Feeling All the Feels

I have a lot of questions on my mind and I find myself wanting to post on this forum even though I am not necessarily seeking answers or feedback. I decided that maybe starting a blog would help me write out my thoughts in a safe place.

Here goes....
 
Am I Not Really Okay with Polyamory?

Yesterday Ponytail reopened his OKC account. My first reaction was that I was happy for him. I've been encouraging him to re-open his account for a little while, even though it made me nervous. I've been stressed by not being able to fulfill his time/attention needs and I thought that it would feel better if he was dating and having fun without me.

So when he told me that he had reopened his account, my first reaction was "Yay!"

I temporarily reactivated my own account so that I could see his new profile. This meant that I got to also see who was currently on OKC and identifying as non-monogamous. There were lots of cool people on there.

And suddenly I felt awful.

I know what it is: it's insecurity. I'm afraid that he will find someone who better suits his needs and not want to be with me anymore. But no matter how much I try to talk to myself about these feelings and try to cope, my whole core just says, "No. I don't want this."

As in, I just have a strong desire to push him away. Why? I don't get it. Literally, two days ago I was freaking out telling both Glasses and Ponytail how much I love them, how happy I am, how I am the luckiest woman in the world. But now?

Now I feel like I never want to see Ponytail again. Even though I know that I am so incredibly happy when I am with him. This morning we were processing my reactions and feelings about him opening his account and he offered to stop by and give me a hug. This is something that I have happily done for him when he has been feeling down, and we've both appreciated it. But when he offered it, I declined. I didn't want to see him. What's wrong with me?

I don't know how to reconcile my logical mind and my illogical heart. I know that it's possible to be attracted to multiple people at once. I know that I love two people right now and I don't want to deny either of them that same sense of fulfillment and joy. I know that I am not able to meet Ponytail's needs for time and affection. Every part of me says that it makes sense for Ponytail and Glasses to have other relationships. And yet it....hurts? Does this mean that I'm not really poly? Does it mean I am just a selfish asshole?

I've been reading some resources about insecurity. How you're supposed to identify the negative self-talk that your brain tells you ("I'm afraid that my partner will leave me for someone who is better in bed," for example) and tell yourself, "No, that's not true. This is true instead . . ." ("My partner loves me and I bring value to my partner's life in these ways . . .")

But I can't identify any messages that my brain is sending me. It's just "No. Don't do this. This is why monogamy is so popular -- it's because polyamory is just filled with potential for you to feel insecure and hurt." The negative self-talk is not personal to me or whether Ponytail loves me. It's just situational -- "You should stop talking to Ponytail so that this all goes away." Followed up by, "That would hurt Ponytail if you stopped talking to him. You're such an asshole." Then I try to use the technique above..... "No, that's not true. You're not an asshole . . ." but I can't figure out what to say in the part where I say positive self-talk instead. Because if my instinct is to cut someone out of my life because I'm afraid, how am I not behaving like an asshole?
 
what's next?

I spent yesterday pretty much depressed all day. It was hard to feel anything at all. I wanted to cry so badly but I couldn't -- it was like there was already a wall up around my heart and I couldn't feel anything.

Today I asked Ponytail how OKC was going. It felt good to push on my insecurity and expose myself to it by asking. He said it was meh, which didn't help much but at least I got the experience of asking.

I am seeing him tonight. I really don't want to, but I know that that is the fear of getting hurt that's talking. I need to get past the desire to push him away. I kind of want him to go on a date, just so that I know I can survive it.
 
The Source of My Issues?

So yesterday just as I started feeling better emotionally, I completely broke down physically. I am 99% sure that it's because of the implant birth control that I am using. I am completely miserable. I feel like I am 7 weeks pregnant -- bloated, crampy, migraine, the works.

Ponytail and I were scheduled for a date, but I couldn't muster any interest in leaving the house. We started to make plans to have a night in at his place, but I was in so much pain I couldn't even drive to Ponytail's house. He ended up coming over to my place after the kids were in bed. And then we just snuggled and talked all evening.

I've just made an appointment to have it removed again. No idea what I'll do for birth control now, but I know I can't "give it 3 months" the way that I had expected. I just need it out of me now.

