I don't know what the right thing to do is.
My partner and I have been together for the last 20 months or so, and for the last month she has been seeing somebody else.This is very important to her as being in a polyamorous relationship is something she feels is an integral part of herself. While I don't have any interest in being anything other than monogamous, I understand how important this is to her and of course want to make her happy.
The person she's been seeing she's gotten to know over the last two months, talking to him most days over facebook and/or skype, but I'd never met him until he first came over a month ago. When that happened I came across them while they were lying on top of each other kissing, which is more than I had expected at the time. I left, freaked out a bit, and he ended up leaving while my partner and I discussed what had happened and what was important to each of us. She would like me to get to know him better, and I've been trying to do that, both playing games with him and spending time with him in person, even though it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable but it's not very easy to get to know him because my partner doesn't trust us around each other, and doesn't want to see him get hurt by my hurt.
Both her and I believe that communication and honesty is very important in this, and I additionally would like both a) her support and b) some amount of time to be able to deal with my issues and insecurities on this. Recently, she has been wanting to 'move a step further' each time she sees him, i.e. last time she saw him she showed her her breasts and yesterday they were rubbing each other underneath their pants. I feel like my partner is moving too quickly for me to be able to cope with, and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to handle how she's been doing things. In the last month I've only been able to become okay with her kissing someone else passionately, which isn't anywhere near quickly enough to be able to cope with what's happening. I'm beginning to feel very unsecure in our relationship, which is causing additional problems because she feels like I'm being clingy and needing to talk to her too much, and feels burdened with my problems. In the last week I've been in a pretty low place outside of everything, and she doesn't want my mood to affect her happiness anymore.
All of this has made her want to be less affectionate with me. This of course compounds my insecurity. Additionally, she feels that my needing her to slow down makes her interactions with him artificial, and thinks that with that requirement I'm trying to control what she does with her body and infringe on her rights as a person to do what she wants. I've been having trouble sleeping and eating, I'm hurt, and I don't know where right and wrong is here, because I'm involved in this, and I don't know if I'm being selfish, or if my partner's being selfish, and I need outside perspective.
I don't trust anyone I know to give me useful or unbiased advice or support, and I'm not sure what to do.
I have to say, at a first glance, she doesn't sound very supportive of you. While I can fully understand the need to be herself and express herself, that doesn't give her the right to tromp all over you.
You said he came over, so I'm assuming you and she live together. That makes it your home as much as hers, and as such, you have the right to some boundaries within your own home. Sharing a house with someone means you can't just do whatever you want all the time. You have to respect your housemates' boundaries, or it ain't gonna work. You have the right not to walk into your living room and see your partner making out with some dude on your couch. That was a pretty selfish and insensitive move on her part.
I have to ask: is it really worth it? She isn't being supportive or compassionate, and it doesn't sound like this mono/poly thing would be your first choice for a relationship dynamic. Words like "clingy" and "burdened" indicate that she isn't likely to become supportive any time soon. It sounds like she's only interested in a relationship that is trouble-free, easy-going, and uncomplicated. It doesn't sound like this relationship is ever going to be like that.
You can't "make her happy." Only she can do that. And the flip side of that is only she can make herself unhappy. If your mood is bringing her down, then she could choose a different way to react.
Right now, it sounds like you're sacrificing your own happiness in an attempt to fulfill hers. That's going to tear you apart piece by piece until you're nothing but an empty shell. So if what you want is monogamy, then it may be time to admit that you and her have different ideal relationships and that this arrangement cannot fulfill both of you.
I should point out that this was while they were watching something in my room. It had been discussed beforehand and I was expecting them to be affectionate, just not to the point that they were. As for being in a trouble-free easygoing relationship, I wouldn't quite agree with that, there's been the fair share of trouble so far, and she's moved across the country to be with me, leaving her life there behind.
Welcome to the forum! There are lots of supportive people here!
I have a few questions which might help me and others understand the dynamics better.
I don't know your age, which isn't really that important, but how many relationships have you been in? How many relationship endings have you experienced?
I'm just asking because I am in my 50's and have been through so many relationship beginnings and endings that I have come to accept them and therefore they are not as traumatic for me as they were in the beginning.
You could say I have learned how to be willing to "let go" and it's meant to be- it will come back.
Do the two of you live together? If so- how long have you been living together?
Did you know from the beginning that she is poly?
