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Old 07-17-2013, 02:36 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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It's a month later and things still feel kinda crazy here. And I still want breaks from thinking about it all. So here I am.

This is my response from this old thread talking about "gender related jealousy."

It's normal jealousy struggle. It happens. Both ways -- whether the gender of the other lover is the same as you or different. Because in the end I don't believe it is about the other lover's gender. I think it about your inner thoughts and beliefs.

The whole "If our hinge sweetie compares us, I'm not going to be able to compete" thing. Maybe you are ok with the female lovers because they have equipment you don't. They offer your lover a different sex experience and your thoughts run along the lines of "It's not even a competition there." But the male lover has "your" equipment. So you feel competition fears.

It works the other way too. Maybe you think you are a hot stud muffin and no other man can compete to your magical penis. But crap! Here come women lovers -- they have goods you don't! What if hinge sweetie runs off with one of them and you cannot even compete because you just don't have a vagina to compete with? Ahhhh!

See? Doesn't matter the gender. Whatever tape is playing in there -- it boils down to "I am afraid I cannot compete."

You state your worries/fears yourself -- things like what if is he's a better lover, has a bigger penis, etc.

So what? What if he is blond, has three dogs and a dragon, he drives a vacuum cleaner to work? ( I joke to keep it light and try to make you smile, I'm not making light of your feelings or minimizing them.)

It just doesn't matter what he has or does or is. What is causing your discomfort is not the trigger (him being another lover). It is your thinking and what you tell yourself inside your head that is causing you your upset.

"I am less than, I will fall short..." kinds of thoughts.

To feel better?

Ask your partner to reassure you that your hinge sweetie loves you for YOU and wouldn't break up with you without warning or without giving you a chance to work on whatever needs are not being met.

And ask yourself to learn to cut it out and play a different tape in your head.

"I AM good enough. Hinge loves me for ME and all I bring to the table."

Maybe these could help?

(Labriola) http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/p.../jealousy.html
(Wagner) http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf

Try to BREATHE. Literally. Take deep breaths and relax your muscles if you feel stress/anxious/uptight. If you make yourself breathe and deliberately let go of any muscle tension, your muscles can give your brain feedback that there is actually no danger lurking. So there is no need to be chronically poised for "flight or fight response." Then maybe your brain can relax a bit in there.


In a way, it's good that it's about the thoughts in your mind. Because you can always choose to change your mind!

You will be ok. You can do this work -- you can learn to overcome jealousy.

Hang in there!
Jealousy is such an interesting thing.

That particular Wagner article presents 4 kinds of jealousy: possessive, exclusion, competition, and fear.

I'm not particularly possessive in the sense described but I do get “fear of the unknown weirdo” and kinda “hurt him and I will kill you” feelings. I'm don't worry about exclusion or competition jealousy feelings.

I like to think that if I felt jealous, I'd be willing to feel vulnerable in the asking so I could go to DH and tell him “I feel jealous. I need help coping with that so I can put it down. Could you be willing to help me? Could you be willing to reassure me? Reaffirm that you love me?”

I know sometimes some people go off the other way. They try to make the OTHER person jealous on purpose. Because they want more attention, want to feel desirable, what to know they are loved, etc. And in doing so they risk hurting the other partner with jealousy or damaging trust between them. Because if you love someone, you don't engage in damaging behavior toward them.

Love doesn't have to be PROVEN. But it is nice to have it reaffirmed.

Either way it's the same solution. Just ask up front to get the need met rather than try to ignore it for fear for of being found "not able to compete" or try to go around the back door to get it met.

What's so hard about coming in from the front door and just asking for a need to be met?

I sometimes hear “But I don't want to seem needy....” as a reason for not just asking up front. To me merely having some needs doesn't mean “chronically needy.” We all have needs one time or another. It means you are human.

