Needing support

Carmina

Member
Kinda hard to know what to say other than I hope you hang in there.

You ARE seen and heard. Maybe that brings you some small comfort.
Actually it means lot, more than anything I think the moral support of people I can connect to and value is very helpful, it gives me some positive energy, which is hard to find from anywhere else. Thanks🤗
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
You will get through this. Hang in there (and keep posting).
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad it was a small comfort today then.

I can only imagine how it must be in the intersection of so many challenges at the same time.

Hang in there!

Galagirl
 

Carmina

Member
I guess the question is what do YOU yourself want? If you don't know, that is perfectly fine. A lot of us don't, we just pretend to. :)
I'm coming back to this because I think I need to try and move, if I can, from being the 'reluctant partner' to being able to feel more positive about this. So I'm examining my motivations and feelings; what do I want myself? This is not an easy question to answer actually. What is easier to answer is what is driving me at the moment. I can narrow this down to several factors, not all in alignment:

1) I want my partner to be happy and if this is something that helps her to be happy then I feel I should support it. My partner says if our situation were reversed she would feel nothing but happiness if I had found other loves. I believe that, but does this mean I'm just a mean spirited, selfish person if I can't feel that in 100% return (except in the sense of wanting her to be happy)? I feel bad if that is the case, I don't want to be that sort of person. I have always tried not to be that sort of person.
2) I also feel ethically this is the right thing to do; I know I have no right really to expect her to limit herself to pander to my insecurities. I am grateful that she has agreed a timescale in order to reduce some of the pain for me and I would expect in all relationships where there is love it would be natural to come to reasonable agreements to do what is possible to maximise each others well being, but I would feel really terrible if I made her give this up just because I feel bad and I refuse to do that. My insecurities limit me and have done all my life, why would I wish that for someone I love? A better option would be to challenge them and try to overcome them.
3) I think I know exactly where the barriers are to me feeling more comfortable with poly. There are 2 things in particular. The first is a deeply held sense of feeling unloveable that comes from childhood, I don't want to bore people with details but this is all about insecure attachment based in some pretty protracted traumatic experiences. However I know these are just in the past, they should not define who I am now or in the future. The second issue is a bit lame; I have come to realise that I have developed a very romantic notion of what love is. I think the reason for that is having never, at least for long, really experienced proper loving adult to adult relationships, so I've tended to romanticise and create a fantasy of what love should involve and to be honest this is something I feel some attachment to. I do want someone to grow old with, to be able to feel mutual love through thick and thin, to value commitment. However while culturally we seem to be indoctrinated (in my case I'm a sucker for romantic movies) into thinking all those things only come through monogamy, is that really the case? Maybe I have it back to front, could poly make those things more possible because it means you are surrounded by love rather than it coming just from one direction? I know that is exactly what motivates my partner to want to explore poly.

Sorry if this is all a bit long winded, sort of thinking out loud really.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I want my partner to be happy and if this is something that helps her to be happy then I feel I should support it.

It can't be just that. What relationship shape makes her happy.

There could also be "What relationship shape makes ME happy?"

So there might be

4) You are happy for her in that she's figured herself out and what she wants... but for you? This is not what you want. You prefer monogamy. So it's a crossroads place you are arriving at. Because just as it is not fair to ask her to do monogamy if she wants poly? Its not fair to ask you to do poly if you want monogamy.

You have had a lot going on, so no need to rush into decisions. But if you are just listing things to think about later?

That might be on the list too.

Galagirl
 
I want my partner to be happy and if this is something that helps her to be happy then I feel I should support it. My partner says if our situation were reversed she would feel nothing but happiness if I had found other loves.
Hey there, I am going to say some stuff and I will probably get some disagreement. I am worried as I have a date with a very attractive woman coming up and my gf (married) has said this quite often. However when I was supposed to play third party for sexual fun for a couple the other day my gf had some questions about what I planned to and not to do. So just a heads up, saying and doing are two different things. You don't know how anyone will react so don't feel inferior to her or others for going through the process.
My insecurities limit me and have done all my life, why would I wish that for someone I love? A better option would be to challenge them and try to overcome them.
I also want you to acknowledge that not everything you are nervous about is an insecurity. Some, if not all, boundaries are okay if everyone agrees to them of their own free will and without force. My gf, her husband, and I all agreed that she wouldn't have the time to have another relationship at my level so she rejects anyone who tries to go above a certain amount of time as she has what she wants. This boundary keeps us all prioritized and happy with our very limited time together.
I have developed a very romantic notion of what love is
As do I, but that isn't precluded in the poly world. Not one bit.
 

