I worry that none of us are mature enough to handle this situation,
That is a good question to ask. People have 6 maturities. I was just writing about that today!
Where are you in your 6 maturities? Where are your poly partners?
I asked him to avoid being emotionally open right away
This is not a reasonable request. You feel yucky right now. Can I tell you to stop it? Stop feeling that so you can feel better instantly? No. I cannot even if I wish you could feel better.
So asking HIM to avoid feeling whatever he feels -- that's not a fair thing to ask of him. If you are Open, you are Open. You cannot tell him how to feel or when to feel it. You can ask him for BEHAVIORS that he might consider honoring in deference to you. You cannot control how he behaves though. You ask him -- he gets to choose to honor it or not.
You only get to control how you behave -- not him. If you do not like how he behaves toward you, you can choose to walk away. Everyone holds their own baggage and makes their own choices.
We do not control our feelings or choose them. They just bubble up and ensue. Rain is rain. Sun is sun. Emotion is emotion. Emotion is internal weather -- it just blow on through. Whether yummy or yucky feelings to feel -- it just goes on through in time.
You can only choose how you behave
in response to those feelings. That you do have control over. Choose to react, choose to act with intention. Neither is bad or good.
- If my kid is in the street with a car? I REACT! I'm not gonna sit around deliberating!
- If I have a big work project, I act with intention and make a plan of action and THEN execute. Mere "react" is not a good tool then in that situation to make best use of my time.
What's the jealousy speaking to? You could choose to learn more about that. (Or not. )
Maybe that article could help you ask what you need from him, and help you ask from yourself what you need to do for yourself so that you can feel better? Could you do some page 5 things? Could he do some page 6 things? Could he be willing to talk it out with you?
Could google and learn how to manage Old Relationship Energy needs while facing New Relationship Energy
highs. It's all that "wheee!" stuff. Fun to feel, but it's brain hormone high. Could learn more about that so you don't feel so "aaaaahhh!" when either of you faces NRE. He could learn how to balance the ORE with the NRE so all his partners are being tended to with TLC.
NRE can run from 6-12 mos. When you come off the high you can feel like you are no longer in love but that is not true. It's the withdrawal of the "pink fluffy lala clouds" stuff wearing off. Hangover. But now you are moving into a difference love space -- a bond of attachment and shared history and if you both choose -- commitment. It has a different flavor. Just because it tastes different doesn't mean it isn't love or something is somehow "broken."
Could consider choosing new behaviors together -- so hopefully new feelings can ensue -- the ones that are yummy to feel, or at least the ones that are LESS yucky to feel than this.
Think about ALL your options -- including the option to end the polyship. Weigh each one out. What behaviors each option demands of you? Him? Which are you guys willing to do/not do in service to the relationship being in better harmony? Is it better for BOTH of your best healths (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) to be in relationship but change it from romance to friends? Only you guys can decide these things.
But change nothing? Then nothing will change about the yucky feelings that bubble up and ensue. They could fade down in time but then some other trigger will pop up and here we go again. New yucky feelings come bubbling up and ensue. YKWIM?
Hang in there. Learning emotional management is challenging. But facing the challenge and coping and coming out the other side -- that is how you grow.
We always are constantly choosing in Life. From little choices like what to eat for breakfast to bigger ones. You choose all the time! Don't be scared to sit and think and face a big choice. You can do it even if it feels hard.
You will be ok -- because no matter what you choose? You will choose the right thing for you at this time.
Then you will see what feelings ensue and if you like that or not.
Then you can choose a NEW choice:
- Keep on same if the result was good.
- Change to a new behavior if the feeling that ensued was ugh.
get to choose what is next. Isn't that neat? Being the captain of your own Life destiny?
You are 21 years old -- you do not have to be some big expert on every dang thing on this planet at 21. Nobody ever is even at 91! Just choose -- and learn from what you choose what works and does not work for you. Then make the next choice bearing your experiences in mind.
Things in the 20's feel INTENSE because a lot of "firsts" are happening in the decade. Maybe things like moving out to college, getting a job, dating more seriously than in high school, becoming financially independent, some marry and start families in their 20s. That's a LOT in one decade!
You are collecting yardsticks of Experience. Later in life you use them to measure new experiences by. But the first time you experience a new experience FEELS all crazy LOUD in volume.
Do not panic. Just take it one thing at a time. You CAN do this. You CAN choose well for yourself. And if not? You get to choose again. It will be OK.
Hope that brings you some comfort.
Hang in there!
PS: More reading to help you gain perspective.