I’ve just met a really great guy. We’ve been dating for about a few months now, and every day, I fall more for him in little ways. I know I should just assume this is the honeymoon phase, but it feels a little different than that. Intangible.
He is polyamorous, and has been with his other partner for about a year (they are not primaries to each other, and he has told me she is far from being “The One” (What a phrase, for a poly, eh? Haha)). Anyway… This is the first poly relationship I’ve been in, and from the utter oppression I felt in my last relationship, I really enjoy the idea of freely loving someone, and vice versa. I in no way ever really intended to go down this path, but I think there’s potential here, in this method of loving, and I am optimistic about the possibilities…
This hurts. This hurts terribly. He’s very open with me with regards to who his other partner is, what they do together, and that sort of thing. He listens when I have things to say and is understanding and offers advice and affection when I need it. I’ve read The Ethical Slut. I’ve read blogs. I’ve taken up meditation and yoga…
When does it stop hurting? When does jealousy and fear and insecurity and everything else fade? Is there something else I’m missing? Should I do something else?
My biggest fear is that this poly isn’t the thing for me, and I’m going to lose him because of it.
I’ve just spent an hour writing and erasing replies to this. Why?
- It triggered last week’s rant because I really don’t see love here, but addiction.
- I’m wincing at the whole, “My other partner isn’t really ‘The One'” thing, as it smells like bait for a trap and manipulation.
Making yourself be poly if that’s not your thing to keep a partner is moronic. It won’t get any better if you’re not wired that way. There are over seven billion people in this world. If you’re monogamous, you only need one that will be a good partner for you. Why run with what is essentially an addiction? I’m not saying losing him won’t hurt if it happens. It will, hoo boy will it ever! But pain fades, and you can learn from it.
Since it’s entirely possible that I’m completely off-base with where you’re coming from, let’s address that jealousy, and get really specific. When do you get that ouch that gets you in the guts?
- Is it when you feel left out?
- Is it when you’re not sure what you mean to your partner?
- Is it because you’re not sure where the relationship is going?
- Is it when you’re feeling lonely?
You’ll start to notice a pattern when you start answering these questions for yourself.
I’ll give an example. The left out thing came to mind because I really dislike feeling left out. Yet, I’m an introvert. That means I need great heaping mounds of alone time to be mentally healthy. So, an extroverted partner might (in an genuine attempt to be kind) refrain from asking me along to events very often. Then I might start feeling neglected, left out and unimportant to that partner who was trying to do me a kindness and help me take care of my emotional needs.
Being a big girl, I am responsible for analyzing it, and then talking to my partner about it. So I tell my partner how I’m feeling. The partner suggests that he’ll just invite me to every event where my company would be welcome and let me decide whether or not I want to go or need to be alone. Because my partner understands that turning down events isn’t rejection, this works for both of us. (Though if he had a problem with rejection, we’d probably have to talk more to come up with another solution that worked for us).
Now that likely isn’t your problem, but I wanted to outline the process. You need to poke at the jealousy. You need to find out where the insecurity is coming from. Then you’ll have a clearer idea of how to handle it.
Now if you’ve read any early Twentieth Century psychology you might have this expectation that once you find the key log in your jam of emotions and move it, everything else will go tumbling down the stream without any problem at all. Freud and Jung both tended to imply this when they wrote about their patients. Nothing could be further from the truth. What’s more likely, when working on any emotional issue, is that you’ll be chipping away at it day by day, making tiny bits of progress over time to the point that you may not notice in the moment what kind of progress is being made. Change is more often a matter of consistent, tedious work rather than big, dramatic epiphanies.
Either way, good luck!