Carmina

Member
It can't be just that. What relationship shape makes her happy.

There could also be "What relationship shape makes ME happy?"

So there might be

4) You are happy for her in that she's figured herself out and what she wants... but for you? This is not what you want. You prefer monogamy. So it's a crossroads place you are arriving at. Because just as it is not fair to ask her to do monogamy if she wants poly? Its not fair to ask you to do poly if you want monogamy.

You have had a lot going on, so no need to rush into decisions.
I know but the next sleepover is coming up soon so I need to be realistic. I don't have a monogamous relationship any more, so there's no point in me trying to pretend otherwise, that decision has already been made, and even if I'm not ecstatic about it my choices are either to learn to live with it or not. I choose, because of my love for my partner, to try and live with it in the hope that things will get easier over time, and that I may even come to see the benefits for myself eventually. One of us has to adapt and it might as well be me. I know some couples have mono/poly relationships where one considers themselves to be monogamous and the other polyamorous but tbh it seems to me being monogamous or polyamorous is not about you as an individual but you as part a relationship configuration. If I am in a relationship with a polyamorous person then that relationship is a poly one, regardless of whether I choose to see other people myself.
 

Carmina

Member
As do I, but that isn't precluded in the poly world. Not one bit.
That's good to hear, I would like to know more about that aspect. If I was going to be interested in polyamory for myself it would be with emphasis on the 'amour' aspect not just the 'poly' aspect.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I know but the next sleepover is coming up soon so I need to be realistic. I don't have a monogamous relationship any more, so there's no point in me trying to pretend otherwise, that decision has already been made, and even if I'm not ecstatic about it my choices are either to learn to live with it or not. I choose, because of my love for my partner, to try and live with it in the hope that things will get easier over time, and that I may even come to see the benefits for myself eventually.

It's fine to try this on to see if you can adapt, but if you find it is like bending into pretzels or not really what you are into?

You can stop participating. Because your choice to stay in it or stop belongs to you.

It is not something like fait accompli.

Galagirl
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
I'm coming back to this because I think I need to try and move, if I can, from being the 'reluctant partner' to being able to feel more positive about this. So I'm examining my motivations and feelings; what do I want myself? This is not an easy question to answer actually. What is easier to answer is what is driving me at the moment. I can narrow this down to several factors, not all in alignment:

1) I want my partner to be happy and if this is something that helps her to be happy then I feel I should support it. My partner says if our situation were reversed she would feel nothing but happiness if I had found other loves. I believe that, but does this mean I'm just a mean spirited, selfish person if I can't feel that in 100% return (except in the sense of wanting her to be happy)? I feel bad if that is the case, I don't want to be that sort of person. I have always tried not to be that sort of person.
she says if the situation were reversed she would fell nothing but happiness. I think she either completely drunk on NRE or completely naive / optimistic in that prediction. Those are word supporting a sales pitch not based on past experience as a guide. In many many cases we‘ve seen this as a tactic to encourage their spouse to date to reduce guilt on their parts. AND NO it doesn’t make you a mean spirited or selfish person to not feel happiness while shes out banging other guys.


2) I also feel ethically this is the right thing to do; I know I have no right really to expect her to limit herself to pander to my insecurities. I am grateful that she has agreed a timescale in order to reduce some of the pain for me and I would expect in all relationships where there is love it would be natural to come to reasonable agreements to do what is possible to maximise each others well being, but I would feel really terrible if I made her give this up just because I feel bad and I refuse to do that. My insecurities limit me and have done all my life, why would I wish that for someone I love? A better option would be to challenge them and try to overcome them.
what if you substitute the word preference for insecurities. Viewing things for how or what you prefer rather than viewing things from the negative /limitation of insecurity. “ A better option“ Having been the reluctant partner and thus challenging / trying to overcome those insecurities or preferences is to maintain whats lost is you’re fight for 1/2 or some fraction of the romantic pie.


