Getting over past hurts & current hangups?
Despite having open & polyamorous relationships for several years, I'm just now discovering this forum. I've been reading for 2 days straight! I'm in an odd situation where I don't really have anyone to talk to about it, and am hoping for some advice/input.
My background - my BF and I have been together for 4 years. We met & started dating while both married to other people. His marriage was pretty awful and ended not long after we began dating. After about a year of dating my BF, my husband & partner of 10 years started dating a much younger woman. It was his first emotionally serious other relationship, and at first it all went wonderfully. Then 2 months in he began lying and hiding things from me. Things blew up and ultimately ended in him deciding poly was not for him and leaving me to be mono with her. We divorced, and they moved to a new city to start a new life together. She dumped him 6 months later...
This all happened almost 3 years ago. Despite the divorce going smoothly, I was left with a lot of emotional scarring. I became bitter and resentful to the idea of "forever" commitment and being married. He said and did a lot of things that prevented me from wanting a friendship with him, so I lost that relationship as well. My self esteem plummeted, and I struggled with hangups about being older and no longer attractive (I'm in my early 30s) for the first time in my life.
My relationship with my BF survived all this, and blossomed into something really amazing. I ended up moving in with him this year. We did some very small casual dating outside the relationship, but realized neither of us really had the true desire to pursue anything serious. We basically settled on "if the opportunity arises to do something together, we will. Otherwise, neither of us is really interested/looking." We have had a few kinky/sexually open friends who we have occasionally played together with on a casual kink/sex level. For the most part, that has all been problem free.
Then a new girl entered our lives, I'll call her K, via the local kink community. She is young (early 20s), physically stunning, intelligent, has great energy, etc. I liked her right away, and could tell my BF did too. She was vibing heavily that she was into both of us, and I thought it would be a great experience for all involved to do some BDSM play with her before she left. We discussed doing some play at an upcoming kink party, and she and my BF did some online basic negotiations (kinks, limits, etc.). We all left off the conversation deciding to talk more in person with all 3 of us prior to the kink party about what would happen. She was also invited to our NYE party along with a friend of ours she's been casually hanging out with (referred to from here on as her date).
The NYE party was supposed to be a vanilla affair, although a lot of our social circle is poly/kinky. My sister recently moved into town but is mono/vanilla so I was really focused on her and her BF fitting in and having a good time. They were sitting on one end of my sectional couch, I was in the corner of it, then it went my BF and K and her friend with other friends sitting/mingling around. After midnight my sis and her BF left the party, and I breathed a little sigh of relief for being able to relax some. Then all the sudden I look over and realize that next to me on the couch K is loudly making noises like she is orgasming. Her face is all scrunched up and red, and she's half laying across her date & my BF's laps writhing and gasping. My BF has his hand down her pants, a blanket now half covering them, and her date is stroking her head/playing with her neck. I must have looked shocked, and I think I said something like "wait, what's happening?" My friends all laughed and someone said, "Oh, you just now realized what was going on?" It turns out, my BF was fingering K under the blanket on the couch while my sister and my BF and I all sat there clueless. He continued to do so until she stopped making orgasm sounds, the whole time making smutty comments like "ooh, oh, you're wearing stockings. I love stockings"…etc.
To put it shortly, I was emotionally blindsided. We hadn't discussed any of this, and I felt humiliated in front of everyone and disgusted that my BF would do something like that around my vanilla family. (I don't think they knew, but I'm too mortified to ask.) Either way, it was totally inappropriate. Thankfully the party cleared out not long after all this happened. As I went to get ready for bed, my BF came in to inform me that K was spending the night, in bed with us. I was too stunned to argue and didn't want to make a scene. I ended up staying up all night in the kitchen, sobbing. He came and talked to me for awhile. His explanation for what happened was that basically she started rubbing on him, and it was like a cat with a shiny object. He just did it. He didn't think about me - at all. In fact, he didn't even realize I was sitting right next to them on the couch through the whole thing. There was alcohol involved, as well, but no one was shitfaced. He later confessed that "being secretly fingered in public" was listed as one of her fetishes on her online kink profile and that was in the back of his mind when he did it. Other than that, he can't give me a "why" for doing it, other than he just didn't think about me or how I would feel at all. This really hurts.
My BF went back to our bed to snuggle with her, and I laid awake alone in the kitchen the whole night. I felt raw that he could just forget about me when I was sitting right there. I felt like I didn't matter. I felt like this was all going to be a repeat of my last relationship. I felt abandoned and betrayed, and spent most of the night thinking of leaving but having nowhere to go. We've done poly stuff before, and I have always, always, always been super considerate of his feelings/potential feelings/boundaries. I felt like not only was I disregarded, but disrespected, and humiliated in front of our friends as well.
We talked all day the next day. This all sent me into a horrible downward tailspin of self loathing and personal doubt, triggering emotional things that must lie unresolved from my last relationship/rejection. I managed to force myself to attend the play party the next night, mostly to save face, but we did not do BDSM play with K. It was all I could do to even be around her, but for some reason I wanted to force myself to do it. Whereas I used to see her as someone desirable, now I feel jealous of her. Whereas I used to see her as beautiful, now instead I see myself as hideously old and ugly and dull next to her. Whereas I used to trust my BF to play with someone together, now I feel like he's only in this for himself and doesn't really care what I feel or think. I feel like just like in my last relationship, it's just a matter of time until I'm replaced by someone younger and better and more new and exciting, and don't matter at all.
For the record, he says he feels terrible about what he did. He has been fine with calling everything off with K. She is sort of in the dark about it all, because I didn't feel she did anything wrong (followed his lead) and I didn't want to drag her in since this was supposed to be something casual. We have just played it off as I had a bad hangover all night and was tired the next day at the play party.
Did I mention NYE is also our anniversary? Sigh.
I can't seem to let this go and I'm beating myself up over it. Women we both feel attracted to and who are attracted to both of us don't come along very often, and I was truly excited about the chance to experience something fun with her. I looked forward to it for a week plus. I resent him for "taking that away" although really it's me who can't come to terms with things after his transgression. She's leaving the country for a year in 2 weeks, so she won't be around after that.
Part of me still wants this opportunity, wants to salvage something good from 3 straight days of pain. I feel like the higher, "good poly" road is to try to get over my shit and let this happen, but I'm also wounded to the core and haven't been able to sleep or eat for 3 days. The other part of me feels like I want it to be over because HE doesn't "deserve" it and shouldn't be rewarded in all this. (I know how immature that sounds even as I type it.)
So, a few questions I guess:
1. How do you work through issues that stem from old (but very deep) major hurts and insecurities from past relationships? My BF tells me over and over he loves me and isn't going anywhere, but I just can't seem to trust that now. How can you just "forget" about someone you supposedly love and care about? How do you move on from something like this and forgive? I feel like the act itself was so minor, why can't I just get over it?
2. How do you conjure back feelings attraction to someone, instead of being intimidated/threatened by them once a boundary has been crossed? I have no reason to be angry at K, but I am resentful of her now. Just being around her socially calls up huge feelings of inferiority, whereas I didn't feel that before. I hate feeling this way about myself and someone else. I want to feel good, but can't seem to pull out of this self loathing/depression.
3. Is it sometimes a good idea to just push through something and do it, and face your fears and insecurities head on? Or am I just setting myself up for more pain and heartbreak? Sometimes I feel like I could handle a carefully negotiated scene with them if I forced myself to "get over it." But I also see potential for disaster there.
Anyway, thanks for reading my long-winded tale. I appreciate any and all feedback or insight. I'm too embarrassed to talk to any of my friends about this, since many of them were at the party and saw it happen.