I just had a quick read through your other thread, but haven't finished it yet, as it's a popular one!
Firstly, I understand how scary and emotional poly can feel. Poly in any sense of the word - swinging, polysexual or polyamorous. There's no right or wrong. Polyamory isn't the Enlightened Way - it just fulfills some people's needs. I also understand the uncertainty about whether or not poly is a good fit for yourself. I've been in my poly relationship for two years and used to ask myself the same question all the time. Even now, it crops up.
Why consider poly?
I've always been a serial monogamist too, but here's why I am poly now:
- I believe that by restricting my lover, I am not enabling to be free, therefore, I am treating them as my possession
- I believe that being poly has and can teach me to be stronger, more secure and less anxious about abandonment
- I believe that though I do not feel I need it, I enjoy the benefit of being able to explore my attraction to others
- I believe that my girlfriend is happier and more fulfilled being poly than if we were monogamous
- I believe that it is possible to feel love (of varying degrees) for more than one person, because I have felt it
What I don't subscribe to:
- I don't believe I 'need' other people... I am currently actually happy with my girlfriend and would still be happy if we were monogamous (but who knows?)
- I have not yet loved any other people to the same degree that I love my girlfriend... not in the same way
Loving More Than One
Have you ever read Sternberg's theories on love? It can help to put things into perspective. I believe that consumate love, which comes from the three kinds of love (passion, commitment and intimacy) is more rare... beautiful... doesn't happen with everyone. If the kind of love you and your husband have is consumate, it might help you to worry less about the kind of love he might feel for other people. Even if he feels it... love cannot start as consumate love... it takes time to achieve that depth of emotion... and, in turn, you would have time to cope with your emotions on the topic. You can read a bit more about it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangular_theory_of_love
So.... do you want to talk a little more about why your marriage opened up? You don't have to of course; but I'm really interested to find out more about what's been going on. Before you opened up, how was your relationship doing?
Can poly help a marriage?
My girlfriend, incidentally, has a husband. They were on the brink of divorce when she gave the ultimatum of poly. He chose to continue in a poly marriage, rather than face divorce, and to be honest, it has been good for their relationship, and for them as individuals. (Notice that I didn't say 'easy').
However, because their relationship had cracks before they opened it up, the cracks widened before they started closing (which is common, since many people turn to poly to 'save' marriages). She was guilty of neglecting him and still does a little bit, but has started to grow closer to him. He has started to become less co-dependent and gives her space to breathe. Poly does seem to have helped their marriage in the long-run. It is possible that with time, it could help yours.
In the deep end
So, your husband's girlfriend... what's her deal? Is she single? Or does she have another partner(s)? That's a hell of a lot of time to be spending together. It seems to be like you've been thrown in at the deep end a bit. You became poly in the summer and they're spending every day and night together? Interesting.
Do you have guidelines? Or is he basically free to do what he wants, when he wants? Is he behaving like your husband at all, or not really giving a shit?
As for how much time he's spending with her, what does he want from this relationship, or poly in general? Do you have a hierarchical agreement, where you are considered the primary and she is a secondary? Is that what you want, but he won't commit to that?
It's important to have agreements laid down. Not rules - you can't control each other. But negotiate and communicate until guidelines are set and intended to be stuck to. Don't force a guideline that you know he doesn't want... there's no point.
How about the future? For example, I live in a house with my GF, her husband and our toddler. Our current agreement is that nobody else will be moving in. We use the terms primary and secondary. We are clear about our future hopes - e.g. my GF wants a long term submissive secondary partner, who she can see 1-4 times a month, talk to daily, and isn't opposed to love, but not looking for it either. She would consider having someone else move in, but isn't pushing or hoping for it. On the other hand, her husband has given a flat-out no on moving anyone else in... so that's ok. His wishes are out there on the table. If he was completely 'no' and she was completely 'yes', they would have big trouble.
Mono-poly can work. But only if everyone feels loved and happy. It's not working for you right now.
What is your husband like? Does he tell you how much he loves you, make you feel supported and understood? Is he committed to your marriage? Is he enjoying himself and finding an escape, with the safety net of you around?
Like you, I found the first year of poly very, very hard. I could never seem to find that security, no matter what techniques I worked on and what I told myself. My GF was struggling with being bisexual when I met her and as it turns out... she was only really
90% committed to our relationship for the first year or so. Suddenly, everything made sense to me. How could I possibly be 100%, or even 99% secure and work on my negative emotions, when she wasn't 100% invested? Not going to happen!
We often tell ourselves what we want to hear. I used to try to be secure in my relationship with my GF, but knew deep down that she wasn't completely committed. At the time, she had an online submissive and was about as wrapped up in him as your husband seems in his girlfriend. She'd talk to him on the phone daily, was super sweet on him. The sun shone out of him. He was wonderful and I could see why she loved him. I just knew that she secretly wondered if he would be better for her than myself and her husband. She denied it at the time, but has admitted it since. (Female intuition is rarely wrong!) But... I know that she had to explore that and let time and experience help her find happiness. I had to be harsh with myself at the time (and when she admitted it) and face the COLD HARD FACT that she was having those thoughts.
So I'll say the same thing to you.... how can you hope to work on your emotions, if he isn't 100% invested? How often do you see him? Less than her? More than her? How many hours a week does he spend with her vs you? What's the quality of the time like? Has he verbally insisted on his love and commitment to you?
In the meantime, whilst you maybe reply back
, rather than waffle on about all the different techniques to cope with jealousy... try having a look at this brilliant article I read recently.... and show him page 6! http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf