. Aside from that, he says that he won't fall for anyone else and want to be with them, thus having even less energy for me, but that's what he said before, so I'm not sure I can trust it.
As a result of everything, I asked W to leave me alone for a while. I'm not sure if this is the end or not... I hope not, but I worry that none of us are mature enough to handle this situation, so maybe it's better if I just let W and H be together for now. But I feel incredibly sad when I think about how I won't see him anymore, won't get to wake up next to him, share things with him, etc. I miss him incredibly already.
I'm not sure if I should just call it quits right now and try to move on, or if I should stick it out. Can anyone help us? I just want us all to be happy. We have no one to turn to for help, and we’re all very confused.
TL;DR: Newly polyamorous, at the point of breaking up with my partner due to constantly feeling jealous, sad, and insecure. Feel like he's less into me now that he's got other prospects and feel left out, but also not sure if I'm paranoid and imagining things. I really need any help I can get.
Where are you in your 6 maturities? Where are your poly partners?
So asking HIM to avoid feeling whatever he feels -- that's not a fair thing to ask of him. If you are Open, you are Open. You cannot tell him how to feel or when to feel it. You can ask him for BEHAVIORS that he might consider honoring in deference to you. You cannot control how he behaves though. You ask him -- he gets to choose to honor it or not.
You only get to control how you behave -- not him. If you do not like how he behaves toward you, you can choose to walk away. Everyone holds their own baggage and makes their own choices.
We do not control our feelings or choose them. They just bubble up and ensue. Rain is rain. Sun is sun. Emotion is emotion. Emotion is internal weather -- it just blow on through. Whether yummy or yucky feelings to feel -- it just goes on through in time.
You can only choose how you behave in response to those feelings. That you do have control over. Choose to react, choose to act with intention. Neither is bad or good.
What's the jealousy speaking to? You could choose to learn more about that. (Or not. )
Maybe that article could help you ask what you need from him, and help you ask from yourself what you need to do for yourself so that you can feel better? Could you do some page 5 things? Could he do some page 6 things? Could he be willing to talk it out with you?
Could google and learn how to manage Old Relationship Energy needs while facing New Relationship Energy highs. It's all that "wheee!" stuff. Fun to feel, but it's brain hormone high. Could learn more about that so you don't feel so "aaaaahhh!" when either of you faces NRE. He could learn how to balance the ORE with the NRE so all his partners are being tended to with TLC.
NRE can run from 6-12 mos. When you come off the high you can feel like you are no longer in love but that is not true. It's the withdrawal of the "pink fluffy lala clouds" stuff wearing off. Hangover. But now you are moving into a difference love space -- a bond of attachment and shared history and if you both choose -- commitment. It has a different flavor. Just because it tastes different doesn't mean it isn't love or something is somehow "broken."
Could consider choosing new behaviors together -- so hopefully new feelings can ensue -- the ones that are yummy to feel, or at least the ones that are LESS yucky to feel than this.
Think about ALL your options -- including the option to end the polyship. Weigh each one out. What behaviors each option demands of you? Him? Which are you guys willing to do/not do in service to the relationship being in better harmony? Is it better for BOTH of your best healths (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) to be in relationship but change it from romance to friends? Only you guys can decide these things.
But change nothing? Then nothing will change about the yucky feelings that bubble up and ensue. They could fade down in time but then some other trigger will pop up and here we go again. New yucky feelings come bubbling up and ensue. YKWIM?
Hang in there. Learning emotional management is challenging. But facing the challenge and coping and coming out the other side -- that is how you grow. :) We always are constantly choosing in Life. From little choices like what to eat for breakfast to bigger ones. You choose all the time! Don't be scared to sit and think and face a big choice. You can do it even if it feels hard.
You will be ok -- because no matter what you choose? You will choose the right thing for you at this time. Then you will see what feelings ensue and if you like that or not.
Then you can choose a NEW choice:
You always get to choose what is next. Isn't that neat? Being the captain of your own Life destiny? :)
You are 21 years old -- you do not have to be some big expert on every dang thing on this planet at 21. Nobody ever is even at 91! Just choose -- and learn from what you choose what works and does not work for you. Then make the next choice bearing your experiences in mind.
Things in the 20's feel INTENSE because a lot of "firsts" are happening in the decade. Maybe things like moving out to college, getting a job, dating more seriously than in high school, becoming financially independent, some marry and start families in their 20s. That's a LOT in one decade!
You are collecting yardsticks of Experience. Later in life you use them to measure new experiences by. But the first time you experience a new experience FEELS all crazy LOUD in volume.
Do not panic. Just take it one thing at a time. You CAN do this. You CAN choose well for yourself. And if not? You get to choose again. It will be OK.
Hope that brings you some comfort.
Hang in there!
PS: More reading to help you gain perspective.
It is important that we make our needs known to our partners but it is imperative that we understand they are *not* responsible for our happiness. W fell in love, which is the beauty of polyamory. It sounds like you have some personal issues you need to deal with so perhaps breaking up with W, doing some reading, doing some growing (up) could be exactly what you need.
It sounds to me that the relationship was built with *you* in a poly relationship but that W was only allowed to be in a polysexual (swinging) relationship. Right out of the gate this is a red flag. The two of you set up the relationship not as a pair of independent adults, but as primary partners in which one of them had a set of freedoms revoked.
Polyamory, at least the kind of polyamory I practice, is built on the assumption that people have the ability to love more than one person and that the freedom to do so is inherent. I will only be in a relationship with people who respect my freedom to love and have relationships with whomever I choose. I will only be in a relationship with whole people, people who do not need me to make them "whole".
Hey guys, thanks so much for your replies. My head feels a little clearer getting outside perspectives.
Marcus, you make a really good point about independence and happiness. I think this is a big part of our problem. W and I had a long talk this morning and we are feeling a little more stable. I am going to take a week break or maybe a little longer from seeing W so I can focus on myself, but I made it clear to him that I fully intend to pick things back up. I know I have some issues but I think I can handle this. W wanted me to know that he can accept the challenge of being with me and I feel the same way about him and about this situation. I do feel that space would benefit me right now so that's what I'm doing but I feel like simply walking away from W would be overkill.
Galagirl, thank you so much for all the resources. I realize now that I've been way too hard on W, which I expressed to him. I'm going to have him read some poly literature too so maybe we will be able to communicate better. As I think I mentioned he isn't really familiar with poly except for through this situation and I think if we both had some guidelines to keep in mind we might have more success.
I also definitely take your point about feeling yucky. That's exactly how I feel! But when you say it like that, I kind of realize that it's just a feeling and nothing to overreact about or feel like everything is falling apart, just something to work through.
Thank you so much both of you. You have been infinitely helpful. I'm really glad that I joined this forum.
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