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  #111  
Old 02-07-2012, 11:34 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Great to hear! Don't be surprised if Alex or K go through a bit of moodiness and ups and downs over the next couple of days. Even when I meet a metamour and think they are awesome, I can find that it makes me a bit more prone to be unexpectedly emotional for a bit. Really glad they got along.
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  #112  
Old 02-09-2012, 06:49 PM
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Great to hear! Don't be surprised if Alex or K go through a bit of moodiness and ups and downs over the next couple of days. Even when I meet a metamour and think they are awesome, I can find that it makes me a bit more prone to be unexpectedly emotional for a bit. Really glad they got along.
Funny you should say that. Just last night Alex had a dream that I was leaving her for K. In the past she has said things like "I don't see it", meaning she doesn't get my attraction to K because she's not my usual "type". But after meeting her, I think Alex does get it now, and even though she's glad she met K and likes her, the fact that she "gets it" now seems to be bringing up a new level of anxiety in her.

I have only been able to text with K since their meeting, so I am not entirely sure how she is feeling. As for me, I have been missing K a lot these past few days, as I promised Alex I would not see K until after Alex leaves on her work trip. So I still have a couple of days to go, but I really really miss her.
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  #113  
Old 02-17-2012, 05:56 PM
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Default NRE or limerance addiction?

So the NRE with K is intensifying, which I suppose was to be expected while Alex is away traveling for work. I haven't spent *every* free moment with K while Alex has been gone, but certainly a lot more than when Alex is around. I have been very honest with Alex about the amount of time I have been spending with K, and she has been struggling with it to a certain extent but she's also been fairly understanding and accepting.

I have been reading a lot on the internet about limerance and how limerance is both similar and different from NRE. I wonder if anyone has read Tennov's book and if they feel they gained anything from it? From what I can gather, limerance could be thought of as sometimes occurring at the very beginning of NRE, when one is not sure if their feelings are reciprocated. Beyond just the uncertainty though, there is a feeling of fixation, obsessiveness even, where the person has intrusive thoughts about their LO (Love or Limerance Object) and experiences extreme mood swings - feelings of extreme euphoria or extreme heartache - depending on the responses they are getting from their LO in terms of instilling or dashing their hope for reciprocation.

I have been interested in all of this because of how this thing with K is affecting me. The descriptions of limerance are all pretty accurate in reflecting what I have been going through, except that I do know that K reciprocates my feelings. Still, I find myself obsessing when she doesn't respond to texts right away (hello!! she's working!), and having insanity-inducing intrusive thoughts to the point that I am finding it very difficult to concentrate on anything else. Its both a euphoric feeling and also very maddening. I've also looked up treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder, since limerance does share some qualities with OCD, and some of the techniques, like thought stopping and response inhibition seem like they could work for a time (like making myself do something else for a given period of time, or preventing myself from texting her for a certain amount of time) but ultimately the core issue is not addressed.

I know this will just fade with time, and I will be both wistful and thankful when it does, but for now I feel a bit crazy. I also feel nervous about Alex returning home and being able to sense my insanity. My work has been suffering as well, and the scary thing is that I don't really care all that much. I took the day off from work today so that I could stay home and clean the house for when Alex gets home, so that I'd be able to spend the whole weekend with K without having to worry about laundry.

Am I being foolish??? I also wonder if somehow I am prone to this sort of obsessive thinking or limerance somehow, since I did experience it for a short time with Sam too. And it did fade. I wonder if this situation with K is triggering something in me like an NRE or limerance addict, since I know these things do affect the chemicals in your brain. I looked into the concept of sex addiction awhile back because I thought that might be my problem, but it didn't seem to fit what I was going through, and I thought it was very pathologizing of people whose sexuality is just different from the mainstream concept of how things "should" be (i.e. heterosexual monogamous life-long marriage). Not to say that sex addicts don't exist, but I just think the concept has become way too broadly defined.

Is there such a thing as an NRE or limerance addict??
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  #114  
Old 02-19-2012, 04:10 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I'm glad you keep posting your story and I appreciate reading it. Your story has stuck in my mind since you first posted here.

I totally sympathize with what you're going through. Guilt is a hard emotion to deal with.

It sounds like Alex is trying really hard and is making a lot of progress.

But I'm still sad for Alex too. She deserves to have someone who is as excited by her as you are by K.

The "cuddly, dependable teddy bear" comment seems to capture the heart of it. Alex knows you feel that way about her; you know you feel that way about her. I can't imagine spending the rest of my life with someone who feels only cuddly with me but crazy-in-love with other people.

