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Old 03-24-2017, 07:09 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Originally Posted by junkoftheheart View Post
Time and time again I try to move through my life intending to feel compersion and excitement for my partner but whenever I am faced with a real situation, my emotions (jealousy and insecurity) take over and I ruin it and upset him and make him question whether or not I actually want to be polyamorous (and by extension be with him). Sometimes I too feel that I may like the idea of polyamory much more than the reality of it and I don't know how to move forward positively...

In the meantime, though, what can I do to pause before these reactions which I know are not conducive to a positive polyamory relationship? Is hiding my jealous feelings until I can work through them good or bad? What do I do if I cannot stop these feelings from happening?

I don't want to hurt my partner with these feelings anymore and I don't want him to have to continually question my commitment to our lifestyle.
I have some thoughts to share.

Some poly act like compersion is a natural end product of poly living and that to be a 'good' poly person, one must feel compersion. This is bullshit. Compersion can be one of the joys of poly. However, it is not required or necessary. I see a lot of people really unhappy with themselves when they are not experiencing compersion at all or to the degree they feel they should. This is a burden they should not be picking up. I urge you to set this down.

As for feeling like you like the theory of poly better than the reality, well, just about every poly person I know (and I know quite a few) has had that thought at least once. This stuff is hard. It brings up the most vulnerable parts of ourselves in sometimes harsh ways.

Another thought I had is to stop with any and all 'shoulds'. Feelings are not entities that show up when you feel they should. (Similar to cats that way.) Our conscious minds do not control our feelings (or our thoughts). You can't stop the feelings you don't want. You can't summon the feelings you do want. They will show up when they damn well feel like it. If you acknowledge them, pay attention to them, *feel them*, then they show you things about yourself. (Also like cats.) Sometimes those things are joyful discoveries. Other times, horrifying. Feel what you are feeling. Don't worry about what you are not feeling. 'Shoulds' are chains we put on ourselves. Take them off.

So feel what you are feeling. Acknowledge to yourself what you are feeling. Then tell others what you are feeling. That includes telling your partner what's going on with you. There are ways to do so that make it clear that you are not asking him to fix or change anything. (Check out non-violent communication for a start.) For some reason, it's ok to share 'positive' feelings but not 'negative' ones. Our culture has emotions that we 'should' feel and ones we 'shouldn't'. But if you refuse to feel an emotion fully, it sticks around. It curdles and finds a place in your psyche to hang out instead of moving on. One of the ways we have found to prevent this curdling is to tell others.

It's good to pause sometimes and be considerate how we tell others what's going on with us. But hiding your feelings, hoping they won't show up (spoiler: they will!) and not telling your partner will leave you more tied in knots, more in pain, more confused. That said, it is incredibly helpful to have friends, family, to tell our truths to besides our partners. This is especially true when figuring out things about our partners. Tell your dear friends (again where you do not expect or want them to *do* anything but acknowledge that you are sad).

(Yes, often we need our partners to change something in response to what we are feeling. But figuring out what that change needs to be, and then asking for it, requires us to know what we are feeling and then we can figure out how to best address it.)

Ok, tldr: Stop the shoulds. Feel what you feel. Acknowledge to yourself what you are feeling. Tell others what you are feeling. Don't expect them to do anything other than listen.

(And I know all of these are easy to say and often hard to actually do.)

Wishing you the best.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:47 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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What opalescent said is right, don't dismiss your feelings as "wrong" and try to quash them, you need to explore them and discover their cause. I also agree that compersion is not necessary in poly.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:02 PM
Ravenscroft Ravenscroft is offline
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NW Minnesota
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My first thought is that I'd recommend against "becoming poly" as a therapeutic tool. The only way that polyamory can (IMNSHO) be properly experienced is by immersion, not merely strolling around in the safe shallows (much less dipping a toe in occasionally). Perhaps a mistaken assumptionon my part, but I cannot find one point where you indicate you've had any other relationships.
Originally Posted by junkoftheheart View Post
Time and time again I try to move through my life intending to feel compersion and excitement for my partner ...
How many years have you been together? Do you consider yourself polyamorous? If so, is this based on current experience, previous experience, objective liking of the theory, hope for the future...?
Originally Posted by junkoftheheart View Post
he's concerned that I may not really want to be polyamorous and may eventually slide back into monogamy.
If you could find peace in your heart, would you be just as happy being monogamous to him while he pursues his other relationships?

One more thing: take pains to avoid surprises & accidents.

One recurring theme on this site is where someone mentions that they "accidentally opened her email file on her laptop" or "accidentally looked at his texts."

As to the birthday surprise... well, it reminds me of when I watched a fight unfold.

I was very involved with Sue. She was also involved with Ben. (Names changed to protect the guilty. ) Sue was open to dating others, but was generally pleased with us two guys. Even years after, Ben & I get along really well socially, but really have never been best buddies or anything.

I'm a decent enough cook, & also enjoy checking out cuisine at real restaurants (as opposed to franchises), & am a minor wine snob, & at the time greatly enjoyed going out & dancing the night away. Meanwhile, Ben generally prefers small informal gatherings of friends, being a homebody, having food delivered, & cuddling up on the couch to watch movies. This contrast certainly covered a LOT of bases for Sue.

Two weeks before Sue's birthday, I suggested we go out & have some fun, particularly as there was a cucina I'd been raving about. She declined (pleasantly) because Ben had already asked for the night & had "something special already planned out." No big thing for me, & I suggested we go for it the next weekend, which Sue accepted.

I didn't think about it again, but the night of Sue's birthday, as I'm happily heading off to an early bedtime, Sue calls up, VERY angry & obviously crying.

The "big evening" she'd mentioned had turned into... well, getting a few DVDs & ordering a pizza.

Whether Ben had overpromised or Sue had overexpected, I still don't know. However, that IS typical for Ben, & always has been.

...& a year later, the same exact script happened again. When I saw the opening lines, I tried to warn Sue, & she shruged me off.

That evening, I went out with friends & stayed FAR AWAY from the telephone until VERY late.

Moral to the tale? It's like "giving Ben a chance" was equivalent to "setting the poor slob up to hang himself again."

Though we've never explicitly discussed it, I've long had the impression that Sue was doing this to create an excuse to fend off Ben's interest in eventual marriage (& at least moving in together) -- she could then pull it up (with "support" from witnesses, like me) to push him back & paint him as "not reliable enough" or something.

My partners did actually once throw me a big surprise party... however, they presented it to me -- as "let's go out with two or three friends for a drink" -- fully a MONTH in advance. We'd all had plenty of experiences with trainwreck schedules, & one motto of our group was "spontaneity is GREAT so long as you plan for it."
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