Birth control is so tricky with polyamory. A colleague of mine was listening to me talk about my reaction to the Nexplanon and said that I should really just ask my husband to get a vasectomy. This makes sense in a way -- my husband is the primary driver as far as the decision to be done with kids, so it makes sense for him to take matters into his own hands.

And yet, my colleague said, "And as long as you're not messing around on him, if he takes care of it then you don't have to worry about getting pregnant."

My heart dropped when she said this. The fact that I just nodded and said, "Yeah, that's true" was one of the first times that I felt decidedly dishonest about all of this. It was a reminder of just how closeted I am.
 

opalescent

Active member
Ugh, that sounds awful MsEmotional. Women react so differently to hormonal birth control. I have had more than one friend have terrible time with implants. But other people - they work great for them.

Many of my friends who cannot tolerate hormonal birth control have had good experiences with a non-hormonal IUD. Perhaps this would work for you?
 
Ugh, that sounds awful MsEmotional. Women react so differently to hormonal birth control. I have had more than one friend have terrible time with implants. But other people - they work great for them.

Many of my friends who cannot tolerate hormonal birth control have had good experiences with a non-hormonal IUD. Perhaps this would work for you?

Thanks, I am at the doctor's office now!

Yeah, the Paraguard is my next possible choice. For now I think I will just go back to condoms. The idea of having heavier periods with the copper iud after this awful cramping is too much to consider for the moment.
 
Panic at the Clinic

When I met with the nurse practitioner today, she asked me about the side effects I was experiencing. She said that my symptoms sounded a lot more like pregnancy than side effects and told me she'd like me to go to the lab and get a pregnancy blood test after they removed the implant.

This turned into a really scary evening. I was texting both of my partners, to keep them in the loop. In each case, I felt like I was just sending an update about why my appointment was going to take longer than expected (Glasses because he was already at home and wondering when I would be getting home....Ponytail because he had been planning to stop by after my appointment and give me a hug), until I actually sent it. Then all of a sudden I got REALLY nervous.

The procedure went smoothly and the blood draw went well too. I won't get the results until tomorrow afternoon, though, which is a really long time to wait. I asked my husband to pick up some urine pregnancy tests so that I could at least check that out at home while I waited for the blood test results.

Well, the stick test was inconclusive. I saw a second line, but it was hard to tell whether it was actually pink or just grey. I informed Ponytail of the result, since he knew I was taking a test.

Glasses reacted the way I would have expected. He was freaked out, but still nurturing, asking me how I was feeling, what I thought would be a logical next step, etc.

Ponytail's reaction came through via text. So it was harder to gauge. It seemed like mostly shock. He didn't respond for lengthy periods of time. When he did express his feelings on the matter, it was clear to me that he assumed it would be a baby I would be having with Glasses. I don't think Ponytail realized that I've been using the same level of protection with both of them -- that if this was indeed a pregnancy, it was pretty much even odds that he was the father.

Even after I brought this to his attention, it was still so different the way he reacted. Glasses would say things like, "We'll figure this out together," whereas Ponytail would say things like, "I know you'll be alright." It was weird -- I get the impression that Ponytail meant it more in the sense of, "This is your body and your decision," kind of way. But it totally rubbed me the wrong way. What I wanted to hear from him was, "If you're pregnant, I'm here for you."

He's never been through a pregnancy or pregnancy scare with a partner before, though. He was totally out of his wheelhouse. Also, he's been dating me for less than 2 months. I guess I can't expect that he would have the same coping skills that my husband has. Still, I was freaking out and I really needed more support.

At the end of it all, I ended up taking the second test in the box. I had originally planned to save it for the morning when it would be more accurate. But then I went ahead and just took it. It was totally negative. Not even a hint of a line of any color. So I feel very reassured now.

Whew!
 
Who knew that implant was messing with me so much?

I feel happy!

I feel sexy!

I feel secure!

I feel energized!

I am not in pain!

I actually made it through the whole day of work without doubling over in pain or falling asleep!

I can't believe how much better I feel today than I have in several days. Not only are the cramps and headache gone today, but my mood is SO much better. I feel like a normal person again. And my libido is through the roof!

I am so glad I got the implant taken out rather than waiting longer. I guess it really just illustrates the importance of listening to your body and knowing how much effort you are willing to put into something that doesn't seem to be working for you.
 
