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Old 09-25-2012, 11:13 PM
pelican pelican is offline
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Default my partner is confused

Hello all! I am a 30 year old lesbian in a 3+ year relationship with another 30-something woman. We aren't married, but have always considered this to be a forever thing.

My partner recently confessed to me, a little over two months ago, that she had developed "a crush" on one of her coworkers, and that they had made out a few times. She was extremely upset and assumed I would break up with her. I was less than thrilled that she had cheated, but told her I thought it was normal to have crushes on other people along the line. In subsequent days and weeks, we started to talk about having an open relationship, since it was clear she was going to have trouble "giving up" this other woman. I've been at least open to the idea of wading into poly waters since these conversations began, and was the one who brought it up.

Anyway, blah blah blah, with my blessing, my partner is now dating and sleeping with her coworker, who knows I approve. The sticking point is that my partner has a lot of preconceived notions that open relationships can't work. As a result, she is freaking out. She acknowledges that she likes being with both of us, but she's having trouble accepting that it is okay to feel that way. According to her, even though she knows that she and I love each other, she is struggling to wrap her mind around the idea that anyone can have a healthy relationship that is not strictly monogamous.

Aside from dealing with my partner's anxiety, I've found this to be kind of fun. I like hearing about their exploits, I like hanging out with the other woman, and the arrangement has improved our sex life. At the moment, I don't have any personal interest in dating anyone else, but I might be interested if the right person came along.

Any suggestions on how to help my partner chill out and enjoy the situation? Is there hope that we can overcome her anxiety? She is half-kidding about breaking up with both of us and never dating again.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:26 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 2,183

Lesbians are just as subject to ideals about the white picket fence as anyone else. Maybe more so.

Your girlfriend is going to have let those ideals go. ANd that can be very hard. Is she freaked out because of the tape reels of the perfect relationship she has going in her head? Or because of what others might think? Both? Neither?

If she doesn't face reality - which is awesome - she will sabotage what she has with you and with the new relationship.

Ethical non-monogamy can work well for people. It is work and can be really challenging and is not so accepted but hey, so is being a lesbian!
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:41 PM
pelican pelican is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
Is she freaked out because of the tape reels of the perfect relationship she has going in her head? Or because of what others might think? Both? Neither?
First but not foremost, she is afraid that their boss is going to find out and fire both of them, which may or may not be a rational conclusion, I don't know. The other woman doesn't seem to be worried. It is a small workplace, and their boss already seems to be keyed into the fact that they are into each other, though she seems to so far assume that I either am out of the loop, or am hysterical. Strangely, those scenarios would somehow be more acceptable, it seems.

Mostly, however, I think my partner is upset because she has a really strict, though not unusual, idea of what a healthy relationship looks like. For her, that idea includes monogamy. She comes across as a free-spirited and liberal person, but is privately conservative about sex and sexual politics. It's like she's trying to jam the square peg of her reality into the round hole of preconceived notions.

I've been reading up on all this, and it seems that it's normally the partner in my position who is freaking out. I don't really know what to do about her freaking out instead, except to generally love her and support her. More specific suggestions are, of course, welcomed.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:11 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northern Cali
Posts: 552

I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions but I do have empathy for her! Even a few years down the road, I still occasionally deal with feelings of, "Can it really be okay that I get to have BOTH of them?" and "Am I being selfish? Am I hurting one of my partners, even though he says he's fine??" It can be VERY difficult to shrug off the social programming that healthy, successful relationships involve monogamy and exclusivity. So if it helps her to feel more normal she can be reassured that her reactions are normal! Maybe not useful or helpful, but normal. All she can do is keep digging at why she feels that way until she reaches the root. Then hopefully she'll be able to move past it, but it'll likely take a lot of effort. Not all people who are poly made a conscious choice- some had it happen to them and will need to do just as much work to wrap their heads around this new idea as the surprised mono partner beside them!
Pan Female, Hinge in a V between my mono (straight) husband, Monochrome and my poly (pan) partner, ThatGuyInBlack
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