Feeling Rejection. How has being poly changed or affected how you feel.

Mbalmr71

New member
I have always struggled with rejection. As I work on myself it is always near the front of the line of things I cope poorly with. There are many struggles in my past that I won't go into my usual oversharing with but it has been there a long time. In my current relationship my partner and I have come to a place where we have a significant difference in libido. I would be happy with nearly daily. She has a high libido for a 2-4 day stretch out of the month which we guess is tied to a hormonal cycle. Having an IUD makes it a bit unpredictable. The rest of the time she has little to no interest. There are some other issues at play for her as well but its enough to say that it does not really bear on the topic.

I have always been the type to be sexually available to a partner on demand. Illness and other things aside I am just not in the no business. Even if it's not at the top of my mind or I am not really feeling it in the moment I find I always wind up having fun. I am also a big fan of enthusiastic consent, even in committed relationships. I find it is pretty easy to tell if a partner is not into it and I don't like feeling like a chore or obligation. I also know the difference in doing something to please someone or make them happy and doing it to get them off your back or so they won't be grumpy.

What this can and has devolved to in the past is where I simply stop trying to initiate at all in order to avoid the feelings of rejection and all that comes with that. Since we opened up to my wife seeing other women 4 years ago I find that it changes those feelings for me. She had not seen anyone during COVID but has recently become active again. I support her and don't want her to stop. I have found that it has ramped up both my feelings of rejection and my fear of it. It came more into focus a couple of weeks ago went she went out with her newest interest. It was outside her high libido time and it had been about 10 days since we had been together. I understand she has to make more effort to negotiate and set aside time for girl dates. However, it did poke the "what about me" monster.

We have communicated enough that she knows I have these feelings. I am trying to find a way to better cope. I also see that she carries more of the burden of my feelings that she should. I don't keep score. I don't want her worry about equity or keeping up negatively impacting her experience either.

So if you deal with feelings around rejection, has being poly changed it in any way? Do you think NRE has a significant impact? How have you found strategies to cope with it?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
From your other post...

My wife (37 bi) and I (49 str) have been married 9 years. We are rock solid, ride or die, so not looking for anyone to tell me to get out.

If you are rock solid, why do you feel personally rejected? She wants to be here with you.

What does it take for you to believe it?

What this can and has devolved to in the past is where I simply stop trying to initiate at all in order to avoid the feelings of rejection and all that comes with that.

If you ask if she's in the mood to share sex and it turn out she isn't... Could that be her simply stating where SHE is at today? You already know she has a lower libido than you.

Why take it personally like she's rejecting you rather than her reporting where her body/libido is at today?

I am also a big fan of enthusiastic consent, even in committed relationships.

Well, do you want her doing that?

I have always been the type to be sexually available to a partner on demand. Illness and other things aside I am just not in the no business.

Or do you want her doing this?

What you said in your other post

Without detailing too much about my relationship with my father, I will say that I developed a huge fear of ever asking him for anything. I was conditioned to either his response being very negative and hurtful or that the answer seemed to always be no. I remember many times that I would rather just not even ask. This has manifested in some pretty bad things for me. I have had issues with a lot of self denial. On the other end of the spectrum I have had the tendency to seek out what I want in secret.

might be playing into this. Your wife is not your father.

Could also work on that emotional enmeshment thing. And maybe could work on taking things too personally also.

Apart from the libidos being mismatched...

Do you rely on sex as a validation thing? How else do feel appreciated, valued, or validated in this relationship?

Do you rely on sex for the mood lift?

It came more into focus a couple of weeks ago went she went out with her newest interest. It was outside her high libido time and it had been about 10 days since we had been together. I understand she has to make more effort to negotiate and set aside time for girl dates. However, it did poke the "what about me" monster.

Ok. 10 days since the last time you shared sex with wife.

How many days since the last time you had an actual date with wife? What about you on that side of things? Are you struggling with envy? Like you see her making dating efforts for the new people, but not with you?

People in NRE sometimes do get caught up in the "new shiny" thing, and trying to secure and stabilize the new relationships while trying to balance giving enough attention to the established relationships.

We have communicated enough that she knows I have these feelings. I am trying to find a way to better cope. I also see that she carries more of the burden of my feelings that she should. I don't keep score. I don't want her worry about equity or keeping up negatively impacting her experience either.

