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Old 09-29-2013, 06:21 PM
stillskies stillskies is offline
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Default Feelings of Inadequacy?

So, my wife, our girlfriend and I are a little over two months into this dating thing. So far, it's been going pretty well? I mean, we haven't really had much conflict, though we're all working through our own issues and insecurities that engaging in this kind of relationship has brought up.

One of the issues that my wife is having is feeling as though she is inadequate as a partner for me specifically. She has the perception that she should be everything I need and that, since I have feelings for someone outside of the relationship, that she is not. I have tried to explain that that is not the case, but she is so tied up with her perceptions that she has a hard time understanding.

She's also struggling with whether or not she can feel romantic feelings towards someone other than me. The three of us have already agreed that if she can't, or if any of us feels like this is not going well or for whatever reason we want to walk away from the threeway relationship, we can. Neither R nor I are pressuring M with anything and keep telling her to go at her own speed, which she feels isn't fast enough. Right now, she feels very close to R, and she enjoys spending time with her when we see her, and holding her hand and cuddling on the couch and whatnot, but she's not sure if what she feels is a romantic like.

So, she thinks that if she can figure at least one of these things out, it would greatly help her so that she can try to resolve her own feelings about everything. The entire relationship between the relationship is consensual, we communicate about practically everything, and everyone made their own independent decisions to engage in it. M says she feels no resentment about anything, but that it's just a difficult transition for her. I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has any suggestions or advice on dealing with the feeling of inadequacy in a relationship? I'm trying to be as supportive as I can, but because we have such radically different views on what a partner should get from a relationship, it's hard for me to entirely comprehend. R and I match up on a lot of these world views, and we're both trying to be there and reassure someone that we love and care about while trying to understand.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:31 PM
BSP83 BSP83 is offline
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So your wife doesn't really want to be dating your girlfriend? That's what it sounds like to me. Why does she need to date your girlfriend? If she doesn't have feelings for her, why push it? Can your wife go out and find her own partner if she chooses?

These are just questions that pop into my head as I read your post. Most FMF triads don't work...in part because there is this idea that everyone has to be in love with everyone and it should all be equal and the same and blah, blah, blah.

In my case, I dated our gf first. I fell in love with her completely on my own, she fell in love with me. After a while, and times hanging out around each other, P and S started to date and eventually fall for each other. The relationships are different...and "fair" or "equal" means that everybody is getting what they need at that given time. This is not the "typical" set up for a triad.

I'm glad you all are communicating and open, but all the communication in the world will not make your wife feel something for your girlfriend if it's just not there.
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2013, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillskies View Post
She's also struggling with whether or not she can feel romantic feelings towards someone other than me.
Does she want to be polyamorous? It sounds like she's trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

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Originally Posted by stillskies View Post
The three of us have already agreed that if she can't, or if any of us feels like this is not going well or for whatever reason we want to walk away from the threeway relationship, we can.
This seems to be a problem inherent in this sort of relationship. When two people meet, they either have chemistry or they don't and hopefully there is no external pressure pushing them to force chemistry where it doesn't exist. When a couple tries to date someone there is an added issue of everyone needing to be interested in everyone else. It's hard enough to find a good balance between two people - arbitrarily deciding that three people should be in to each other ups the stakes dramatically.

Since your wife doesn't sound like she is polyamorous, have you discussed dating individually? It's pretty much what you're doing right now, except it wouldn't include an external pressure for these two women to create chemistry that doesn't exist.

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Originally Posted by stillskies View Post
Neither R nor I are pressuring M with anything and keep telling her to go at her own speed, which she feels isn't fast enough.
I'm sure it isn't your intention to pressure her, which speaks highly to the character of you and your girlfriend... but in reality there *is* pressure for her to create this chemistry between her and your girlfriend. You are trying not to fan the flames by making her feel guilty or the like, but realize that the pressure your wife is feeling is not imaginary.

A triad insists that all parties are involved with one another. If it isn't naturally happening, I strongly recommend you stop trying to force it to happen. Let it be a v ("vee"), if that's what the relationship organically wants to be.

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Originally Posted by stillskies View Post
I guess what I'm asking is if anyone has any suggestions or advice on dealing with the feeling of inadequacy in a relationship?
It's a worldview issue. We pick up these traditional social assumptions from our surroundings throughout our lives and it can be a real bitch to untie them. This idea that she should be good enough to sate your every need is a broken concept from the world of monogamy. Granted, some monogamous people are wise enough to disregard this particular tradition, but it sounds like your wife has it in her head.

