Originally Posted by sparklepop
I can really hang on to anger and hurt when a partner betrays me. But if I start to pick apart *why* they did something, it helps me to let go of the anger. I can't build anything if I'm hanging onto anger, you know?
I do tend to hold grudges. It's a way of protecting myself, but it can get in the way in ways that it really doesn't help anyone. Picking apart the why was the only way I didn't just up and figuratively burn the house down on the relationship. I did iterate that I wanted her to be happy and I hated that my stuff took this person away. I still do, which is why I'm here! And the why is, according to her, that my guidelines (we'll call them now), when we went over them, seemed totally doable and reasonable. She literally said she didn't need to negotiate, that they were all fair. But she says that in practice, they were another story, and she didn't realize they would be until she was faced with them. And then she felt like she needed to behave on dates in ways that weren't natural, and she felt like I was controlling every aspect of her new relationship. Policing her desire, so to speak.
Having never had my own separate poly partner other than her, I don't have a clue what that must be like. I can imagine, but I can't relate in practice. I've had plenty of controlling relationships, where I went out with someone I knew was interested in me, as friends, and had to ignore their advances. I find it kind of exciting, because they want me but tough luck. We've talked about this, and my partner says that same experience makes her feel worthless, like she has nothing to offer. So that's a fundamental difference that really makes sense to me. Knowing we differ on something so core to us makes all of this much less scary.
Originally Posted by sparklepop
What I'm saying is why does that upset you? Is it purely because she lied? Or is there a problem with her actually having sex with someone else?
Unfortunately, it is the sleeping with other people thing that bugs me, but the lying takes the cake for the worst of the worst.
I honestly thought I would be cool with her sleeping with this particular person, but I also expected more time to prepare. I did expect to experience jealousy, and some neediness, but when I was faced with it? TOTAL FRIGGING MELTDOWN. I didn't even know myself. Well, I did know this self, but not in the context of my relationship with her. This self comes from some deep seated issues that I've had lots of therapy for, so thought I was strong enough to brush off, or handle on my own. I was not.
On top of that, to be lied to? No one likes to be made a fool of. If she was lying this early, where could the relationship possibly go? Maybe they hold equal weight. But they both sucked.
Anyway, regarding what bugs me specifically about her sleeping with someone else.
1) I can tell you from experience she did not use any sort of protection, nor did she intend to. This is an issue, especially when she is knowingly hooking up with someone that has her own other partners.
2) Is my stuff. I've seen her have sex with many partners. Any jealousy was easy compared to this. I've never had to, for example, stop a play session to discuss issues of jealousy. Any of that has been able to wait until we sat down to talk the next day, or whenever. But we were always together for those, which had its own problems, because there were so many dynamics at play. So dating separately was a logical next step for us, in an effort to explore further, and to DE-complicate our poly relationship(s). I thought/hoped. But it's like night and day: sharing my partner when I'm present is fun for me. And I was okay with her spending alone time with shared partners out of bed, too. It gave me "me" time, and let her connect in ways she might not if I were around.
But sharing her when I'm not there, in bed? Should have been fine too! I was shocked when it triggered me the way it did, even before they hooked up. Once it was clear they wanted to date separately, I began to dread their hooking up every time they were out. I could see my partner going through all the NRE that we did when we met, and it all felt terribly... well, competitive. In some really scary ways. Like, if I can't be there to see what I'm up against, how can I compare? Which I know has NO PLACE in poly, but the feelings were there and they were very loud. I am not comfortable with it because I don't want her other partners to have just any bit of her they want whenever they want it (which seemed the road we were going down). I don't want them to be able to pretend for a second that I'm not a factor and get lost in the moment (even though they should be able to). It's bratty and it's controlling and I need to let go of it, but that's where my lizard brain went. Not healthy. This is possession (right??) and I need to work it out. I thought I could sit on it and get through it on my own but that only made it grow.
Sidenote: I keep wondering how this can/should/shouldn't manifest itself in BDSM dynamics; like, is this a bad road to consider finding peace from, or a productive one? Maybe it depends on the approach. Maybe I'll open that thread today/search for others on the topic...