Trying to minimize hurt feels
I've been getting pretty frustrated about this.
You know your partner. You know when they're in a good mood and jazzed about someone new.
Yeah, I'm feeling a bit prickly getting use to it sometimes because hey hey, we're still in the first year and I'm still getting use to things being different. Lots of new and different situations and people; I'm going to have all kinds of feelings both good and bad.
But when he is trying to soften and downplay his good feelings to minimize whatever I'm feeling about it, it prevents me from getting use to it at the rate its happening. It comes off false. It makes me feel like he isn't giving the real story and trust begins to sag.
On top, my husband has also taken to paying guilt affection as part of his trying to minimize what he perceives as hurt feelings. And this makes hugs, kisses, and compliments feel like "I'm sorry" flowers. I hate I'm sorry flowers!
I tell him I would rather feel what I'd feel about what is fact and deal with that, than have him paint it differently and try to keep me from feeling anything at all in the way of bad feelings. I especially don't want to be loved up with any guilt he feels about being happy. Are we not suppose to enjoy this? Yes, I'm not use to seeing him happy in this way when I'm not the source of it, but we didn't take this step for him to pretend its "meh, alright I s'pose" with anyone he gets involved with. I am really putting in effort to be as optimistic and receptive as I can be at this stage. Quit lowering the bar for me to easier get over! Its having the opposite result. :mad:
I'm going to have to deal with these emotions eventually anyway.
Maybe you could try telling him something like, "This is hard for me. I have to work to be able to share you. When you downplay it and make it seem like your other relationships aren't anything special, you make me wonder **why is he doing this to me if it isn't going to enrich his life???**"
I had a similar talk with Easy. I told him, "This hurts. It isn't easy. I don't like changing and I don't like sharing. I'm doing it because I love you and I love Asha and I want you both to be happy. So if you don't love her and have a good time with her, if she doesn't make you happy when you're with her, why am I putting myself through the ringer? It makes me feel worse when you aren't happy than it does when you are. Just be honest with me. Share your happiness so that I can see that all of this is worth it."
I think it helped him. He seemed to stop downplaying it after that, and tried instead to find a way to be happy *and* show that he was happy to be with me at the same time.
One thing I have noticed is that when someone is in NRE, they tend to be more affectionate with others. So some of this could be part of your husbands behavior.
I think most people try to mute their NRE somewhat so they don't get annoying. Let him know that you are interested and ask him questions about how he feels about the relationship. If you like brutal honesty, let him know. I tend to be brutally honest myself, and my wife has learned to ask me to soften my responses to her questions.
That was a lovely way to express what I'm feeling and I'm going to take that approach tonight. I know the impulse he is feeling in down playing stuff because I felt the urge to do so too with who I'm seeing. Its just that what gets under his skin is so very different from what gets under my own. So if I'm, say, not sad or hurting but just pensive, he gets paranoid and starts in with the overload of compliments and affection. Or if he gets back from a date and I can see he is upbeat and make comment like "well it must have been a good time yeah?", he will check himself and try to posture ambivalence about the experience.
I'm not asking for gory details or running through some icky 20 questions session about how I compare to them. I wouldn't have felt myself capable of making this step if that was where my head was at. What I crave is more of a dear friend you feel at ease enough to speak freely around vibe on these matters. We have this about everything else so its unsettling when it disappears concerning our experiences with new people we meet. I'm way more bothered by losing that even for a moment just because we are living a lifestyle that others would act on in secrecy than I am over him being attracted to or intimate with someone else. This isn't about betrayal or cheating so getting all tense and monosyllabic in his communication makes it seem sinister.
The current situation is very new and I'm thrilled that what I have learned so far of this girl allows me to be well more upbeat than I was about the girl he stopped seeing a couple months ago. They chatted for a few weeks and got to spend time together for the first time this past weekend. I've yet to meet her myself.
He is just so happy to not feel like he is managing someone's wounded inner child that its hard to say if it is something about this new girl or if he is just feeling freed of not dating someone who makes no sense half the time and is drunk the other half. I do see potential for him becoming very fond of this new girl. They share many things in common and she has much better communication skills already than the one he stopped seeing. I want the brutal honesty because I chose this lifestyle for the personal growth aspect. It wasn't about some deep need to not labor under a monogamous restriction. I'm fine with either monogamy or polyamory as long as trust and care is part of the equation. But I get impatient at the idea of someone deciding what it is I can handle hearing. I am coming out of my first bout of what turned out to be seasonal depression and low vitamin D. So maybe part of what he is doing has to do with being concerned with that. But I'm feeling better, taking supplements and three 5min sessions a week in a tanning coffin (hate it!). So I could see why he might take the kid gloves approach right now. It just doesn't work; I know him too well. Well enough to know the difference between his style of affection when he is in a stellar mood and when he is buzzing off of a connection he made with someone new.
I'm eager to learn to be a good metamour. Who I have been seeing had his former partner just recently and unexpectedly move back to town. We are both already excitedly chomping at the bit to hang out and get to know each other and have had pleasant conversation online. Extra perks: I seem more able to express affection and allow in my other because when we started I felt bad and pressured by knowing I was his only source of affection while I am a package deal and can't always be there for him. So I do get what you're saying about feeling more affectionate through gained associations. I will bring this up in my conversation with my husband as well.
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