So I don't buy that. I don't think “I don't want to seem needy” is really the thing. I think more accurate expression of that could be “I am not willing to feel vulnerable. So I don't want to ask for reassurance and reaffirmation from the front and risk feeling vulnerable.”

I get that feeling vulnerable is a horrible, anxious, squirmy kind of feeling. I don't love it. But I love sticking my head in DH's armpit to tell him some horrible vulnerable thing, and have him accept it. And get to feel the wonderful love stuff that comes from full acceptance with/from a partner. That's what makes the horrible worth it.

To risk being loved, warts and all. To get to BE loved, warts and all.

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Old 08-28-2013, 12:53 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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We're facing hard times. That's all I want to say about that right now. It doesn't matter what it is -- I just want to capture a feeling snapshot.

I was straddling DH's lap on the couch so I could hug him and he could hug me face to face. I had my head on his shoulder and I was feeling empty inside.

Sad, bad, ugh. That "hollow" sensation.

He was stroking my hair and back saying whatever it was he was saying. I have no idea. I wasn't listening. I was off in space feeling hollow. Thinking about how EXTRA lonely it is to be so lonely when sitting in an intimate way on someone else.

I don't go around sitting on everyone's lap.

Then I decided "Wait. I'm not being present in the moment. I am not here. I am off in space. I'm the one keeping me in lonely land with my thinking behavior. DH is talking to me and I'm not present. He's trying to connect and what am I doing? I'm off in space."

We had been talking about discipline over dinner. The discipline it takes to learn something new, take lessons, not let thoughts run amok. Self discipline of various kinds.

And I was sitting there letting my thoughts run amok and not be present in the moment. Lacking in thought discipline right then.

So I wanted to bring it back and I whispered in his ear, "Tell me you love me."

I know respond to voice tether and touch tether. So I was asking him to talk to me and touch me.

"I love you."

Then I put my head on his other shoulder. "Now tell me that you love me in this ear."

"I love you in this ear."

I grinned into his neck, because he likes being goofy like that. And I like knowing him so well I know he's going to do that.

Then I went back to rest my head on the first shoulder.

"Ok, now tell me you love me in this other ear."

"I love you in this other ear."

"Now this one again."

"I love you."

"Again over here." I changed sides again.

"I love you, I love you, I love you!" he proclaims, making me laugh. Laughter is a good thing -- releases all kinds of happy brain chemistry.

"Yay. Now take me to bed and tell me you love me all over my body."

He laughed, like I knew he would. Both of us feeling blah and both of us laughing any way.

He kept stroking my hair and then after a while I felt curiously half-hallow. Something was seeping. And it felt better.

And I know this from kink -- the seeping feeling from my head of brain cocktail hormones. When it's the bad kind it feels like hot prickle needles to me. When it is good it feels like ocean wave whoosh! I really don't have the vocabulary to describe the sensation I was having. It was neither prickly nor whooshy. I was having a new seepage thing.

I sat in his lap for a long time being hugged, petted, and whispered comforting things to trying to monitor this new seepage and what that felt like now that I was changing my thinks to something else. With emotional flooding, I know it takes at least 20 minutes to get past the ugh. So I was waiting it out to see what this new seepage thing could become.

Feelings ensue after behavior. Thinking is a behavior. I think therefore I feel.

And instead of thinking about "lonely and hollow" I started thinking about how long I've been with this man, my husband.

And how I know all his goofball jokes like telling me "I love you in this other ear."

Or the taste of his earlobe. And MY GOD did he have garlic breathe from dinner.

And how easy it is to BE when it is easy. And how hard it is to BE when it is hard. And how every other time it has been hard before we managed to BE. So really? This time? When it is hard again?

So what?

We've been here before. We will be here again one day. We're here now. Enduring a hard time.

We've gotten past it before. Some day in the future -- we will have gotten past it again.

And in the Hang Time in between? That is neither here nor there? Just waiting it out?

It's enough to BE then. Be present. Waiting it out. Feel whatever it is and let it go. Let it ride til it's ridden out.

