Flood of Feelings
It is funny to write that I am new to Polyamory, since I have been practicing it in various forms since childhood. What is new to me, however, is my husband's interest in having other relationships.
We have been married for 10 years and he has always been my rock. Where I am emotional and spontaneous and magical, he is solid and linear and comforting. Part of why I feel safe to venture out into unknown territories is because I feel so certain of my relationship to him and of the topography of that relationship.
Now he is falling in love with someone else. I have met her and I very much understand why, as she elicits feelings of love in me as well, though not the romantic kind. It was hard to get through that first bit because my husband has cheated on me in the past and these issues were the ones brought to the forefront immediately. Now we have started to wade through these issues and feelings and are also drawing up clear lines about behavior and trust so that everyone can begin to relax.
My trouble is in the feelings. I understand some things in my head and even in my spirit, but I have a seemingly constant stream of really really difficult emotions to process. It has only been a week, but my body is weary from adrenaline, lack of sleep, and not much eating. I have turned all my attention to the task of dealing with emotions, and it is very hard.
It is hard to deal with my extreme fear of losing-- myself, my understanding of the way the world works, the way I know of relating to my husband, losing what is normal. I am afraid of the intensity of my emotions as well. I walk around feeling raw, as if I have no skin, and I don't want to make bad decisions or act out of emotion in a way that would destroy what I am trying to build.
It seems that as soon as I peel away a layer of emotion, there is another lying just beneath that must be dealt with immediately. What I want is a respite from this intensity. For myself and for my husband. Because another fear is that as I continue to express these emotions, he will tire of it and push me away. It is unfounded, as are most of these fears, but it is still there.
Emotions are irrational. They can't be logic-ed away and they cannot be ignored. When I "stuff" an emotion, even if it is just so I can get some sleep so I can be aware enough to deal with it in a healthy way, it is intolerable to my spirit.
I have read the Ethical Slut, and it is the only book about Polyamory I have read so far. I didn't find solace in it, however, because it is so far removed from my current "normal". I can't jump from my "intellectual appreciation of polyamory couched in a comfortable decade of monogamy" to "free love" without stops in-between.
So, what is my question exactly? I want to know how to relax into this emotional storm so it does not destroy me. I want to know that it is okay to feel these things, and I want healthy ways of dealing with the really ugly ones (anger, betrayal, intense fears) without triggering my husband's issues in turn. How can we both unload these difficult things we are dealing with, without the other person feeling responsible or blamed or hurt?
Anyone got anything on that?