But what about the kids?

This has been an eventful couple of days.

On Thursday, Ponytail came over and we had a nice long talk in which we processed some of the feelings we had had around the pregnancy scare. I explained that it was hard for me to hear him say "I know you'll be okay" instead of "I know we can figure this out together." He explained that he had no idea it came off as distant -- that it didn't even occur to him that he would peace out and leave me and Glasses to deal with the situation on our own and so that interpretation wasn't remotely on his mind. We also had a long conversation about his reaction to the situation in general -- how odd I find it that he wasn't more freaked out. He's so fucking logical! He's just like, "what would be the point of stressing about the logistics before we'd even gotten conclusive test results back? Gathering a child with you isn't scary for me. It wouldn't be ideal, but we'd figure it all out somehow."

I don't know if that's a healthy response or if it is a naive one.

And so now that I know that that is his response, I feel like I need to "teach" him about how stressful it is to be a parent. Why? To scare him away ever having kids? I am just so used to people (men in particular) being anxious and stressed about the idea of having a child (particularly one that is unplanned) that I feel like he must just not have any idea what he would be getting into. But if someone is not stressed about something that has the potential to also bring them joy, isn't that a good thing? Do I WANT him to be stressed about the idea of having a kid? Why would that be beneficial? I think I see stress as an indicator of healthy realism -- and so in the absence of stress I assume he isn't being realistic. But maybe he is just realistic in a more chill way than I am.

Anyway, the next night he stayed over and we started having a discussion about what it would be like to have a kid together. We didn't talk about any of the stressful logistical stuff, just the fun stuff like baby names. It's really hard for me to tell whether having a kid with me is something he *wants* or whether it is something he would just roll with if it happened. It's hard when you are in your mid-thirties....I feel like my biological clock is pushing us to be thinking in this direction way before we would normally discuss it. But I don't want to hold him back from having kids if that's what he wants to do. And if he is harboring a hope that he and I will have kids together someday, then I feel like we need to get that out in the open so hat it can be discussed and not just linger in the backs of our minds.

Finally, this morning when we got up we all (Glasses, me, Ponytail and the two kids) went to breakfast together. It was Ponytail's first time meeting my older daughter and he and I had been anxiously awaiting the day when Glasses would feel comfortable introducing Ponytail to the kids, so this was a big milestone. It went really well.

Ultimately, I think I would ideally prefer it most if Ponytail just ended up becoming a comfortable third parent to my kids and none of us had more. But if he wants kids of his own, I don't want to hold him back from that....but I think I secretly would want him to have kids with me instead of someone else. So, all that combined puts us in a very weird position as far as navigating the future.
 
But what about the kids?

This has been an eventful couple of days.

On Thursday, Ponytail came over and we had a nice long talk in which we processed some of the feelings we had had around the pregnancy scare. I explained that it was hard for me to hear him say "I know you'll be okay" instead of "I know we can figure this out together." He explained that he had no idea it came off as distant -- that it didn't even occur to him that he would peace out and leave me and Glasses to deal with the situation on our own and so that interpretation wasn't remotely on his mind. We also had a long conversation about his reaction to the situation in general -- how odd I find it that he wasn't more freaked out. He's so fucking logical! He's just like, "what would be the point of stressing about the logistics before we'd even gotten conclusive test results back? Gathering a child with you isn't scary for me. It wouldn't be ideal, but we'd figure it all out somehow."

I don't know if that's a healthy response or if it is a naive one.

And so now that I know that that is his response, I feel like I need to "teach" him about how stressful it is to be a parent. Why? To scare him away ever having kids? I am just so used to people (men in particular) being anxious and stressed about the idea of having a child (particularly one that is unplanned) that I feel like he must just not have any idea what he would be getting into. But if someone is not stressed about something that has the potential to also bring them joy, isn't that a good thing? Do I WANT him to be stressed about the idea of having a kid? Why would that be beneficial? I think I see stress as an indicator of healthy realism -- and so in the absence of stress I assume he isn't being realistic. But maybe he is just realistic in a more chill way than I am.

