Thanks all for the warm welcome.
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin
Jealousy can definitely play a part - what work have you done (as a group) to identify what specifically is causing this? Usually jealousy is a sign of some need not being met, while they perceive that another (you) is getting what they need. You say it is usually about the intensity of the relationship - what aspects of the intensity bother him? is it the lovey-dovey stuff, or the intensity of the sex? How would you characterise it?
I'll try to condense this into a manageable answer that doesn't fill the browser page (hard to encapsulate 8 years of polyamory into one post!) I think I'd characterize it as chemistry. It was good between girlfriend (D) and I even when we were just friends, but it went off the charts when became romantically/sexually involved. It's caused problems from time to time with D's husband (R), because for lack of a better explanation he is very much attuned to his interpretation of "primary-secondary", by which I mean he feels that he is rightfully entitled to the lion's share of her affection and desire. The first two years, R chalked up the imbalance he felt to D's and my NRE, and worked under the assumption that things would cool down, but when it became clear to all of us that things were only getting more intense it definitely caused some friction, despite reassurances from us and even my wife (S) that we weren't looking to leave our marriages and run away with each other. R will (if I understand him correctly) forever feel that as her primary D should work to ensure he never feels that she desires him less than she does me, and the rest of us (me, D, and my wife S) are more of the mind that that approach to the primary/secondary binary isn't terribly realistic. D, S, & I feel that on an emotional/sexual level, there is no hierarchy, so to speak. In other words, you can reassure, you can be "diplomatic" about how desire is expressed, but you can't control it the way R would prefer.
There's a lot of detail here I'm not getting into (maybe elsewhere in the forums if it comes up) but in essence, it's about D's and my sexual chemistry acting as trigger to R's jealousy. Over the years there's been a lot of talking by all four people involved to try and uncover where the difficulties lie and how to resolve them. Some of it's worked well (open lines of communication, D's working to help R see she's not going anywhere, setting aside time just for them, etc.), some of it not so much (e.g. R setting limits on D's and my sexual activity that for various reasons have felt unreasonable or vindictive). It's been an ongoing process, obviously, and it took a long time to figure out how to navigate the worst of it.
As it stands now? Things are good. I love D as much as I do S, and while yes, there will always be a "hierarchy" in terms of one being my wife and mother of my child, and the other my girlfriend, in terms of heart the two are equals to me. Despite the difficulties, I am
friends with R and we have no problems with each other outside of this one area. And obviously, I'm good with his relationship with S (I should hope I am, it'd be a little hypocritical if I weren't!)
When all is said and done, my personal experience with polyamory has been very positive.