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-   -   Dealing with residual insecurities from a (sort of) past relationship (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=68465)

scarletzinnia 01-13-2014 04:49 PM

Dealing with residual insecurities from a (sort of) past relationship
About a year ago, my beloved long-distance boyfriend of almost two years told me on the phone that he suddenly wasn't feeling romantic where I was concerned. We had had some friction around me wanting more of a commitment than he did (I wanted us to commit to being each other's only long-distance relationships, which seemed reasonable to me since he barely had time to see me as it was, but he didn't agree), but I had dropped the issue and let him know I would try to be supportive of anything he wanted to do, even if it cut into our time together. Then he canceled our next weekend together, said we should just be friends for the time being, and was not really able to articulate to me what had gone wrong for him. I heard a lot of vague things about how he and I saw the world differently, but that he still loved me and wanted a relationship, just not the kind we had been in. So it was confusing as heck. He refused all my requests for him to schedule time with me, try to work out whatever had gone wrong, and reconnect with each other. Since he lives a plane ride away, I might not have even seen him again in person if it was not for a weekend poly event that we both attend twice a year.

He and I continue to see each other, nonsexually, at this poly event, and we talk frequently on Skype, and have evolved into cuddly friends who may have the potential to recapture some of what we had, although I'm not counting on that. We are both married to other people. He hasn't had a romantic or sexual partner, local or long-distance, outside his marriage since me, and he doesn't seem to mind that. It's frustrating to me that I can't count on his attendance at this poly event, and we don't get much alone time there when he does attend. I still want to be romantic partners again in some form, and I still love him and miss him terribly, but I have accepted that we both have to want it, and unless he starts to want it again too, I will have to content myself with the friendship we have left.

I had a few first dates in the past year but I didn't connect with anyone new until recently. Lo and behold, I am in another long-distance relationship. My new sweetie is not nearly as far away as my previous partner, he's just under three hours by car. We just spent our second weekend together and it was really great, we have a very strong sexual connection, the best I have found with any partner outside my marriage who had relationship potential. Plus he's fun and charming and affectionate. I wouldn't say that I'm falling in love, but I think I may be headed that way in time, and I know enough about him to believe that he is emotionally available too. Although I haven't met his wife yet, I've both texted and chatted with her online and she is definitely supportive and seems sane. All should be good. Except I realized this weekend that I am terrified that he will pull the rug out from under me just like my last partner, that he will tell me he's not feeling it and then I will never see him again, since he and I don't have any events or poly community in common at all.

He and I hadn't discussed how frequently we will see each other until yesterday, when I brought it up. I asked him what he wanted in terms of time with me, did he want to continue to meet for an overnight date about once a month as we have been doing thus far, or if that was too difficult to fit into his life since his kids are younger than mine. He just sighed and said that he couldn't really plan much at present. He did just lose his job and I know he's worried about finding another one and I've let him know that I'm happy to pay for our motel room at present, at least until he finds another job. It's not a hardship for me to do this at all.

I'm not expecting this guy to fall madly in love with me in the next ten minutes, I want things to just unfold naturally and for the relationship to settle into whatever it has the potential to be. But I find that I am needing some reassurance that he does want the relationship, that this isn't just something he is doing until he finds a local partner, that he wants to take the connection as far as it can go. A simple "I'm not sure that seeing you monthly will always fit into my life, but I really want to" would do.

I hate being needy and clingy and insecure, and I don't want that side of me to drive away my new lover. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can get the reassurance I seem to need, without scaring him off? Or how to stop needing it? Thanks to all.

GalaGirl 01-13-2014 05:39 PM


I hate being needy and clingy and insecure, and I don't want that side of me to drive away my new lover.
That is all "thoughts in your head" about you not liking feeling yucky. And who looooves to feel yucky? Nobody!

Could self-reassure a bit and remind you that you are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. You are the one doing the thinking and feeling.
You "having needs" is not you being "needy." Everyone has needs from time to time. You had a recent break up. It is appropriate to feel blah and it is appropriate to need a little extra reassuring when you date again after a recent break up.

In seeking reassurance from him?

Could realize that at this time, YOU are the one putting that kind of evaluation on it ("I am too needy for him and he will run away!") not your partner himself.
  • You could not do that so you don't crank yourself up more than need be. You could ask him.
  • You could let your partner "speak for himself out loud to you" rather than you "speaking for him in your thoughts."

Then you could know what HE actually thinks. Rather than you sitting with (what you think he thinks) and making yourself uncomfortable with that thinking behavior.


Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can get the reassurance I seem to need (from my partner), without scaring him off?
For HOW to say it? You answered your own self for the most part. Could ASK in your words...

"Partner, I'm not expecting this you to fall madly in love with me in the next ten minutes. I want things to just unfold naturally and for the relationship to settle into whatever it has the potential to be.

