If I was, in fact, "enough" then you would not require more.
Well, what if you are enough YOU. As a partner.
But you are not enough if the want/need is to practice poly. If she wants to have more than 1 sweetie? It's not like can magically turn yourself into TWO people so you can be the two sweeties.
BTW Labriola covers that belief in http://www.kathylabriola.com/articl...nster-managing-jealousy-in-open-relationships in the
Core Belief #2
If my partner were happy with me, and if I were a good partner/spouse/lover/etc., my partner would be so satisfied that (s)he wouldn’t want to get involved with anyone else.
She told me it was weird that I wanted to meet the men before she had sex with them.
Sounds like you get (even if you don't like) how asking her dates to meet you so you can be more comfortable before (she+date) get to share sex is awkward and maybe not appropriate. Would you like some BF of hers saying how/when you and her get to share sex? Prob not.
Prob best to let her be in charge of her body and SHE decides how / when / with who she shares sex.
And you be in charge of YOUR body, and you decide how/when/with who you share sex.
Maybe use barriers/stop being fluid bonded if wife takes on partners you don't care to be connected to. It can be hard to think about that for long term married couples who have long enjoyed not dealing in condoms and being fluid bonded and all that. That part of the "detangling" can feel a painful letting go til they realize that actually... practicing safer sex to protect each other is another expression of love and care and concern for spouse.
Then she brought up the possibility of casual sex.
Maybe that is the line for you then. You may be willing to do all this work that is not comfortable for you.
So you can keep participating in marriage with her while she poly dates looking for a serious partner.
So she can keep participating in marriage with you while she poly dates looking for a serious partner.
You are willing to flex and bend and give some.
But then maybe she needs to be willing to give too. And agree NOT go around having casual sex with random people if she wants you to participate in marriage and polyship here with her. Because you can only do and accept so much. And your consent to participate in things belongs to YOU.
It is fair to ask and bring up possibilities as you both figure out the "new normal." What is in bounds and what is out of bounds. Otherwise how do you figure it out?
Try not to take it personally like it's a slight or like you don't matter. It's part of the work. If some causes a flare up, pay attention to what that something is. Address it. Try not to make it bigger than it is or get too hot under the collar though.
It feels like she gets to do whatever she wants while I'm left holding the bag full of consequences because I'm her "safe place". She calls me that a lot.
If you do not like being called an object like "safe place" -- ask her to call you something else. "Safe person, valued person, etc."
I wonder if because you are upset about what she calls you, and this whole poly convo you are having to deal in now... maybe you are overlooking? Are you seeing that she values you a lot? Read this out loud to yourself. Where is the horrible?
- I'm the only man she knows who always tells the truth despite the consequences.
- I take care of her and our children.
- I protect her and listen to her and make her feel better and treat her with respect.
It makes me feel so fucking used and cheap.
What is the "it" that makes you feel used and cheap?
- That she values you as a partner?
- Or having to think about her dating other people when you believe if you were enough for her, she wouldn't be thinking it?
- Or having to think about her sharing casual sex? Like she's contemplating it while you are going "Sex with randoms?! Seriously? That turns you on?"
- Something else?
Be careful in these tricky conversations not to lump all the things together. Esp if you are having some kind of emotional flooding whooshy in the moment. Practice the pause, and don't lash out/react. Take the time to digest and needle out what bugs you. Rest if you are getting overwhelmed. It's ok to table stuff.
That is one of the feelings I just don't have the heart to tell her about. It has to come out sometime. She's right. I always tell the truth despite the consequences. I just need time to understand that feeling better before we discuss it.
Prob a good idea. Like deal with ONE thing at a time. And not talk more if emotional whooshies are happening. Practice HAALT -- take a break if you are hungry, anxious, angry, lonely, tired. Not the time to do serious conversation when HAALT.
Anyway, we realized the conversation was too much for us at the moment and tabled it.
I think you learned that having TOO many topics on the table at the same time can lead to emotional flooding.
1) Talking about poly dating.
2) Seeing pix of the dudes she's been chatting with.
3) Talking about casual sex being in or out of bounds.
4) Talking about how she values you.
That's like - then -/+ then - then +. All up and down roller coaster feeling things. Be easier to take if you just did 1 or 2 topics at most with time to rest in between.
FWIW, a long time ago my DH told me he didn't mind my having other serious relationships. But they were MY problem. He would NOT appreciate dealing with me all in a mess from some break up like here he is... the one left holding the bag when he didn't even do anything. Some care and concern, sure, freely given. But left holding the bag all the time? C'mon!
I knew what he meant. Just cuz he's my spouse, he's not my free therapist or woobie or something. Like that kind of relationship with him might help or be great for ME... but that's not so great for HIM. He wants and deserves to have his own separate dyad relationship where it is just (me + him) without all this "bleed over" from any other relationships just cuz he's the one left.
Be honest with your wife. Not in the heat of the moment, necessarily, because you need time to collect your wits about you again if you get emotionally drained or emotionally flooded.
But do let her know what's going on. This isn't like some journey she's taking on her own. You are both on this journey right now trying to figure out where this bus is even going.