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Old 12-28-2012, 04:06 PM
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UpsideDown UpsideDown is offline
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Default Can I get a bit of feedback?

So, a few of you have responded to my intro post and to my post describing an aversion to the incredibly broad "poly label." You have no idea how much that kind of supportive, honest discussion means to someone so new and lost. Or maybe you do. Either way, thank you.

So, short version: DH and I are an up until recently mono couple and there's a potential romantic-ish relationship for me in the person of my openly poly best friend, CG. DH, for the time-being, has no desire to look for partners himself.

I have another issue that's surfacing, and I don't know how exactly to work through it, or with whom, so I figured I'd start here. DH and I were in a pretty closed relationship, physically, where both of us had one or two friends with whom we were very emotionally involved. These relationships weren't romantic, but they were years-long and serious...the three a.m. rush to the airport kind of friendships. As I've never been a particularly snuggly or physically affectionate person (save for with DH), he has mirrored me in that regard even though his nature is much more sprawled-on-the-couch-with-a-pile-of-people in its physicality. He knew I didn't like that, though, and so didn't engage in it except when in caregiving mode (rocking a friend with cancer to sleep, for example, or letting her cling to him on our sofa. All sanctioned by me).

Partially in response to all the soul-searching and giving he's doing on my part in this whole adventure, I agreed to a few months of weekly dance events with him, including a few classes. It's interesting to see him in close physical contact with other people, especially people he doesn't know, since in 15 years I haven't ever seen that. I'm not jealous, except at the though of him dancing with CG, which they both seem mildly confused by but are willing to respect. However, this new level of physical contact coupled with an ongoing discussion about what kind of communication DH needs and what kind of physical intimacy boundaries he would like me and CG to respect in our relationship leaves me with a very discomforting thought:

I would suck at this in his shoes.

Yes, I know he's said he has no interest in finding "others" for himself, and that even if he were, that discussion would have to happen after things between him, me and CG got settled (or more settled). But as he's done some pretty intense searching about what he would and would not feel comfortable with in regards to her-and-I, even much further out than she and I have discussed in an effort to stay ahead of the game, I feel like this is something I should at least give a cursory pass.

And my stomach ties up in knots. I don't want him to love anyone else. I don't really like him touching anyone else. I suppose the hand-holding and couch-piles aren't so much of an issue, as that's no more contact than the dancing, but I guess because those are not person-specific they don't bother me as much. Just the thought of him having sex with someone else leaves me near tears (partially, I suppose, because he never has, and so I consider that a part of him that is "ours" somehow).

Am I being utterly unfair in this? Does this make me a terrible person?

(CG is back in town today, with a list of vetted poly-friendly shrinks. DH and I have been batting individual/couples therapy back and forth for a few months as a good preventative measure, and figure it's worth going for that reason alone...all the more so with all of this going on, so yes, I'm going to do that, too).
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29, married to DH, the best guy in the world. 2 kids, dog, house with fence.
Developed a fast and accidental crush on then-best-friend, CG (cute-girl) and world fell apart after telling said girl. Came here for advice and info in case it became a thing. It didn't, but the friendship exploded. Turned world a bit upside-down, hence the moniker. ::sigh::
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:09 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Originally Posted by UpsideDown View Post
I would suck at this in his shoes.
Totally get this.
Quote:
Am I being utterly unfair in this?
Probably. But maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that this is all abstract for you right now. You can tie your stomach in knots imagining it, but you really don't know how you'd feel if it came up. You're only guessing.
Quote:
Does this make me a terrible person?
NO.

Everyone has their sore spots. Having them doesn't make you a bad person. How you deal with them is what matters. MC and TGIB both need alone time FAR more than I do. It's one of the reasons our set-up balances so well, and means that they are less affected when I'm spending time with the other. And while I don't care if they have sex with other people, I'd care a LOT if they started spending a significant amount of time with someone (even a friend!) and I lost a good deal of my time with them. I'm aware it could happen and I'd have to deal, but I'm not going to work myself up over a hypothetical. I know it's there, so I'll do my best to be careful if it ever comes up.
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
Totally get this.
Probably. But maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that this is all abstract for you right now. You can tie your stomach in knots imagining it, but you really don't know how you'd feel if it came up. You're only guessing.
Thanks.

I guess I feel like it is only fair for me to think about it, even a bit, as he's done so much mental work on this for me. Here's what I've come up with so far.

* I'd be less panicked if DH had any interest in dating a guy. Yeah, I know, it is somewhat sexist of me, but there's a degree of separation there for me in that a M/M relationship would be so totally different than what he and I have, by necessity.

