Progress but still struggling - a conversion story
So, my gf of about 8 months broached the subject of her wanting to explore poly about 2 months ago (thanks Bookbug and GalaGirl for helping me with some of that!). Over the past two months I have done a lot of reading, surfing and posting on poly forums, a meet up with a poly support group, and finding local poly couples and singles in my area to talk to, some of whom have been immeasurably helpful. But I'm still struggling with a lot of things. I have always been monogamous but recognized that she seems to be innately poly and we both felt that the likelihood of her being happy in a long term monogamous relationship was fairly low. I on the other hand have always been monogamous, have had trust issues from past unhealthy relationships, and definitely have a fair handful of jealousy and possessiveness issues. I've been working on some of these but it's definitely been a slow and ongoing process.
Last night the gf had her first initial 'date' with a friend and coworker. Now it wasn't a super loaded situation, at this point they're just friends, but he did drive 40 minutes each way to go out to dinner with her so to me that says something...but I digress. Earlier in the day I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. In the past I'd experienced mostly anger, fear, anxiety, and depression over thinking about her being with another, but this time I also experienced a great deal of sadness. Luckily one of my poly friends was around to talk me through it. She was very supportive but also said that I need to be honest about my own proclivities and not try and force myself into a poly direction just because I feel like it's something I 'should' be able to do, or that I'm less of a person if I can't do it. But after the wave of sadness passed and I vented to her a little bit during my breakdown, I got calm again. And again I could think rationally and say "I don't want to back away from this just out of fear and never know if this is possible for me/us. I feel like she's never going to be happy in a monogamous relationship, and if this is going to break us I'd prefer to have tried!" And all this kind of stuff.
But I'm just still having this massive war going on inside me. In the past I've definitely fallin into the 'Beta'/'nice guy' territory where I've let women walk all over me or do whatever they want, and besides just allowing myself to get hurt I know that from an evolutionary psychology perspective 'beta/nice guy' traits are just not all that attractive to the female psyche in the first place. Not saying that women don't like nice guys, but they're generally not attracted to doormats with no leadership qualities either (not to say that's me, but I have played the doormat in the past).
Anyhow, I keep having this war going on inside me telling me that by bending and contorting myself so far as to try and see if I can go poly that I'm doing the ultra nice guy thing all over. That I've already gone too far just by allowing her to go on a 'date' with another man. That I've already proven myself to be a wuss and a doormat etc. Now if she weren't poly and were just a normal woman testing me to see what she can get away with or if I have any backbone that would be fair and true imo. But if I can truly let in the fact that she is actually polyamorous, then it's maybe not the case. But I keep feeling these perspectives at odds with each other. That I'm just being a beta doormat wuss by allowing my gf to date and potentially mate with other men. It drives me crazy that I still feel this way, and it comes in waves. Sometimes I can embrace a future oriented perspective and say to myself "What kind of man allows his polyamorous girlfriend to date other men? A secure, loving, and confidant man. A compassionate man who recognizes the innate freedom of another loving human being." I can see that perspective when I'm thinking rationally and 'cool'. But when my emotions start warring I hear "What kind of guy lets his girlfriend sleep with other men? A doormat beta nice guy weakling who has no self respect".
Sometimes this more fearful side of me starts to see polyamory as a largely female agenda and certain parts of me will rage against it, like it's the ultimate cuckold position or beta thing to do, that it's just becoming totally submissive to the will of a womans pluralistic mating strategies etc. All this crap keeps coming up and taunting me and I'm just tired of it.
I've been stressed out and not sleeping, and now I'm sick. I'm having this constant war in my head and it's draining.
I guess part of my phone conversation yesterday made me realize how unanchored I am right now. I don't feel emotionally grounded in any one particular response right now. So I can't tell if I'm actually firmly anchored in monogamy, or if I'm actually shifting towards a place of being able to embrace polyamory, or if I'm just totally freakin confused and lost. That's the best way I can put it, I feel emotionally unanchored and adrift, without any real 'home' perspective. Now I'm a person who can handle the unknown, but when I'm getting sick, stressed, run down, and frazzled? It's pissing me off lol. I had my own first sort of meet up date planned tonight just to get to know one of my online friends in real life, but have had to cancel now cause I'm sick, likely from the lack of sleep and stress and anxiety of thinking about all this poly stuff. How ironic!
Just hoping for some advice or words of wisdom. Something that can help me gauge how 'normal' my current levels of disturbance are. Anything anyone cares to share (constructively) is much appreciated!
Last edited by JacobJT; 08-30-2013 at 03:52 PM.