Learning compersion and letting go of jealousy and envy entirely can be a long road. I suggest letting Google do some of the work for you. Google "developing compersion", "increasing self-esteem", "learning to be independent", etc. There is no easy answer, and she'll need to figure out what works for her.

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Originally Posted by stillskies View Post
I'm trying to be as supportive as I can, but because we have such radically different views on what a partner should get from a relationship, it's hard for me to entirely comprehend. R and I match up on a lot of these world views, and we're both trying to be there and reassure someone that we love and care about while trying to understand.
Which brings me to a question - does your wife want you to solve this problem for her? Has she asked you to look into this for her?
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:45 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Perhaps this could help?

Jealousy & core beliefs are addressed in it.

http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/p.../jealousy.html

Then page 5 &6 for what to be doing about jealousy management?

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf

But before even going there... why is your wife participating in a polyship if she doesn't really want to be in it?

I wonder if this...

Quote:
M says she feels no resentment about anything, but that it's just a difficult transition for her.
is her nicey way of saying "Aaaaah! I don't really want to be doing this. But I'm going to do it anyway because I am afraid to lose her!"

I'd call a time out and get to the bottom of that.

WHAT makes it hard?

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-29-2013 at 09:14 PM.
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  #5  
Old 09-29-2013, 07:23 PM
stillskies stillskies is offline
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Originally Posted by BSP83 View Post
So your wife doesn't really want to be dating your girlfriend? That's what it sounds like to me. Why does she need to date your girlfriend? If she doesn't have feelings for her, why push it? Can your wife go out and find her own partner if she chooses?
She can do whatever she likes, and this has been expressed to her several times over. I was initially hesitant to even start this because I didn't want to push her into it, but M and R are adults and they both chose to enter into this on their own. Whether or not M really wants to date M is something that she's trying to figure out, and if she realizes that she doesn't want to, no harm, no foul. So, no, she doesn't have to date R, she can go out and find a partner of her own if she chose to do so, but she doesn't want to.

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Originally Posted by BSP83 View Post
Most FMF triads don't work
Sorry for the lack of clarity on this: we're all women.

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Originally Posted by BSP83 View Post
all the communication in the world will not make your wife feel something for your girlfriend if it's just not there.
Oh, I totally agree. And I'm not trying to force that at all. I just want to figure out how to provide reassurance to her, which I don't necessarily think is a triad-only problem.

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Does she want to be polyamorous?
It's not something she's ever considered. The few people she has known that have identified as polyamorous have completely ruined their relationships for a variety of reasons, so that's what her perception of poly is: engage in it and ruin everything you about.

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
When two people meet, they either have chemistry or they don't and hopefully there is no external pressure pushing them to force chemistry where it doesn't exist. When a couple tries to date someone there is an added issue of everyone needing to be interested in everyone else. It's hard enough to find a good balance between two people - arbitrarily deciding that three people should be in to each other ups the stakes dramatically.
Yup. I agree. Either there is chemistry or there isn't. And there is chemistry between them, from what M has said, she just isn't sure if it's the kind of chemistry that will lead to her wanting to hop into bed with R. And if it isn't, that's fine.

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Since your wife doesn't sound like she is polyamorous, have you discussed dating individually?
We have, and M seems like she'd be okay with it. And you're right; it's sort of what we're already doing, so maybe it's something I need to bring up with both of them and see how R feels about that?

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
You are trying not to fan the flames by making her feel guilty or the like, but realize that the pressure your wife is feeling is not imaginary.
Yeah. I understand that. I also understand that there isn't much that I can do outside of reassuring her when she needs it. As for fanning flames, I don't think it's an issue of trying to create chemistry since it is there, but letting her work her thoughts out? She has a tendency to overthink things, and this is one of those things.

I keep telling her that she can walk away from it, that it's not difficult to end it with R for her, but she stubbornly says she wants to keep trying.

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Which brings me to a question - does your wife want you to solve this problem for her? Has she asked you to look into this for her?
She hasn't asked me to look into anything for her. I was mostly trying to figure out - and I'm realizing that I've probably misrepresented what I wanted to ask in the first place - how to provide support to her and reassure her that she is not lacking in anything. This, I feel, would be the same situation as if we had entered in to a vee.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Perhaps this could help?
Thanks! I've looked through those before, but maybe now that we're a little further into things and can sort of see how the dynamics are working, it might be a good idea to look at them again.

