I am new to the poly life style and am having a hard time sharing my husband of 13 years with another woman. It is something we had always talked about and thought about but now – that it is happening I am having such a hard time with jealously – and these feelings that I am not good enough for him or that he likes her more – or she is prettier – or what do they talk about? I really like this girl but at the same time I feel that her and I haven’t bonded and they have. Another problem is – I am Bi – and when discussing this whole situation with my husband in detail prior to starting a poly lifestyle we had agreed to have a Bi woman for us and it would be just the 3 of us committed to each other – so her not being into me but into my husband hurts me and it makes me feel rejected. I want to keep it going in a way to see if it works and she can grow comfortable in this with me but then at the same time I want it to stop because i feel left out and it feels like i am just sharing my husband and he is getting the best of both worlds while am I holding my jealously and insecurities in my hands with no one to talk to about this.
Okay, the real deal is this: it is not a great idea to insist that you find someone that is into both of you. If you need to remove the feelings of rejection from it, you might want to think of yourself as chocolate, when she might prefer key lime. It’s not a big deal, nor is it a sign of personal worth.
Feeling left out? That can be an issue, but it kind of depends on what you’re feeling left out about. Are you getting social and fun time with your husband? You certainly have a right to ask for that. Do you feel like he’s getting to be involved with people and you’re not? If so, why? Do your agreements forbid you from dating? Are you allowed to date people who would not be involved with your husband? If not, are you really cool with that? I wouldn’t be, mind, and I’ve seldom seen it work out long term. Neither am I a particular fan of the One Penis Policy, as it seems specifically designed to throw the burden of overcoming insecurities on the female partner. Though if you’re bi and what you really want is to date a woman, that my not be the issue.
If you’re not dating because of your own choices, I’d say some re-evaluation is in order. Is it time issues? Is it confidence? For what it’s worth, I’m d’une certain age, not slender, and have rather solitary tastes. The combination might be the kiss of death for dating, but I don’t have any particular trouble meeting people who I enjoy being with, when I trouble to get my ass in gear and… well, you know, go outside and talk to people.
I wouldn’t be comfortable with a rule where any partner of mine and I had to date mutually. Has it ever happened that a partner and I were involved with the same person? Sure, and when it evolves that way it can be nice. But the stricture of insisting on it really means that someone might be forced to deal with uncomfortable emotions where other partners get a “Get out of jail free” card on that score.
And I’m not sure that’s a happy or healthy way to approach any sort of mutual relationship.
Yes, yes, yes, you do need to deal with your own insecurities. No doubt! But believe it or not, it’s not because of your relationships or solely to be okay with your husband dating, but for you.
Some things you might want to think about:
- Comparison sucks. You are a unique human individual. Are there people prettier? Possibly (I have no idea what you look like). From my own experience, all of my partners have been involved with people more physically attractive than I am. Every. Single. One. And while it’s slightly possible in one case I was dumped for someone more attractive, I know damned well that was a corollary issue at most. I promise, if you’ve been dumped solely on looks, especially after 13 year of marriage, you’re being done a damn favor. You do not need his shallow ass, no matter how in love you are.
- Your partner(s) almost certainly love you for exactly who you are. What makes you you? That’s what you’re probably loved for. The best thing you can possibly do is be yourself just as hard as you can. Those partners involved with prettier people? They were into me for my own self, exactly as I was. I didn’t need to be the prettiest, smartest, best dancer or give the best blow jobs. I just had to be me, because that’s who they were interested in. And who the heck wants to be involved with someone who isn’t into the human being that you are?
- If you’re wondering what they talk about, for the love of Offler, ask. I swear, I’d have very little column fodder if people would communicate with each other. ASK. Asking questions is a very good way to find out things. We learned that on Sesame Street, for pity’s sake.
So, stop comparing, ask for what you want, ask what you want to know about and
Bloody well be the awesome you that you are!
No-one else in the world can possibly pull it off, after all.
5 thoughts on “Be Yourself Just as Hard as You Can”
“holding my jealously and insecurities in my hands with no one to talk to about this”
Y’know, this here jumps out to me. The LW says that she’s dealing with this all alone, that her husband is off having fun and she’s just left at home to deal with her insecurities and jealousy by herself.
If that’s the case, then no wonder she’s feeling awful! Listen, LW, it’s true that your feelings are your own and that nobody else can have them or work through them for you. But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with everything by yourself! Your talk about having had conversations with your husband before he got involved with his GF- are you still talking to him now? Not accusing him, but sharing your feelings with him. Let him know that you’re feeling insecure! Ask him to reassure you! Just ’cause he has a new shiny girlfriend doesn’t mean that he gets to ignore you.
One thing I’d say that has helped me a lot when I’ve felt similar things to you: Make an agreement with your husband that you get to talk about how you’re feeling, and that feelings are not the same as demands. So you get to say that sometimes you wish she wasn’t there too, without it being a demand for him and her to break up. Make a space where you can let your feelings out. Make that space different from the one where you actually discuss what you’re going to do next. Give yourself the freedom to talk about how you feel and where you’re at.
