Originally Posted by MeeraReed
I don't think it's quite so obvious that you ought to just leave her already...I have no idea what I would do in your place...it's so sad.
Especially since it sounds like Alex has really been trying lately, reading "Opening Up" and meeting your lover. But I sort of wish she were doing more things to gain her own independence and to find herself, rather than putting all her energy into the relationship with you.
Such a tough situation. When monogamous people want more space and freedom, they break up with their partner and date other people. But because we're poly we don't have to do to that...so it's much harder to figure out when / why we SHOULD leave.
Is Alex not giving you enough independence, or do you feel claustrophobic even though Alex gives you a reasonable amount of independence? Is it the dynamics of this relationship that don't work for you, or would you feel smothered in any relationship?
I agree! So confusing. Which is why I have not committed to leaving even when everything in me was saying "Run out the door and save yourself...now!!" The fact that Alex continues to try so hard really does inspire me about our relationship and help me to feel really committed to doing the same. Its just that the way we are trying is so different. For me, I have to continually struggle to ask for the freedom I want and need and be honest about my feelings and experiences with other people (right now, that is K), and also to be willing to examine my impulses to leave when things get hard. For Alex, her struggle is really about letting go and examining her expectations that she should be able to fulfill all my needs and the jealousy that arises when I choose to get my needs met elsewhere. Even though we still have a long way to go, we really have come so much farther than I ever thought possible when we began this journey just 8 short months ago.
One fantastic development is that Alex did go out on a limb and have her own sexual experience at a play party recently. I think it did a world of good for her to have an experience outside of our relationship and see that different experiences are just that...different. I was really proud of her for being willing to try something that stretched her comfort zone just a bit and she ended up really enjoying it and even finding out about a side of herself (an interest in BDSM) that she is potentially interested in exploring more outside of our relationship. For now she's not really actively pursuing that but as opportunities arise I think she will be more and more willing to explore that without me, and I am encouraging her to do so.
I have been asking for more freedom to see K as often as I can, which lately is not much due to a hectic travel schedule. It is hard on Alex when I want to take what little time I have at home and devote some of it to seeing K. But I have been trying to remind myself that I need to ask for what I want and let Alex have whatever reaction she is going to have. I have been able to be patient and supportive as she works through her initial anger and discomfort with my requests, without trying to rush in and fix anything or withdraw my request and then harbor resentment about it (which I did often when I was seeing Sam). She has been able to work through a great deal of jealousy and insecurity this way, which is so reassuring for me to see.
I think what is still coming up a lot for me is dealing with my intensifying feelings for K and just letting them be what they are. I notice myself having impulses that I think are related to a leftover serial monogamy mentality of "wow, i am totally falling for this person so i need to drop everything to be with them!" No pressure is coming from K who, even though this is her first experience with poly, has been incredibly patient and understanding and reassuring that she is totally happy with the way things are and wants to "simply be there for me". Wow. Things are still very new with us and we are still working out our communication style, which right now mostly consists of texting between time spent together, and our visits tend to be very fun and sexual with not a lot of time devoted to processing emotions. Which is great, but sometimes I find myself with questions in my mind that I do not voice to her, or things I want to say that I never seem to find the courage to say. Partially its because its all so new (we've been seeing each other for a little over 2 months now) and I don't want to get too deep too fast, and partially its because it is my tendency to hold back a bit when I'm uncertain. Definitely its clear that we are both really into each other, but we haven't spent a lot of time exploring what that means or what our intentions are with each other.
Managing the NRE without that "tortured" feeling is still a challenge for me. I get surprised at how easy it seems for other people to deal with, and even put up boundaries around it when needed. It seems that this, I am not so good at.