Anyway, the next night he stayed over and we started having a discussion about what it would be like to have a kid together. We didn't talk about any of the stressful logistical stuff, just the fun stuff like baby names. It's really hard for me to tell whether having a kid with me is something he *wants* or whether it is something he would just roll with if it happened. It's hard when you are in your mid-thirties....I feel like my biological clock is pushing us to be thinking in this direction way before we would normally discuss it. But I don't want to hold him back from having kids if that's what he wants to do. And if he is harboring a hope that he and I will have kids together someday, then I feel like we need to get that out in the open so hat it can be discussed and not just linger in the backs of our minds.

Finally, this morning when we got up we all (Glasses, me, Ponytail and the two kids) went to breakfast together. It was Ponytail's first time meeting my older daughter and he and I had been anxiously awaiting the day when Glasses would feel comfortable introducing Ponytail to the kids, so this was a big milestone. It went really well.

Ultimately, I think I would ideally prefer it most if Ponytail just ended up becoming a comfortable third parent to my kids and none of us had more. But if he wants kids of his own, I don't want to hold him back from that....but I think I secretly would want him to have kids with me instead of someone else. So, all that combined puts us in a very weird position as far as navigating the future.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
He's so fucking logical! ... I think I see stress as an indicator of healthy realism -- and so in the absence of stress I assume he isn't being realistic. But maybe he is just realistic in a more chill way than I am.

My Knight is like that - he just doesn't expend a lot of emotional energy on theoretical situations or worrying. Think of it as a nice balance to you doing the worrying... ;-)
 
Maybe baby?

I think Ponytail really wants to have a baby.

He brings it up at kind of random times, but he is more certain ("I need to have a kid. I just need to find someone willing to have a kid with me.") than before ("I don't have any good reasons to have kids, so I don't know.") This feels like kind of a sudden change to me and I don't know how to talk about it. I mean, I can't just say "ok, well, don't worry about finding someone because I'll have a kid with you if you want." Because (a) I don't know that that's what I actually want and (b) I don't know how that would work with the rest of my family commitments.

I try to just joke and say, "ok, sounds like a plan, but you are always welcome to hang out with my kids in the meantime."

How do you navigate this? I feel like in monogamy people who have kid-related goals and are kind of on a timeline for getting those kid-related goals met are pretty up front about it. "I am looking for a partner who wants to have kids in the next couple years. How do you feel about kids?" If they aren't interested in the same goals, then you politely part ways and look for a different partner early on.

But with poly, it's not so simple. When he tells me he wants to have kids, and that he needs to find someone to have kids with, I feel like I am supposed to do something with that information but I don't know what. Am I supposed to say, "OK, let's take a break from our relationship so you can concentrate on finding a nesting partner." Or am I supposed to say "Ok, let's make a deal that if you still want kids in 2 years and we are still together and going strong, you can impregnate me."

I know that the simplest way to deal with this is a frank conversation, but I am not sure how to start that conversation.
 
Clarity Hurts

So Ponytail and I had a good conversation and cleared things up. Apparently he wasn't trying to suggest anything at all about us having a kid together or about me needing to back off so that he can find someone to have kids with.

I had a conversation with Glasses, though, because I recognize that I might want to have a kid with Ponytail someday and that we might decide to do that eventually. How would that look? What would we need to consider?

Glasses is terrified of that prospect. He is uncomfortable with the idea of my time being divided between two families. He is anxious about becoming a stepparent to a child when he's done having kids.

This morning I had an epiphany -- what if it were financially feasible for me to stay home? I could have a baby with Ponytail and Ponytail could keep the baby at his house (he and his parents live together and his parents are retired and his mom is baby-crazy, so I gather that they would be okay with that) but bring me the baby in the morning so that I could spend time with the baby during the day. Then at night when Glasses is home, the baby could go back to Ponytail's house and so Glasses wouldn't have to worry about the sleepless nights of having a newborn again. Win-win, right? Ponytail gets a baby and support with raising the baby, but I still get to be in the baby's life so that the baby knows its mother too...

I brought the idea up with Glasses, just to see if that would alleviate some of his fears about the idea of me having a kid with Ponytail. Not intending to do anything about this soon -- just brainstorming.

