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Old 11-26-2011, 06:51 PM
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rory rory is offline
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Relating to the anxiety, and the now-lack-of, I realised that poly has brought up the strangest things to me. Way back when Alec and I started a relationship (I was 16), we had quite a lot of fights over misunderstandings. There was a pattern: he would do something or say something (usually very small) and I would take it as a clue about him being angry or sad or whatever, and then I wouldn't let it go until he'd get really frustrated: at that point I would usually realise/believe that I had mis-interpreted him in the first place, but we'd already be in a fight. These kinds of fights became rarer and rarer over time, it was mostly a problem during the first years we were together. Lately, there has been an occasional situation that has reminded me of this: I would mis-interpret something, or look for constant reassurance that he is OK, sometimes up until a point where he gets frustrated.

When we first started poly, and after he said he is fine with me starting another relationship, I asked him repeatedly things like "are you sure you're ok" or "are you sure you don't feel bad?". But then after maybe one or two weeks I realised I can't keep doing that for two reasons. Firstly, I have to trust him when he says he's OK. I need to trust him to communicate to me if there's a problem, and if he chooses not to, there is nothing I can do about that. Trust is the only option there is for me, because I can't control his actions. Plus, it is disrespectful of me not to trust him when he's given me no reason to doubt him. Secondly, by constantly asking him "is poly OK to you?" I was sending a message that if he suddenly changed his mind, I would be open to going back to mono without hesitation. And that really wasn't the case.

After realising that, I have stopped asking. But unconsciously, I've still been on the lookout for any signs of trouble. High alert for any signs of discomfort from Alec. And I have tried to fix it, and rationalise him out of it, whenever he's shared any negative feelings about poly (which, by the way, there were absolutely none during this visit ).

I see now, that all that revolves around guilt. No other emotion is as difficult for me to get a handle on as guilt. And because of all that lovely societal conditioning, I have been feeling guilty about having two partners. As much as I know that Alec and I agreed to a poly relationship together, my feelings have been telling me "he wouldn't be in this situation / feel this way if it wasn't for me". Enter guilt, enter constant anxiety.

But as I wrote before, the anxiety disappeared. Maybe my head has finally convinced my heart about the fact that I am not responsible for Alec's feelings. And if I let guilt control my behaviour, I put both of us in an unfair situation. Myself, for I will feel constant anxiety for things I have no control over. Him, for letting him only feel the good sides of polyamory, and effectively denying him the right to sometimes feeling bad (and simultaneously making it impossible for him to get proper support from me).

I've been writing about me and Alec, but some of what I wrote applies to my relationship with Mya, as well. I haven't had as much guilt, and I think that's because she's also married, i.e. she's entering poly just as "voluntarily" as I am (as are obviously our husbands, too, because they have happily consented, but it's still felt different since we have more vested interests).
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