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-   -   Help me find the right words (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3668)

TruckerPete 09-07-2010 11:35 AM

Help me find the right words
 
I thought I was over NRE with my boyfriend of two months (Mr. A), but after reading other posts and reflecting on our relationship, I know that I'm only over the giddy-make-me-feel-sick part, and that we are still in a honeymoon phase, even if its form is changing.

Mr. A and Indigo are getting to know each other and it's going well. Indigo and I had Mr. A over for dinner last week, and the three of us ended up sharing laughs at a comedy roast, and snuggling in a big happy pile on our couch. (The boys didn't snuggle, but nobody's perfect, I suppose. :p)

Indigo was feeling comfortable enough to offer me a sleep over at Mr. A's AND come get me at 8:30 on Sunday morning when Mr. A had to work and Indigo could've been sleeping. (I don't have a key to Mr. A's yet, and he lives 20 minutes across town. The pickup was very generous of Indigo, especially when he could've been sleeping!)

So things are going well for the most part.

However, last night I spoke to Mr. A on the phone because I hadn't talked to him all day. (He works long hours.) I even felt comfortable enough to leave the bedroom door open, that Indigo wouldn't be upset by our conversation. It was a great talk with lots of joking and laughing. We chatted for half an hour or so, and then I hung up and went downstairs to be with Indigo.

Indigo looked a bit upset, so I asked what was wrong. He asked if he makes me happy.

Ah crap.

The issue is twofold. One is that Indigo doesn't hear as much positive from me as he should. This is a recognized problem by me, and I am working to correct it. I have a tendancy to pick on little things, as well as not always voice/show appreciation when I'm feeling it. The showing part is important. A hug goes further with Indigo than a thank you, but I am the opposite.

So this part is being worked on.

The second part is trickier. Indigo heard the laughter of my conversation with Mr. A. We don't laugh for this long anymore. But I know it's only because we already know each other's jokes. It was weird timing for him to be bothered by this, because I had been mentally noting that we do still make each other laugh deep, full laughs, and appreciating this especially over the last week. Though perhaps not such strange timing, since I am experiencing "new laughter" with Mr. A and so my attention was drawn to these moments with Indigo? An ex once told me that we'd break up when I stopped laughing at his jokes. This turned out to be true. So these laughs are something I do watch for and note.

I remember laughing like this with Indigo in the beginning of our relationship. He says he does not. Granted, we talked a lot on MSN in the beginning of our relationship, where he would not have been able to hear my laughter, but we also had dates like real people and laughed then. I think his memory is clouded by my obvious laughter with Mr. A.

I have said everything that I've posted here to Indigo, but he's still hurting. Please help me reassure him that just because we laugh less frequently than Mr. A and I (currently) do together, doesn't mean he doesn't make me happy. I am still in NRE, and Mr. A is new. Our jokes are new. There are more new ones to make.

Indigo, I love you deeply. Being able to make each other laugh, REALLY laugh, after 2 1/2 years is no small feat. I can't wait to really laugh with you in 20 years.

Rarechild 09-07-2010 02:07 PM

Tickle him.
 
I don't think the main thing is to explain the laughter. That'll just make it stop altogether. The important thing is to explain how much you love Indigo, and it sounds like this needs to be accompanied by you paying some rapt attention to him.

Reading your post, it sounds like Indigo is really trying to give you everything you need to be happy and may feel that his strenuous efforts to show you how much he cares are being rewarded by you giving that good energy back to Mr. A and not Indigo.

Of course the way you and Indigo are navigating the situation is a more somber and studied process than between you and Mr.A, because you have more history and maybe more tendency to predict each others behavior.

Laughter is unpredictable. It is harder to fake a laugh than an orgasm, in my opinion. Your relationship with Mr. A is full of unpredictability at this point, and it's exciting and gets your gut churning and your giggles going.

Do something unpredictably wonderful for your Indigo, something that's new and exciting. Ply him with food and wine. I've been with my Catfish for 6 years and am still finding ways to surprise him , and vice versa. The laughter will come when you're not worrying about it, when you're in the moment.

Whenever I see discussions on here about NRE, I feel like the term is a little destructive. I feel like over the years, people and the world change at such a high rate of speed that I have to constantly redefine my relationships, and I am always aware that each day is a decision for both Catfish and I to stay and do this. Not taking that for granted helps me know how to tickle my man's fancy. Sometimes I cheat by actually tickling him. Actually, a lot. :)

Good luck, I wish you laughter with both of your sweeties.

TruckerPete 09-07-2010 03:36 PM

Thank you for your insightful response, Rarechild.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rarechild (Post 43295)
I don't think the main thing is to explain the laughter. That'll just make it stop altogether. The important thing is to explain how much you love Indigo, and it sounds like this needs to be accompanied by you paying some rapt attention to him.

Perhaps, explain was the wrong word? Or maybe not. Actions speak louder than words, so more attention to SHOW how I feel rather than TELLING him how I feel would be exactly right.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rarechild (Post 43295)
Reading your post, it sounds like Indigo is really trying to give you everything you need to be happy and may feel that his strenuous efforts to show you how much he cares are being rewarded by you giving that good energy back to Mr. A and not Indigo.

This is true. It was a problem at the beginning, and may still be. I will check in with Indigo.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rarechild (Post 43295)
Of course the way you and Indigo are navigating the situation is a more somber and studied process than between you and Mr.A, because you have more history and maybe more tendency to predict each others behavior.

Would you mind clarifying this part?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rarechild (Post 43295)
The laughter will come when you're not worrying about it, when you're in the moment.

