Bad attitude to my OSO, help from others who've been there?
It feels awkward to jump in with a long first post that's a problem, but this forum seems like it has a lot of thoughtful members, and I could really use some outside perspective. My usual forum is frequented by all of my associates, and it would be helpful to talk outside the group a bit.
My current set of poly entanglements are about a year old right now. I live with my partner, I'll call him Geekguy, for much longer, and we've been stable and doing well working things out as they come up. Among his other partners is a woman I'll call Sylvia. I've got a serious relationship going with Sylvia's partner Joshua. The individual romantic relationships in play, while not always without some bumps, are stable and generally wonderful. It's definitely a set of independent pairs, not a quad arrangement for us.
Sylvia and I get along fine if it's just the two of us in private, but don't really have much time to develop some kind of relationship of our own. Over the last two months I haven't been able to get to a good place about my attitude about her at all. That resentment and frustration isn't healthy, and it spills out into other things.
Our personalities are very different, and polyamory doesn't come easily to her. In the end, no matter how happy she makes my partners, and the tremendous ongoing effort she puts in to get better at handling her reactions to things - I don't feel emotionally safe around her. It puts me in a defensive place, and then I start to get resentful and judgmental.
Our comfort levels with public behavior and detail-sharing are very different, so group events are bad and have been something we now avoid - either she acts like herself and makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable, or has to alter her behavior so dramatically it's unfair to everyone for her to repress herself that much.
My relationship with Joshua is sometimes difficult for her - the envy and jealousy she struggles with there create a lot of ambient drama - low for Josh and Sylvia's standards, but on the edge of tolerable for me. I'd gotten to a place where I could accept her humanity and be gracious about it for a while. But a moment of insecurity led to lashing out at me in a way I haven't fully been able to move past, despite her sincere and complete apology. We've talked, but the reality is that she still struggles with it, and there are still going to be days she has a strong emotional reaction. I've had my guard up ever since, and can't figure out how to move on.
Help? Any advice for getting to a better place? My defensive snark to Geekguy, though he knows where it comes from, is hurtful and colors my attitudes toward his other relationship. I can't interpret any stories my lovers share without assuming the worst of Sylvia, even when it is unwarranted.
If any of you nice folks have been here, or have some good advice for me, I'd love to hear it.