I posted this on another thread in the Poly Relations Corner, me asking for advice about breaking the cycle of needing and asking for reassurance. Want to quote it here because it marks a significant step in the right direction.
something interesting just happened.
he texted me and said he loves me, and that he is trying to find a way to fit both me and her into his life, where he can be open to communication with both of us.
my first gut reaction was that I did not like that he mentioned me and her in one sentence in a message that also declared his love for me. Then I realized that this gut reaction made me glance over the part where he says he loves me and what I mean to him.
And then I looked further and realized how happy it makes me that he trusts me enough to be honest with me and tell me that he is struggling a bit.
And I also realized that the only way to stop the cycle of asking for reassurance, is not asking for reassurance.
I wrote back: hey, I know from experience that it's not always easy to have more than 1 important relationship in your life. I am confident you will find a balance that will work for you, for her and for me.
and oh... don't forget to enjoy the fact that you now have 2 awesome women who really like you.
I haven't sent the message yet.. just saved it. But it already has seemed to relieve some of the tension and anxiety. I think maybe because I managed to not make it all about me? and to even introduce a little lightheartedness..
This seems like a good path to continue on.
so what's happening here? Let's investigate.
The mere fact that he texts me that he loves me isn't the thing that's reassuring. He does that all the time. He sent me a lovely message yesterday and that did not prevent me from being a mess all yesterday evening and today.
So it's not his reassurance that makes me feel good.
What makes me feel better is the fact that he shares something personal with me. That he values me enough to not just say "honey don't worry I still love you" but to say "I love you, and things aren't easy for me or you or anyone right now, but I hope to find a way".
It's THAT what makes me feel seen, heard, valued, loved. The mere words 'I love you', nice as they are, don't accomplish that.
So there was that, and then there was the way I responded. Which made me feel like I took control over my own action back, instead of waiting around and sulking because he's having fun with someone else.
so the breakthrough was 2 things: me appreciating his vulnerability (must tell him that, how much that means to me) and me controlling my response, being strong, light, understanding, confident and loving instead of weak, needy and sad.
wow it does feel like extremely advanced gymnastics of the mind and heart sometimes