Still learning to ride the wave

struggling with guilt and anxiety today. I find it hard to accept that Joe and P really don't want to be with anyone else (for now) and sometimes feel like I don't have enough time in the day to be a good partner to both of them. I've definitely become a better hinge as time goes on. I'm still one person though, and one person who frequently feels inadequate. That's not even taking into account future things, like having a family and even what will happen once we leave here/I graduate.

i return to these thoughts a lot on this blog lol. I don't really want to express this doubt to either Joe or P (at least not too often) because it's just worrying about future shit that could potentially never materialize. I just like, want to be enough? Both of them think I am, but like i dont fucking know. P hasn't even been in that many relationships; am I keeping him from experiencing something? Could Joe be a lot happier in a monogamous marriage? Things would be so simple for both of them if they didn't love the same person. Maybe they still do think it's simple. idk. I guess it's their responsibility to let me know if they need a change.

It's when everything is going well that I am most anxious haha. I have reached out to another therapist (someone who has a background in poly stuff + trauma) in the hopes to get more of a handle on the anxiety. I'm pretty high functioning, but I would like to not have anxiety spirals once a week. I don't really have anything to be anxious about, which makes me more anxious? I can see that it's more so me and how my brain works, not the situation. The situation is good, and life is good. All is well. Just wish i could convince myself that that is the case. It's like I'm so worried about things/situations/people being taken away that I'm unable to just enjoy them. URG it's frustrating to say the least
Was talking with Joe today and he said a couple things:
1. That he has had to change the mindset he had from when me and Pea first started dating; that it was just he (Joe) and I, and that whatever was going on with Pea didn't really have to do with us. Joe said now he sees that all three of us have been together for much longer than me and Joe were alone, and that both his and my relationship with Pea has been a huge part of Joe and I's story. He didn't seem super sad about it. I think it took him a long time to realize that while the time he and I had alone was awesome and amazing and like the honeymoon of both of ours lives, it's not a permanent state we're returning back to any time soon. I don't mean that Joe and I won't have our own private dates and trips and more honeymoon moments and we're both very happy together, but that a life without Pea is kind of... impossible? Obviously if Pea wanted to leave, or Joe, or me, that's fine. But barring someone wanting to leave... we're all going to be together. We all want to be together, and we have made the decision to live together more than once, and we're all happy, so...

This conversation was spurred by Joe going to Italy for a week -- I'm meeting him the second week in Greece. While he's gone, it's Pea's birthday (actually, both of their birthdays are 2.5 weeks apart. Scorpios! I am perpetually broke in the fall for this reason lol). I was planning something (not 100% sure what yet, because Pea has to get off) for Pea and I to do together. We've never gone on vacation just the two of us. I told Joe that I was planning something and he was like "Why did you tell me" and it seems that, going forward, he really doesn't care to know what Pea and I are doing as long as it doesn't affect his schedule/he's not around. Easy enough.

We also had a conversation recently where I was just like, frankly "It's not my fault that the women you (and Pea for that matter) would prefer are not ALSO the women that would be okay with dating you while knowing you're in a committed relationship." This isn't to say that there is a certain 'type' of woman that is poly, just that since Joe isn't willing to really dive into the poly pool (dating apps, meetups, etc. with intention), he hasn't met anyone else that's accepting of me being his wife. And he hasn't expressed wanting to be with someone else. So I also am saying "It's not my fault your mono and I'm poly." I know this can change, and I have used this forum at times to prepare myself for that day! But it hasn't happened yet, and I'm not sure it will. So in accepting that that's where we're at NOW, which is what matters most, I've been trying to adjust to it. I'm happy that Joe feels he has accepted what that comes with, without feeling he has to just be with someone to make things "even", which is a sentiment he had for the first year or so that Pea and I dated.

2. That he sometimes feels like a cuck, but that he stops just short of actually seeing Pea and I being intimate. Pea and I are never romantic in front of Joe. It's just like an unspoken rule that allows us to just be friends when we're all together like old times. I told Joe that I never think of him in this way. I know there are people on this forum that are into cuckholding! so there's no judgement there. It's just that as a straight male who doesn't consider himself poly, and is really truly tolerating this lifestyle because he knows it's what I want and genuinely enjoys the companionship of my partner (also his best friend), he has moments where he looks at himself how other people potentially would (his friends, family, society-- i dont think his family or friends would look at him this way if he told them, but i could see him thinking that in dark moments) and in the most negative way.

Again, from my perspective, it's like, if you're happy living like this, then just be happy. And don't look at yourself from other people's perspective. THAT I can understand tho. The whole judging yourself for living your life in a way other people would judge. So for that reason I don't really think there is such thing as a mono-poly dynamic.... aren't you just inherently poly if your partner is poly? Because you are experiencing a lot of the judgement and identity stuff that your partner is experiencing as a 'mono' person, you just aren't actually dating/sleeping with others? And that judgement feeling, it hasn't really gone away for me. So I didn't have great advice for Joe in getting over it completely, 100% of the time.