You wish Alex would try dating other people herself so she could experience the thrill of having those feelings. But, in the first place, she's been so broken down by her struggle to make things work with you that I can't imagine she has any energy left to try dating others (even if she weren't oriented towards being mono).

Secondly, what if she does meet someone else she's compatible with and with whom feels all those in-love feelings? If that happened, wouldn't it make more sense for you and Alex to separate and each go off to experience your various loves?

Or would you stay together no matter what? Do you want to grow old with Alex? Maybe "cuddly teddy bear" feelings are the secret to growing old together, and those tender feelings will outlast the rush and physicality of new love.

I don't know the answer to these questions, and I have no idea what I would do in your place.

But I still worry that the underlying issue is simply that you and Alex aren't right for each other. You said originally that you and Alex weren't really sexually compatible. I know Alex struggles with being sexually open--but maybe there is someone else (or some other type of person) with whom she could be more sexually open.

There might be circumstances in which two people who aren't sexually compatible with each other could still be happy in a primary relationship together. BUT it has to be special circumstances.

The two people have to agree that they aren't sexually compatible, that they are more cuddly/best-friend-ish AND that's the way they want it.

Then they can both have other relationships to explore/satisfy their separate sexualities. (Or, if one partner is more asexual and happy being mono, the other could have outside relationships).

But they have to be on the same page about it. It sounds like Alex really longs to be sexually compatible with you, and doesn't understand why she's not. (Maybe she's never been sexually compatible with anyone, and it's a source of great pain for her).

Sorry--I don't mean to bring discouragement here when you and Alex have made so much progress since last fall.

It just makes me sad thinking of her point of view.

On the other hand, I think she's totally unreasonable about the showering rule. It's like telling you that you're dirty if you see other people. It's almost like punishment.
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  #115  
Old 02-21-2012, 09:23 PM
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thanks MeeraReed. again you have given me a lot to think about, and i really appreciate your forthrightness and thoughtfulness. it is so helpful to get feedback from someone with an objective perspective. i continue to struggle with what my relationship with alex is really about, and why i continue to stay.

there are so many practical reasons to stay: the house, the financial entwinement, our connections to each other's families, our mutual community. i know those are not entire justifications for staying, but they are things that come to mind when i think about the loss of our marriage. we did get married, too, (in the way that gay people can) in the sense that we exchanged vows and made a commitment in front of our loved ones to uphold those vows. not that those are a complete reason to stay either. alex is someone i can count on, someone who knows me completely, someone who shares my values about the kind of life i want to live. when i think about leaving, those are the things i worry about losing and never finding again. strangely though, i don't worry about being alone or single, i know i can take care of myself and i know that i am capable of connecting with many types of people in different ways.

i am always daydreaming lately about having the freedom to spend time with K in the way i want to, in a relaxed, "free time" and "play time" kind of way, where she can leisurely show me how to work with oil paints, we can go on motorcycle rides, make meals together, etc. without this pressure of alex making demands on my time. now that alex is home, i feel claustrophobic again. all she wants is just to be with me, spend time with me and reconnect in a very sweet way, but i feel like i can't breathe. i know something is wrong with this whole situation, but i still am terrified to do anything about it. i am terrified of hurting her, knowing how devastated she will be. i also don't know how much longer i can go on like this. i have felt paralyzed by the situation for so long.
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  #116  
Old 02-22-2012, 12:22 AM
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i just re-read this blog from the beginning and got totally frustrated with myself. if someone else had written this, i would tell them to grab themselves by the balls and do it already!! so sad to waste life living in fear of making a mistake, but that is precisely what i am doing.
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  #117  
Old 02-23-2012, 09:52 AM
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The problem is, though, that until you make your own boundaries, it is impossible to say if you and Alex are really incompatible or if you just cannot appreciate her because you don't take the independence and space that you need. Then again, breaking up is the healthy thing to do if you can't break the pattern of co-dependency while in the relationship.
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  #118  
Old 02-24-2012, 04:19 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I don't think it's quite so obvious that you ought to just leave her already...I have no idea what I would do in your place...it's so sad.

Especially since it sounds like Alex has really been trying lately, reading "Opening Up" and meeting your lover. But I sort of wish she were doing more things to gain her own independence and to find herself, rather than putting all her energy into the relationship with you.

Such a tough situation. When monogamous people want more space and freedom, they break up with their partner and date other people. But because we're poly we don't have to do to that...so it's much harder to figure out when / why we SHOULD leave.

Is Alex not giving you enough independence, or do you feel claustrophobic even though Alex gives you a reasonable amount of independence? Is it the dynamics of this relationship that don't work for you, or would you feel smothered in any relationship?

So confusing
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  #119  
Old 03-08-2012, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
I don't think it's quite so obvious that you ought to just leave her already...I have no idea what I would do in your place...it's so sad.

