I will definitely check that out, DH, thanks! (I like martial arts; is that close enough to dancing?
I wanted to hop back in, as sort of a closer to this thread maybe, and say thank you one more time to everyone for the (in retrospect very gentle and thoughtful) prodding on what I didn't realize then, but do realize now, are several key issues for me.
One is sex, i.e. being hung up on sex, which I guess happens to a lot of formerly-abused people who wind up hiding from their own genitalia for years.
You're absolutely right that there's a lot more to this than that, and when I started looking at it that way, a lot got clearer.
Another is polyamory itself, which I think I've been trying to avoid copping to, probably because I've known several people who used the term as a cover for being dishonest and irresponsible. I'm sure this community gets a lot of that, and I'm sorry, for what it's worth, that I was doing it too, albeit mostly subconsciously. Polyamory is nothing more (or less) than loving multiple people, and no matter what I've thought about it or called it, I've been wired to do that for as long as I can remember. I will work to be more appreciative of the groundwork so many other people have done in defining and understanding this mode of emotional expression.
And the final one is secondaries, which, yup, more reading and talking has made me realize I was definitely misunderstanding. Here's why I think I was doing that:
- My CatholicBrain(tm) is more comfortable with the thought that any relationship outside the Sanctioned One(tm) must be a dirty animalistic rutting-thing focused on only sex
- In my mind, "just sex" should be less threatening for my husband than an actual secondary relationship. However, my mind is wrong about this, it turns out. Neither is easy to talk about, but welcome to the Real World haha.
- I'm afraid of hurting my secondary. Being the older, married one of us, I feel the pressure of keeping all my drama off his shoulders (which I do), and I worry about "leading him on" if I talk about relationships. Plus I'm subconsciously steeling myself for when he finds a primary of his own or otherwise gets "through with me" -- an insecure and not-useful way to think, even if it is likely to happen eventually. But none of these things are helped by hiding the fact that I care deeply for and about him, no matter how much easier it seems to just bluster and act cold and "sure it's just friends with benefits" about it. (Also, to be fair, he acted very much like that with me at first, and it took me a while to see it for what it was: a young person trying to shield himself from scary things. I've been there, and been the blustery "hmph I know what I'm doing and this isn't a relationship at all haha" one, and I can be more sympathetic of that and helpful than I have been. Honesty, for one thing, means not just letting him know that he's not in line to ever be a primary, but *also* letting him know that as a secondary, he's precious to me and will be treated well. I am sorry for being an idiot about that at first, but it didn't really hit me until yesterday, when my secondary said something that made me realize that for all the bluster, he really is just a young guy head over heels for a hot older woman...and it's very much on me to not be a jerk about that. And I certainly don't want to be a jerk or a bad experience, because whether I like to face it or not (see the next point), I *do* love him.)
- The real definition of secondaries is SUCH a slap in the face to the status quo, it's actually intimidating -- and I say "actually" because I'm normally the sort of person to just punch the status quo in the trachea and keep walking. The status quo has room for "needing a little on the side", and will even forgive that if you promise that that's all it was, but society balks hard at "needing or wanting more than one *love relationship*". I didn't realize how uncomfortable taking that step, even mentally, was for me. Thank you again to the forum (both this thread and the rest I've read) for helping me see that the reality of multiple loves really is both true and OK.
Having just started to get all of this in order in my head after 7 years with my husband is certainly a tough hand to be dealt, but sticking with honesty and love as principles is fantastic advice and so far seems to be working great. Thank you again, Forum Folk!