Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   Poly Relationships Corner (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
-   -   How to Handle a Partners Jealousy When They're in Denial (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69679)

Keepinghidden 04-17-2014 09:41 PM

How to Handle a Partners Jealousy When They're in Denial
 
Hi all, I'm an occasional lurker and was an occasional poster. I decided to setup a new account as I would rather my girlfriend didn't spot that I'm seeking advice on here.

There are PLENTY of threads on here labelled "how should I deal with jealousy?" but that's not what I'm after. I'm looking for how I can gently get a partner to realise that their jealous behaviour is hurting me and for her to make an aim towards altering that behaviour. I am also NOT looking to break up with her, push her away, pile blame on her or change her. Only she can change, but how do I make her want to?

We started dating last summer, first poly relationship for both of us and we were both already dating others at the time. Both our other relationships were long distance and we tried to avoid any kind of hierarchical system. Essentially we kind of treat ourselves as primaries and spend most of our time together but when things have got heated in the past she's thrown it down that I'm nothing but a bit on the side... that hurt. Especially since outside of arguments she says she wants me to be a meaningful part of her life.

So my other relationship broke down for unrelated issues - she was never jealous of this other girl. I think it was a case of out of sight, out of mind. Or maybe a case of she was there first what right do I have to tell her to go away?

Ever since then she has become VERY jealous of every girl I have come close to wanting to go on a date with. Each and every time she has a reason why I can't. Each and every reason is different and she always denies that each one has anything to do with jealousy. She's also talked to me before about her other partner getting close to someone else and has had similar reactions.

I've always brought it up with her before going on a date with anyone because I want to be honest. I want to share things with this girl who I love, not hide them. She's also told me before now that if she thought I was ever hiding something she couldn't cope with it so "don't ask, don't tell" isn't a solution. Not that I would ever call it a healthy solution anyway.

She flatly denies that she has a veto power and doesn't want to introduce one. However in the past when I have brought up the subject of me dating someone else she has a reason why it would impact our relationship, why it would cause her hurt and why I can't do it. If I were to go ahead with it then we would be over. THIS IS A VETO. However you look at it, this is a veto.

She also has a problem with who I date and how we date. Essentially she doesn't want me to date anyone in her social network; this means not dating anyone on the poly/kink scene or dating someone outside of my city, it also means not introducing any partner to that scene or friends within that scene. That makes it a logistical nightmare - that is my natural dating pool and my instinct if I dated someone outside of that pool would be to allow them a window into it.

It also strikes me as odd - dating someone who knows her means they are likely to have her best interests at heart? I get on well with my metamour and would like anyone I date to respect my other partners; if that respect is already there then that's a bonus. It also seems odd that she would not want me to date within the poly community - dating someone who is monogamous means there is more risk of them *trying* to steal me away. I wouldn't *let* it happen either way, but if someone was manipulatively minded enough then they could attempt to cause problems in a partners relationships - I'm sure this happens every now and then right?

I'm not going to pretend I haven't been jealous before, but I found ways of coping with it; namely I remind myself how happy her other relationship makes her and how happy she is that she has us both. I remind myself of the love rather than the sex :)

Other than that my only rules for her are that I want to know who, where and when. For instance "_____ and I went to the theatre on Sunday". I don't want to know what, how or why. "we held hands all the way through, when I put me head on his shoulder his beard felt all tickly - I love that about him". My only other rule is no oral sex unless she's in love with the other person, if she's in love then frankly it's none of my business what they get up to.

So back OT - How do I gently let her see that what she has been attempting to enforce is a veto? How do I get her to see that what she is doing is relating to jealousy? How do I get her to see that her approach to my relationships is unfair?

I'm keen to be very patient on this. There's no rush. We're both still quite new to this lifestyle and we're both still in our mid twenties so plenty of time for growing up yet.

Although I have kinda ended up having some really fun fantasies about her best mate the last few nights. She's a great girl and I'd love to get to know her more, but that breaks just about every rule and reason she's given simultaneously!! It's a shame because the fantasy yesterday involved all 4 of us living together and she would definitely have her best interests at heart. It was a nice little arrangement ;)

PolyinPractice 04-17-2014 09:53 PM

And yet another story of a jealous girlfriend who wants two boyfriends all to herself (does the other guy/girl have other dating partners)?