The purple parts? That is HER emotional management. What she chooses to carry or not? What she worries about or not? That's her stuff.
So to ease the size of your load, you may have to start letting her deal with her stuff herself.

Rather than you trying to pre-manage or manage her feelings for her? Focus more on YOUR stuff. Which seems to be the blue part.

It's fine not to keep score.

How DO you cope? What helps? What doesn't?
  • Masturbation?
  • Doc check up and meds to reduce libido or improve hormones if yours are off?
  • Set dates on the calendar to share sensual times wife wife so the intimate connection more regular? And leave full on sex activities for the days she's more able?
  • What IS sex to you? Like her watching or holding you while you masturbate... does that "count" as sex to you?
  • Was her libido like this before IUD or are the hormones from IUD affecting her? Consider a different BC method?
Is this a general want for more sex? In which case you dating other people could help with that.

Is this a general case of wanting more sex WITH WIFE? In which case, you may consider a sex therapist or accept she's only wanting to share full on sex with you a few days a month. Could consider expanding what sensual activities you could share together.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Mbalmr,

NRE definitely has an impact on one's desire for sex. When your wife is having NRE with a new interest, she is going to want sex with that person perhaps even on days when her libido with you would be low.

I had a related experience some 15 years ago. Snowbunny, who is my current partner, and I were in the earliest days of our romantic relationship, and we both wanted to have sex with each other almost all the time. Then, Snowbunny's NRE started to decrease while mine remained the same. It made for many situations in which I wanted sex and she did not. This felt like rejection to me, and it was hard to bear. Eventually, both our NRE decreased and we both wanted sex less often, so it worked out in the end. But in the meantime, we had to make some kind of a compromise. We started having sex more than she wanted, but less than I wanted. We also started to schedule our encounters -- which helped me because then I knew what to plan on.

Anyway, yeah, NRE makes a big difference.
Regards,
Kevin T.
 

FuzzyHedgepig

New member
My girlfriend has a much lower libido than me. And at some point I did stop initiating. I'm still working on how to get back to doing so. It took me a while to grasp that it was just her and that it's not got anything to do with me, but eventually I got there. What helped was me paying more attention to when she shows me affection in other ways and also letting her know I was feeling a little unappreciated, which prompted her to make her affection more visible.

I would say the most important thing is to think about what, outside of sex, would make you feel appreciated?

And maybe also, if you're an insecure person generally, what can you do for yourself to improve your feeling of self worth? It's much easier to see how much someone loves you when you feel you deserve that love but it's not the only thing giving you value. Not that I've mastered that either yet, but it's a tiny-steps-forward kind of thing.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Humans need to be touched. When humans aren't touched, they tend to not thrive. So many people do not get enough touch. Some children are not held enough. Many or even most elderly people in long-term care are never touched except during medical checkups.

But a young person in the prime of life, who is married or partnered with a person that claims to love them. may not get enough touch either! Of course, we can quibble about what constitutes enough touch. And is cuddling good enough? Some people that don't get enough touch from a partner may get a dog or cat to pet. Some people even sleep with a stuffed animal to get the illusion of cuddling. A body pillow can help too.

But on to sex, which would be a kind of sub-category of being touched. It's much more stimulating, the sexual touching. It increases our pleasure dramatically, and can really take you out of your day-to-day problems for a time. Then if you orgasm once or twice (like a guy) or 30 times (like many women can) you feel great. It changes your life, for the better.

Some people need a regular sexual release. I've been told, "Ohh, you won't die if you don't get to have sex or cum." Maybe it won't cause death the way lack of water or food would do. It's more a slow death, like a lack of going outdoors and getting vitamin D. It fucks with your head. You can look at the "incel" community for evidence of suicide, or fantasies about murder, from lack of sexual attention! (Incel means involuntarily celibate. It's a very sick, misogynistic community, btw. I am not sympathizing with how they handle this topic; I'm just pointing out how serious a lack of sex can become for some people.)