But after my last breakup, I find that I am needing some reassurance from you that you do want the relationship and really want to be here. This relationship isn't something you are doing until you find a local partner. You want to take the connection as far as it can go.

A simple "I'm not sure that seeing you monthly will always fit into my life, but I really want to try at this time" will do. Could you be willing to confirm you really want to be here and really want to try? So I can be reassured?"
Then wait for the response. He is either up for reassuring you verbally or not.


Or how to stop needing it? Thanks to all.
Seems easier for you to put your energy into (work to become more willing to feel vulnerable and ask for what I need) and then see if that serves you better. See he could be willing to provide it or not. Even if he's not willing, you are expressing yourself honestly on your end of it. That behavior seems better for your emotional and spiritual health.

For you to put your energy into (work to become more able to deny having needs and suppress what I feel) and risk becoming an unfeeling person or super stressy person? Never be willing to experience receiving reassurance from others?

That behavior could be alienating and damaging to your emotional health and spiritual health. Could not go for that option. :o

You don't have to be a doormat, but neither do you have to be cut off from other people or from yourself.


london 01-13-2014 06:47 PM

I hope this doesn't cause you to have a negative reaction, because I really mean it to help/offer a perspective but I just have a feeling it will go down badly.

If I was the first guy, I would have been quite bothered about you wanting to control who I have relationships with. I would prefer that you asked me for what you need from me rather than try to arrange my life in a way that is most suited to you. I realise that you may have tried this approach and it didn't work out because he didn't keep to any agreements made. If that is the case he should have said that he simply can't meet your needs before you got to the point where you had to impose such a restriction. Maybe he didn't realise your needs were incompatible until that point. For some people, a partner wanting a rule like that is a huge deal and something that shows that you're on completely different wavelengths. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand his sudden turn around.

Why this matters now is because perhaps relating to people in a way that allows them to take onus for maintaining your relationship opposed to enforcing restrictions to make them maintain it would avoid this in the future. If you feel your partner isn't giving you enough time, tell them, and let them decide whether they want to give more resources to your relationship or whether they can'/won't. From there, you can decide whether the relationship is worth your resources or not.

It's hard for me to accept this a lot of the time, but you have to see what people will do over a period of time rather than expecting some reliable prediction of what they think they will do. All you can do to sort of protect yourself from a partner suddenly changing course is create an environment where they feel they can be forthcoming and honest about their needs so that you have the best chance of knowing something is askew as early as possible.

scarletzinnia 01-13-2014 07:01 PM

London, that is not how it went down at all. FWIW, with my former romantic partner, I asked him to commit to only having one LDR, me. I was completely supportive of him having as many local partners as he liked. The reason I asked him to commit to only one relationship that involved significant travel was that he barely had the time/funds to pursue ours as it was. He did not want to make this commitment to me though, and in the end I told him I wouldn't be asking him for it anymore. We never made an agreement of any kind about this. I NEVER felt I had any right to restrict him in any way, I just ASKED. Those are two different things.

london 01-13-2014 07:16 PM

Yes, but for some people, like me, we much prefer someone asks for what they need from us rather than even suggest how we should structure our lives to give it to them. I understood all along that you were asking him to restrict the LDR he has and not all relationships entirely. But let's just say he was to meet someone who wouldn't take up an inordinate amount of time or money because of how their life was structured, but they were long distance? He would have to pass them by but he could meet someone local, extremely needy and broke who poses all the intrusion onto your relationship that you fear from someone long distance. Your goal, correct me if I am wrong, was to ensure he "saves" the resources necessary to maintain your relationship.

Allowing him to make the decision to only pursue relationships that allow him to maintain yours shows firstly what kind of partner he is, and arguably more importantly, it allows him autonomy over his relationships.

scarletzinnia 01-13-2014 08:35 PM

You make some good points, London. I didn't think about all the possibilities at the time. I thought of the commitment I was asking for as a romantic thing. It all started when I was about to meet a long-term internet friend who was poly, who lives on the opposite coast. I assured my boyfriend that I wasn't about to start a relationship with the long-distance friend even if we had an attraction, because I wanted to focus my time and resources on the loving long-distance relationship I already had with him. And then I asked him if he would commit to the same thing. He wouldn't, and I think the mere fact of me asking caused him to put me in a few very difficult situations that were rather challenging for me at the time, situations that involved potential new partners for him. But I believed we had gotten past all that, until the day he told me we'd somehow lost the romance.

I've really come to terms with what has happened with the first ex, I just don't want my resulting insecurities to doom my new relationship.

london 01-13-2014 08:48 PM

Someone commented on myblog (shameless plug!) recently asking whether I blame myself for the bad things that happen in my relationships because I identify as submissive. It isn't that at all. I just feel that regardless of how badly someone may have treated me, there were still actions I could have taken to avoid the situation or exit it much sooner.

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