Guilt, shame, and pride.
I am a woman. I am not "involved with" or "dating" or "sexual" with a polyamorous man married to a "monogam-ish" woman, but I used to be. His wife's comfort with him being poly varies widely. It ends up resulting in her applying different boundaries to each of his relationships, and those rules are subject to change. My relationship with him ended a while back (I had a nervous breakdown induced by PTSD and my attempts to shape my behavior to make his wife more comfortable... they worked, but I was miserable and he wasn't happy), but we have tried to remain friends.
I've had a hard time letting go. Some of the old patterns have cropped up when we spend time together alone (cuddling and a few kisses that I enjoy more than I have enjoyed sex with most people I've been with), and I am struggling with my feelings.
Pride: I don't like having limits placed on my behavior - particularly "private" behavior - by a third party. I feel that I am not respected or trusted. This hurts, and sometimes I feel angry.
Shame: When I am faced with boundaries created by a third party, I feel that my sexuality and emotions are dirty and dangerous, respectively; that being sexual and emotional is inappropriate in this situation or with this person. I have fears of slut-shaming from his wife and our community.
Guilt: I am afraid to act on my own desires because I am afraid of hurting his wife and/or being judged by others. I feel very anxious about spending time with him or being physically affectionate with him.
For the record, this was my first poly-type relationship, and it lasted around 7 months, which he considers to be a "long term" relationship. To me, it seems a very short period of time for me to have developed such strong feelings. The NRE when we first started dating was overwhelming for me.
I do not know what to do at this point. I'm worried that continuing to interact with them (mostly with him) is harmful.
Perhaps polyamorous relationships are not a good fit for me? Or perhaps being a secondary does not suit, but being a primary would? I need some outside perspectives.
Last edited by Valentine; 02-08-2012 at 07:46 PM.