Originally Posted by Penny
In a lot of ways, IMO, this experience is like learning to float on your back in the water. You have to relax and let go in order to open up to new experiences. If you are coming into the situation predisposed to a fear of drowning, it's really hard not to panic and thwart your own best efforts to learn.
The people in these groups can act as hands holding you up in the water until you learn to trust your own buoyancy. If you don't trust those hands, if you aren't comfortable with their touch, then they may be adding another layer of anxiety rather than lending support.
There's an element of intimacy and vulnerability to learning about polyamory. Even if there are things RitaFire could learn from the local poly group, if she can't connect with them or feel comfortable with them then exposing her to them may only increase her anxiety.
The way I see it, she tried to jump in the deep end before she'd learned to swim. Her first experience was frightening and overwhelming, as near-drowning experiences tend to be. Now she has the additional burden of overcoming that, as well as still needing to learn to keep aloft in poly's sometimes turbulent seas.
I think she is very brave to keep trying.
I see a lot of wisdom in this analogy as well, and it strikes at the heart of the situation.
One thing I have tried to do to help ease the fear of drowning is to make attempts to, in the spirit of the analogy, bring her to the kiddie pool where she can feel the bottom with her back and still have her head above water.
To do this I have removed any threat of entering into any actual poly relationships. Also, to help her understand that she would need to be the driving force behind any move in that direction. And also to let her know that even if she were to want to enter poly relationships, I would still resist until I saw certain signs that assured me she was solidly ready to try again. (and never, ever, quickly, or in the heat of infatuation, like the last time)
Thanks for the analogy, and for being part of the support system my wife is lucky to have here!