M says she's not jealous or anything, and I do believe her when she says it; I think it's a matter of her needing to work through her thoughts and issues? But I could be wrong.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
why is your wife participating in a polyship if she doesn't really want to be in it?
Her reasoning for participating - and this is what she's told both R and me - is that she'll never know if it could work unless she tries. So she's trying. And I don't think she's forcing a lot of things, but I do think that the change in our relationship configuration is bringing back a lot of insecurities and issues that she'd had when we first got together.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
is her nicey way of saying "Aaaaah! I don't really want to be doing this. But I'm going to do it anyway because I am afraid to lose him!"

I'd call a time out and get to the bottom of that.
It's a possibility that I've thought about. She says that's not the case, and our relationship is solid and stable and good. And I constantly reassure her that I'm not going anywhere, but, again, she had this same problem when she and I had started dating and it just took time for her to realize I wasn't going to up and leave, and that was when we were monogamous.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
WHAT makes it hard?
I'm assuming you're asking about what makes it hard for me to understand? That would be because she looks at things in terms of black and white, and I tend to see gray everywhere. It's a fundamental problem that we've had since day one of our relationship, but we tend to communicate well enough to at least get to a level of understanding.

In this case, though, she is having a hard time expressing herself about it because she has so many thoughts going through her head.

Hopefully this helps answer some questions? Also, it has made me realize that I need to better communicate what it is I'm asking. XD;;
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:15 PM
PolyinPractice PolyinPractice is offline
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Quite a few people criticizing the OP for the idea that she and her wife are "making" this other woman date both of them. It doesn't sound like that to me; it sounds like the OP and the girlfriend are dating....and the OP's wife is not excluded from this, and can spend time/cuddle/hold hands if they like. It's like how I was with a partner before....he and I were the ones dating, but his wife was free to hang out with me as well, or both of us. I toyed with the idea of being affectionate with her. But I never once considered her to be MY girlfriend.

Is there this idea in the poly world that if one half of an established couple is dating another....and the other half of the couple can also be in that other person's life....that that is a "triad" and that all three are "dating"?
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:57 PM
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And you're right; it's sort of what we're already doing, so maybe it's something I need to bring up with both of them and see how R feels about that?
I think this will really help. Then, there is no pressure at all for the two of them to hook up.

As far as reassurance, I think that as long as everything you do is genuine, that you are honest and kind (which sounds like what you are currently doing), that you're doing all you can. She could probably benefit from doing some independent research and a bit of therapy to reinforce a positive self image for herself - but unfortunately you can't do that for her.

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Originally Posted by PolyinPractice View Post
Quite a few people criticizing the OP for the idea that she and her wife are "making" this other woman date both of them. It doesn't sound like that to me; it sounds like the OP and the girlfriend are dating....and the OP's wife is not excluded from this, and can spend time/cuddle/hold hands if they like.
Who is criticizing? We're just having a conversation here.

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Originally Posted by stillskies View Post
The three of us have already agreed that if she can't, or if any of us feels like this is not going well or for whatever reason we want to walk away from the threeway relationship, we can.
I misunderstood the original post, and this statement in particular, which led me to understand that they were working for a triad only.

It sounded to me that she was saying that if anyone didn't feel like it was working out that we can dissolve the relationship. Now that the OP has graciously explained a bit deeper, I now know that this was just a misinterpretation on my part. What she was saying (correct me if I'm wrong) is that the idea of a triad is not fundamental to what is happening, and if that particular configuration isn't working then they can all allow it to flow naturally (most likely into a v, which is basically where it is now).

Personally I think this is the perfect way to go about it.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:29 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Thanks for more info. I wasn't sure where this was all at.

So....
  • She's WILLING but questioning her ABILITY to execute.
  • She still wants to be in it to see if she is indeed ABLE or not. Despite any discomfort along the way she might experience. She's prepared to risk that, but needs help in figuring HOW to manage those things?

Is that where it is parked at?

She could post here herself so it's not coming in through your filter. That could be a start.

If you are posting only about your angle in this -- how to HELP her? Well, you can't help her with something that you do not know and she cannot articulate. You are not a mind reader.

All you can do at this point is encourage her to try to articulate where's she's coming from and reassure her that you are willing to go through this with her and not jump ship just because it is challenging right now. Could ask some clarifying questions like "How do you see yourself getting through this? If you had to order the obstacles, which is the most annoying? Which is the easiest to fix?"

Largely this seems to be about problem solving skills at this point.

Quote:
She says that's not the case, and our relationship is solid and stable and good. And I constantly reassure her that I'm not going anywhere, but, again, she had this same problem when she and I had started dating and it just took time for her to realize I wasn't going to up and leave, and that was when we were monogamous.
Have you lifted that up to her? Reminded her? Maybe this just needs TIME to become the "new normal" and she can see that nothing horrible happened?