And there is a comfort to be had there, when you endure and wait things out with a long term partner. Even without a partner, there's a comfort to be had there. To be able to have disciplined thoughts, change the direction your mind is going in and make space to let new feelings ensue.

Open to receive whatever might come next.

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Old 10-14-2013, 01:10 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Things have been quiet. DH and I are good. Close, connected. I flirt. He laughs. Parenting is ok.

Time management is still hard though and we still deal with other kinds problems with eldercare. Sigh.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 10-14-2013 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:19 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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This is an excerpt from this thread.

We did make a written agreement that if any of our friends or partners in the future attack either of one of personally, without anything that looks like a legitimate cause, we will cut them off. But it bothers me that we even had to write that down, I guess. It seems like a committed couple shouldn't have to do that?
Not every committed couple comes with the skills "right out of the box." Sometimes part of that commitment is to sit down to assess and intentionally grow the skills that need growing so the couple can continue in their commitment.

Could consider letting go of "should" language and go with "could" so you can not be bothered.

"A committed couple could write things down as a learning tool when growing discernment skills."
Hang in there with it. I'm glad you guys are trying and couples therapy is helping in the process.

Real life has me super busy. I don't have the time I want for journaling.

But I wanted to remember that snippet.

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Old 12-03-2013, 11:55 PM
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Garriguette Garriguette is offline
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Posts: 63

Thank you, GalaGirl, for working through your thoughts and feelings step by step where other people can see them.

I'm trying, belatedly, to learn emotional management, and I find it helpful to see you go through the process of introspecting, holding an internal board meeting, making your reactions slow and intentional.

I would like to be better at doing that, too.
Mid 30s, mono.
Partnered with Xicot (poly-curious) since 2004.
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Old 12-04-2013, 04:12 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Aw, thanks!

Glad it is helpful to you!

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Old 12-04-2013, 04:46 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Man, I wish I had more time to write. Stuff just keeps happening lately.

But I wanted to remember this thought too. I came to revisit something about my spouse I hadn't thought of in a while on the forest level (ex: last 5 years) but keep revisiting lately on the tree level (last 2 mos) as we meet some life challenges that are going down right now in quick succession.

I don't love conflict, but if I have to be doing conflict resolution? I'm a fan of doing it with him. My fav person to have conflict resolution with -- because he's so sane about it.

Whether he and I are at odds. Or I'm at odds with myself and need a sounding board.

DH gets that there are times for discernment and sometimes it is hard to tell where the thing (whatever it is) ranks.
  • IMPORTANT AND URGENT at this time
  • IMPORTANT but not urgent at this time
  • Not important, but URGENT at this time.
  • Not important and not urgent at this time.

Something else he gets that I'm trying to tell the kid lately:

The "definites" are easy to discern.
  • A definite "yes" is a (YES! Joyous, eager definite yes! WOOOOHOOO!) kind of thing.
  • A definite "no" is a (NO WAY, JOSE! NOT IF HELL FREEZES NO!) kind of thing.

What do you do when it isn't easy to discern?

Could decide make it easy on self and make a standard to measure by.

Me? My standard?

I go with all of these:
  • A less than joyous, eager, definite yes.
  • A "meh" yes -- like could take it or leave it.
  • I dunno.
  • An uncertain no. Tempted... though.

.... are NOT eager or joyous yes.

There. Done. Then when I'm not sure I can check against that.

I could vote "no confidence" and just decide to call it a "NO" and just proceed as if it were a definite no. Made the call.

So I can get on with life and deciding things. Not be stuck going around in circles. Feel some relief. Or disappointment. Or a mixture -- but I can get on with the show now. Woot. Firm of purpose. Because this I choose.

I was talking to the kid this morning.

Me: Well, how do you want to take it?

Kid: I dunno. I'm not sure.

Me: Kid, let me teach you something about discernment. Joyful YES like --- tada!!!!! That is a yes. Anything less than that is not a joyful yes.