Was this something you agreed to when you got together with her?
This is my first relationship, we'd been together for a year before she moved and been living together since the end of last year. I was aware of her wishes to be polyamorous going into the relationship, but it wasn't something that was brought up constantly, and I made the mistake of putting it in the "I'll worry about it when there's something to worry about" basket, feeling like it wasn't really something I could prepare for or get used to without an amount of exposure to it.
The reasons I'm feeling uncomfortable with it are because I perceive physical affection in the way that it holds true for me, for example, only having sex with someone I wholly love and trust and have gotten to know for a long time, and find it difficult to distance myself from how I feel about it and accept what it means for her. So far I've only been able to do that with kissing and cuddling. This then leads to me feeling not good enough because she's doing all these close things (from my perception) with another person. I like the idea of sharing herself and being happy in that way logically, I'm just not there emotionally yet.
Well- I'm glad you are here. You will be able to gets lots of support here. I understand about the "I'll deal with it when it's an issue" mindset. So- now it is an issue and you are dealing with it by reaching out to others that understand!
The fact that this is your first relationship is probably going to make it more emotional for you.
When relationships end, we have to go through a grieving process which is natural. The average time required for grieving is 25% of the time of the actual relationship. For example- the average grieving period for a 20 year relationship is 5 years. It could actually range from something like 2 years to 8 years for example.
So- for a 20 month relationship- the actual grieving process would take about 5 months.
The reason I mention this is because it is so easy to fall prey to the ideas about relationships by listening to songs on the radio. The ideas of "I can't live without you" and "You are my everything" etc.
When a person is remaining aware of the fact that relationships end .....and mine might end and if it does I will go through a normal grieving process and then move on with my life.
It helps minimize the desperate energy that goes along with the idea that I can't survive a break up....which CAN definitely make the partner feel trapped and stifled.
If so, what's the fear here that the two metamours will compare notes and find out what exactly? Why does she not trust you guys alone? Could ask if she's willing to explain that.
And she doesn't want to see him hurt by your hurting.... So she does indeed recognize that you ARE hurting... but that doesn't bother her to see? :( Could ask her on that point too.
You could ask her if she's willing to read about jealousy and more jealousy with you. And how to avoid pitfalls and poly hell with you and be supportive in your process even as she enjoys her new relationship. If she wants to be a hinge, she could tend to ALL her partners. Maybe other articles could help you both navigate this space. I'm sure other people could give you other links.
If this polyship is too wonky for you, you could decline to participate in it and tell her you are not up for it like this.
You are responsible for your own well being and what you choose to participate in.
I think you're getting some good advice here. I may be able add a little something given that I originally identified as mono, and my spouse initiated the poly exploration in our relationship.
You may have known about your partner's poly desires 20 months ago, but you have only started to work with issues related to it over the past 2 months. That is a short time over which to change your world view!
My spouse and I had several bumps along the way-- she had a few affairs before we put our heads together to find that she was very poly oriented (17 years into our relationship!).
After I said 'yes' to living poly with her, she let me take a *long* time to get up to speed-- 6 years! Over that time, my comfort with poly grew. We would flirt with other people, she would tell me about her crushes (keeping them mostly platonic), she would encourage me to meet other women, and we even visited the 'orgy tent' at Burning Man a few times.
Only after I found a girlfriend did she feel comfortable embracing other relationships. And you know what? It's still emotionally hard for me sometimes. Since you are younger, it may be easier for you to change your orientation/lifestyle/whatever. BUT, you should still be allowed time to make the change, and it may have to happen incrementally.
Regarding 'neediness': In my case, most my neediness came out of an inability to communicate my emotions effectively. Until I was able to put my feelings into words, words with sincerity and strength, I could only get mopey and act needy. I think men in our culture typically don't develop very good skills at speaking their emotions, especially around things that make them feel vulnerable. Respect your emotions, and communicate them clearly so your partner will respect them too.
Wishing you the best with this. Post updates!
Have you tried doing any reading? The ethical slut, opening up, polyamory in the 21st century...website morethantwo.com. For both of you. I dunno abou her having him over, making out at your place, having you and he hang out together, before your comfortable. My boyfriend and I (previous poster, he can vouche for this :p) did not have any of that around my husband until he was ok with it.
One more word of advice, I'm not saying you aren't, but you need to own what your feeling outside of her. If that makes sense
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