Help trying to figure out exactly how I feel
Hello, longtime lurker, first post. Guess i'm gonna have to go into a bit of history. Thanks for reading, those of you who do.
The hubby (L) and I have been married for almost 11 years. After some brief swinging we finally took the plunge to poly over a year ago, and I have one boyfriend, C, who is also married to a woman who self identifies as lesbian. Hubby L and boyfriend C have very little relationship and C's wife and I have some mutual friends. And everyone's fine with this arrangement. As we make up our rules and boundaries for our individual marriages, we tend to mirror each other in our choices, which is nice. Less to remember that way.
What I'm having trouble is dealing with and letting go of some of the anger I've been harboring against both of my men for the past couple months. The first year that C and I were together, L had a lot of difficulty dealing with the emotional intimacy we expressed. He had access to any chat longs, and C's wife did as well, only L didn't like them as much (C's wife didn't care either way as long as she was kept in the loop.) L would go back and forth about what level of intimacy between myself and C that he was comfortable with, and we'd oblige. No sex this week, sex but no super-emotional discussions the next week, how about just friends until further notice, etc. It was frustrating, but C and I have known each other since high school and we both were confident that we'd always have our friendship, so there was no rush, L would come around in his own time. Or not, in which case we'd both still have our happy marriages, some good memories, and a great friendship.
This January, I prompted L to reexamine his feelings and actually meet C (they'd met sometimes in group situations, but L was always standoffish.) We went out for drinks and karaoke, then back to my place, and had a awkward threesome but one that ended up having L see C in a different way. Suffice to say that since late January, L has been much more at ease with my relationship.
He also decided he wanted to start up a relationship with a co-worker of his, which I approved. She seems great for him. L treats me with so much more respect when he's dating her. I think they are fine, and like I said, I approve of their relationship, but I can't help but be a little jealous sometimes, that he has been allowed to enjoy the NRE and I was barred from it. But I try to say well, what's done is done, and C and I are in a good place now anyway, so it's fine. L and his girlfriend are able to see each other at work every day, as well as spend some time after work 5 days a week. I, however, am only able to see C MAYBE once a month, and that's due to a bunch of reasons now, but last year a lot of it was L's discomfort with our relationship. So I kinda feel I was robbed of that too, and that L's lucky to have an understanding wife (me), but I was not so fortunate with my spouse, him.
So, the hubby L, is seeing a single woman, and I am seeing C and things are going well, with all of us finding time for our lovers and our spouses and L and I for our son, as well, trading off on the childcare while the other one is out (no funny business at our place because we are the only ones with a child.)
C has an ex girlfriend V that he dated maybe 18 years ago, who I have a light friendship with myself. She's a single new mother with a husband stuck out of the country and a narcissistic mother who just tears her down. Sometimes C and I will go see her and offer babysitting, companionship, or bring her a meal or two. Once she had to leave briefly and C and I messed around at her place which was kind of hot. V is well aware of our arrangement and herself in kind of a polygamous marriage (different country, so it's kind of weird.)
I really like C. No, I am in love with him. And everyone knows that and is cool with it, and I am fine with C not being in love with me, back. When I need reassurance from him, he's quick to give it, stating that he has no desire to ever end our friendship, and if he had the desire to add another person he would be sure that I along with his wife would have equal say in the matter. And of course those discussions would preclude any kind of activities whatsoever.
Right, so finally, the meat of the story. Two weeks ago, C told me he was headed to visit his parents and then stop by V's place to see if she needed anything. I hoped he would have fun, and agreed to talk later. We did talk later, at which point he casually told me that they cuddled, kissed, and he performed oral sex on her. I was floored because this was so out of the blue, and yet, I knew of their past relationship, and I wasn't sure if maybe he thought our discussions of new people in our relationship only applied to actual NEW people, and not rekindling old relationships? He was very non chalent about everything, including the fact that he didn't get a chance to get off either and was wondering when I would be free. This was insulting, and very unlike him, so I was just speechless (most of our conversations are messages.)
I took a day to think about how I felt, at which point I decided that he had violated our agreement to discuss anything before any activities occurred, and also told him that I was insulted about how saying that he just needed me to finish him off. And finally, that if this was his definition of our relationship, that one could just engage in anything with any one at any time, then I was not willing to continue our (at that point 15-month) relationship. That was good, right? Stating my boundaries, explaining how I saw things, etc.
He replied saying that he honestly didn't think he was violating anything because physical intimacy with his ex, V, was never off the table even when he got married (they've been married 10 years, almost as long as we have) and that his wife knew that, and he was pretty sure that he had communicated that to me. Also, he almost saw it as just being able to do something for her, to comfort her and not expect anything back, and thought I would have understood that since I kinda knew her and that she was a special case. However, since it was apparent to him that he didn't make that clear to me before, he took full responsibility for not being clear, and was very pained to have hurt me, and listed in detail all the precautions he would take in the future to take my feelings into account, and that he would never have done that if he even thought it would be a shock to me. Also that he knew he had broken my trust, however unknowingly, and would do whatever it took to win me back, would accept any boundaries I put on our relationship and indeed didn't feel like engaging in anything sexual at all with anyone at the moment, realizing how he had hurt me. He said that at all costs, he wanted to keep our friendship even if that meant keeping it purely platonic and that he couldn't stand to lose me over what seems to be a misunderstanding, not an intentional violation. He also explained that he had taken the time to get assurances from her about her testing status, and all that, so it wasn't like a heat-of-the-moment thing like I had envisioned.
Hard to believe this guy isn't in love with me.
I took a day or two to digest this, and we got together to discuss our rules and boundaries again, and all was well again. Our sex is great again, C's wife is just as pleasent and friendly when I'm over, and both C and I take the same time to reaffirm our spouses' comfort levels with the relationships.
Now that we're back to normal, and indeed even stronger, C has expressed a brief interest in "branching out." But that he wasn't actively looking. He had said as much before, but then, after the profuse expressions during our rocky time, I just... I dunno... I got a real taste of how he really feels about me. And I miss that. And I wish he would do it more. And before I could have even said so, he had said himself that he realized he doesn't tell me often enough how much he appreciates me and that he would make an effort to do so. And he does. But now it's back to.... back to where he doesn't care if I find someone else or not.
And this bugs me. And I know it shouldn't. I mean, what do I want, do I want C to be jealous? Well, no. But... I dunno, maybe I do? Maybe I want him to be even a tiny bit possessive? Because I am. I'm poly. I know full well how affection for one person doesn't diminish how you feel for another, in fact I love my husband L just as much as ever, even though I'm in love with C. And I know an easy solution would be to just tell C how I feel but... but I so much want him to respect me, and wanting to play the petty jealousy game is not the way to do it. But I wish he felt some kind of... I wish he felt our relationship was more than just friends with benefits. Well, he does, he said those exact words, and even some more flowery language that I know he genuinely means. But for some reason, his neutral reaction to me possibly finding another lover makes me feel sad. Am I just being petty? And heck, do I even want another relationship? Sometimes I feel lazy and that I don't feel up to going through the trouble of getting to trust someone else again.
So I'm angry at L for not allowing me to take more advantage of the NRE with me and C, and then wishing I could recapture that, and feeling like C is bored now and wants to move one and feeling cheated out of all of that, and feeling like now he realized I was only upset for 48 hours that I'm not worth going through any trouble to keep, since I accepted him back so quickly....
I dunno, I'm just mad, and jealous of both of my partners, and jealous of THEIR partners, and... yeah it's not them, it's me. How am I *supposed* to feel, guys?