How do you prevent to compare? My husband, not totally convinced that poly is his thing, keeps comparing himself to my boyfriend. I explain all the time that it would be not logical if he and my husband would be identical. Why a second partner if he offers me exactly the same.
My husband keeps feeling that the fact that i can feel this for somebody else than him is a problem. He wants to offer me what i find with my boyfriend, but that is not possible.
I want to help him with this feeling, but i don't know how. Every conversation about this subject he turns into talking about the other man. I think it's better to focus on our relationship than to focus on the other man.
My problem now is that i sometimes notice that his constant comparing makes me compare more too. I don't want that, cause i don't think it is good for us. Anybody good advice how to change this?
My husband is mono, and I was worried about him having the same issue. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. I just asked him about it, and he says that short term, perhaps you shouldn't share so much information about your boyfriend with your husband. If he isn't hearing it, he won't have a basis for comparison.
As far as long term goes, my husband says for him, he actively tries not to compare himself. It is impossible for him not to ever do it, but most of the time he recognizes that it isn't productive. He sees that there are differences, but it doesn't mean he's less than, it means he is separate and dissimilar. It shouldn't be a counting up of points, where the high score wins.
Check to make sure both guys are receiving the time and concern that they need to feel cherished. Don't share sexual information and instead focus more on activities, if you do share details. I know that my husband is less likely to feel insecure about the fact that my boyfriend and I are going to a WarMachine lock-in event to play with table top miniatures for 24 hours, because he has zero interest in becoming a gaming nerd, whereas if I talk to him about the marathon sex session my boyfriend and I had in the 3 hours prior to leaving for the WarMachine event, he may feel anxious that he is not measuring up to my sexual needs.
Hope that helps a little!
Thanks yes this helps a lot! The sexual part is the part where my husband has the most needs to hear about and that makes him very insecure. At the start of this i let him lead the way, because i thought it was 'Giving him time' or 'letting him make rules so it would be succesful for the both of us'. I always asked him why he wanted to know and if the answer would realy help him.
Unlike your husband, my husband is starting to feel less. And unlike you i sometimes give him details about sex. So maybe i should just stop that.
FWIW, I find this discussion to be interesting and hopefully useful. As a mono husband and partner for 18 years, whose wife recently expressed her strong desire to open the marriage to seek another man for a poly relationship, the subject of WHY in general to include thoughts of comparison do come to my mind with annoying frequency. I can understand some of her reasons to seek another as she says to “fill some of our gaps” on an intellectual level, but I’m struggling more on a gut emotional level.
Maybe it’s my “mono wiring” but when she identifies gaps that she hopes to fill with another, it makes me question myself. I feel like I should be meeting her every need, but rationally recognize that a few of them I cannot. Just the same, emotionally I want to strive to meet her every need to the best of my ability without losing myself in the effort.
Thankfully, the exercise so far is theoretical only, as we’ve agreed to let her look for a perspective guy, (she’s opened an OKC account) , and seek information (we’ve attended our first local poly meet up, with more scheduled), but there is no actual guy to compare to, and are taking things slowly. While I think if her search turns up with her suitable gut, I’d want to know that she’s actually found what she’s looking for, but don’t know how achieving this would actually make me feel or if it would be more difficult than I already anticipate.
This thought process change applies to the person who wants to date others as well as the person who needs to learn to deal with it.
"The last time I told you there was two days of your being curled up on the couch and constantly asking me to validate you because of how low you felt. While you might want to do that to yourself, I don't want to do it to *myself*, so no - I'm not telling you about it. Would you like to hear anything else about the date? I'm happy to share information which won't cause emotional trauma"
If no good is coming from an activity... stop doing it.
I just wrote a blog entry about this not long ago! So I can at least share my view of things...
The gist of it
"I happen to have sex with people who have sex with other people. Specifically, the two people I currently sleep with(1) also sleep with other people. One of my partners has sex with her boyfriend on occasion. My other partner has sex with a variety of other people, male and female. I have intimate relations with other people on occasion as well(2).
When I started having sex with a sexually active partner, there was a time of feeling threatened by such a situation. After all, what if he/she was better than me? Bigger, better stamina, knew things I did not, was able to last till just the right moment? And thus, my partner would prefer this other lover perhaps and I would have a reduced amount of sex. And believe it or not, perhaps worse in my head, was a reduced amount of respect. Because from my high school chums to modern media, I’ve been taught if you can not satisfy your partner better than anyone else, you are not a “real” man. And that a “real man” will come along and take that lover away (I have been told by female identifying partners they deal with a version of this as well, but I will not speak for anyone but myself)
With this thought it mind, when it came time to make love, I would subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) bring these other partners to bed, and try to ‘beat them’. To win at being the best lover. This was both a doomed idea, as well as a stupid one. One that actually benefited those external partners by making them better lovers!
It was a doomed attempt because my level of control over some of my physical attributes is limited. Although there are things that you can do on a physical level to assist you in being a better lover, there are some things you can not effect. The size and shape of your prick or pussy is what it is. You might be able to make some adjustments (some parts are more malleable than other parts) but overall, when it comes down to it, you got what you got. My cock is exactly some number of inches (3) and has a slight down curve. And if slight down curve is not as enjoyable to you as 45 degree angle up, then, so be it. No penis pump or set of clamps will change what is.
And it was a stupid attempt not because I wanted to be a better lover, but because I was trying to be better than someone else. My mind would be on ‘how can I pleasure better than’ - and this disempowered the very thing that I (and my partners) most cherish in sexual connections; the physical + emotional + spiritual aspects that makes sex a complete sensual union. That fully connected state is what makes it more than just two people humping. More than just the a physical thing - which is where my thinking started on what I needed to be better than. It was not stupid to desire to be a better lover. It was the path of comparing myself to another that was in error, instead of simply cultivating being more of a lover.
There came a point where I was able to surrender the war on myself (I was the only one telling me stories of my failures). Once I recognized it, I realized that no one was a better lover than us. And no one was a worse lover than us. Because us can not be compared to you and he or she and he or he and he or my lover and her lover(s).
To expand upon the concept of us, you need only realize that you are an entity upon yourself, you are you. And you are the only one of your kind. And your partner is him/her, and they too are one of a kind, an individual like non other. And your partners other partners, or your other partners, by that same view, are again all separate and original and no one else is exactly like them.
If that is so, then this must be so as well - that you (an entity unlike anyone else) plus your partner (a likewise individual) create an us unlike any other. I view it as the Us entity, a third co-created being if you will that only exist in the joining of two individuals. And since the us can not be duplicated, and the us that is created via a partner and anyone else, then there is no reason to attempt to be more or better as there is in truth two different things that can not be replicated.
When a partner and I make love, and we create the new entity of Us, that is a sacred being that simply can not be duplicated. A fool errand to try. And disingenuous. My lovers love me - the sex, the contact, the interaction, the dance we have when we are between the sheets. That is what draws us together. It is not skill, but connection. And although I will never be able to replicate what my partner does with her partner, they will never be able to duplicate what we do. And that is just how it should be. Thus, comparison of partners and sexual skill might be interesting to discuss (4), there is great folly in trying to duplicate it. Instead, create your own us".
The full entry, footnotes, and pizza review, can be found here
No two ways of relating are exactly the same, not even if there is a common person involved in two different relationships. Meaning, I relate with IV the way I relate to her, we have certain types of sex, we have certain types of conversations, we enjoy certain forms of entertainment (movies, TV, etc)... many if not all of those things are going to be different with a different person. Even if some of the habits and interests crossover, the experience will be completely different because it is done with an entirely different person.
This is a very good thing, and one of the core benefits of having a wide social circle and/or multiple romantic partners.
Trying to quantify and then compare relationships is like trying to quantify and compare individuals (only harder).
I have to wonder if, in some cases, the "well, this person fills this role, while this person fills this other role" type of phrasing is really just trying to find a way of phrasing after the fact.
For example, Joey meets Cindy. They work in a technical field and share some common, "techie" interests. Joey also meets Rachel. They meet at an art gallery, and they share artistic interests.
Joey could say that Cindy fills needs that Rachel doesn't and vice versa, but really, it's more of the situation defining the "needs" rather than the needs determining the partners. He may not have been searching for a more artistically-inclined partner, but found one.
In other words, not sharing an interest of yours with a partner doesn't mean that you're actively looking to find someone who has that interest. However, when you find that person, it's like "Hey! Cool! I can share <x> with them!"
But then something gets lost in the translation when you try to explain it to people...
However, I assert that this kind of phrasing can be part of the problem - as it appears to be with the issues the OP is experiencing. I think it's best not to put that stuff out there.
I understand that it can be tough to avoid this kind of language when hit with the "but why do you want to see someone else? Am I not enough for you?". The natural instinct is to start to quantify the possible gains from another lover... which is where the whole thing goes to pot.
There is such a gap in worldview between someone who is not only monogamous but who cannot empathize with why anyone would *not* be monogamous. Instead of answering with "I want to form new relationships, experience different points of view, enjoy various lovers" the instinct is to give the exact wrong response "I want to find someone who likes Dr Who" or "I want to date someone who has a large penis" or any other bad answer. The first answer is about loving more and experiencing life, the second set is about finding a puzzle piece to fit into a slot which the current partner is inadequate to fill.
Whether as a convenient shorthand or not, I propose that not only this language but that this entire thought process is and will continue to be counterproductive.
P and I had a conversation, early on in our relationship, where he wondered if it would make me feel better to hear what he likes about our relationship versus what he likes about his relationship with M1. I pretty much interrupted him with a "NO!" before he finished getting his sentence out.
I'm happy that he enjoys different things with each of us (or, in the case of Doctor Who, the SAME thing), and I'm happy that M1 and I are careful to not shut anyone out of an experience just because we've done <activity x> with P. Regardless of the activity, your perception of it is different depending on the person (or people) you share it with.
That said, it's pretty obvious that M1 and I have our differences. As long as we're not defined by them ("Sorry, YouAreHere, you're the 'geeky' one, so I'm taking M1 to the art show and not you because that's her bag."), I'm happy.
Now... THAT said, there are times when a general comparison isn't so bad, but I think this goes outside the OP's intent.
P is only the second sexual partner I've had in my life. It's nice to hear that things my ex didn't like are actually pretty goddamn NORMAL. And it's nice to be told you're good at something. Not in a "compare you against anyone specific" way, but in a "Hey, that was pretty stinkin' awesome!" way.
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