Hey guys - long time lurker here. I'm in a bit of a pickle and was hoping I might get some feedback from the members on this board.
I've been poly for quite some time, but have only recently begun to articulate the idea with my partners.
I'm a guy, currently seeing three absolutely fantastic women. We'll call them Abby, Betty, and Cindy.
I've been with Abby for about a year. She knows I'm seeing other women, and knows that I'm totally okay with her seeing other guys. She's okay with this, but doesn't want to see anyone else, and just wants to make sure that the safety considerations are seriously considered. We've been don't-ask-don't-tell by mutual agreement the whole time.
I've been with Betty for about six months. She's also okay with the arrangement, but also doesn't want to see anyone else. She's actually been studying polyamory, and is almost done with The Ethical Slut. We've been talking a lot and I'm really happy with how open-minded and conversational she's been. About a month ago jealousy reared it's head in a semi-caustic manner: I told her I had to set an entire weekend aside for Abby. She said it was okay but her behavior immediately became almost confrontational and aggressive. She started being physically affectionate with other guys and telling me that I'm free to go talk to other girls if I want, even though we were out to spend time with each other. At first I was totally non-reactive - that didn't work. Then I treated it with a whole load of reassurance, and directly exploring the way she was feeling, which helped a lot. We're back to the nice, smooth, open dynamic, with close to no friction from jealousy.
Now I'm dealing with this situation again, but with Abby. Abby knows that I spend time with other women. She's been acting kind of vengeful towards our relationship as of late. All of the sudden telling me about other guys that she finds attractive (which is fine, but it's so sudden and dramatic), making plans tentative (again fine, but new), and saying that she doesn't feel important anymore. I've tried to reassure her in one way or another, with words and actions. The tension is still there though.
In the past, I would be quick to ignore that behavior or just exit the relationship out of frustration. I think there's a chance that this is her own way of ending the relationship, which I'm ready to accept, but which I absolutely do not want and do not want to provoke. My experience with Betty has taught me that working through the conflicts can actually renew a relationship, and make it even more special.
My question - how do you think this should be handled? Right now I'm a bit mucked up by the emotions, but I think the best thing would be to sit down and talk about us, and about what we both want. Give her a chance to directly communicate a desire to give each other some space, or maybe just a desire for more reassurance. Thoughts? Any feedback would be super helpful.
Sorry this got so long - lots on my mind! Even just writing this out helped clear my mind a bit