* In theory, if I don't think about it or envision it too much, there are things he has done with other girlfriends (kissing, touching, making-out) that I wouldn't be as viscerally opposed to. Sex (oral or otherwise) makes my heart hurt.

* In a disconnected vein, I suppose if he wanted a D/s relationship with someone else, that didn't involve sex, I'd be willing to consider that, too...even though that's a thing only he and I have done together up-'til-now. Him topping someone else doesn't set off the 5-alarm panic that him fucking someone else does.

* I want him to have a really close friend, male or female, even if it it meant less time with me. Someone who wants to go running or kayaking or all the other things I am not interested in (or don't have time for). The emotional closeness isn't where I freak.

* I don't mind that he finds other women attractive. Hell, I'm happy when he shares that. I'm giddy when other women think he's hot. I just don't want them to "have" him.

I know that an "equal" partnership doesn't necessarily mean everyone getting the same thing, it means everyone getting what they need, but I'm trying not to be unjust and selfish either as he's a much more physical and sexual person than I, by nature.
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29, married to DH, the best guy in the world. 2 kids, dog, house with fence.
Developed a fast and accidental crush on then-best-friend, CG (cute-girl) and world fell apart after telling said girl. Came here for advice and info in case it became a thing. It didn't, but the friendship exploded. Turned world a bit upside-down, hence the moniker. ::sigh::
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Old 12-28-2012, 06:43 PM
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rory rory is offline
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Our feelings are very often unfair. That doesn't make us horrible people, it just makes us human. Something that most of us are able to wrap our head around, but which is harder to internalise. Your feelings do not make you a bad person. You can't change your feelings by wishing you didn't have them, it is not that simple. Your feelings may change with work and time, if that is something you choose to pursue.

First thing I would say is that it's good you are thinking about these things even in this situation where you don't have to. Good for you. Second thing, the key to negative feelings is not to stop feeling them, but to focus on the fact that they are just feelings and to let them pass.

It is so simple and yet so very very difficult. But managing feelings is all about that, not letting ourselves be guided blindly by them (because they are just feelings), and to learn we will be okay even if we are feeling, at that moment, like crap.

I'd like to recommend http://www.morethantwo.com/ for good stuff about jealousy&poly. Good luck with everything!
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by UpsideDown View Post
Am I being utterly unfair in this? Does this make me a terrible person?

Do the empathy exercise. Imagine a reversal of the situation. If at some point you were to ask for, or insist upon, the freedom to love who you wish to love while not offering the same freedom to your guy, yeah, that would hardly be fair.

My impression is that the both of you need to examine your thoughts, feelings, desires and needs much more fully, in light of the change of circumstance. Ideally, you'll each be supportive, kind, loving and generous to one another as you do so. My feeling is that you both have much to learn as you explore a new terrain together.

This related post may be of interest.: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showp...46&postcount=6
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Last edited by River; 12-28-2012 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:18 AM
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Do the empathy exercise. Imagine a reversal of the situation. If at some point you were to ask for, or insist upon, the freedom to love who you wish to love while not offering the same freedom to your guy, yeah, that would hardly be fair.
Thanks for the other post. At this time, he has stated it is not something he wants, and I see that there are many on this board who remain utterly mono while their spouses do not. That may be where we end up. I rather hope it is.

Nonetheless, I know it is a possibility that he will become interested, and I don't want to have not considered this whole side if things if he does desire parity at some point. I've done the empathy exercise, and it has left me in tears. I've come away with what I am comfortable with, what I can see myself being comfortable with, and what shakes me to my core. That may or may not change, I suppose.

He, likewise, doesn't feel like he'd be comfortable with me falling in love with CG, nor with me becoming overtly and thoroughly her "lover" in a sexual sense. He's alright with my romantic feelings, our sporadic snuggling and three kisses, and has said that he's be supportive of it going somewhat farther than that physically, although he's got a pretty PG/PG13 line drawn there. Given that is way ahead of what I've thought of, and how hard I work to avoid seeing the woman naked, that suits me fine. That also, may or may not change.

Thing is, I didn't ask him for carte blanche and do not want to "date" in a broad sense. I just didn't have the protective wall up around that part of my romantic/sexual self because it had never been an issue and I hadn't thought to, and this came as a complete and utter shock (to both him, her and me). If and when the romantic/sexual part of this with CG (starts in earnest and then) ends, I don't particularly want to go out looking for women to date.

