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-   -   Really struggling - any (gentle) advice? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=48826)

Simone 06-16-2013 12:18 AM

Really struggling - any (gentle) advice?
 
Hello everyone,

I'm new to this board (although not new to poly), so please be gentle with me.

I'm one of the hinges of a W. The other hinge is my bi male partner of 11+ years. One end of the W is his gay male partner of 10+ years. The other end is my straight male lover of 18 months.

Although I've been in poly relationships for a while, I've never felt jealousy before, as I've only been in situations where the men I've been with have dated other men. Dating a straight guy who wants to have casual 'fuck buddy' arrangements with women has opened a can of worms. Sigh. I assumed I'd be fine with other women, but I'm not. We started off with an agreement to discuss it if we saw other people, but have had to change that to a DADT policy, as I was having a major (and I mean REALLY major) flip out if he saw anyone more than once.

He's not big on rules (I wanted him to limit how many times he sees the same person), but has agreed to;

- not seeing anybody who is a 'rival' for my position in his life
- not letting the presence of another eat into our time
- no sex in his bed with others
- anybody else he sees will know about me

He volunteered all the above, other than the no sex in his bed, which I requested and he reluctantly agreed to.

I still struggle with him seeing others. I think if I was more desirable and lovable, he wouldn't need to see other women. My self-esteem seems to be plummeting and I feel quite depressed. It's triggered a lot of bad childhood stuff in me and I've switched to stronger anti-depressants and have started seeing a poly counsellor. I burst into tears numerous times a day thinking of him with others and worry I'm on my way to a very serious depressive episode.

I know I shouldn't feel so depressed and hopeless about this and my inability to shake this depresses me further. I thought I had poly sussed, but it seems I was only coping so well as there were no other woman around!

Thoughts? I've obviously read Ethical Slut, Opening Up etc....

Simone

Marcus 06-16-2013 01:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simone (Post 210042)
He's not big on rules (I wanted him to limit how many times he sees the same person)

A primary limiting quality in how successful a person is likely to be in a polyamous relationship is how comfortable they are with the other members living their lives. So, the degree to which you are uncomfortable with your bf seeing someone else is inversely related to how successful your poly relationship will likely be.

Any rules your partner might allow you to impose on him would need to be very temporary. Whatever time frame went through your head when I said that is too long because most people will develop resentments for someone oppressing them pretty quickly. Personally I think proposing rules for controlling a loved ones actions is fundamentally harmful to their relationship.

Compersion should be your goal, not control.

kdt26417 06-16-2013 02:32 AM

Hi Simone,

It seems to me that you do not have a problem sharing a man with another man. Your mood, self-esteem, and position are not threatened by that. It's when a woman comes into the picture that there begins to be all kinds of problems, rules, restrictions, etc.

What is it about women that makes them so much more threatening than men? It seems that you have some buried issues there that need to be dug up and examined.

What does your poly counsellor have to say so far?

Simone 06-16-2013 02:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kdt26417 (Post 210069)

What is it about women that makes them so much more threatening than men? It seems that you have some buried issues there that need to be dug up and examined.

What does your poly counsellor have to say so far?

I feel competitive with women, but not men. I had a very difficult time from 10 - 15 years. Went to an all girl boarding school and was bullied horrendously (physically and emotionally) for years. Also starting to feel less attractive as I approach 40 years and feel threatened by my bf having younger women as FBs.

Have only seen the poly counselor twice, once with my bf, once alone. Am keeping a diary for her of what triggers a big upset. Will be seeing her weekly from next week, so am hopeful that will help.

Thanks for responding - and being gentle with your words.

Simone :)

kdt26417 06-16-2013 04:21 AM

Re:
Quote:

"Also starting to feel less attractive as I approach 40 years and feel threatened by my bf having younger women as FBs."
Just curious, do you think you'd feel less attractive as you approach 40 years and felt threatened by your bf having younger *men* as FBs? I ask because is age just a side issue. Would it be if we were talking about men rather than women?

Based on your boarding school experience, it sounds like you have a lot of damage to unravel.

london 06-16-2013 06:51 AM

I have issues with women. Huge ones. Don't trust them at all. So i'm with you there. However, what you're doing is showing you don't trust your partner. If I was him, I'd have left you already. Those kind of control issues are unacceptable. Totally. Those rules are ridiculous. I think it's inconsiderate to agree to a poly relationship and then restrict someone to that degree because of your insecurities. My first step would be to apologise sincerely for instating them,a promise to work on your issues and then the very most basic rule of only sharing things that will impact on other relationships.

If you really can't deal with not having that control over who he sees and what he does in his own bed, let him go. Let him have healthy and happy relationships whilst you work on yourself and then maybe, in the future, you can get back together.

