A Stony, Uphill Path
DH and I married very young. We were both still teenagers, I was only a few months out of High School. DH is truly my soulmate- I still feel as deep and profound a love for him as ever. However, I only ever had a couple of 'kinda-sorta' relationships before DH, nothing serious. And he was (for 10 years) the only man I'd ever been physical with. So relationship-wise, I still feel very uncertain and immature. He on the other hand grew up fast as a child and also had several relationships before me- but ultimately we were mutual first loves.
I started out our relationship very insecure. I felt (and still feel to some extent) that he's out of my league. More attractive, more outgoing, smarter, etc. I didn't even like him watching porn, which was really the only reason we ever really fought in those days. Funnily enough, it was when things came to a head over his online porn activities that we started to really examine ourselves and our relationship. I had a series of epiphanies.
1. That I actually found myself aroused by the thought of watching him be physical with another woman.
2. It was even more arousing to think of both of us together with another (man or) woman, and finally crystallized the realization that I am bisexual.
There were many, many conversations. There were many conflicts within myself, between our relationship and my insecurities as well as my own personal faith and beliefs (going from believer to agnostic). We had children, grew up a bit together, and ultimately decided to give this polyamory thing a try.
It took 3 years from starting to look for other connections to actually making them. First we were trying to achieve a triad, and learned about the scarcity of 'unicorns' lol. Then we tried looking for partners separately, but between living in a very rural area and having a very specific set of qualifiers, it was still quite difficult. We didn't want to hookup, we wanted relationships. Love. Eventually, though, we've somewhat settled on the idea of FWB/STR.
DH was the first to start dating someone else, and that catalyzed things. It had only been talk up till then. I think between the NRE and our inexperience with poly, things wound up getting rushed. I forced it, he forced it. I hoped for at least friendship, but the new gf and I just didn't click, and ultimately she decided she was only into DH, and wanted a primarily physical relationship. Ultimately they hooked up, but DH said he felt almost immediate regret, that it didn't mean anything and felt wrong. Not too long after he told her he could handle being friends, but didn't want to date anymore.
I meanwhile had been casually vetting a gent who traveled for work and hadn't communicated with in a while. I think DH's relationship with his first GF spurred me to rush into things with him- I wanted to know that feeling, that experience more than I was willing to be careful. After a few dates we got intimate. It was fun, we were safe, but then he never called or replied to my texts. I felt vulnerable and used despite my best efforts to reassure myself and DH to reassure me.
Unfortunately, at the time DH was experiencing some real success in dating a new GF who clicked with him extremely well. The timing of it all caused a lot of resurfacing of insecurities for me and was hard to handle. I even swore off poly for myself, or at least any active seeking. I'm feeling better about it lately, but still unsure about whether I want to keep trying to find someone and risk more disappointment, or if I should just learn to be okay with a Vee arrangement with DH as a hub.
Presently things are coming along well for DH and his GF, and I am genuinely happy for him. I'd like to become better friends with her, but I have my own introversion to overcome for that to happen. The complication is that there's a time limit on their relationship- she's here for work, but will be leaving within 2 years or so. It's a little tough on him, but he's still willing to enjoy things while they last.
I meanwhile continue to try to overcome my anxieties and low self-esteem. I have thought more about potential future relationships and know I would really love to be in a relationship with a woman for the first time. Ideally, it would be wonderful to have a LTR, but realistically I just want to try having any successful relationship with a secondary. See if I can replicate the fluke of finding someone to fall in love with, to enjoy the company of. I still kind of hope for that, but for the foreseeable future it will be on the back burner.
Ideal vs. Reality
What I wanted: Either a mutual GF or him to have a GF romantically who could be a good friend to me, someone who'd want to hang out even when DH wasn't present. I imagined maybe someone with kids, with a similar life history and interests we could bond over. Someone who was open and loving and totally comfortable with intimacy, so that even if she didn't want to me sexual with me, she would be OK with my presence while she and DH were intimate.
A BF with many similar qualities to DH, someone who could be a good friends for him and/or be bi so what DH could act on his bi-curiosity, someone who was smart and gentle and sweet and fun to be around, someone I could be with while DH was with his GF. In both this and the GF Ideal, I hoped for a long-term relationship where he or she could either move in or find a place close within the same neighborhood.
My only 'relationship' turned out to be a life lesson rather than a life partner. I had zero luck before that finding anyone who wanted more than just an NSA relationship, and even now when I browse I come up empty. I've all but resigned myself to being done with poly on my end.
DH has always had more luck than I, starting with women he'd text with to one he dated casually to the serious GF he's with now. I try not to feel envious and personally undesirable, I really do. But it's hard when I can't find one other person who appreciates me for who I am when DH has found several, most of whom failed not on the basis of him personally but on the basis of him being married.
DH & GF's relationship is brimming with NRE, and I find myself bouncing back and forth from accepting of it to self-depricating. I find myself becoming emotionally distant to spare myself hurt feelings and spare him my tendency to become a basket case. I love him, I like her, their relationship is sweet. I don't want to mess it up. But at the same time, I can't just force myself to not feel like a 3rd wheel. I can't just shut off my poor self-esteem. I've been trying to be more friendly with her, I know DH really wants it and GF seems open to it, but the more I'm putting myself out there, the more I'm feeling like I'm setting myself up for more hurting. Like maybe it will be better to back off entirely, to seal myself off from their relationship for everyone's better interests.
GF will also not be here 2 years from now. This is a temporary thing- I mean, unless DH gets motivated to take a work promotion that would allow him to be transferred elsewhere. But I still don't think we would be able to live where GF wants to end up living, being as DH's work doesn't have locations our that way. But I also don't know how I'd feel about him developing such feelings for her that he'd be willing to try and relocate for her. I've told myself, and others, for years that love multiplies, that you can truly love more than one person at a time.
So why is the possibility of them falling in love so scary to me all of a sudden? Why can I not let go of the deep-seated insecurities that I've had since the beginning of our relationship (that I thought I'd gotten rid of, until recently) that he'd only be with me till he found someone better? When he's proved over and over again that he's in it for the long haul?
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