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Old 01-29-2013, 02:00 AM
Renee Renee is offline
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Default Dealing with Jealousy Over My Secondary

I'll begin by saying I'm the hinge in a relationship with two men, one being my husband, the other, my boyfriend.

My husband and I have been open sexually since we were engaged. I've never had any jealousy issues with this (well, maybe not never, but it's been few, far between, and easily managed). It was relatively recently that I developed real romantic feelings for my boyfriend, which was slightly more difficult for my husband to deal with, but things have been going well though with a lot of communication and honesty.

Lately though I've been dealing with feelings of jealousy toward my boyfriend. When we first started really seeing each other I had assumed that he would be alright with me continuing my relationships with my other "friends" (aka my buddies who I am sexual with) as I was doing when we had met, and also because he had never said anything to the contrary. I found out this wasn't the case after an incident with a mutual friend. He reacted extremely badly and was very upset. After talking to him about this I told him I kind of understood where he was coming from, as we had not made a commitment to each other like my husband and I have. I felt that I was able to become open sexually in my relationship with the husband after I realized that we never wanted to leave each other and that other people couldn't tear us apart, because I feel, as does he, that we will always come back to one another. I told the boyfriend I understood his jealousy because we had not formed that kind of bond.

So, for his sake, I eased up on the "others." My husband was hesitant about this because he feels I'm changing myself for what the boyfriend wants, but I told him that I don't think it's a permanent change and that I wanted to be fair to him. I also reminded him that he and I were monogamous when we started dating and I felt the same principals applied here (to an extent, obviously).

Lately though the boyfriend has been spending time with other girls. I don't know if it's "romantic" time or I'm just being paranoid, but I've become jealous. A lot of it comes from the fact that I feel I have

A.) Temporarily discontinued my external relationships for his benefit
B.) No "right" to keep him to myself if he wants to explore external relationships, though I want to
C.) Been threatened by the thought of another girl being romantically involved with him

I feel that most of this stems from the fact that we don't have the same connection my husband and I have. But I also feel like I'm being unfair- if he wants to see other girls, he should be allowed to, right? After all I'm seeing more than one man. But I can't help but feel jealous because I fear someone will take him away from me permanently, i.e, he finds a girl he falls in love with that won't tolerate him seeing anyone else. I feel like I can't keep him around forever, though I want to.

All this and I'm not even sure if he's being sexual/romantic with these other girls. But it brought up a lot of questions for me that I thought I should deal with.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:58 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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You could talk to the BF about what your relationship agreements are AT THIS POINT IN TIME, what are "hard limits" that will never change and what are "soft limits" that could change over time. Put it in writing. And the date to review them.

You made some assumption mistakes before, could choose to NOT assume now, right? Could get a clarify from him.

Proposed agreements from now til ___whenever checkpoint time is___:
  • BF understands that you not seeing anything else sexually for a time is to establish bonded commitment stuff with him is a soft limit thing? The expectation is that it will loosen up over time?
  • That means it is expected to be the same in return? He is also Closing Down for a time to nurture the bondy thing? (Husband only exception)
  • That you feel threatened sharing him, so will require processing time if he wishes to explore that avenue at some point. DOES he want to explore that avenue? Are you willing to be in polyship with him if this is an option on the table? (get that sorted NOW not later)
  • What are the dealbreakers? (List)
  • How do we expect to solve conflict? (make plan)

Then if everyone is on the same page, everyone is on the same page. Everyone comes together willingly to fly under that banner? Honor the colors you fly under then. Fly the mission. Bon voyage.

Then you can relax about him socializing with other people because you trust he will honor your shared agreements.

Quote:
After all I'm seeing more than one man. But I can't help but feel jealous because I fear someone will take him away from me permanently, i.e, he finds a girl he falls in love with that won't tolerate him seeing anyone else. I feel like I can't keep him around forever, though I want to.
Can't keep anyone around forever. Can only be YOU. Your best you. And they can choose to be with you or not when faced with life choices.

The "I am afraid he will choose to be with someone else if he falls for someone with a personal limitation of "no polyshipping." thing? That's worrying about things that are not yet here, and things that are not in your control. You cannot make his life choices for him.

Being in relationship with him comes with a price of admission. Dealing with the fact that you are responsible for your life choices? And he is responsible for his life choices? That is part of the price.

To be able to relax put those fears down -- it's the building commitment thing and trusting he wouldn't pitch you over just like that! Which is what you are working on with him right? To mutual satisfaction and agreement? Building commitment/trust stuff up?

Could not jump the gun. Worry in advance is like spending time and energy praying for what you do not want.

Could focus on what IS on your plate right now, not what MIGHT be on your plate later down. If it never comes to pass? Wasted time and energy and you have not been really present for your PRESENT TIME with your BF. You were off somewhere else chasing clouds rather than tending realities.

Could choose to give you, him, and your shared relationship the respect it is due and be present for your shared relationship.

Galagirl
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:58 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Hi Renee,

I think your thread is a really interesting one.

You are coming across as very level headed and fair. Jealousy isn't rational - just because you already have a husband, doesn't mean that you aren't going to feel insecure.

For example, I have never felt jealous about my girlfriend's husband, because he already existed before me. I never felt too jealous about her other existing lovers. But new ones? Yes, I feel threatened initially.

Your boyfriend may feel the same way. He may worry that he is going to be replaced, since, as you say, you do not yet have the same level of trust and history that you do with your husband.

It is valid and understandable that these feelings may be the same for you, also. How can you assure yourself that your boyfriend won't find a 'replacement' for you? Or that you will remain equally as important to him, if he is involved with others? Well, you can't really. But you can both put your faith in each other's best interest, if you work at it.

My girlfriend and I had a lot of trouble in our early days because of assumptions. Assumptions even crop up now. So, we adopted the phrase "assumptions make an ass out of U and I".

In order to overcome assumptions, you have to take action to understand the true intent or meaning of something. It's also incredibly useful to talk about expectations and intentions, too.

So, let's work through what you said a little bit and break it down:


Quote:
A.) Temporarily discontinued my external relationships for his benefit
Did you tell him that you were going to do this / that you had started doing it?
If so, did he agree to it?

Sometimes we take matters into our own hands and do what we think the other person needs. What you did was lovely - and very considerate. However, the problem with self-sacrifice is that it can cause trouble in relationships if not handled extremely carefully.

It might be that your boyfriend is starting to date others because he thinks that's healthier. It might be his way of encouraging more freedom - his way of reminding himself that he can't be monogamous to you, nor you to him. Best to ask him.

Quote:
B.) No "right" to keep him to myself if he wants to explore external relationships, though I want to
Well, that depends on the structure of your relationship. I am not sure whether you believe in hierarchical poly. I'm not sure if your boyfriend could ever be seen as 'equal' in your V?

If you can only offer him casual meetings and he wants more from a longterm relationship, then yes, it wouldn't really be fair to keep him to yourself. If you still want other lovers and don't want him to have any, that's also not very 'fair', of course.

A closed V might be fair, if everyone wants it. Or a limited-open V, where you agree on how many extra people you can each date at one time.

Quote:
C.) Been threatened by the thought of another girl being romantically involved with him
Again, here, it would be wonderful if you could talk about what the two of you want. Perhaps some realistic questions might help - for example, asking him what he wants from others he is dating and how he sees you in his future?


It doesn't matter if you haven't been together for very long, or even how serious the two of you are - expectations and guidelines help, even if they are very, very basic. A simple agreement on dating others, to be reviewed in 3 months, should help greatly.
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Me: (30f) open poly
Serious long-distance relationship with GF (40f)
Casual FWB with Descartes (27f)



“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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