3) I think I know exactly where the barriers are to me feeling more comfortable with poly. There are 2 things in particular. The first is a deeply held sense of feeling unloveable that comes from childhood, I don't want to bore people with details but this is all about insecure attachment based in some pretty protracted traumatic experiences. However I know these are just in the past, they should not define who I am now or in the future. The second issue is a bit lame; I have come to realise that I have developed a very romantic notion of what love is. I think the reason for that is having never, at least for long, really experienced proper loving adult to adult relationships, so I've tended to romanticise and create a fantasy of what love should involve and to be honest this is something I feel some attachment to. I do want someone to grow old with, to be able to feel mutual love through thick and thin, to value commitment. However while culturally we seem to be indoctrinated (in my case I'm a sucker for romantic movies) into thinking all those things only come through monogamy, is that really the case? Maybe I have it back to front, could poly make those things more possible because it means you are surrounded by love rather than it coming just from one direction? I know that is exactly what motivates my partner to want to explore poly.

Sorry if this is all a bit long winded, sort of thinking out loud really.
With the first part of this I’d say with bother and put yourself and gf through all this. Seems like massive heartache and misery.

Id definitely say losing the deeply held romantic notion would be ground zero things to change and alter. Romantic love as interpretive dance everyone has their own idea and definition.
 

Carmina

Member
she says if the situation were reversed she would fell nothing but happiness. I think she either completely drunk on NRE or completely naive / optimistic in that prediction. Those are word supporting a sales pitch not based on past experience as a guide. In many many cases we‘ve seen this as a tactic to encourage their spouse to date to reduce guilt on their parts. AND NO it doesn’t make you a mean spirited or selfish person to not feel happiness while shes out banging other guys.
I don't think that is really fair to her, she has no intention to see anyone else apart from this one guy who she had known as a longish distance friend for over a year and this isn't about 'banging' anyone - she wants a loving relationship (as do I). I guess it's not really possible for anyone to predict exactly how they might react to a situation that hasn't happened yet, if I did start to have a serious relationship with another woman it is possible it will bring up issues she is not aware of, but at the moment she believes she would be far more comfortable with that than I am. I don't think she is 'drunk on NRE' either, she has always maintained that she would be happy for me to date others, it's just me who has held back.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
3) I think I know exactly where the barriers are to me feeling more comfortable with poly. There are 2 things in particular. The first is a deeply held sense of feeling unloveable that comes from childhood, I don't want to bore people with details but this is all about insecure attachment based in some pretty protracted traumatic experiences. However I know these are just in the past, they should not define who I am now or in the future. The second issue is a bit lame; I have come to realise that I have developed a very romantic notion of what love is. I think the reason for that is having never, at least for long, really experienced proper loving adult to adult relationships, so I've tended to romanticise and create a fantasy of what love should involve and to be honest this is something I feel some attachment to. I do want someone to grow old with, to be able to feel mutual love through thick and thin, to value commitment. However while culturally we seem to be indoctrinated (in my case I'm a sucker for romantic movies) into thinking all those things only come through monogamy, is that really the case? Maybe I have it back to front, could poly make those things more possible because it means you are surrounded by love rather than it coming just from one direction? I know that is exactly what motivates my partner to want to explore poly

I may have recommended this to you before, I don’t entirely remember, but just in case I haven’t, I *strongly* recommend Polysecure - it’s a book about navigating attachment styles - including insecure attachment based on trauma - while in nonmonogamous relationships (or in general, really, I’d recommend it for monos too even if some of the advice isn’t relevant).