On the other hand, no one owes you sex. Even if you're married, your partner does not owe you sex. Obviously, past beliefs to the contrary, a man does not have the right to rape his wife. But on the other hand, Jewish belief said that a man owed his wife sexual pleasure. She had a right to divorce him if he was neglecting her sexual needs. And for people who recommend masturbation as a good solution to your partner's lack of interest, that's not going to cut it, not really. Usually, masturbation is a pale imitation of partnered sex. We once did a poll here. Most men didn't even count masturbation as sex!

Of course, there are ways to enhance our masturbation, through setting the scene, having the right erotica, getting some nice toys (there are SO many amazing toys these days!), setting aside a good chunk of time to do it.

As a non-binary woman who has a higher sex drive than her partner, we've made various compromises over the years. Things have changed recently, but in our earlier years, she would go though periods where she'd talk about sex, but then not want to do it. I'd get my hopes up that we would be having sex, but talking was enough for her! And if I wanted sex every day, or at least every other, and she actually wanted sex every 10 days, what to do? Of course, we were poly, so that helped quite a bit. I'd find male lovers, play-partners, if I didn't have a "real boyfriend," who desired me and were very eager to pleasure me and make me feel good, and vice versa.

Also, I found that Pixi would be willing sometimes to stimulate me with her hand, without being fully engaged in a full sexual embrace. She was also fine to see me taking care of my own needs. I didn't have to hide it. She'd also hold me while I took care of my needs. I think people who have a higher libido than their partners often feel they need to hide their masturbation. They may even perceive that their partner thinks their need for sex is kind of gross or disgusting or something to be ashamed of. If your sex drive is low to non-existent, feeling like your partner is "always after you" can be very tiring and off-putting.

Obviously I've given this subject lots of thought. Oddly, in recent years, Pixi's drive has increased, which is great. But mine has decreased in the past few years, since I hit my early 60s and my arthritis has become an issue. She's 22 years younger than me and has become more comfortable in her own skin since our early days. We are maybe finally on an even keel!
 
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icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Honestly? A lot of people would say this is putting a bandaid on a relationship BUT for me it helps to have a partner who has as high or possibly higher libido than I do - it takes me out of a "scarcity" mindset and out of a "I'm not attractive enough" mindset enough that I can appreciate my lower-libido partner more for what we have together. And having a bit more space apart has helped - separate bedrooms - it makes time together intentional and gives me more privacy for masturbation.

(I very much do not want that to be something I share with a partner on a regular basis - I mean, if it's something that happens in the course of sex we're both into, that's great, but the idea of being held while playing with myself or even being stimulated by someone who wasn't also enjoying it in a sexual way would make me feel even more rejected than not being touched at all.)

I still am not good at initiating with my lower libido partner - which is sort of unfortunate as he's far more about responsive desire than spontaneous. Still pondering that one...

She has a high libido for a 2-4 day stretch out of the month which we guess is tied to a hormonal cycle. Having an IUD makes it a bit unpredictable. The rest of the time she has little to no interest.
Is this that she doesn't initiate or that she really just doesn't even respond, during the off times? Like, reading between the lines it sounds like there's spontaneous desire on the "high libido" days, but how low is low? (I too have often been terrified of my partner just going through the motions to please me, though he swears that's not how it works for him.)
 

Inaniel

Active member
If you were starving, and a loved one was in the position to offer you sustenance, but did not, it is easy for the mind to take that personally… That is how I used to feel. Starved… I think your feelings of rejection are quite natural, and would even argue not unreasonable…

I believe the desires of the mind/body, and the emotions that one feels, can be compartmentalized but are mostly intertwined. If the primal need is not satisfied, it is easy for the ego to feel less. If the primal need is satisfied, it is easy for the ego to feel more. Most agree that sex often leads to feelings of love; yet many disagree the lack of sex should decrease feelings of love. I think it is a form of denial... My emotional state corelates directly with sex. One can spend a lot of time, money, and energy trying to cope with a sex starved state, or can go have sex and use the money, energy, and time to improve life in other ways… It is a personal decision, how much weight you place upon the satisfaction of your own needs in life.

Emotional conditioning attempts to lead the mind into thinking it only wants sex with a specific person. However, from the perspective of someone who has taken the leap into non-monogamy, I think emotions tend to follow what the mind and body are doing. Which is why people often fall in love after they begin having sex with a new partner, whether non-monogamously or serial monogamously. With simultaneous partners you may retain your desire for emotional intimacy and sex with the partner whom you are less sexual with, poly says that is okay, so it can be a good platform for people with mismatched libidos.

