Am I being unfair about gifts?
My husband and I have been polyamorous for almost a year. For the most part, things run fairly smoothly. He has one stable partner, who, unfortunately, lives far enough away that they are only able to see each other every couple of months, but keep up via phone, texts, internet, etc. My situation has been a bit more haphazard, and perhaps less successful. I have had one on and off partner- a bit stormy- and have had more casual friendships/relationships with a few others. In general, we accommodate each other well and are respectful of each others' needs.
My problem is that his partner is a lavish gift giver. Once, when he had a sinus infection, she sent a bouquet of flowers and a teddy bear. My mother, who completely disapproves of our polyamory, was the one who encountered the UPS guy. I had no idea the gift was coming, and had to do some fast explaining. And for Christmas, she sent him a Kindle Fire, and sent me and our daughter some fairly signficant gifts as well. For some reason, I am uncomfortable with this. We don't have a lot of spare money right now, and I feel obligated to send return gifts. My main "other" and I decided purposely to not exchange gifts because we didn't want to divert our funds away from our children, and I guess we both have issues with wanting to keep some of our emotions at bay. And I have a feeling that underneath my discomfort, I may be experiencing a little bit of jealousy. The fact that she lives at some distance has allowed me to pretend she doesn't really exist. Having frequent visits from the UPS man forces me to confront her presence. And presents.
I don't know if I have a legitimate beef, in terms of wanting to make lavish gifts somewhat off-limits, or if I haven't fully embraced polyamory and am just feeling threatened. Has anyone else encountered discomfort with gift exchanging? Am I being unreasonable? Should I feel compelled to send equally lavish gifts back? To add to the confusion, she has handmade me several pieces of beautiful jewelry (we've never met), and friended me on FB. After days of her "liking" and commenting on every post I made, I realized that she was far too present in my day-to-day life, and that I was just fine with her as long as I didn't have to be her BFF. My husband saw that I was tormented about it, and suggested that she defrriend me. This caused major drama between the two of them, and I actually had to be the one to contact her, apologize, and patch things up.
Sorry this is so long! I think I am struggling to figure out where my role is in their relationship. She clearly would like to be close friends with me, and I guess I do better when I pretend she doesn't exist. I don't want to be unfair to her, and I know my emotional distance has hurt her feelings. I guess I need to suck it up and deal with these conflicted emotions.