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Old 11-04-2009, 12:49 AM
CaptZebra CaptZebra is offline
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My partner has recently expressed interest in being involved with another person. We talked about it, set some boundaries, and now I feel awful. Can anyone give me advice or reassurance or a smack upside the head?

I've been with my partner for 6 years. We were actively poly when we first met and were involved (introduced by a mutual partner) but have not had any other partners/dates/whatever since we got serious, 5 or so years ago.

My partner told me she was really attracted to someone, told me about it, and asked that we discuss the status of our relationship. We did and I initially told her that I was fine with her "making out" but that I wasn't comfortable with anymore than that and she said ok. I felt really horrible about it tho. I don't have any good reason to limit her. So we talked about it again and I told her it was ok if she had a sexual relationship with the person and we agreed on some ground rules (for lack of a better word).

But again, I feel horrible. I don't understand why I feel so awful about this. I'm definitely scared and anxious but if I excluded things from my life that made me scared and anxious, I'd never leave the house. I trust my partner and I have no reason to think this will negatively effect our relationship.

I don't know what to do. I want to tell her I changed my mind and that I don't want to be poly anymore but that isn't going to change things or make me feel better. What I really want to do is stick my head under the pillow and pretend like none of this happened. I don't want to deal with this but obviously that's not a reasonable or realistic scenario.

So.... anything?

Thanks.
CaptZebra
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:00 AM
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I've got nothing to offer but I'm sure others will help. Take care and remember this isn't the end of the world.

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Old 11-04-2009, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptZebra View Post
We were actively poly when we first met and were involved (introduced by a mutual partner) but have not had any other partners/dates/whatever since we got serious, 5 or so years ago.

I felt really horrible about it tho. I don't have any good reason to limit her.

...I told her it was ok if she had a sexual relationship with the person and we agreed on some ground rules (for lack of a better word).

But again, I feel horrible. I don't understand why I feel so awful about this. I'm definitely scared and anxious but if I excluded things from my life that made me scared and anxious, I'd never leave the house. I trust my partner and I have no reason to think this will negatively effect our relationship.

I don't know what to do. I want to tell her I changed my mind and that I don't want to be poly anymore but that isn't going to change things or make me feel better.
I'm not entirely sure what to tell you CZ. It sounds like you have some experience with poly. You both set your ground rules....twice. You've not indicated anything to suggest that she went outside the boundaries of your agreement. You trust her...yet you have anxiety and regret about agreements you made. Am I interpretting all this right?

I'm sure some around here will chime in anytime to offer their viewpoints as well...and some will probably suggest that you can try to go back to being mono...but she may not want to...and indeed she may not be able to, depending on how inclined she is to poly.

It does sound like you need to communicate with her about this. Did you tell her how you felt after she was allowed to make out? Have you told her how you feel now?

I'd suspect if you have no reason to restrict her, and you don't feel stopping her will help anything...then you probably just need to communicate through this. She should be aware of your feelings...and it may or may not affect her decision to carry on as if normal, or slow down and give you time to adjust.

But if there's nothing you can identify rationally for your anxiety, then there's something else...something hidden...there's not much to do other than dig deeper.
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:20 AM
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Go read River's Emotions Post on the general board and see if you can work through your issues.

That's my first piece of advice.

Why are you feeling this way?
You established that it's NOT HER. That's a great step-most people blame first then realize it's themself (hell they even do that in the new tinkerbell movie!) but insecurity, fear, need to control, these are almost always caused by something internal.

So what is going on in there? What is up in yourself that is causing this reaction?

Until you figure all of that out-you can't resolve what the solution is.

If you already know you CAN do poly (as you did before and allegedly didn't stop because you HAD to) then why suddenly are you afraid of it?
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:21 AM
CaptZebra CaptZebra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
I'm not entirely sure what to tell you CZ. It sounds like you have some experience with poly. You both set your ground rules....twice. You've not indicated anything to suggest that she went outside the boundaries of your agreement. You trust her...yet you have anxiety and regret about agreements you made. Am I interpretting all this right?

Mostly. I don't think regret is really the right word tho. I definitely trust her and not only has she not gone out of the boundaries, she's not done anything with anyone at this point, though I believe she will be seeing this person fairly soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
I'm sure some around here will chime in anytime to offer their viewpoints as well...and some will probably suggest that you can try to go back to being mono...but she may not want to...and indeed she may not be able to, depending on how inclined she is to poly.

It does sound like you need to communicate with her about this. Did you tell her how you felt after she was allowed to make out? Have you told her how you feel now?

I do need to communicate with her about this and will talk to her later this evening. I told her how I felt after telling her she could make out (which she hasn't even done yet) but it wasn't really a conversation... it was very brief, one-sided, and via IM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
I'd suspect if you have no reason to restrict her, and you don't feel stopping her will help anything...then you probably just need to communicate through this. She should be aware of your feelings...and it may or may not affect her decision to carry on as if normal, or slow down and give you time to adjust.

I don't have any reason to restrict her and I don't really feel like that is a useful or reasonable thing to do. I felt awful after telling her I did not want her involved in a sexual relationship which is why I re-evaluated my decision.

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Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
But if there's nothing you can identify rationally for your anxiety, then there's something else...something hidden...there's not much to do other than dig deeper.
UGH--but I don't wanna! A lot of what I'm feeling, I think, is just fear of the unknown... fear of our relationship and our lives changing. Hopefully it will be for the better or just different, not bad.

