And what about Guilt?
I'll take a break from my current predicament to ask a lighter, but important question.
When reading about poly, I'm finding all sorts of guidance on how to handle fear and jealousy. But I see nothing about handling Guilt - that worm in your stomach telling you you did something wrong, even if you're pretty sure you are behaving well.
Here's two examples from my life, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the stories, your thoughts on handling Guilt, and definitely your own stories.
A story from Me: S's partner D is back in town, she spends the night at his place. I go to an all-night beach party with friends. I have a great time, feeling independent and strong in myself. There is some friendly open flirting all around (you know the type, where no-one really means it), one person goes too far and I set my boundaries correctly. Cameradie and alcohol and skinny dipping and music all night.
The next day I'm telling S about the party, and she immediately picks up on something. "You sound guilty. What am I missing?". Yikes. I DID feel guilty. I had done nothing I wouldn't have done if S had been by my side, so why the guilt? I think I felt guilty for having a good time, when the three of us are in a tough spot right now. I think I felt guilty for just the fact that someone flirted with me, even though I shut them down correctly. Crazy, no?
A story about S: As the hinge in our V, S has always spent a lot of time worrying about D and I: are we both getting the time we need, is someone going to get mad if she cuddles more with one, is one of us unhappy? Even though it should be each of our responsibilities to ensure we are happy, she seems to carry the whole load of guilt. This even hits her when things are going well: Her guilt (fear of hurting one of us) often shapes and overly-constrains her actions.
When discussing this with her, it seems it causes her enough anguish and stress that I almost can't see why she thinks it worthwhile to continue!