So much gratitude, a few more questions
First, Thanks to everyone who replied and to Galagirl and Anneintherain and to anyone who sent positivity my way because I feel it. Thank you.
The WORRY. My god, the Worry. I think I wrote all this to exorcize that worry. Things are actually going well and I'm very grateful for both R & H. I had a long skype with H last night, a lovely breakfast and brief cuddle with R this morning before he's gone for business this week.
I think part of this has just been me learning to respect R's boundaries when it comes to my other relationships and learning what my own boundaries are when it comes to H's relationships or my own.
I can and do love both of these men and there's nothing wrong with that. I love them both differently. They are both very important to me. I just have to learn how to manage my time and my attention. I believe I am getting better at that by writing about it and talking about it.
Gala: When I said I felt split, I guess I mostly just felt guilty when I was around R (primary) because sometimes my mind would slip to H. Of course, H & I have some fierce NRE going on and the whole distance/star-crossed thing. What I need to do when my mind slips to H is the same thing I do when I meditate and my mind slips away. Just notice it and let go. Come back to the present. When I am face to face with R, he deserves all of me and I can give him that. I did before and I will now.
Time management has been a little bit of an issue, too, mainly because when H comes to town I want to see him most, if not all, the nights he's in town (typically just 2 or 3) and R doesn't want me to do that, even if he's not free to hang out those nights. He feels scared of it. That's a time when I feel guilty, when I wish I didn't want to see H that much, but I do. I really do. In the past I have just gone with what R wants. He doesn't want H to sleep over at my house and doesn't want me to sleep with H where ever he is staying, so I concede to that. R doesn't want me to see H privately more than once per trip, so I do that. I do what he wants because I feel guilty and protective of R's feelings above all else. How much should I compromise? That will be something I am working on, to some degree, throughout this relationship.
The main reason that R worries I would be happier with H is because of my intellectual connection with him. R feels intellectually inferior to H. He feels under-accomplished. I TOTALLY disagree with this, but R just doesn't believe me. He wants the kind of job and esteem that H has. He wants to have read as many books and be as accomplished a writer.... It's been hard for me to communicate to R that I get a lot from him intellectually and even more from him in the spiritual, goofy, creative, free side-- those are some of the big reasons I am with R. He brings out this part of me that is SO needed. He loosens me up and calms me down and gets me out of my head, where I am all the time because of my work. (I'm a freelance writer and novelist.)
Gala, this is what I mean when I'm afraid that my relationship with H is damaging to R. I am afraid it's pushing him away on some level. On the other hand, it's made us stronger. He's more verbal about what he loves about me, he's more attentive. I'm more appreciative of the emotional gifts R gives me now and intentional about our time together.... But it's the WORRY, that ugly little WORRY that makes me feel like my love for H could be casting a cool shadow on R. R simply can't bear to hear about my feelings for H. He asks sometimes about specific things and then shudders when I answer him. He knows I love him. It drives him nuts because it's not at all what he wants for himself and he finds it threatening of us. This is the first relationship either of us have been in that we want to work out for the long haul. I've had longterm things before, but the future was never brought up, or when it was I ended up leaving.
Gala, you're also right about this: "How are you going to "lose" either? You cannot control their behavior. They choose to stay or choose to go. ...What is this guilt thing speaking to? You are not "putting R through anything" if he has chosen this WITH you. Is he articulating regret and wanting to change the relationship configuration?"
Thanks for reminding me of that. I think I was lazy about my language when it comes to the 'losing' thing.
R is not wanting to change the configuration of the relationship, he says. I sometimes wonder if he does wish I wanted less sex, that I had a lower drive or he had a higher one.
Lastly, Anneintherain, you're right about this: "I wonder is a big part that R thought poly would boost his libido so now you are supposed to feel guilty/withdraw because it hasn't?"
Yes, a thousand times yes. I would never say "I told you so" to R, but I was skeptical of his hypothesis that opening up would enhance his libido. I think am getting a lot of guilt because it has unexpectedly boosted mine.
Related question-- how do I gently talk to R about the root of his lower sex drive? Some background: he's in great shape, 29, isn't one to stress about things, doesn't drink excessively, doesn't smoke pot, gets exercise daily and seems to have a reasonable amount of self-esteem. He's a professional actor/dancer and very confidant in front of people.
Also, when he occasionally get a pimple or feels a breakout coming on he complains that it really brings him down and reminds him of being sixteen and not wanting to do anything where he had to see people or have any pictures taken of him. Oddly, his first few girlfriends in late high school and one main one in college were Christian and didn't want to have sex, so he lost his virginity at 22 to a friend. All sex partners after that were short-term and he didn't have any relationships that combined love and sex. He has lots of very close friends.
SO, I guess I say all this because I think it has an effect on his sex drive. I've been up front with him from the start about owning the things that have held me back sexually in the past (being secretive with lovers, being in my head instead of my body, dealing with sexual trauma, body dysmorphia) and I want him to be able to look honestly at his own sex drive as a product of his life instead of some hard and fixed thing.
He thinks he just has a low sex drive, period, the end, that's it. I find this limiting and just flat out wrong, but I don't know how to address that without worrying that I'll come off as a jerk...