I have nothing against this, in fact, I think poly usually works best with a series of interconnected vees. But I dislike the idea of forced, closed vees. I'd suggest, with this new girl, you gently inform her of your interest. When she inevitably objects, inform her, politely, that you need a good, specific reason why it will take away from your and her relationship, or why she doesn't trust the other girl.

If she can't, tell her you're sorry she's choosing to leave you over this, but you want her to be happy.

Inyourendo 04-17-2014 10:28 PM

Date who you want an then she will have no choice but to confront her emotions. All those restrictions basically make it impossible for you to date ie way to control you.

Inyourendo 04-17-2014 10:32 PM

Although if I had a boundary that my friends was off limits I would expect my partner to respect that. Nate has had encounters with multiple friends of mine but it's my preference to no be involved in his relationships and not have contact with the people he's involved with.

moon1336 04-17-2014 10:39 PM

Uhhh then maybe she doesn't truly want a poly relationship

I mean if my boyfriends were talking to other girls... I would admit I would be a little jelly, but at the same time... I HAVE TWO BOYFRIENDS. Lol. I already feel selfish by sharing me.. lol, but then be more selfish, and not let them have ladies as well? Noooo. That's not right.

london 04-18-2014 02:14 AM

Have a look at this thread. It deals with a similar theme.

This is common manipulative behaviour.

GalaGirl 04-18-2014 03:48 AM

Quote:

She flatly denies that she has a veto power and doesn't want to introduce one. However in the past when I have brought up the subject of me dating someone else she has a reason why it would impact our relationship, why it would cause her hurt and why I can't do it. If I were to go ahead with it then we would be over.
What are the reasons? You do not state.

Because if she's just had her other BF's mother die, and she's stressing out supporting him, maybe asking you to hold off dating new people to spare her new stress for a month or so is reasonable enough to hold off a bit.

Is she able to articulate boundaries for both sides? "Please do not do ____. Doing ___ is ok." Or is she hung up on all the "not do" side? And never moving on to defining the "do this" part of the parameters she's proposing for this new stage of poly life with you?

Maybe addressing the jealousy by reading an article helps. Ask her what she needs more of. Page 5 & 6 on this are sometimes helpful.

Or just SKIP the "jealousy" fusspot. It's a "side argument" if she's in denial that she is jealous. You are spending energy trying to convince her to label the feelings as "jealous" is throwing energy down the black hole.

Maybe moving ON to practicalities and spending energy there instead is better. Like...

"OK, you suggest no doing X. What do you suggest I CAN do so that I can meet wanting to date other people and meet your need to feel safe?"

Negotiate. You are free to decline her suggestions for not being realistic or reasonable. You can explain why they are not realistic or reasonable to you. You could communicate your OWN suggestions for how to handle this new stage of poly life -- you dating again. Work it out.

Your current agreement is that you both ARE participating in a polyship where both can date so... get on with defining the new boundaries now that your previous partner is no more and you are ready to date and seek new partner.

Change is sometimes hard for people, but change is inevitable in living. So... sort it out.

Hang in there!
Galagirl

jayt 04-18-2014 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keepinghidden (Post 264894)
I'm looking for how I can gently get a partner to realise that their jealous behaviour is hurting me and for her to make an aim towards altering that behaviour.
-----
So back OT - How do I gently let her see that what she has been attempting to enforce is a veto? How do I get her to see that what she is doing is relating to jealousy? How do I get her to see that her approach to my relationships is unfair?

You very gently, in a soft tone of voice, say... "My feelings are hurt."

Then you tell her why.

If that is not effective, then you decide to stay anyway.... or not.

SchrodingersCat 04-18-2014 06:47 AM

C'mon, who're you trying to kid? How is "Only she can change, but how do I make her want to?" any different from "How do I make her change?" The distinction is purely semantic. They both have the word "make her" in them. You can't make anyone do anything.

