Anxious, emotional mess after new permissions...HELP!
LONG POST BUT SHORT READ... If you don't have time, next post is a summary.
Hi everyone and thanks for reading. Always such great advice here, I know this will be uplifting and helpful. I really need that!
My wife, E and I are in our early thirties. We have been married since we were kids at 18, and dated before that. We have three very well adjusted kids and make decent money in a calm, healthy home.
Despite being married so young, we grew together and have very healthy communication. I am a bit more long-winded and can talk all night and day to grind out a resolution to how one of us feels. She has a threshold. That fact is really the only thing we ever 'fight' about.
We have weathered two affairs, one hers, one mine, both which rocked our relationship and indeed ourselves to the core. We survived both, eventually becoming more strongly bonded and realizing that we truly were inseperable and nothing was worth giving up on us. The last trauma of this sort was about three years ago.
The current issue: We decided to get serious about being poly about a year ago. E identifies as bi, and I am a hetero male. We initially looked for our unicorn without success. We recently met a girl, M, who really hit it off with E. They went on a girls night out, had a great time, and ended the night with a non-sexual kiss.
A few months later, I went on a date with M while E stayed home. I didn't like the idea, thinking it would be hard for E to imagine what was going on while we were out. M and I shared some nice sexy kisses during the date and that was it. I watched E experience a shade of discomfort and then compersion as I reported about the date. The next day we talked to her satisfaction and all was right with the world.
E had mentioned to me a couple, A and L, who are married. A is a coworker of E. When I expressed interest in the possibility of seeing one of our past failed unicorns again but on my own, E said she could entertain the idea if she could be free to date A and L, possibly just A. After thinking it over, and swishing the idea of my wife sleeping with another male around, I decided it would be okay.
E and L, A's wife, went on a night out together, while I was at home and A was working. There was no 'hookup' but there could have been, it was allowed. I was totally fine with the idea in my head and 'on paper' in a way. The next night, E and A had a shift together. She gave him a lift home at the end, and they kissed several times in the car before saying goodnight.
When E told me this news, over the phone on the way home, I was absolutely fine with it! She described how much it turned her on that I was okay with it and I reveled in the compersion. A went out of town the next day and is due to return in a few more.
The next day, E described their time in her car to me. The conversation revolved around A and L's relationship, and their experiences with third party lovers. A explained that they usually pick up a girl, take her home and A 'gets rough' with L and sees how the third reacts. Although rough stuff isn't something E and I get into, I can see how this new experience could be a huge turn-on for her.
Since this conversation, I have descended into an absolute, abject puddle of misery. I am anxious, my stomach in knots, my throat clenched and my head actually vibrating when I think about the impending dates that E will have with A and L or just A. I have to concentrate to not actually bust out crying. I feel clingy, possessive, and protective.
I have read the guides on jealousy management, and understand and believe that this will get better. I just don't know if I can stand it.
E has been absolutely wonderful, reassuring me in every possible way. Every irrational fear or concern I have, she has an appropriate and reassuring answer. Her fear is that if I'm suffering such a freak out and anxiety after a little making out, how will knowing about actual sex affect me? She tells me that the healthy freedom she felt like I 'gave' her was such a beautiful feeling, she loved me all the more for it.
The problem is that this anxiety is completely debilitating. I know it's irrational, I know it's based on false fears, yet I can't deny the hand on my throat, the pit in my stomach, and my absolute inability not to obsess over the feelings. We have reassuring talks, but me being a mess is the opposite of a turn on for E, and the anxiety has me wracked with erectile issues.
The intent was for us to enhance our strong marriage with these new freedoms. Since her 'date' with A, I have no interest in M, or the past unicorn. Masturbation will barely work, as any sexual imagery reminds me that she has an impending date some time in the future.
E promises to be completely honest, reassures me perfectly and deprives me of nothing that I need emotionally. She promises to take every small step right beside me, but I know that enough is enough. I can't keep going on being a mess, and it will ruin any of the positives she'll feel. But I can't help thinking that she'll be getting ready for their first 'serious' date soon.
I have not met A and L. I feel like if I met them or him in person I would feel better. E says she is afraid to formalize their future that much, since A and L's encounters are usually just casual hookups. She doesn't want to scare them off. I don't want a parameter meeting, just maybe a coffee or beer together, so everyone has met.
When I think about it cognitively, I'm absolutely okay with it. The idea of her having a great time and then loving me for giving it is something I truly believe in my head. I'm generally a very confident person, and continue to be. This anxiousness has me wrecked, messy, limp-dicked and wanting to just curl up and cry. I try to distract myself, and feel better for long periods of time, but ANY reminder of E's job, the rough sex, the date itself, sends me right back into darkness.
I am torn between a desperate desire to really give in to compersion and feel it through and through, and this deathly awful black anxious, weepy clingy irrational feeling. The worst part is I can't explain my feelings. I reply "I know" to every one of E's reassurances. She looks at me with "well then what is it?" eyes, and I shrug before sobbing. I try to be strong and confident, and end up pitiful.
My question is, am I just too sensitive? Is their first real date going to reassure me? Will I be able to get the image of them having sex out of my head? Will every sexual image or thought turn to her having sex with another man and destroy my erection?
This is not enhancing our lives. It's wrecking me, which is bumming her out, and turning her off. I tell her I can imagine the other side, and I mean it, but I wonder if this anxiety can be shaken.
|anxiety, erectile, jealousy, pain|