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Old 07-16-2012, 10:59 PM
rex rex is offline
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Default Dealing with Jealousy

Hey guys - long time lurker here. I'm in a bit of a pickle and was hoping I might get some feedback from the members on this board.

I've been poly for quite some time, but have only recently begun to articulate the idea with my partners.

I'm a guy, currently seeing three absolutely fantastic women. We'll call them Abby, Betty, and Cindy.

I've been with Abby for about a year. She knows I'm seeing other women, and knows that I'm totally okay with her seeing other guys. She's okay with this, but doesn't want to see anyone else, and just wants to make sure that the safety considerations are seriously considered. We've been don't-ask-don't-tell by mutual agreement the whole time.

I've been with Betty for about six months. She's also okay with the arrangement, but also doesn't want to see anyone else. She's actually been studying polyamory, and is almost done with The Ethical Slut. We've been talking a lot and I'm really happy with how open-minded and conversational she's been. About a month ago jealousy reared it's head in a semi-caustic manner: I told her I had to set an entire weekend aside for Abby. She said it was okay but her behavior immediately became almost confrontational and aggressive. She started being physically affectionate with other guys and telling me that I'm free to go talk to other girls if I want, even though we were out to spend time with each other. At first I was totally non-reactive - that didn't work. Then I treated it with a whole load of reassurance, and directly exploring the way she was feeling, which helped a lot. We're back to the nice, smooth, open dynamic, with close to no friction from jealousy.

Now I'm dealing with this situation again, but with Abby. Abby knows that I spend time with other women. She's been acting kind of vengeful towards our relationship as of late. All of the sudden telling me about other guys that she finds attractive (which is fine, but it's so sudden and dramatic), making plans tentative (again fine, but new), and saying that she doesn't feel important anymore. I've tried to reassure her in one way or another, with words and actions. The tension is still there though.

In the past, I would be quick to ignore that behavior or just exit the relationship out of frustration. I think there's a chance that this is her own way of ending the relationship, which I'm ready to accept, but which I absolutely do not want and do not want to provoke. My experience with Betty has taught me that working through the conflicts can actually renew a relationship, and make it even more special.

My question - how do you think this should be handled? Right now I'm a bit mucked up by the emotions, but I think the best thing would be to sit down and talk about us, and about what we both want. Give her a chance to directly communicate a desire to give each other some space, or maybe just a desire for more reassurance. Thoughts? Any feedback would be super helpful.

Sorry this got so long - lots on my mind! Even just writing this out helped clear my mind a bit .
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:47 AM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Default Talk it Out

I imagine you are correct, that a conversation with Abby is important. It sounds like you *could* be having issues with her new found interest in showing affection to other guys, this might be a good place to start. Otherwise, giving her the opportunity to talk to you about what is going on with her (if anything) needs to happen.

With any luck she will dive on the chance to express her feelings. Maybe an open type relationship is not for her and she needs to make an exit. Maybe she needs a different level of communication with you. Maybe there isn't anything wrong and she's just going through a change and the issue is yours in dealing with it.

In the end, playing guessing games is the path of monogamy (in my opinion). I no longer shy away from expressing my feelings and my partners should feel free to do the same. I'm willing to help a little bit to get them to open up, but sooner or later they are going to have to figure out how to talk to me.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:29 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I watched my ex husband insist on being in non monogamous relationships with people after we broke up, but working from more of a DADT perspective (not quite, but closer to what you have) and he ended up losing a partner who sounds like your Abby, who felt he wasn't really serious about her and left her for somebody she "felt could commit"

My advice is to ditch the DADT. Talk to your partners about the others in your life, about where they stand, how you feel about them, what role you'd like for them in your life (or hell, admitting if you have no idea where you see things going). If you think Abby and Betty wouldn't clash, think about having them meet or see if they are interested in emailing each other (you don't mention Cindy's role in your life so I'm kind of vague on that). Either Abby will be glad to know what is happening in your life, or she will make the decision that it's not what she wants and walk away - and as you think this might be what she's doing anyway, I don't see you have anything to lose.

As you say you're mucked up in emotions...I'm going to recommend you overnight (fine, 2 day ship) "Opening Up" by Tristan Taormino, and go through THAT with Abby (hell with every partner) and it will give you talking subjects, checklists, etc. If you are going off of some printed material it does two things - makes it seem more real that EVERYBODY deals with some weirdness and confusion when negotiating alternate relationships and that you're not just some horny fool who won't commit to one woman... and secondly if you get too nervous about a subject, it's right there in front of you and you can read off the teleprompter to get through some of the harder discussions.
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:45 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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In the past, I would be quick to ignore that behavior or just exit the relationship out of frustration.
If in the past you would ignore or exit, then she is understandably not keen on doing emotional work "up front and straight up" with you. Hence her skittering about. Perhaps you need to state to her that your ways have changed and you are more willing to face a thing up front and straight up now.

I think you instinct for a talk is right one and you basically already wrote it. Distilled it is something like this:
"Abby, can we talk? I've noticed you suddenly telling me about other guys that you find attractive and making plans with others. Which is fine since we agree to be open and you know I see other people. But it's so sudden and dramatic in the way you communicate this news to me. This concerns me when coupled with you saying you don't feel important anymore.

Presented that way it feels like you do not tell me the news in a way that is just sharing news and keeping me in the loop that you are dating others now.

Presented that way leaves me feeling like I am being attacked, punished or resented or something. Do you mean it this way -- as an attack? A punishment? Resentment of me somehow? Am I misreading this?

I don't want to break up, I DO think you are very important to me.

What wants or needs do you have that I am not meeting? Will you tell me what those are? How can I be more supportive and nurturing of you?

Will you talk to me more clearly about it all?"
Speak your truth to your partner. Honestly, truthfully, and hopefully they are willing to engage with you in kind so you sort this thing out. Whatever the next phase of this relationship will be.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-17-2012 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:58 PM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Speak your truth to your partner. Honestly, truthfully, and hopefully they are willing to engage with you in kind so you sort this thing out. Whatever the next phase of this relationship will be.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:28 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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How about having them meet and have a conversation with all of them together? Just a thought.
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