Thoughts on poly as a tool for personal growth
So, it was this thread :http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26296 and the turn that it took that got me thinking.
(short version, if you dont feel like clicking: my BF expressed interest in one of my close friends, I felt weird about it, wanted to set a boundary, but thanks to some great (especially snowmelt's) and thought provoking posts by forum members, came to the realization that there was much more to the situation than the setting of a simple "I don't want you to date my friends" boundary: there are some deep, underlying fears and insecurities that caused the uncomfortableness and that need addressing).
I have always had insecurity issues. I was bullied, a lot. In high school, I was always crushing on some unattainable guy, but never dated anyone, and was actually pretty sure that no one would ever want to date me. I was the girl who would always listen to the success stories and heart ache stories from her girlfriends. I was the alibi for many illicit dates.
I remember going on a trip one summer with my best friend, I had had a couple of boyfriends by that time (but had broken up recently (and had never gotten beyond kissing).) I think we were 20? 21? Of course within 3 days she met someone in a bar and spent her evenings with him while I was alone in the hotel. One night she came in really late, and found me crying, asked me why, and I said "because I know that what you are doing, will never happen to me".
I met my husband a couple of years later, he was the first guy I ever slept with. I spent the next 15 years in denial about my sexual wants, desires and needs. There were days when I felt too ugly to leave the house. I had panick attacks, it affected my work and career, and sometimes my friendships. I knew my husband loved me but deep down? I still felt like the 20-year old who knew in her bones that a fun and fulfilling love life and sex life was NOT FOR HER.
Three years ago, everything changed. I've changed, well if you believe change is possible, maybe I should say that I became myself.
We opened our marriage. I started exploring my sexuality. We had threesomes, started dating, got involved with people, developed real connections. I felt desirable, beautiful, sexy, wanted. Friends commented on the change. Strangers approached me. It was bliss. I felt like 20 years of therapy and so much self-work had not been able to achieve what a year of poly could: this new sense of freedom. Feeling strong.
I was in NRE with poly.
Yeah, that won't last. About 3 quarters of a year into my serious secondary relationships, it turns out, my issues are not solved. The rosy fog has lifted. Turns out I'm still insecure, in need of affirmation, in need of reassurance. Maybe less than before, but still. I no longer believe that no one wants me, but I do believe that people who want me now, will stop wanting me in the future.
I think that poly is my tool for personal growth. I think that my relationships with others (having deep, loving and committed relationships with others) are presenting me with endless opportunities to grow, to look inside myself, face my fears and learn how to deal with them. A very painful and difficult process sometimes.
Not really sure where I'm going with this thread, maybe I just wanted a place to write this out (and it didn't seem to fit in the earlier thread about the very specific BF + Close Friend issue), and I'm also interested if others find, like me, that poly has helped them face certain fears, that it has accelerated personal growth and development, that it has changed them? or is it the other way around - do you feel that living a poly life is possible because you worked on your yourself and your issues?
Cleo - forties straight female
Ren - husband of 20 years
Bo - BF of 1+ year
Lou & Jane - Ren's girlfriends
Lin - Bo's other GF