I have to admit, the idea of setting boundaries still fills me with dread. How do I select which things I'm supposed to be accepting and which I'm not when I can't promise not to be upset by any of them? Something as simple as them holding hands - when Charlie mentioned it, I felt ill. I thought about it every time his hands touched me for days after, and I still feel my heart start to race when I think of it.
They certainly didn't do anything wrong by holding hands. In theory, I had already given it the green light. When I felt terrible upon hearing that it was actually happening again, I was ashamed of myself. I tried to tell Charlie, but he was perplexed by my muddled message. I'm sure I came across a lot like how I felt - conflicted and unable to own my pain without feeling like I was letting him down.
I'm not at peace with any of their non-platonic feelings or actions toward each other yet, no matter how committed to getting on board with it I am intellectually. The best I can do is say that I feel I can practice with the pain of them snuggling and kissing for a while, and see if I can get to the point where that feels more okay. I have to be able to give them *something*, but there's nothing yet that would actually be easy on me.
And then I wonder, how fair is it to tell them to go ahead and snuggle and kiss, while I in my suffering make them feel bad every time they do? And how frustrating will it be if I promise to try to get comfortable enough for the next stage within a couple of months, but then it takes much longer?
I'm working to overcome bitterness about the affair, a lifelong problem with jealousy, and a painful history with poly from my college years. I know that practically speaking it may be years before my reactions to what they want are actually easy to deal with. And I know they don't want to wait that long, so we're all going to have to learn to live with pain somehow...
And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?