Is it the polymath thing? She's good with YOU on your tiers, but shaky on the polymath tiers where the GF appears?

A polyship is made of all the mini relationship tiers within it. For the polyship at large to fly well, all the mini relationships within it must be healthy.

If what she needs is more reassuring from the GF? YOU reassuring til you are blue in the face is not giving her what she needs from the correct person she needs it FROM. Make sense?

The shared mission here seems to be "try to polyship" but it is not clear on the shape "as a "triad" or as a "V."

She is your wife. She knows that role and its expectations.
She is WHAT to the other woman? A GF? A Metamour? BOTH? What is the role and the expectations of THAT? Has that been clarified between them? You could encourage them to talk on THAT polymath tier and tell you what they conclude.

Since all seem agreeable to not triad? Maybe you all start as a "V" with you as the hinge. Later see if the other V's are starting to happen naturally or not. Really a triad is 3 v's laid on top of each other anyway. Start with one V and then let the rest develop if they are destined to develop that way. Don't force it.

Perhaps being clearer on the mission at THIS chunk of time could help people pull it together?
"We are open to other things growing, but for the first _____ months, we are trying to run a V with X as the hinge. We are / are not also trying to date other people at the same time."
Quote:
I'm assuming you're asking about what makes it hard for me to understand? That would be because she looks at things in terms of black and white, and I tend to see gray everywhere. It's a fundamental problem that we've had since day one of our relationship, but we tend to communicate well enough to at least get to a level of understanding.

In this case, though, she is having a hard time expressing herself about it because she has so many thoughts going through her head.
Ok, that's part of the equation. What makes this hard for you right now.

What about the rest?

  • What does WIFE say makes it hard for her?

    (Thoughts racing in her head. What sorts of thoughts? Poly hell thoughts? If those thoughts come up later, how will your polyship handle it?
  • What does GF say makes it hard for her?

Could finish identifying strengths, weaknesses, potential pitfalls or problem areas first. From each person's POV.


Once you know those puzzle pieces... could group them so you know who is doing what. Who will be responsible for what? Then you are all pulling in the same direction to meet the shared goal. Not paddling in all sorts of directions at different times and essentially getting in your own way.
  • What do you need from YOU to move this forward?
  • What do you need from HER to move this forward?
  • What do you need from the other GF to help move this forward?
  • What is needed from the GROUP to help you?
  • What does wife need from HERSELF to help move this forward?
  • What does wife need from YOU to help move this forward?
  • What does wife need from the other GF to help move this forward?
  • What is needed from the GROUP to help her?
  • What does GF need from herself to help move this forward?
  • What does GF need from YOU to help move this forward?
  • What does GF need from your wife to help move this forward?
  • What is needed from the GROUP to help her?

Break it down into bite sizes if taking it all in as one fell swoop is too much.

Hope that makes sense for ideas where to conversations could go.

GL!
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-29-2013 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:32 PM
PolyinPractice PolyinPractice is offline
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Who is criticizing? We're just having a conversation here.
Pardon, I did not mean criticize in a negative way. Merely a comment on previous posts such as "So your wife doesn't really want to be dating your girlfriend? That's what it sounds like to me. Why does she need to date your girlfriend? If she doesn't have feelings for her, why push it? Can your wife go out and find her own partner if she chooses?"

Felt there was unnecessary assumption that just because the wife was involved and affectionate (hand holding, that sort of thing), it meant it had a to be a triad where all were dating and intimate. That's all
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:50 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Maybe chemistry isn't the right word?

I know for Maca-he knows from a day or two in if he's interested in a romance. I on the otherhand require months. I may feel chemistry-but that doesn't mean I can go full out.

Maybe it would be helpful for her to just be reminded that rushing her natural tendencies is TOTALLY ok and actually PREFERABLE!

Sometimes-when someone says "It's ok" I hear "I wish you would hurry up but I love you so I'm trying to be patient".

Maybe she would benefit from being told "You know, I really prefer that you go as slow as needed, that way I don't feel like I'm pressuring you either AND we will all know that whatever happens-it was because you were really ready for it."

Sometimes-our internal and unconscious minds really screw with what we hear.

It might help to alter the form of what you are saying to her (that it's ok if she isn't ok with it) to you pREFERING she take the time to really know where she's at and that it's not just "ok" but that it will actually be BEST for you (and everyone) if she just allows herself to naturally mosey along until she knows what she wants...

(just a different perspective)
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