Cleo 06-16-2013 07:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by london (Post 210089)
I have issues with women. Huge ones. Don't trust them at all. So i'm with you there. However, what you're doing is showing you don't trust your partner. If I was him, I'd have left you already. Those kind of control issues are unacceptable. Totally. Those rules are ridiculous. I think it's inconsiderate to agree to a poly relationship and then restrict someone to that degree because of your insecurities. My first step would be to apologise sincerely for instating them,a promise to work on your issues and then the very most basic rule of only sharing things that will impact on other relationships.

If you really can't deal with not having that control over who he sees and what he does in his own bed, let him go. Let him have healthy and happy relationships whilst you work on yourself and then maybe, in the future, you can get back together.

When my husband and I first opened our relationship, I would (and did) have asked for the same kind of rules OP is requesting. Now, 4 years later, I am much more inclined to agree with london here... which is an interesting observation to me.

You say you've been poly for a while, but (if I'm reading this correctly) mostly on your terms, and those terms haven't been really challenged until now.

Poly will challenge you and it will never stop challenging you - it's just a matter of how much you are willing to take on this challenge.

Also - I DO feel that different relationships require different 'tactics' when the dynamics change. When my husband and I started poly we'd been together for 15 years. 15 years of loyal monogamy is not something one disassembles overnight. We NEEDED those rules, both of us, to adjust.

Now when my BF found another GF, after being with only me for over a year, I made the mistake of expecting him to follow the same rules and strategies that my husband and I had followed. Which was unrealistic, not in tune with the type of relationship BF and I were having, unfair to him, and also (this is the most important part) not REALLY what I needed, but only something I THOUGHT I still needed because I had needed it 4 years ago.

Think really carefully about your issues and struggle. Is this a problem because of you, your personal history? Give your BF freedom and work on yourself. Is it really a struggle of the relationship with your BF? then work on it together, talk about it, think of ways to make it easier for both of you. But try to make the distinction between these 2 types of struggle.

Simone 06-16-2013 09:09 AM

@kdt, no issues with younger men. I really have ZERO jealousy towards men. Lad has been away on holiday overseas for many weeks at a time with his gay partner and I've only ever felt happy he's having a great time.

@London and Cleo, yes, I'm seeing the poly counsellor and am on strong anti-depressants to help overcome my issues and the 'fallout' from my jealousy. I've said to my BF if I can't get over this jealousy, he should leave me. He's agreed that's the only option he may be left with if I can't resolve it.

I think the added difficulty is that I have a growing awareness that I'm not really sure I want to be in an open relationship anymore. If I was to be single tomorrow, I suspect I'd try a monogamous relationship. I've actually never had one.

Simone

london 06-16-2013 11:23 AM

If that really is an issue, you owe it to your partners to say so. It's not like you only have one partner.

nycindie 06-16-2013 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simone (Post 210072)
I feel competitive with women, but not men. I had a very difficult time from 10 - 15 years. Went to an all girl boarding school and was bullied horrendously (physically and emotionally) for years.

I can relate to this in a way. I was treated horribly by nearly all of the kids I grew up with. Small town, small minds, and very cruel.

It is good that you know where your competitiveness and lack of trust with women comes from. However, self-knowledge, acknowledging our histories, and using the epiphanies and revelations we have about ourselves as tools for growth, are vastly different things from throwing one's hands up and saying, "that's why I am the way I am."

You wouldn't drive a car only looking in the rear-view mirror. The rear-view mirror is useful to know where you came from, but where are you now and where are you going? The past affected you and helped make you who you are, yes, but it is now behind you. The challenges and limitations we have are meant to be faced and transcended, not merely accepted as fact. Ask yourself (and your therapist) what you can do to no longer let yourself be victimized by your past, and be able to move forward.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Simone (Post 210072)
Also starting to feel less attractive as I approach 40 years and feel threatened by my bf having younger women as FBs.

Again, good insights. But you need to drill down to what's underneath your insecurities. Then work on ways to gain confidence and refute your self-limiting beliefs. As they say in 12-step programs, if you want to build your self-esteem, then do esteemable things. Boost up your own opinion of yourself by meeting challenges and accomplishing things that make you proud of who you are. And stop comparing yourself (feeling less attractive, too old, etc.). Whenever we play the compare game, we lose - there will always be someone else more attractive, younger, smarter, cooler, whatever. Don't go there.

The insecurities and less-than-stellar ideas we have about ourselves may be with us until our dying breath, but we don't have to pay credence to them. Working on ourselves in ways that help us get very familiar with our thought processes and belief systems, and to like ourselves, is the way to let those "negative voices" fade into the background and just be like bad wallpaper.

Restricting those we love with rules meant to keep us safe from our own lack of regard for ourselves is not the way to happiness.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simone (Post 210095)
I think the added difficulty is that I have a growing awareness that I'm not really sure I want to be in an open relationship anymore.

This sounds to me like possibly another method of escapism (the first being your idea of establishing strict rules for your bf), so you don't have to deal with your icky feelings. Again, I don't think that tactic will accomplish much for you.


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