Jealousy is fear. Fear is triggered by the prediction of future unmet needs. So figure out what needs she has that she doesn't believe will be met if you go on these dates, and then find strategies together to make sure those needs get met. Listen to her feelings with empathy and try to understand where she's coming from, rather than trying to convince her to feel differently.

Hazarding a guess, she probably needs security and stability. She may be feeling afraid because she believes you might replace her. I don't know, of course, I'm just giving ideas to start from. Check out the needs and feelings inventories to see if other things resonate with you.

Meanwhile, identify your own needs and feelings.

Once you and she both understand one another's needs and feelings, you can begin working on strategies so that all your needs are met. For example, you can express that guilt-inducing speech like "I'll be hurt if you do such-and-such" does not meet your need for respect and acceptance. She's responsible for her own feelings, and if she feels hurt by things you do outside the house with other people, then those are her own triggers and overcoming the hurt is her own responsibility.

Ultimately, she may not choose to work on strategies so you can both get your needs met. In that case, you'll have a choice whether to prioritize your needs or hers. Prioritizing your needs might look something like this: "Listen sweetie, I know you feel scared and you need security. But I have a need to express myself and make my own life choices, and letting you talk me out of this date does not contribute to that need. I'm choosing to go on this date. I regret any pain that triggers in you, but I cannot forgo my own needs just so you can avoid having hurt feelings. I'd really like it if you supported me in this choice."

Keepinghidden 04-18-2014 10:18 PM

Quote:

(does the other guy/girl have other dating partners)?
The other guy has shown an interest in a couple of girls over the last year but nothing more has happened than that. I know when he showed an interest in someone that was a mutual friend of theirs she didn't like it. Arguments ensued and he said "it feels like I'll never be able to find someone you're happy with" and gave up on the idea of trying to.

I get the impression he's more instinctively monogamous but they have been in an open relationship now for about 2 years. She had developed feelings for someone else once before and broke it off because of it, but with me we discussed the idea of polyamory and began to develop those excited butterfly type feelings long before doing anything sexual.

Quote:

What are the reasons? You do not state.
In terms of the reasons she's given for not being comfortable with stuff they've varied and change each and every time (even giving different unconnected reasons when the same girl is brought up on different occasions); from the impact it will have on our time together, how it will make her feel uncomfortable in the local kink scene (again this relates back to her not wanting me to date anyone in the same social circle), to us 'not being ready' to date others...

I think generally speaking she transposes a lot of what she sees as her own flaws on to what her expectations are from partners. She has admitted cheating on every partner she has had prior to me and so has trust issues, she believes she didn't handle the balance between her 2 relationships well during that NRE phase of our relationship...

I've pointed out to her that everyone handles NRE differently and that I handle it differently to her. I've done everything I can to build her trust but she doesn't yet seem ready to hand over any more of that control to me. It's frustrating, because I have desires and I thought by entering into a polyship I was going to have freedom over my love interests. But at the same time I get why she's scared and I don't want to hurt her.

I also think this quote hit the nail on the head

Quote:

Jealousy is fear. Fear is triggered by the prediction of future unmet needs. So figure out what needs she has that she doesn't believe will be met if you go on these dates, and then find strategies together to make sure those needs get met. Listen to her feelings with empathy and try to understand where she's coming from, rather than trying to convince her to feel differently.
She suffers from anxiety. CBT helps control it a lot but she has days where the whole world can look scary. Changes, the unknown, social scenarios, failing herself, failing her loved ones... they're all frankly TERRIFYING prospects. Now I get that and I've tried to be one step ahead in dealing with it by talking about it and reassuring her but it just doesn't work.

I really think the first step is her admitting to the jealousy so that we can work on it. CBT teaches her to break that cycle of negative thoughts and figure out which thoughts are rational and which aren't so once she's realised that she's being jealous and that it stems from fear then we can address those fears by figuring out which ones are justified and which aren't.

I still stand by what I say though. I couldn't date someone who didn't respect my relationship(s) with existing partner(s). No women out there love her or respect her more than her existing close friends.


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:36 PM.