Especially since it sounds like Alex has really been trying lately, reading "Opening Up" and meeting your lover. But I sort of wish she were doing more things to gain her own independence and to find herself, rather than putting all her energy into the relationship with you.

Such a tough situation. When monogamous people want more space and freedom, they break up with their partner and date other people. But because we're poly we don't have to do to that...so it's much harder to figure out when / why we SHOULD leave.

Is Alex not giving you enough independence, or do you feel claustrophobic even though Alex gives you a reasonable amount of independence? Is it the dynamics of this relationship that don't work for you, or would you feel smothered in any relationship?

So confusing
I agree! So confusing. Which is why I have not committed to leaving even when everything in me was saying "Run out the door and save yourself...now!!" The fact that Alex continues to try so hard really does inspire me about our relationship and help me to feel really committed to doing the same. Its just that the way we are trying is so different. For me, I have to continually struggle to ask for the freedom I want and need and be honest about my feelings and experiences with other people (right now, that is K), and also to be willing to examine my impulses to leave when things get hard. For Alex, her struggle is really about letting go and examining her expectations that she should be able to fulfill all my needs and the jealousy that arises when I choose to get my needs met elsewhere. Even though we still have a long way to go, we really have come so much farther than I ever thought possible when we began this journey just 8 short months ago.

One fantastic development is that Alex did go out on a limb and have her own sexual experience at a play party recently. I think it did a world of good for her to have an experience outside of our relationship and see that different experiences are just that...different. I was really proud of her for being willing to try something that stretched her comfort zone just a bit and she ended up really enjoying it and even finding out about a side of herself (an interest in BDSM) that she is potentially interested in exploring more outside of our relationship. For now she's not really actively pursuing that but as opportunities arise I think she will be more and more willing to explore that without me, and I am encouraging her to do so.

I have been asking for more freedom to see K as often as I can, which lately is not much due to a hectic travel schedule. It is hard on Alex when I want to take what little time I have at home and devote some of it to seeing K. But I have been trying to remind myself that I need to ask for what I want and let Alex have whatever reaction she is going to have. I have been able to be patient and supportive as she works through her initial anger and discomfort with my requests, without trying to rush in and fix anything or withdraw my request and then harbor resentment about it (which I did often when I was seeing Sam). She has been able to work through a great deal of jealousy and insecurity this way, which is so reassuring for me to see.

I think what is still coming up a lot for me is dealing with my intensifying feelings for K and just letting them be what they are. I notice myself having impulses that I think are related to a leftover serial monogamy mentality of "wow, i am totally falling for this person so i need to drop everything to be with them!" No pressure is coming from K who, even though this is her first experience with poly, has been incredibly patient and understanding and reassuring that she is totally happy with the way things are and wants to "simply be there for me". Wow. Things are still very new with us and we are still working out our communication style, which right now mostly consists of texting between time spent together, and our visits tend to be very fun and sexual with not a lot of time devoted to processing emotions. Which is great, but sometimes I find myself with questions in my mind that I do not voice to her, or things I want to say that I never seem to find the courage to say. Partially its because its all so new (we've been seeing each other for a little over 2 months now) and I don't want to get too deep too fast, and partially its because it is my tendency to hold back a bit when I'm uncertain. Definitely its clear that we are both really into each other, but we haven't spent a lot of time exploring what that means or what our intentions are with each other.

Managing the NRE without that "tortured" feeling is still a challenge for me. I get surprised at how easy it seems for other people to deal with, and even put up boundaries around it when needed. It seems that this, I am not so good at.
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  #120  
Old 03-12-2012, 04:05 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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One fantastic development is that Alex did go out on a limb and have her own sexual experience at a play party recently. I think it did a world of good for her to have an experience outside of our relationship and see that different experiences are just that...different. I was really proud of her for being willing to try something that stretched her comfort zone just a bit and she ended up really enjoying it and even finding out about a side of herself (an interest in BDSM) that she is potentially interested in exploring more outside of our relationship. For now she's not really actively pursuing that but as opportunities arise I think she will be more and more willing to explore that without me, and I am encouraging her to do so.
I'm really glad to hear this!

Don't forget that Alex's new interest in BDSM might be something you can explore WITH her, IN your relationship with her, rather than just sending her to seek it elsewhere.

If I had a primary partner, I would want our outside experiences to feed into improving the sexual chemistry between the two of us...especially if there were an initial problem with the sexual connection.

I guess what I mean is, don't get so caught up in K that you forget that Alex might be an extremely sexual person (not just good for cuddling!) underneath the issues and insecurities she may have.

Thanks for the update! Glad to hear things are going well.
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