Glasses freaked out. The idea was truly horrifying to him. How could I be so careless with the life of a child? How could I imagine being a part-time mother to this hypothetical baby? What about our kids? Wouldn't they be upset and confused about why their sibling didn't live with us?

I tried to explain that there are all kinds of blended families, that it didn't strike me as odd at all to have a sibling who you don't live with, but we had a big fight. He was really angry with me that I would even consider it. And I was really angry at him for getting angry at me for communicating an idea.

Then his sister came over for dinner. And I didn't want to be crying in front of her, so I ran off to Ponytail's house. We went for a walk in silence and then he made me food. I couldn't tell him why I was so upset because I know that he's already anxious about feeling unwelcome and it's definitely not Ponytail's fault that I brought up a crazy co-parenting plan that upset Glasses.

Now I am home again. And miserable. I don't even know what I want. But the fact that Glasses reacted the way that he did makes me feel foolish and reckless. Maybe it is a terrible idea, but I feel like I am being stripped of my agency by the fact that he was so upset and offended. He didn't even ask me clarifying questions, he was just horrified and instantly judgmental. I feel so hurt and ashamed.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
kids and poly

Kids and poly is complicated and everyone is going to have a different way of coping with the various issues around it.

You were upset with Ponytail when he was too calm around your pregnancy scare. Now you are upset with Glasses because he was too upset at the idea of you having a baby with Ponytail and brainstorming about how to share custody.

Maybe you could just let each man voice his concerns or lack thereof, and let them own their initial feelings around this or that scenario, and let them be? Don't borrow trouble. Cross each baby-making bridge when you come to it. You've only known Ponytail 2 months, so it's way too soon to worry about having babies with him.
 
Communicating Helps

So the other day I was feeling awful. I had hurt Glasses, I felt trapped and unable to meet the needs of my loved ones...I felt like I couldn't tell Ponytail what was going on with Glasses without making him feel insecure and worried that he was going to get vetoed.

But then I just gave in and told Ponytail -- via text -- what was going on with me and Glasses. And he was so understanding and sweet about it. He reacted so calmly and I felt SO much better after getting it off my chest. It was like a huge weight had been lifted. Ponytail was really understanding, and asked whether it would help if he refrained from talking about his reproductive goals. I said that it would -- that it would help me stop fixating on that and planning for the future and allow me to just enjoy being with him. He reiterated that he wouldn't/couldn't stop wanting to have kids, but that he would try to stop talking about it all the time.

I am so lucky. He is so considerate and understanding. Things started going better with Glasses as soon as I confided in Ponytail too -- I think getting it out on the table with Ponytail helped me process the whole situation and focus on what was going on with Glasses. I am at peace again and I have been able to communicate with Glasses better about all of this. We are on the mend.
 
What the hell have I gotten myself into?

Today I kind of felt like I was in poly hell.

First, Ponytail and I went out together and a former student (yes, I am a teacher) spotted us and came over to say hello. She also said that she had seen me and Ponytail together last week and she had wondered if he was my husband and now, yes, it appears that she was right! I quckly corrected that he was a friend. But then things got even more awkward as she quickly tried to backtrack and say that she must have seen me with someone else last week, etc.

It was the first time I have been unexpectedly spotted in public with Ponytail and it was totally confusing and uncomfortable to experience.

So then we went to go eat and during dinner Ponytail started telling me about someone he has been texting with who propositioned him with sex. This is someone he had previously dated, and it hadn't ended very well, and so I am feeling pretty protective and insecure about the whole thing. Ponytail explained that he was okay with her not being a good fit for him long-term or even with it ending badly again, that he was just looking for something casual to fill the time that he had as a result of me not being available to him as often as he would like.

I am totally unable to fathom having casual sex, so I was struggling to understand his mentality, while also telling myself "you don't have to understand it because it's not about you. Focus on your own needs and your own relationships."

And so, of course, while I am struggling with this is when I get a text from Glasses asking me to give him a heads up about when I am coming home because there are likely to be makeouts happening at our house between himself and the person he was out with this evening.

So now I am dealing with insecurity in both of my relationships. And I am really afraid that I am just not cut out for polyamory -- and since it seems that both my partners are much more inclined toward it than I am, it means I am going to end up heartbroken on all fronts.

