Allow me to thank everyone who PM'ed me, and those of you who responded to this thread. Especially you, Ceoli. Those LONG IM conversations gave me a different perspective on the matter, and I think were a large part in helping me bring my deeper issues to light.
After a lot of thinking, and a lot of "working backwards" - stating my problem and asking "why" until it was irrelevant to ask anymore - I've managed to get things straightened out. The issues turned out to be smaller than I thought, but they were still complex enough that they cause a lot of grief. I'm hoping that by posting, maybe it will give people some insight. Other women or men who may find themselves in my position of finding themselves not as comfortable having an "equal third" in what was originally a VERY primary relationship as they thought; and maybe to those "unicorns" out there who have either been burned, or can see behavior in a member of their couple that matches some of mine. Maybe this will help give you a direction to go in. The place I found myself in, as Anne put it to me, can be every ounce as devastating as a unicorn finding herself getting spurned. Anyway.
1. My first point would be this. To those of you who are in a relationship and are considering bringing a third in; you have GOT to be SO. FUCKING. SURE. that you are stable and steady. Like, so sure. And KEEP CHECKING ON IT. Check on things BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU that you are POSITIVE there are no problems with - just to make sure. Double, triple check - and KEEP DOING IT. HMA and I thought that the last thing in our relationship that would EVER have problems, based on past experience in our relationship, was our sex life. I realize, more than anyone, that people aren't perfect – and there's no way that two members of a couple, who bring in a third, are going to be PERFECTLY STABLE ALWAYS for their “unicorn”, and for one another. Not happening. I'll touch on that later. BACK ON TOPIC:
I am a god damn wildcat in bed. Thanks to recent events with work, some "feminine problems" going on with me, blah blah blah - our sex life was really suffering. We both realized it, sure. But neither of us attributed the problems that were cropping up in our relationship to the sex life between HMA and I. Sex isn't that important to us. We can have a relationship that doesn't have a FANTASTIC sex life! We're stronger and better people than that! Yeah. Insert justification here. Flat out - sex suffers for us, my self esteem suffers in return, which makes my communication suffer, which makes HMA and Anne uneasy, which makes me stressed out, so sex sufferes from stress, which makes my self esteem suffer ... insert vicious cycle here.
While my sex life with him was suffering, Anne was coming out of her shell. She's only been with 2 other men, and HMA really opened her eyes to a whole new world. So I get to sit back and watch MY relationship and my sexuality suffer - and see Anne and HMA's blossom and become something wonderful. Something that had been so important to me (my sexuality is practically my life - I'm a stripper for God's sake!), suddenly go so wrong is devastating in and of itself. However, through jaded eyes, I saw another woman develop an amazing sexual and emotional connection with - again, through jaded and pissed and hurt eyes - with MY. FUCKING. FIANCE. Talk about possessiveness and jealousy and insecurity and blah blah blah all cropping up at once! I'm stuck in a horrible cycle I don't even really realize is happening, trying to keep up with a relationship that is - in my eyes - spinning out of control. And because we're in a triad, what affects me, affects Anne and HMA. So MY insecurity and possessiveness, in turn made Anne and HMA very nervous. I made Anne nervous enough that she started pulling back emotionally, physically and sexually. Which brings us to ...
2. A perceived "lack of commitment" on Anne's part. This stemmed from two places - first being Anne pulling back because my attitude was making her nervous. Second being little comments here and there. She is considering going to Paris for an internship for 6 months - knowing full well that HMA and I were up-front about not doing long-distance relationships. Little comments about wanting to fuck her male friends (which HMA insists is just her mentally stretching her wings with her new-found sexuality and that she has no intention of ACTING on her thoughts ... I'm still not convinced.), but expecting HMA and I to remain fidelitous to her. Uhh, no. I talked to her about it a little already, and we've agreed to have a sit-down when she gets back from her trip back East.
As I saw it, and am still struggling with - when there's a perceived lack of commitment, or perhaps an actual lack - why the FUCK am I doing so much work to make this whole thing viable? Why in GOD'S name am I going to treat someone as an equal who isn't as committed to my fiance as I am? If you are going to seek equality, you need to step up and show you deserve that equality. Thankfully, both Anne and HMA are being amazing, like I've said a hundred times, and are sticking with me to help work through it.
I'm also just doing a little bit of remaining wiggling around to find my comfort zone. I have always identified as poly – before I even knew what that was. It's always made sense to me. Unfortunately, my last experience was negative (I was with a woman who I either “allowed” to sleep with other men, or she was gonna cheat on me. I was young and stupid.), and the past 2 men I've been with were absolutely not trustworthy enough for me to be okay with anything approaching poly. Again, young and stupid. I know now to only get in relationships with people I can trust, and I KNOW I can trust HMA. It's just the “social conditioning”, and the behaviors developed over the past several years that have really hindered me in our triad. I have to keep reminding myself that EVERYONE is still finding their comfort zone – we've only all been together for about, oh … 6 weeks. If we all stay commited to getting past this, which is entirely possible, then we'll be a success story. I'm commited, and Anne and HMA are too. I'm starting to believe them. It will all come with time, communication, and patience.
I'm also - and I can say this with an amazing level of confidence - I'm finding it easier again to consider Anne. I'm finding that love again. I turned out to be right about myself. The feelings didn't go away, they just got buried under a whole ton of shit.
I'm sure that wasn't terribly eloquent – I'm tired and a bit buzzed, lol. But hopefully it gives everyone a little more insight into where I'm coming from, and where I am. I'm doing much better, and HMA and I are looking forward to Anne being home. We're at the root issues, which means we're going in the right direction. Wish us luck – and thank you again to everyone who was helpful and offered some insight!
YGirl is right - it's just normal relationship bullshit. Thank god HMA and I are good at dealing with it. Sure, it feels huge with the addition of another person, but the same techniques of internal reflecting and soul-searching combined with honesty and communication are fixing it, just like it would if it was still just HMA and I. We're getting better and better at this - it speaks some great things about the future.