And… I mean I’m a pretty helpless romantic too. I’ve written several times on various threads here about the Disney Monogamy Hangover - I became VERY enmeshed, emotionally and intellectually, with Knight because of that sort of societal indoctrination. But really? While that vision of rocking chairs on the porch (or whatever, I actually dislike the outdoors but you get the idea) is different now - there might be more than two chairs, it might be two different porches at different times, who knows? But that doesn’t mean the commitment isn’t there - and yes, I often feel like I am surrounded by love, and it’s even better because it’s two different *kinds* of love. Like, they’re both romantic relationships but they feel utterly different.
 

Carmina

Member
I may have recommended this to you before, I don’t entirely remember, but just in case I haven’t, I *strongly* recommend Polysecure - it’s a book about navigating attachment styles - including insecure attachment based on trauma - while in nonmonogamous relationships (or in general, really, I’d recommend it for monos too even if some of the advice isn’t relevant).

And… I mean I’m a pretty helpless romantic too. I’ve written several times on various threads here about the Disney Monogamy Hangover - I became VERY enmeshed, emotionally and intellectually, with Knight because of that sort of societal indoctrination. But really? While that vision of rocking chairs on the porch (or whatever, I actually dislike the outdoors but you get the idea) is different now - there might be more than two chairs, it might be two different porches at different times, who knows? But that doesn’t mean the commitment isn’t there - and yes, I often feel like I am surrounded by love, and it’s even better because it’s two different *kinds* of love. Like, they’re both romantic relationships but they feel utterly different.
Thankyou that’s fantastic - that sounds lovely. I have read Polysecure now - it is scary in places but also helpful.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
I don't think that is really fair to her, she has no intention to see anyone else apart from this one guy who she had known as a longish distance friend for over a year and this isn't about 'banging' anyone - she wants a loving relationship (as do I).
You‘re going to always be the judge of what’s fair or what fits with the context and the situation on the ground it’s us piecing together what we read along with the numerous people that have presented similar accounts. And from the quick scan of this thread I thought your anxiety was directly linked to her becoming physical with her BF.


I guess it's not really possible for anyone to predict exactly how they might react to a situation that hasn't happened yet, if I did start to have a serious relationship with another woman it is possible it will bring up issues she is not aware of,
YES ….my point and there are plenty of threads here to back this up. People claiming this vary thing only to find out later …oops they were wrong.


but at the moment she believes she would be far more comfortable with that than I am.
I’m sure this is true too ….however I was reacting to the idea she would feel nothing BUT happiness for you. That would be great and ideal but I think she might want to give herself some leeway.


I don't think she is 'drunk on NRE' either, she has always maintained that she would be happy for me to date others, it's just me who has held back.
I thought you came to the forum seeking help because you reluctantly said yes to trying poly and your GF was sort of putting a floor court press on you ( US sports reference) and as a result you were feeling some aspects of poly hell.
Typically we see NRE brings about poly hell and I was giving a broad range of options A single thing or some from each. It now sounds like shes overly optimisti.
 
That's good to hear, I would like to know more about that aspect. If I was going to be interested in polyamory for myself it would be with emphasis on the 'amour' aspect not just the 'poly' aspect.
One of the very few boundaries with my GF is that her and her husband reserved certain language for themselves. To understand, this was in place since they opened their relationship up as "swinger" style and me, the longterm BF was never planned. He is a little bit worried - but we are making moves to fix this and he trusts my gf and I. I tell you this for context.

So I respect the boundary, but as I am not saying anything in front of them I will say it here and violate the boundary; I very much love my girlfriend. But it is a different love than he can offer, and that is something that only he and her can learn on their own. I would live nearby her, but I couldn't live with her everyday in close proximity. I wouldn't want to have kids with her, even though their parenting style is very similar. Their love of children and a home and all that time together is something beautiful to me. To me, he is her and she is him. This is the aspect I was explaining above, I only want to contribute to the relationship of theirs through the relationship of her and I. But I love her romantically and she and him and I decided to allow that.