I also know that I do not feel as secure in our relationship as I would like to... I feel like I have to compete with the computer for her attention and lose a good part of the time. We've talked about that and its gotten a little better, not great. If she's going to see someone else, I want that time to come from computer time, which, again, we've talked about.

I am feeling somewhat better having gotten all this out. I am going to tell her I need to talk to her some more... not positive what I will say, but thinking about it.

Thanks. And thanks to Mono too for your words.
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:35 AM
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talking helps for sure. Sometimes when we talk we find out that the other person wasn't even looking for what we thought they were. Talk talk talk but definately-look deeper into yourself too. So you can be the best YOU that you can be as well.
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Old 11-04-2009, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptZebra View Post
A lot of what I'm feeling, I think, is just fear of the unknown... fear of our relationship and our lives changing.
That's what I was going to say after reading your first post.

Please forgive me if I'm projecting myself onto you. Sometimes that's how I understand others: fitting it into how I would feel so I can relate.

I also wonder if maybe you think you should be ok with her being with someone else. In theory it makes sense. You can't think of any reason why you shouldn't be ok with it. But, there are emotions inside you.

I wonder if you need to be honest with the raw, unrefined emotions this brings up for you and give them some recognition, (if indeed they're there?) and give them permission to contradict what you think you're ok with. Does this make sense?

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Old 11-04-2009, 05:41 AM
CaptZebra CaptZebra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
Go read River's Emotions Post on the general board and see if you can work through your issues.

That's my first piece of advice.

Why are you feeling this way?
You established that it's NOT HER. That's a great step-most people blame first then realize it's themself (hell they even do that in the new tinkerbell movie!) but insecurity, fear, need to control, these are almost always caused by something internal.

So what is going on in there? What is up in yourself that is causing this reaction?

Until you figure all of that out-you can't resolve what the solution is.

If you already know you CAN do poly (as you did before and allegedly didn't stop because you HAD to) then why suddenly are you afraid of it?
I read the post before I posted this and after and again just now. I think it is very wise as are the comments people have left. I've been trying really hard to acknowledge my emotions (something I have historically avoided), to feel them, to breathe through my fear and anxiety... its easier, in the short term, to just stuff them down but usually comes 'round to bite me in the ass at a later date.

Part of my acknowledging is coming here and posting... which has been helpful.

I think mostly I am feeling afraid and insecure--I am comfortable with my life now, I don't want things to change. But I don't think that fear of change, or fear in general, is a great thing for me to be base my decisions on.

Being poly seemed/felt different before. We both had other relationships, we had our own apartments, we had separate jobs, and different social circles. But now, and for the last 5 years, it's just been us. We spend most of our time together as neither of us have traditional jobs, we live together, we pretty much have the same friends. So I guess, before, I didn't feel like I had as much to lose? That's not quite right... maybe I don't want my life disrupted or I'm afraid of being alone? Not sure that's right either, or some of all of it and more. I definitely have more thinking/feeling to do. And more talking to my partner to do.

My emotional self wants me to rush out and find a new partner for myself. I don't think this is the right thing to do and certainly would not be fair to another person. I seriously doubt it would do anything to ameliorate my distress and it would likely just make things even more complicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rolypoly View Post
That's what I was going to say after reading your first post.

Please forgive me if I'm projecting myself onto you. Sometimes that's how I understand others: fitting it into how I would feel so I can relate.

I also wonder if maybe you think you should be ok with her being with someone else. In theory it makes sense. You can't think of any reason why you shouldn't be ok with it. But, there are emotions inside you.

I wonder if you need to be honest with the raw, unrefined emotions this brings up for you and give them some recognition, (if indeed they're there?) and give them permission to contradict what you think you're ok with. Does this make sense?

roly
This definitely makes sense. I do think I should be fine with this. I think I should be fine with this, it shouldn't provoke the emotions I am having, and that it should be easy! Any suggestions on dealing with them? I know the easy part is crazy. But what about being upset at myself for feeling this way?

Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2009, 05:50 AM
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I second LR's suggestion to read this thread: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1127

Quote:
But now, and for the last 5 years, it's just been us.
You've become interdependent. (Not co-dependent). Your identities, in a sense, have merged more than when you were first together. Now one of your "pair" is branching off. The energy is flowing outward, where it's been inward for a long time.

That can be scary. Your nest together, seemingly where you find your security and routine - your family, is shifting. You know, I've never had kids, but I suspect a first pregnancy can bring similar feelings. It doesn't sound like you're jealous, really. But that your world is changing and that's scary...
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:57 AM
CaptZebra CaptZebra is offline
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Originally Posted by rolypoly View Post
That can be scary. Your nest together, seemingly where you find your security and routine - your family, is shifting. You know, I've never had kids, but I suspect a first pregnancy can bring similar feelings. It doesn't sound like you're jealous, really. But that your world is changing and that's scary...
This is definitely a part of my anxiety. I am also afraid that I will find myself having to deal with the changes, my feelings, and my fears alone. But this is only going to happen if I don't communicate what I'm thinking, feeling, and needing. This is definitely something I need to work on.

I really appreciate the advice and the link to the emotional edge thread. Thank you sooooo much!
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