RECAP (skip this section if you like; may be better suited for the how-are-you-doing thread):
G and I spent a year since this post
rebuilding trust. It’s one of the hardest things we’ve had to get over (if not the single hardest thing so far).
We now live in separate apartments, and that has been spectacular for us, though scary at first. It feels right this way, and we're still madly in love and take better care if each other and our feelings than we used to. So, growing!
G has been amazing, admitting she neglected my feelings during cheating, and is very patient with me re: trusting her with new partners. G has not had any solo partners, partly for lack of time, and partly in the interest of healing our primary relationship.
Our relationship with K came to a close over the new year due to another honesty-related conflict, but I don't struggle with that loss anymore, it had to be so.
I have a femme-identified fwb “N” that I have a sleepover with once every couple months. For the most part, it is platonic, but G gives her blessing for N and I to hook up during these nights, should we feel so inclined. I love this. It’s fun and fulfilling but has minimal impact on my relationship with G. There isn’t room for romance with this hookup, as the dynamic for that isn’t present with me and N, so it feels like a very separate thing.
G and I have also had a few group hook-ups that were successful and drama-free.
WHERE I AM TODAY:
G met a new person online that she was interested in pursuing. A few months went by and they planned a first date. I had a family emergency during the date, so was quite distracted with that, and it passed smoothly. SUCCESS!!!! No tears, no fear, no panic, nothing. G had fun, new person is also in a 4-year primary relationship and is very respectful of ours. Win.
Second date happened last night. It was much harder for me. But I was better prepared; G and I had a really amazing, mature, transparent talk the night before. We laid out boundaries. I agreed that they could hook up, within certain parameters, and she agreed to those willingly. This was a HUGE step for me. I was scared, not 100% sure I was ready, but also not 100% sure I'd ever be 100% sure, so decided to bite the bullet and give this a shot. I am allowed to have other partners, I need to make moves to make it okay for G too. We've done a lot of work to get this far, so I decided it was time to let them have this opportunity and relinquish some control. I feel okay about that decision.
They went on their date, I had a bunch of friends over to my place, had fun, and barely thought about the date.
But when the friends left, the panic returned. It felt like nights from before, when G or partners before her weren't honest. Old wounds. I held my own, but I had a hell of a time sleeping (I barely did), and am kind of a wreck today. I do, however, see it passing in the future, just, it's fresh right now. I think I came out of this one relatively unscathed compared to previous situations with G and her partners. And I do feel more trust in her, and this time I am confident that she was appreciative of and held dear our agreements. So that feels good to be able to say.
Just, since this is my first time with her sleeping with someone else without me (with permission), I feel lots of feelings. I don’t even know if it’s jealousy as much as shellshock. I feel…. like I kind of wish they hadn’t hooked up. Even though I said they could. I don’t resent G at all for having made that decision, and I don't feel inclined to hold it against her. Which I think is a great thing. I just still feel the awful feeling I felt when my (pre-poly-era) partners were acting shady and staying out all night and lying. That didn’t happen this time, and I can rationalize that, but the emotions remain.
I did what everyone says: I took a hot bath, I made plans with friends, kept my mind off things, but when bed time came around, the feelings snuck up on me.
I'm sure it's just that the healing process is always ongoing. I don't feel like this is a wall, I am proud that I left my comfort zone to support my partner's needs. I may need to request more check-ins next time, or postpone overnights until I'm comfortable with non-overnights (this was allowed to be an overnight, but the new person had a boundary against it).
QUESTION FOR THE FORUM:
What were your first nights alone like? If you struggled, how? How has it gotten better? G has been supportive as hell but I want to learn to help myself through this stuff, so any insight from the community is greatly appreciated.