So Ponytail and I talked about this all at length and Ponytail didn't really understand any of my fears and just kept saying that there was nothing I could do (within the realm of behavior/intentions that he can imagine from me) to make him not want to be with me, so he couldn't understand why I was afraid of everything getting screwed up. Which didn't help because it's not about me wanting to be with him or him wanting to be with me, it's about being able to handle the situation that we are in.

So then it got really late and so Ponytail drove me home. At home, Glasses and I talked and it came out that he and his date had had sex. I mean, technically they didn't have intercourse because Glasses wasn't able to maintain an erection, but that's neither here nor there....they had made the decision to have sex and that's the point.

This last part didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. My husband, for the first time since we began a relationship together, kissed someone else...got undressed with a lover....these things don't actually make me feel jealous. What I feel instead is just utter dispair about my skills in handling this situation.

Where do we all go from here? Am I doomed to always feel weird and uncomfortable with the idea of my partners seeking other partners?
 

Reverie

Active member
Am I doomed to always feel weird and uncomfortable with the idea of my partners seeking other partners?

It gets better. Stuff that helped me so far:

- All the poly books
- Books/podcasts on meditation and letting things go
- Self-help books on your particular childhood issues (everyone has them; I really needed "Adult Children of Alcoholics")
- Therapy, if you can afford at least a few visits
- Cultivating a rich life with other friends and hobbies
- Figuring out which ways you need your partner(s) to help you feel secure, and then asking for them
- Getting experience in all the relationship roles: incoming partner to an established relationship; loose-end arm to a succession of Vs; hinge; trying out having FWBs and other casual relationships
- Having some kind of "carrot" to keep you motivated toward growth; for me, the new boyfriend has proved to be my most effective one yet
- Posting here, both journaling and advice-request threads
- Time

Also, you might find your level of comfort varies from partner to partner based on history and individual characteristics of the person. Like, at this point I'm 100% comfortable with my husband doing pretty much whatever, but I bet I'm going to experience some (hopefully manageable) jealousy if/when my boyfriend starts dating someone, because it's newer and less solid, and he's not as poly-experienced, so it's sure to be a wilder ride. I have so many better coping and soothing strategies now, though, that I know that even if things go completely off the rails and I get my heart broken, I'll still be all right. :cool:
 
Happy!

Things are going well. I was really struggling earlier this week when both my husband and boyfriend had dates on Monday. That evening I asked that we all sit down together and talk and we did and it was really rewarding I was able to be emotionally vulnerable with both of them and not have it be a "YOU'RE making me jealous!" thing but instead, "these are some of the mindsets that I struggle with when it comes to polyamory." Anyway, it was really rewarding.

Then last night came the big news! I came out to my mom! She handled it in stride even though I know she was really caught off-guard. I am so happy that she knows now. I feel like I can fully be my authentic self.
 
Today my mom and my sister met Ponytail. We went to the park with our kids and Ponytail met us there. It was really nice. We all got along and it wasn't too uncomfortable.

I can't believe that these big steps are happening so fast, but at the same time it just feels so wonderfully right!
 
How long is this going to be sustainable?

I am so happy.

And so tired.

On Friday Ponytail slept over and on Saturday morning we took the kids to breakfast. Then all of us (Glasses, Ponytail,the kids and I) went to the zoo together. It was really nice. We had a lot of fun.

Then in the evening Glasses went to spend the night with his other partner. Ponytail went to a party and then came over around 10 and spent the rest of the night with me.

This morning Glasses is still at his OSO's house and I am hanging with the kids. Tomorrow I am going to meet his OSO and I feel generally okay about it.

Everything seems to be going well.

Except that I am so exhausted.

How long is this sustainable? The emotional energy that I am expending seems really difficult to maintain. If this was it -- if I didn't have a job to contend with -- I would be really happy. But I have a life outside of my relationships. A life that I can barely keep up with. My job requires a ton of work from home, so although I feel fairly competent at my job when I am there, I am having trouble focusing my energy on it when I am at home. Also, I am so tired that when I spend time with Glasses I don't even know what to talk about -- our "dates" are really just conversations about how poly is going for us. Is that normal? Is that just kind of the stage our realationship is going through right now?

Does it get easier? Will it always be so tiring?
 
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