Oh, I'm not worrying about the laughter ... I love how we are together! When I say I've been paying attention to it lately, I meant that I would notice after a great laugh, "Oh hey, that was really nice. I'm happy we still have those!"

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rarechild (Post 43295)
I am always aware that each day is a decision for both Catfish and I to stay and do this. Not taking that for granted helps me know how to tickle my man's fancy. Sometimes I cheat by actually tickling him. Actually, a lot. :)

We're currently wedding planning, so I am definitely aware that each day is a choice! :D But in all seriousness, I do understand what you mean.

Unfortunately, I can't "cheat" with Indigo. Tickling may make him giggle, but it also gives him painful hiccups and he gets VERY grumpy. :eek:

Again, I have the revelation that I need to SHOW more than SAY. In most things, I appreciate words more than actions, and need to move away from that in order to properly communicate the emotions I feel for Indigo. For example, he made me a yummy breakfast this morning. Normally, I would thank him for this. (And mean it!) But remembering what I'd just posted I gave him a biiiiig hug instead. The smile on his face was wonderful! It feels a bit contrived to have to THINK to give him a hug or some other gesture instead of using words, (which mean so much more to me), but if I want him to understand how I feel, I need to do it in his "language".

freeantigone 09-07-2010 04:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TruckerPete (Post 43297)
Normally, I would thank him for this. (And mean it!) But remembering what I'd just posted I gave him a biiiiig hug instead. The smile on his face was wonderful! It feels a bit contrived to have to THINK to give him a hug or some other gesture instead of using words, (which mean so much more to me), but if I want him to understand how I feel, I need to do it in his "language".

You are just like me. I'm really crap at showing how I feel (and saying it too, sometimes :o ) and I have to remember that my partner gets so much from a hug and a kiss. I'm not really adding any advice, just that I'm the same. I think describing it as thanking him in his own 'language' is a great way to explain it. :)

TruckerPete 09-07-2010 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by freeantigone (Post 43305)
You are just like me. I'm really crap at showing how I feel (and saying it too, sometimes :o ) and I have to remember that my partner gets so much from a hug and a kiss. I'm not really adding any advice, just that I'm the same. I think describing it as thanking him in his own 'language' is a great way to explain it. :)

No, that's helpful in itself, to not feel like a freak! :p

Does it become more ... natural? It felt so wrong this morning. I mean, I knew he would feel the hug in the same way that I felt the thank you, but it felt like I was being manipulative or something.

Quite frankly, it's a big old trigger for a couple of painful things from my past.

*sigh* More self work ...

freeantigone 09-07-2010 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TruckerPete (Post 43312)
No, that's helpful in itself, to not feel like a freak! :p

Does it become more ... natural? It felt so wrong this morning. I mean, I knew he would feel the hug in the same way that I felt the thank you, but it felt like I was being manipulative or something.

Quite frankly, it's a big old trigger for a couple of painful things from my past.

*sigh* More self work ...


It does get easier. My personal space boundary used to be about 3 miles across, but I'm getting better. I've really worked on making this smaller and being more physical (not with everyone, I'm happy with a generous personal space boundary for everyone except a trusted few) with my partner. And...it gets easier. I now find it comes naturally most of the time, and I enjoy it more too :)

I've been through some sh*t myself (I'm not funny about personal space for nothing!) so if you want to chat/hear my experiences just ask :)

ImaginaryIllusion 09-07-2010 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TruckerPete (Post 43297)
But remembering what I'd just posted I gave him a biiiiig hug instead. The smile on his face was wonderful! It feels a bit contrived to have to THINK to give him a hug or some other gesture instead of using words, (which mean so much more to me), but if I want him to understand how I feel, I need to do it in his "language".

Quote:

Originally Posted by TruckerPete (Post 43312)
Does it become more ... natural? It felt so wrong this morning. I mean, I knew he would feel the hug in the same way that I felt the thank you, but it felt like I was being manipulative or something.

Sounds perfect...you *are* manipulating...yourself...and you should be.
You're making concious changes to your behavior...to make yourself understood in his language instead of yours. Yes, that will take some concious effort for a while.
And you got the reward...a big wonderful smile...this is like classical conditioning at it's finest. :) I don't see how there'd be anything devious about trying to change your own behavior or communicate better.
Eventually it'll become just the natural way you communicate with him...and you won't have to think about it. Give it time.

TruckerPete 09-07-2010 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion (Post 43326)
Sounds perfect...you *are* manipulating...yourself...and you should be.
[...]
And you got the reward...a big wonderful smile...this is like classical conditioning at it's finest. :) I don't see how there'd be anything devious about trying to change your own behavior or communicate better.
Eventually it'll become just the natural way you communicate with him...and you won't have to think about it. Give it time.

Ring a bell and bring on the manipulation!

Derbylicious 09-07-2010 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TruckerPete (Post 43328)
Ring a bell and bring on the manipulation!

Just don't get confused and drool on Indigo every time you go to hug him :D

TruckerPete 09-07-2010 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derbylicious (Post 43334)
Just don't get confused and drool on Indigo every time you go to hug him :D

Who says I don't???

Also, he has been warned to carry a treat bag with him at all times. I like cheese, but fear it will get warm and yucky. Chocolate will melt. The dogs'/cats' liver treats don't taste good at all. Hrm. DECISIONS!

Ooh. Beef jerky. Are you listening, sweetie?

If it's possible to hijack your own thread, I think I am doing it now. :D


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