Hurt ego spill over
Is it normal for one to experience some rejection or ego bruising from relationship and then worry their other relationship partner will end up doing the same?
What can one partner do to help the other in this situation when they didn't do whatever caused the hurt feelings to begin with?
How do you continue to enjoy your other relationship while still attending to the another's insecurities that you didn't contribute to first hand but now feel you are contributing to by having an other interest?
I get that feeling outright or momentary rejection by a person who has gotten to know you is harder that being rejected by a stranger. But if you didn't cause the hurt feelings, how do you be there, give reassurance and help them get past it when they continue to see the person making them feel this way AND you having another interest only makes them dwell on the insecurities more?
Long story short; my primary partner keeps getting his feelings hurt by his other and then getting more sensitive about my attention to my own other while I'm not doing anything differently than I was before. What didn't bother him initially now sometimes does and now any time I give to my other interest makes me feel guilty and I can't enjoy it.
I think it's sort-of "normal" but that doesn't make it "proper".
This sounds like one of those times when poly relationships require "hard work" like folks are always saying on here.
Your partner needs to realize that people are responsible for their own actions, not for the actions of others.
That's sugar-coated for "he needs to grow the fuck up".
He may need to grow up BUT he may also need some reassurances & quality time (or more of quality time) with you to help ease his bruised ego.
Think, is there something you, and ONLY YOU, do for him that you haven't done for a while? Is there any way you could do that thing for him some time in the near future? It will make him feel loved and special and may just help alleviate some of those feelings of uselessness, feeling unloved and unwanted AND it will give the two of you a special bonding time specifically for the two of you.
Well this may be an obvious response but sometimes it's skipped over. Have you asked your partner if there's anything he's aware of that you could do that might be helpful to him when he's thinking and feeling this way? Sometimes people need us to just listen and aren't looking for us to try and "fix-it". Sometimes asking the question is a way to place the issue back on them...where it belongs.
- If they have a suggestion(s) about what you could do to try and help and it's not do-able or agreeable with you, then you let them know that. "No I'm not willing to give up my other partner to try and make you feel more secure. I think what you're going through right now is temporary although it probably doesn't feel like it. Are there other things you or I could do that might help you feel better about yourself?"
- If they say they can't think of anything, you might respond "Well if you do think of something please let me know. In the meantime I'm hear to listen and to care."
- You could also ask them if they want your opinion or advice. For example, if your partner is continuing to see the person who causes the hurt you might ask them if they'd like your impression/opinion/observation...etc. Then tell them that it's confusing to you or hard for you to see them continue to put themselves in a position for more hurt by continuing to have contact with the person whose the source of the hurt. You don't have to tell them what to do about it, but raise the issue.
Ultimately the problem is your partner's. They may want it to be yours, but if you've tried to help and they've rejected your suggestions or something hasn't helped, then don't let it be your problem to solve. If they really get "stuck" in the problem you may want/need to set some limits/boundaries, so it doesn't drag you down. "It's too hard to listen over and over again about how someone is hurting a person I love dearly. It really drags me down. I'm no longer willing to listen to you talk about getting hurt by so-n-so while you continue to make the choice to see them. I'll be happy to listen and talk with you about other things, but that topic is off limits between us now." (I wouldn't use this statement early on.....but if it goes on and on you have the right to take care of yourself, your wants and needs, too. And sometimes allowing someone to vent indefinitely can actually prolong the problem situation. Venting can take enough of the "edge" off the issue so that they'll experience some temporary relief from their pain. This temporary relief can contribute to prolonging the problem behavior(s) because it doesn't get painful enough to make the kind of changes that might be required.)
Just my $.02 worth.....
The guilty feelings are my own. He isn't acting like I should feel guilty. He does voice more concern over the what ifs; disguising them in joking context. But I know it is under his skin more than he shares verbally. Its the by-product of knowing someone well. Its not like he is trying to crawl up my butt and build a nest over his bruised ego every time I have plans or a phone conversation. I own part of this.
Then I start getting tense because I didn't cause it and begin to resent the clean up duty left behind instead of being glad that he communicates his feelings to me. What attention and time I gave because I wanted to ends up feeling like I HAVE to do it because of someone else being callous. If I soldier and keep plans with my other, then I feel I'm contributing and feel tense away from him as well.
There was only one night where he asked me to cancel my plans because he was feeling down. He felt bad about asking that of me. Super. Then we both get to feel bad. Whoo hooo!
About the only things I can think of that I and only I do for him is my willingness to drop everything when he needs me. Anything else I do is done on the daily whether he is feeling down or not.
This would be a lot easier if poly guys didn't get the fish eye for being honest. Women will show interest and then none once they know he is in a relationship. He has even gotten cussed out! :confused:
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