Kid: Ok.

Me: Repeat it back so I know you got it.

Kid: Anything less than joyful yes is NOT a joyful yes.

Me: So when I ask you "Are you going to be ok, or do we need to go back to the house to get it?" on the way to school what do you tell me? Because only you know yourself.

Kid: I dunno. I'm not sure... and that's not joyful yes?

Me: Yup. So since it is not joyful yes that you can live without your thing, we best go back to get it. That could make us tardy, and that the price of admission. You prepared to own that?

Kid: Yup. I can own it.

Me: Alright, back we go, we accept we could be tardy and we just decide to live with it then as the price of admission. We are firm of purpose now and not wibbling about making it bigger than it needs to be. A decision was made. On with the show.

Kid: Yup. And hey, we get another shot tomorrow at getting out of here with no tardy. If we get a tardy today.

Me: Right. Not the end of the world. We can handle this.

She probably thinks we're talking about only tardy marks at school.

I'm talking about that. And I'm also talking about giving child the skills of discernment so she can resolve INNER conflict for herself.

Clear doubts away so you can become firm of purpose and get on with whatever it is.

If you put off making a call so you can make a decisions you lose opportunities.

Including the opportunity to lead a less stressy life.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-04-2013 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:41 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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BOOKMARK: What Counselors should know about Poly

Just because it was a good read and I keep losing the link

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Old 05-06-2014, 05:58 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Been a while. My personal life had a lot going on so I wasn't journaling. But funny how Life is -- because despite the long break? I'm still on the same topic -- "how to discern the hard things and be decisive."

This is an excerpt from a recent thread about a break up thing.

Originally Posted by Galagirl
I think once you DO decide, and can resolve yourself to it you might start to feel better because then wheels aren't churning any more. The main decision was MADE. That part of it is DONE. The smaller decisions under that main heading usually fall into place easier once one knows what the headliner IS. At least, that's been my experience.
Still applies in Rose's case even though hers is not an NRE thing.

I think decisiveness is a vital character trait to grow for life in general, not just polyshipping. We choose all day long -- minor stuff like what to wear today or eat for breakfast. To bigger choices. Can't be lollygagging. Have to decide.

I was talking to my friend Rose over the weekend who is struggling right now because she's finding she's outgrown a friendship because she cannot respect choices the person is making and she doesn't want to be around for the potential fall out. It was complicated by the fact that the person is not just her (friend) but they are (good exes & friends).

Her version is much more detailed, but that's the summary as I see it.

Rose is a private person and I don't ask her for more than she cares to share. So I'm a little fuzzy on some of the dating history. I lose track of boyfriends poly Rose had before I knew her. I knew she dated X, Y, Z but I lose track of who was overlapping when.

I observed Rose struggle with articulating her feelings and her current problem.
  • I tried to be an active listener.
  • Validate that it's OK to feel ugh when contemplating this.
  • Not rush her, just to fill silence. Wait for her to put it in her own words.
  • Watch her body language for clues. Same for tone of voice.
  • Shared with her how I navigated my recent thing but was clear I offered it as one possible way to go. Not that SHE has to do it the same.
  • I wanted to make space for the fact that just as two people could be attracted to different types? Or want different types of relationships? They will also probably have different break up styles.
  • I'm not Rose. Rose has to decide how Rose wants to handle this.

I had to break up with my friend Leaf recently. He was more than friend – at one point wanted us to be lovers. I considered it but I didn't think it was the best time for that. Then we never brought it up again. But that's still not just “regular friend” is it?

Leaf is making some choices and continues to make some choices I cannot respect. I don't want to be around for more drama. Being around Leaf right now is damaging to ME. It wasn't a “hard break up.” I'll still send holiday and birthday cards in service to the nostalgia and good memories we shared. I'll keep hoping Leaf choose to turn it around and straightens out. Holiday cards might keep up or might putter out over the years. Or maybe we rekindle and start a new friendship for a new chapter in our lives. Time will tell if this is a “soft break up” or what. The point is, it left me thinking about break ups and how to manage them well.