The greeks have 7 different kinds of love (or 8 depending on sources.) I love my girlfriend in a way her husband can't, and vice versa. I believe there are more than 8 types of love.... well I guess more in my mind that love is an accumulation of many great things that are different between relationships and that is more than 7 or 8 things. But with my gf I feel safety, non-judgement, and advice. But I do not feel the slap-in-the-face and motivation as much as the love of my life long best friend gives me (though this is platonic). I have a platonic ex who I love for letting me be raw, and providing counsel about my romantic issues but more importantly just being so loyal to each other. I feel my gf will be there forever, but my platonic ex would no doubt kill someone for me if I asked her. But polyamory is just like this. Each person adds something.

You and your partner and their metas as well as yours will have different combinations of love. Monogamy isn't wrong, just as polyamory isn't wrong. We in the poly world just choose to expand beyond one loyal love and you can grow old with a primary or primaries. You can have that picnic by the lake all together. You can travel the world. It isn't precluded at all.
 

Carmina

Member
Hello Carmina,
Here's some more ideas for how to cope:
I know I'm a little late posting here, I hope it still helps.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
Tomorrow is the day/night so I am exploring which strategies would work best for me based on this and my experience from my partner's last sleepover date. I have adapted Zigzag's list and changed/added a few things:

1. Keep coming back to how much I love my partner and want her happiness and all the reasons why this is good for her - telling myself this is also the right thing to do ethically (ethics and integrity are important to me) - cuddling her pillow will help ground this

2. Keep resources close at hand for dealing with separation anxiety

3. Having plenty of good books to read - usually I find when I'm upset I can't concentrate on much so I have several scifi books on my reading list that don't require as much concentration as well as a pile of books on gardening/plants

4. I personally don't want to prioritise work on 'jealousy' right now - the overriding issue is heartbreak and loss and feelings of separation anxiety which means the primary focus is dealing with and managing those feelings and disentangling. Also I tend to see jealousy as something like love; there is more than one kind of jealousy and they are not all negative, many are instructive and I feel it is important to listen to those feelings rather than push them away or 'manage' them (just as pain tells you something is wrong in your body) - I would only see avarice (ie coveting 'thy neighbours' wife/stuff) and jealousy coming from possessiveness as more negative and destructive.

5. I have suffered from anxiety most of my life so have many tools and strategies for dealing with it including mindful breathing, urge surfing, reframing strategies, other cognitive and mindfulness techniques

6. I can listen to music to help take my mind off things

7. I have lots of tasks I can focus on - again demanding things might be affected by low concentration/motivation but things like a bike ride or some gardening would help - I have lots of activities I do potentially - painting, music creation/playing, walking, biking, gardening, cooking, even poetry - but how much I engage will depend on how I feel, if my mood is really low I struggle to do anything, even sleep

8. Reading books that help me process my feelings and responses like 'Polysecure' may also help

9. Coming here if I am really struggling - getting moral support telling me I can get through this and there is light at the end of the tunnel really helps

10. Ultimately having someone for me too, even if it's just for a cuddle or to talk things through with someone who understands all this would probably be great but that is a way off. I wish I did have someone to cuddle up with tomorrow night but it's not going to happen.

11. Focussing on how much love we will have when she returns and looking ahead to reconnecting - how reassuring that will be for someone with separation anxiety

12. As a last resort, particularly if I can't sleep, I can take a sleeping tablet
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Thanks for those edits/adds, Carmina. I have added them to my list. They will help others too.

Hang in there.
 

Carmina

Member
Thanks - I slept awfully last night but managed to say goodbye this morning as positively as I could and so far have been distracting myself with a new book but evening is drawing in and I’m starting to miss my partner and feel bad. This is the first time she will be sleeping with him, or anyone in fact since we’ve been living together. We talked through a lot last night and in my head I can understand where this need is coming from in her but emotionally it still feels very raw and hurtful and I don’t know how to get from feeling upset that she is sleeping with another person to feeling great about it (which I know one is supposed to feel in Poly relationships).
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
I don’t know how to get from feeling upset that she is sleeping with another person to feeling great about it (which I know one is supposed to feel in Poly relationships).
There is no _supposed_ to here - some people feel compersion, some people don’t. I often think it’s a lot easier to get to _neutral_ than it is to get to “feel great about it”, so maybe that might be a better goal, and you can decide if you want to try to get to “great” later?
 
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