Inner patriarch


New member
Hey, maybe you guys can help me out here. I'm a little new to polyamory, I've gotten thru a lot of jealousy issues and I'm coming up against one I cant seem to find my way out of. Also one thats relatively new to me, has anyone had to deal with the idea that their partner is "dirty" or bad in any way after having slept with another partner and being turned off by them? Usually I can see the growth opportunities involved in working thru issues, but this one seems so certain, and I'm not really sure of the cause. There are obvious projections but putting the pieces together is proving quite difficult. If anyone has ever dealt with anything like this I would love to hear some input on how you overcame it, what the beleifs were that were blocking you and what came of overcoming these ideas. Thanks so much for your help.


Staff member
I've moved your thread to a more suitable section where people are more likely to see it.

Apologies that I don't have time this morning to speak on this in detail, but some of the processes I used are discussed in my blog. (Link in my sig)


New member
It might not be a good solution, but is there anything your partner could do for you to think they're "clean" again? If there is, while you work on the whole thing you could make a ritual out of it or something, incorporate it into your romantic or sex life, something like that. Good luck.


Active member thats relatively new to me, has anyone had to deal with the idea that their partner is "dirty" or bad in any way after having slept with another partner and being turned off by them? Usually I can see the growth opportunities involved in working thru issues, but this one seems so certain, and I'm not really sure of the cause.
I think maybe we need more info, like how long you've been with your partner and in a poly arrangement, do you have multiple partners as well or just the one, you and your partner's gender and orientation, if you live together, and stuff like that. Anyway...

You say this is a fairly recent feeling, so has there been any changes lately? Has your partner started seeing someone new? Have there been changes to your dynamic? Did someone you know say something that inadvertently poisoned your thoughts on the whole thing? Is there anything in your environment that has recently impacted you in a way that has you judging stuff more critically? Do these thoughts only come up immediately after your partner comes back from a date, or just in general? If it's right after returnig from a date, I don't think it's that uncommon to be a little turned off (tho some folks might be turned on). A lot of polyfolk give themselves a period of time in between partners to make the transition from one to the other.

Generally, if one thinks someone is "dirty" for having sex with someone, I would think that there is an overall attitude that says sex itself is something dirty, so anyone who takes part in it... but if your partner is a woman, there might be some of that societally-influenced judging going on in you about what it means if a woman likes sex, you obviously know the stereotypes otherwise you wouldn't have titled this thread as you did.

Another aspect to consider is this: what do you feel about yourself when you think these thoughts about your partner? When you think they are dirty, does that automatically elevate you because you are not dirty? Or do you use those thoughts against yourself somehow and feel like you are dirty, too? Is there something about how it reflects on you to be with a partner "like that?"

Just asking these questions to possibly help you unravel where it's coming from, because often times just having that awareness does a huge amount to help dissipate uncomfortable feelings like that.
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New member
Thats actually a really great idea I had never thought of. I'm not sure she'd go for it but your support is really appreciated. I'll see what she says.


New member
Yes exactly, those are the kinds of questions I've been needing to be asked.
We've been together for 3 1/2 years, I am a man, she is a woman, she is Bisexual and I am straight, we do live together and we'd talked about poly for quite some time. I have no other lovers although I do have someone I'm interested in and she has all but broken contact with this man as he didnt satisfy her. I'd always been okay with the idea of her dating other women, but this is the first time she's expressed intrest in another man, let alone sleeping with one. The old paradigm of our relationship ended a month and a half ago and we're not technically together, but working on ourselves and working on a restructuring of the relationship. And one of her needs in order to set up a new romantic/sexual relationship with me would be getting a handle on the inner patriarch as she is very independent and will not tolerate any control, which I fully agree to and accept.

As far as changes, I think the main thing is that its the first time she's been interested in a man. She used to hide her attraction to men to make me comfortable and now its much more out in the open.

And yes the dynamic has change dramatically, we were in a very ownership based relationship and is now completely free with the only main committment being to each others highest good.

The thought only came up when I think of her actually having sex with another man, and as a matter of fact it is the same way I judge myself. I've held myself back from being physical with someone I am interested in because I feel it would be betraying her and yes in fact dirty as well.

So I definitely think it is a mixture of social programming, and the shaming of sexuality from growing up in a strict religious household. The energy doesnt feel like mine at all. It feels like imprinting from an archaic state of mind that I've been exposed to and unconsciously adopted over time.

What I feel is, that I need to get away from her, I actually feel so though I've been cheated on even though we are not together.

It's all pretty irrational and speaking about it to someone that isnt her make it seem kind of silly. These feelings are definitely dissipating over time and I really appreciate your input and help with this. Thank you so much, you've been a great help.


Active member
I would also examine in detail your thoughts about ownership, control, and sex. They seem greatly tangled up in your thoughts about her being dirty because she had sex with another man. Good on you that you are attempting to sort this out instead of just accepting it.


New member
I know exactly what you're talking about, though I don't think I have an easy answers.

I'm probably just drawing from pop psychology here and could be way off, but here's my two cents, at least. Take a look at how this kind of judgment is affecting the way you view yourself. Do you feel ashamed because you're not in compliance with social gender norms?

You describe your relationship as previously being ownership based. Was that intentional, as a sort of BDSM/Leather relationship (and who owned who)? Or was it just an unintentional patriarchal sort of thing? If you're coming from the BDSM world, then maybe you've already been playing on the playground of sexual inhibitions and deviations, and there's all kinds of lessons you may have already learned, and Pandora's boxes you have already opened within yourself. I don't want to presume anything.

But I find that whenever I have an immediate irrational response to someone else's behavior, it's usually because there's something about that behavior that I don't like to see in myself. Look inside. Are you experiencing any sort of sexual shame or guilt about your own conduct (or interests, or thoughts, etc.)?

I'm a woman, who has had to work out a few self-shaming demons from my own head from time to time. I'm familiar with unearthing and dealing with those inner voices. I'm not sure how I would deal with them (aimed at myself or others) if I were a man, and kudos to you for taking on this task!


New member
I respect you for your self-examination. it's not easy to confront our own beliefs.

I went through something similar, although not identical, with my lover (who I formerly called FWB). although our relationship was all but over, as soon as I started seeing someone else he started having issues with possessiveness and jealousy. it was really messy for a while, but he spent a great deal of time in self-reflection and we're now finally able to negotiate comfortable parameters for our relationship.

during the roughest part of our crisis, he could not touch me sexually for a while. he couldn't bear the thought that I'd been with anyone else. it took him a while to sort out why he felt the way he did.


New member
Wow, that sounds almost identical to my situation. Glad to see people can get thru it and things can work out. Since my inital post I've done a lot of work on this and I am making a lot of progress. Things are turning out really great for me. Thanks for the support, I'm gonna keep movin on.