I have had partners tell me that I want sex “too often”, it can be difficult not to take that personally. I have been in therapy over my desire for frequent sex and it seems impossible for me to turn it off. Although, I have not tried *everything… I would NEVER, take medications to reduce my libido as Gala suggested, that sort of thing just reeks of Kellogg’s turn of the century battle to control the young man’s libido, suturing foreskin closed and so forth so that he cannot attain an erection…

I transitioned from living with my partner Bird who I have a mismatched libido with, to living with an additional partner Daisy, who’s sex drive matches my own. I am much happier overall having Daisy in my life, and cohabitating with her specifically. I am less irritable, more confident, and clearer headed (less distracted by the void I used to feel)… Bird has also felt relief because she used to feel like she was failing me and was placing a lot of sexual pressure upon herself.

Poly does not replace my sense of loss and heartbreak over my once healthy sex life with Bird, however I find the emotions far easier to manage while not in a state of sexual starvation. Now Bird and I can navigate the topic with ease because both Bird and I are less emotionally distressed about it. Bird and I are also freer to emotionally connect in non sexual ways without the pressure of sex weighing over every moment of intimacy.

I want to be careful not to say Poly has made things “easier”. I think poly rarely makes things “easier”, on macro scale. Sex frequency had nothing to do with what attracted Bird or I to poly to begin with… Our mismatched libidos came long after…
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Poly does not replace my sense of loss and heartbreak over my once healthy sex life with Bird, however I find the emotions far easier to manage while not in a state of sexual starvation. Now Bird and I can navigate the topic with ease because both Bird and I are less emotionally distressed about it. Bird and I are also freer to emotionally connect in non sexual ways without the pressure of sex weighing over every moment of intimacy.
This is a *really* good phrasing of this. I can't imagine - or at least very much don't want to - the level of distress I'd be in constantly if Knight was my only possible outlet. (Those couple months at the beginning of pandemic were ... not great for my mental health, and that was even with a certain amount of virtual sexual contact.)
 

Mbalmr71

New member
Is this that she doesn't initiate or that she really just doesn't even respond, during the off times? Like, reading between the lines it sounds like there's spontaneous desire on the "high libido" days, but how low is low? (I too have often been terrified of my partner just going through the motions to please me, though he swears that's not how it works for him.)
During the time she is HL she nearly outpaces me. The other times it can be anywhere between not on the radar and just does not want to. We have talked about it and she understands the mis-match. I am fortunate that she does not require any romantic lead up to sex. When she wants it she literally just raises her eyebrows at me. For me to initiate, all I have to do is look at her and ask her if she wants to fool around. That in itself has helped quite a bit as it saves me from building up too much hope only to be disappointed.

We have also had a discussion about me just not initiating. She knows I am always available and I don't go through the dance of working up the courage to say something or the bad feelings of feeling rejected. At first I was reluctant because I did not want her to feel like I did not feel or express my desire for her. It felt like it worked for a while and it took away a lot of the pressure she felt to meet my needs. It was not a great thing for me for what I think are somewhat obvious reasons.

In the end, I think open/poly is the right answer for us. It will just take us some time to get there. We are road tripping tomorrow so we will have a good deal of windshield time to talk. I'm pretty interest to see what progress we can make.
 

Mbalmr71

New member
If you are rock solid, why do you feel personally rejected? She wants to be here with you.

Galagirl
Thank you again for your wonderful insights, most notably, this one. I know in my heart that it's not the best thing to try and drag either of us to the other ones level. I suppose for me sex checks a ton of the boxes you mentioned. I feel validated, desired and attractive. I enjoy pleasing my partner as well as enjoy it when I feel my partner is focus on my pleasure. It' fun, hot, funny, loving, adventurous and even naughty and risque. It's just right at the hub of my wheel. LOL I suppose my Catholic past also screwed me over here too. Here is the one person it's supposed to be "OK" with but now what?

Thank you as well for throwing envy in there. I had never given that much thought but I see how it plays. I think the solution for us is to both be open. I hope we can get there the right way. We have spoken a little in that direction and have more to discuss. I mentioned she had some underlying medical issues that we feel have negatively impacted her drive. We have agreed that she will consult her physicians and discuss alternatives that may help. It's a baby step but I felt it was a huge win from the standpoint of her taking ownership and wanting to find solutions.

