And then she feels awful for hearing it. And I feel even worse for saying it. But, more importantly, for feeling it in the first place. For having let myself feel it.
What's that all about?
Your sense of emotion isn't just another sense that gives you feedback to you? Like your sense of sight or smell or hearing or....?
First, thanks for your kind reply. It helps.
I suppose what I mean to say is that I had not expected to "allow" myself to get as invested in any outside relationship's changing or cooling or ending to the extent that it would have me feeling this sad/insecure/wistful. Silly, I know.
My only prior similar experience was about 6 months or so back, when I buddy I had decided he wanted us to stop seeing each other after I expressed a (joking, I thought at the time) concern about what our "cover story" would be should we be seen together in public, what our answer would be to the "How do you two know each other?" moment. Since my wife and I were not and are not comfortable with being generally open about being open, a cover story or protocol seemed warranted. But from this guy's perspective, that was asking him to be invisible when he was inconvenient. I respected that, and him, but was unwilling to move from where we were and are on the issue, so we went our separate ways. At that point, I was a bit blue, but not really. He was a friend I enjoyed having sex with occasionally.
This new guy, The Boy(Friend), with whom things got very intense very fast, and are now cooling/changing (maybe ending)--well, this obviously feels a lot harder with him.
And that wasn't "supposed" to happen. So that's why I feel bad about having allowed it to. So there's self-blame involved on being in the emotional situation in the first place: I thought I knew better.
And then there's the issue that seeing me upset over someone else is hard on my wife at this point in our open experience, which I get: it raises all the issues of insecurity, of "not being enough," that, of course, the mood I'm in makes me least currently equipped to assuage.
I realize, reading your whole reply, that in all our setting up agreements and all our processing, we really missed this crucial step: what are our expectations around "spousal care" when something's going wrong, or ending, or changing, in the outside relationship. It's not that we were naive enough to not even think of these issues; I just don't think we knew enough to talk through those specific expectations. I think I/we thought I'd just somehow effortlessly, gracefully glide from partner to partner in some perfect emotional choreography, with nary a missed or painful step.
That's a conversation we'll need to have. Thank you.
And, yes: I/we need to seek out and build community around us of those dealing with these issues. It's intimidating in its own ways, but necessary and I know it will be helpful in ending the sense of isolation. And we are blessed with plenty of options because of where we live.
We also need to let some (more) friends in, perhaps chosen carefully, but, yes. I just did, in fact, in a helpful phone conversation with someone I've known for a long time, whom I knew would be helpful and judgmental. It took a ton of courage, but I feel a bit better already for having let someone else in.
And for reading your reply and finding this community. Thanks.