So, me (26 F) and my partner (37 M) have been in what we call a monogamish relationship pretty much since the beginning four years ago. I’ve slept with many, many dudes, and he’s also had the odd sexual adventure. We’ve both agreed that we want an open relationship in the future, but neither of us has ever really had an ongoing physical and emotional relationship with another boyfriend or girlfriend. Until about two months ago, when my partner started dating a girl who he genuinely likes. And she genuinely very much likes him.
What I’m struggling with is that he and I have been having relationship problems for about a year, entirely separate from our polyamorous lifestyle. I was already feeling very insecure and anxious before he started seeing her. Now, their relationship seems to have brought all my fears . I’m trying my hardest to separate my feelings about him and I from my feelings of him and her, but I can’t help but feel like he’s retreating into the other relationship as a way to avoid me because I don’t make him happy anymore.
Obviously, the solution here is to try harder to make him happy so that he voluntarily chooses to spend time with me, but I really can’t help but let this anxiety affect my interactions with him.
If you were having problems before the relationship got started, I’m wondering why you two thought that things would turn out well by adding new people, of course. It’s a dumbassed thing to do.*
Unfortunately, you’ve got the new partner in the relationship, that partner is a person with feelings, too, and so there’s no way in hell I’m going to say to kick her out. That’d be a bit cruel. And in sober truth, you don’t get to make that call.
I’m uncomfortable with the idea that the onus is all on you to be the pleaser in the relationship. I mean yeah, yeah, the idea is that people in relationships are nice to each other because they love each other and all. That’s true. But this isn’t a contest where the best pleaser gets the most cookies, you know.
Do you want more time with your partner? Ask.
Do you want to know what your partner feels? Ask.
Really, no kidding. You say, “Honey, I’m feeling like you and I aren’t doing well and part of the reason you want this other relationship is because we’re not doing well and it’s a way to avoid that. Is this true?”
If your partner habitually tells you the truth, you’re golden. You’ll know. And after you know, then you can decide what to do from there.
If your partner doesn’t? Mebbe you need a new partner.
* I assure you this is not a high horse. I’ve done it, too.