Thank you again!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I would NEVER, take medications to reduce my libido as Gala suggested, that sort of thing just reeks of Kellogg’s turn of the century battle to control the young man’s libido, suturing foreskin closed and so forth so that he cannot attain an erection…

Ew. Not suggesting it from that perspective.

Perimenopause screwed up my hormones here. Getting a check up, HRT, and solving some health issues was a big help here.

So just suggesting a check up for both might be something to consider in case part of the mismatch problem is coming from hidden health issues. If she's got medical conditions and IUD that might be messing up her hormones / libido in one direction? He might consider a check up too in case it turns out he has hormones off balance or something else that is sending him off in the other direction.

Galagirl
 
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HaloOnFire

Active member
Perimenopause screwed up my hormones here. Getting a check up, HRT, and solving some health issues was a big help here. So just suggesting a check up for both might be something to consider in case part of the mismatch problem is coming from hidden health issues. If she's got medical conditions and IUD that might be messing up her hormones / libido in one direction? He might consider a check up too in case it turns out he has hormones off balance or something else that is sending him off in the other direction.


Bingo. I am also in peri right now and it wrecks havoc sometimes with what I want to do and the things that need taken care of, such as house chores. Exercise and diet have helped tremendously, however, some days, not even that is enough.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Honestly? A lot of people would say this is putting a bandaid on a relationship BUT for me it helps to have a partner who has as high or possibly higher libido than I do - it takes me out of a "scarcity" mindset and out of a "I'm not attractive enough" mindset enough that I can appreciate my lower-libido partner more for what we have together. And having a bit more space apart has helped - separate bedrooms - it makes time together intentional and gives me more privacy for masturbation.

(I very much do not want that to be something I share with a partner on a regular basis - I mean, if it's something that happens in the course of sex we're both into, that's great, but the idea of being held while playing with myself or even being stimulated by someone who wasn't also enjoying it in a sexual way would make me feel even more rejected than not being touched at all.)
Thanks for sharing that. I respect we feel differently. When Pixi helps me masturbate, she really enjoys it. She just used to go "stone," if you understand that term. Eager to give pleasure, but noli me tangere-- don't touch me. (I can touch everything on her except her breasts, genitals or ass at those times. It really helps me feel more pleasure in masturbation to feel her warm smooth skin, to put my arm under her shoulders, touch her arms, legs, to kiss her cheeks, her hair, so it's great.)

She's trans, and so it might've had something to do with body dysmorphia, or the hormones she takes, or the shame around sex she was raised with, or her ADHD, or her anxiety... lol, a laundry list of reasons not to feel horny. But she's a submissive and LOVES to serve, and take care of me (and her bf). She loves being "ordered" to serve me that way. So she's very willing to help out, even if she doesn't want to be touched or have a desire to cum that day. It's not like it's a chore, and she's resentful, not at all! She enjoys her generosity and spontaneously compliments me, tells me I'm beautiful and sexy, and all that kind of stuff, while we're doing this.

It's funny, because I spent 30+ years in a mono/hetero relationship. My ex h was always always ready for sex, at the drop of a hat. My own libido was on again off again though, because of either being on the pill, which reduces your estrogen, or when we were using barriers (I had a diaphragm), I was only horny when I was ovulating. I was also not that horny when pregnant or exhausted when the kids were little and needy. Ex h thought he'd won the lottery when I went into perimenopause and my libido skyrocketed. We had a few good years sexually then, even though our relationship was tanking emotionally.

So when I met Pixi, and realized the tables had changed, it was so ironic. I was the horny one, and she was the hot and cold partner! Thank god for poly though. I had horny cute guys lining up to give me all the sex I wanted.
I still am not good at initiating with my lower libido partner - which is sort of unfortunate as he's far more about responsive desire than spontaneous. Still pondering that one...


Is this that she doesn't initiate or that she really just doesn't even respond, during the off times? Like, reading between the lines it sounds like there's spontaneous desire on the "high libido" days, but how low is low? (I too have often been terrified of my partner just going through the motions to please me, though he swears that's not how it works for him.)
 
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