As a corollary to this — the set-aside time that you’re asking for, where you can talk freely about your feelings, negative and positive — also ask for some reassurance that you’re not being seen as only having negative emotional interactions with your husband, while all the happy-fluffy-lovey positive interactions are with his girlfriend.
The reason I say this is because *I’m* someone who has struggled (hard!) with insecurity, and part of what made me reluctant to broach some of the hard topics was that I felt like I wanted my time with my partner to be AS OMG HAPPY AS POSSIBLE, so that the NRE (New Relationship Energy — all the wheeee stuff that comes with being with someone new) wasn’t in constant contrast to me feeling insecure, bereft, sad, and envious. (I’m rarely jealous, in that I define that as wanting to have something that someone else has, and *not wanting them to have it*, whereas I’ve certainly had times where I’m envious, because I want to have some of that good thing, too!)
It’s very likely that your husband, if he’s a decent person, will immediately tell you that of COURSE what you’re feeling is reasonable, that he loves spending time with you, that he loves *you*, and that you are special to him. But, sometimes, you need to HEAR that stuff.
So — I personally would add, “I’m going to be honest and I’m going to share my feelings with you, good and bad, but I also would like you to talk to ME about how you feel about OUR relationship in response, because that might actually help with some of the bad feelings.”
Wishing you luck — and repeating the guidance that while it’s a common fantasy to find a bi woman who’s into both of you and wants to form a triad, it’s actually not an easy task to find such a person . . . and, honestly, then you’re looking for a puzzle piece to fit into a hole, not a person.
Don’t think of people like things — yes, it would be awesome to meet a bi woman who is into both of you and who *you’re also both into* (that’s a factor, too!), but if you’re looking to have a relationship or even if you’re looking for a friend with benefits or a threesome partner, look at them as *people*, who have their own lives, thoughts, opinions, and attractions, and only start relationships if they’re someone you genuinely want to be with.
Honestly, this is where I see a lot of relationships break down — even if you find your “unicorn” (a bi woman who wants to be with both the husband and wife in a married couple — there’s even a name for the concept, if that gives you some idea of how commonly this idea comes up, but how rare these women are!), she’s still a person, with thoughts and ideas and desires of her own . . . and some of these unicorn-hunters come back looking for advice six months later, saying “We found our unicorn, but she is falling in love with one of us more than the other/is more sexually into one of us than the other/isn’t really into threesomes and wants to have twosome sexytimes/wants to date someone *gasp* OUTSIDE THE TRIAD” . . . etc.
You will be much happier if you talk to your husband and say that, if *you* are interested in dating someone else (not just because he’s doing it, but because you genuinely want to!), you’re going to look for someone who’s seriously into you, and if they want the occasional bedtime with your husband, so much the better — but you’re going to stop looking for the magical unicorn who wants to be with and love both of you equally.
I think *all* of you will be much happier if you think of it that way.
Good luck . .. and **hugs**, because I know this is rough, if you’ve been in a dyad for a long time and your partner starts a new relationship and you’re put in the “Exactly what is in this for me, again?” position.
I am in a poly relationship with a man and a woman… am bi… and she is not. At first, the first year, it bothered me. 🙂 I wanted us all to be a sexual puppy pile and be HappyHappyJoyJoy! Well, that isn’t the way it is. How it is, she and I are sisters. We giggle together, tell raunchy jokes together, go shopping together. We are buddies. We harass our man together. We raise our (her and his) children together. We love each other. 🙂 Just not THAT way.
That was a really difficult thing for me. Even though I’ve spent countless hours and dollars with therapists learning that “sex does not equate love”, it sticks in the back of the head. Once I got past it, and realized it was just fine for us to be friends, the world got so much easier.
I guess where I’m stuck is the part where you are saying, “when discussing this whole situation with my husband in detail prior to starting a poly lifestyle we had agreed to have a Bi woman for us”
I hate to break it to you darling, but a bi woman is not cake. She is not something to be passed back and forth to share. She is a human being with needs, wants, desires, a unique personality, and she is not “for” anyone, not a possession, her bisexuality does not make her some fantastical creature to be acquired. You’re talking about having a relationship with someone but the premise of the proposed relationship is already giving her no room to be a human being and individual. Also, relationships RARELY stay in the realm of theory. And I am pretty sure that you probably know this, but it’s really good to check the way you are talking about things because it’s an indicator of a deeper thought process (maybe unconscious) that you really do need to nip in the bud.
The rest of it? Yeah, talk about it. Share. Ask. Don’t compare. Put on your big girl panties and step forward into the power of helping to create the relationship you want to be having.
Thank you all for sharing. I, too, find that poly invites me to be myself as hard as I can and to be the awesome that I am. I don’t know where it will take me, relationship-wise, but I do know that as long as I love and value and share myself with the world, I am doing life as “right” as I can. Love & Aloha!