It matters to talk about. Polyshipping or otherwise -- having clearly articulated expectations help. I'm glad DH and I have our own potential break up agreements mapped out. One is responsible for their own emergency preparedness!

I pretty much know when it is done. I can evaluate variables and be decisive and make hard choices. I know the difference between giving it a little time to see if new data emerges and merely calling it that to disguise procrastination.

Better to stop it approaching my limit of tolerance or AT my limit of tolerance. But to let it run on BEYOND limit of tolerance? That's not me respecting my own limits and tending to my own needs.

Once I decide it is a break up? I want to break up and set the new boundaries and move on to the healing place. Take action and not lollygag there. I'm not a fan of dragging things out because of indecision or lack of resolve. I like it done – relatively fast, firm, and clear. Then everyone can move on to healing. That's a better place to linger at.

I get that changes are hard and sometimes scary. It's not like I am not compassionate about the grief process surrounding endings, changes, etc. But sometimes bowing out IS what is needed to catalyst change because CHANGE is what is needed.
  • To stay on same from a sentimental response because we're fond of past?
  • To stay on same from an enabling response because we're scared to deal with future?

That isn't really approaching it from a present day perspective to me. If present day behavior is not meeting present day needs, the thing has to be addressed rather than avoided.
  • Yes, Leaf and I had good times in the past.
  • Yes, I am worried that our relationship could go from “dialing it down to give you space to sort your stuff” to completely dying out in future.

But what serves me now in present? I cannot control what Leaf chooses to do. I can only control ME. What do I need in the present day?
  • To be free of Leaf drama
  • To call Leaf into account for his bad behaviors towards me
  • To restate boundaries and expect Leaf to respect them.
  • GIVE him the space to sort himself out and expect him to deal with himself or not. He's in charge of him, not me.

Either he concludes that he can respect my boundaries or not. If not, I can't be friends with someone who won't respect me or my boundaries.
Either he concludes that he will stop sef destructive behavior or not. If not? I want no part of that self destructive stuff. I like me! I don't want to destruct or observe destruction! It's a two-fer -- BOTH toggles have to be on for the system to reboot. Otherwise let's leave in it "sleep mode." Not totally powered off, but not active either.

Rose is struggling with similar. Yes, they have good memories together as (a couple.) Yes, they have good memories together as (good exes & friends.) But right now he's making some poor choices and she doesn't want to be in the line of fire. It's healthy for her to want to remove herself from the line of fire. And it is OK for her to say so, restate her boundaries and expect them to be respected. It is ok for her not to be around for the mess clean up should his poor choices lead to wacko. She's not obligated to clean them up.

We are free to choose. We are not free from the consequences of our choices.

I told Rose if she wants me to air her out and take her to dinner or if she needs to talk some more to give me a call. Sigh.

Mostly I listened. I didn't want to be telling her what to do or overload her with suggestions. She was kind of crying, and that isn't "best mental processing time" to me. That is "busy processing emotions right now" to me.

But if she asks me or it comes up again I'm going to tell her that anything LESS than "joyous yes" could be counted as "no." If dealing with him is less than "joyous yes" right now? Just choose not to. As a discernment tool it really cuts through the crap of internal conflict! Then Rose could call it "main decision made" and give herself permission to move on toward healing. Move it forward with the smaller decisions under the main headline. Not keep it in the stuck.

Let the relationship settle down / transform naturally on its own to whatever it wants to be next. Even a relationship in "sleep mode" or "totally powered off." Learn to be ok with this.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-06-2014 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:03 PM
copperhead copperhead is offline
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Just wanted to say hi I've been reading your blog here and it's full of golden nuggets

I also caught myself thinking if someone was a muppet or a jedi You have a catchy way of putting things in words. I like it
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anxiety management, coping ideas

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