I'm just not sure what happens if I absolutely cannot, in good faith, be alright with him sleeping with someone else. Do the above concessions make it a compromise, or am I still being selfish and unfair.
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29, married to DH, the best guy in the world. 2 kids, dog, house with fence.
Developed a fast and accidental crush on then-best-friend, CG (cute-girl) and world fell apart after telling said girl. Came here for advice and info in case it became a thing. It didn't, but the friendship exploded. Turned world a bit upside-down, hence the moniker. ::sigh::
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by UpsideDown View Post
I'm just not sure what happens if I absolutely cannot, in good faith, be alright with him sleeping with someone else. Do the above concessions make it a compromise, or am I still being selfish and unfair.
You've already set sail, and you two can never return to the comfortable familiar as you've known it. This means you are -- together -- on a journey. You're neather here nor there, as it is a journey to elsewhere.

It is a journey you must make together, in communication and honesty. No one else can take this journey for you. It will likely have unpredictable and surprising turns. But it is the nature of a journey of this kind that it transforms the people taking the journey.

You may surprise yourselves (or yourself?) to discover that what is apparently essential and unchangable now ... could radically transform. What wasn't okay might become far more than merely okay. It is possible that you might even celebrate one another as you each explore new loves. Rather than recoiling in fear, you may champion one another in joyous celebreation. Many things are possible. But you cannot know how it will turn out as you advance down the path. But it will be helpful to realize that how you feel now could turn upsidedown.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:07 AM
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UpsideDown UpsideDown is offline
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Originally Posted by River View Post
You've already set sail, and you two can never return to the comfortable familiar as you've known it. This means you are -- together -- on a journey. You're neather here nor there, as it is a journey to elsewhere.
I'm going to disagree with you there, actually. While we may not be able to take back the knowledge and self-reflection we have thus-far learned, if CG decides that she does not want to pursue this in a manner in which we can all agree is acceptable, or if it starts and then ends, both he and I can go back to a closed relationship. That is, as of now, actually the plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by River View Post
It is a journey you must make together, in communication and honesty...It will likely have unpredictable and surprising turns. But it is the nature of a journey of this kind that it transforms the people taking the journey.
You seem to be overlooking the fact that DH has not expressed interest in establishing a new relationship for himself. He has, in fact, said specifically that he does not want that at this time, and may never want it. My self-analysis/reading/questioning is being done so that *should* it arise, I can give his desires a fair and adequate answer, and not pussy-foot about, acting like I've been gobsmacked.

Yes, it is our journey. Right now, it is one where I suss out my own feelings, reassure him that I still love him and am only in love with him and negotiate with CG where she allows. For him, it involves supporting my desire for a relationship that is friendship plus something else with CG, facing his own fears about what that means for our relationship, and coming to terms with what kind of physical and intimate boundaries he needs CG and I to have in order to be comfortable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by River View Post
You may surprise yourselves (or yourself?) to discover that what is apparently essential and unchangable now ... could radically transform. What wasn't okay might become far more than merely okay. It is possible that you might even celebrate one another as you each explore new loves. Rather than recoiling in fear, you may champion one another in joyous celebreation. Many things are possible. But you cannot know how it will turn out as you advance down the path. But it will be helpful to realize that how you feel now could turn upsidedown.
I may. I landed here, and that was both a surprise and something that turned my world upside down. It still is not without fear, however. At this moment I cannot wrap my head around "champion[ing him] in joyous celebration" as he pursues, woos and has sex with some other woman...and has he has not asked me to be supportive of that endeavor, I do not particularly have any desire to venture down the kind of path that might lead to "explor[ing] new loves" for him and a deep heartache for me.

Our marriage is essential. It is not unchangeable, as evidenced by my presence in this forum. However, as you are not so much answering my question as telling me that I too, one day, can become as evolved in my relationship views as as you...please let other people give me actual opinions or advice.
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29, married to DH, the best guy in the world. 2 kids, dog, house with fence.
Developed a fast and accidental crush on then-best-friend, CG (cute-girl) and world fell apart after telling said girl. Came here for advice and info in case it became a thing. It didn't, but the friendship exploded. Turned world a bit upside-down, hence the moniker. ::sigh::
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:01 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Re (from UpsideDown, Post #1):
Quote:
"Am I being utterly unfair in this? Does this make me a terrible person?"
It's not terrible to feel the emotions, and it's not terrible to express the emotions. The big question is, what will you do about these feelings? If you actully insisted that he have less outside contact than you're allowed to have, then that would be an inequity.

I would continue with the introspection, and with brainstorming for ideas of things that might make his outside romances easier to choke down. Would it help to get to very well know the person he's seeing? Ideas like that. Any idea you can think of.

I'm sure you and he will have to work out some compromises. Cross each bridge when you come to it, but give thoughts to the potential bridges just in case.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:05 AM
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However, as you are not so much answering my question as telling me that I too, one day, can become as evolved in my relationship views as as you...please let other people give me actual opinions or advice.
That was kind of snotty. You asked for a bit of feedback. I didn't see that river said any such thing, you are quite imagining that.
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