Anyway. Just some thoughts.
That concept of feeling like a cuckold, "unmanly," stems from patriarchal thinking. Modern polyamory is a feminist concept and goes against about 3000 years of patriarchal rule and enforcement, even by violence. The idea is that a man owns "his" woman outright. She is no more nor less than a cow, a donkey, a slave or even a table.

The concept was invented and enforced in order to preserve patrilineality, passing down goods through the male line, which is unnatural, when you think about it. Before the ability to detect DNA, it was a woman's word who the father of her baby was. So she had to be kept in line, indoors, covered up, chaperoned (by a eunuch if necessary), in order to make sure she didn't have sex with any other man than her husband. There is no mention in the Bible of what she could get up to sexually with other women in the harem, because other women couldn't make her pregnant, so it didn't matter.

So, Joe's feelings run deep, but they are a form of brainwashing by the customs of our culture, which modern polyamory turns on its head. He can take heart in that his wife is a free person, not his possession, not his chattel (cattle/cow), and therefore has a right with whom to share her body and soul. Men have had this right. They have been allowed traditionally to have multiple wives and concubines (sex slaves). Solomon, known as the wisest man on earth, had hundreds of wives and concubines, according to the Bible.
@Magdlyn This all makes sense. And yeah I've never really thought about the tradition of passing possessions thru the male line and how that kinda doesnt make sense lol
I can't speak for other poly configurations, but I have found that this one (MFM) goes especially strong against the patriarchal ideals/framework that most modern cultures pull from

Like... I have felt like a dirty whore and that I'm not "enough" for either of my partners because I can't be completely 'theirs'
and Joe has communicated feeling emasculated.

Pea stays mostly silent on this. We've talked about jealousy a couple times, but he definitely has just accepted that his conservative family will never be cool with it. Perhaps he's avoided some of those internalized judgements because our relationship is mostly under wraps. idk.
*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ A couple cool dreams that have to do with poly! *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

the stone fell out of my marriage ring (i say marriage ring because Joe and I didn't have a wedding lol) and joe found it and put it back. it was teardrop shaped and much larger than it is irl, with gold and diamonds wrapped all around it. i also had all these other rings on my fingers.

Also, had a dream that i was half naked in front of joe, and Pea, and .. Joe's mom lol. she walked in when i was just getting ready to go to sleep. i felt like a huge whore and that i had to explain myself, and she just like, didn't care. she was like "it's fine" and smiled and started talking about something else.
Not a 100% positive post (gee I should've posted AS SOON as I got back from vacation lol) but a real one.
I had a great time traveling with Joe and Pea.

I cried on the way back to the airport with Pea. We were having so much fun, I didn't want it to end :') There was a moment where Pea was giggling and I'm pretty sure I've never seen him that happy. I doubted that Pea and I would make a trip happen together, so I'm proud of both of us for just doing it.
Greece was amazing. Joe and I rented a car and did a big loop around the country; each of us picked spots to hop around to. Napflio was my favorite. We hadn't traveled like that just the two of us in years.

I feel like a really great partner right now. And as with all things the pendulum slips a lil off course and I'm ready to be alone and focus on work/school/myself.

Coming back after two weeks off has been hectic. Pea is going home next week for thanksgiving with his family and I'm a bit stressed. For whatever reason, any time any of us travels (even if it's just me going alone or all of us going together) I get anxious a few days before. It's gotten better the more I travel and since I've noticed it, but it's still there.

Added to that, I feel insecure when Pea leaves to be with his family. I have posted on here about it before in the poly relationships corner, but I knew his family before we dated and now that they know we're together, I'm not welcome to be around them. It definitely hurts my feelings, but Pea has assured me he doesn't care/it doesn't affect his feelings towards me. He's just so close with them and I find it hard to believe that he can separate these two big chunks of his life (me and family) so completely. I think because I can't empathize with him feeling the need to do that, I have a lack of trust. I assume that he's letting his family talk shit about me, or pretending that I don't exist around him, neither of which is true but these are the doubts that crop up.

I did ask him for some specifics about what they have said to him that clues him into the fact that they don't want me around (maybe I don't want to know though...). I also was asking why he can't just have a conversation with them about it, or if he ever has. It started the closest we ever come to an argument, which is Pea giving short answers to questions and me poking and prodding until I'm pissed that he won't open up more about it. I think this way of dealing with it is best in his opinion, and it's not my family so I don't really know. I don't want him to fix it, I just want him to explain it, and I think that frustrates him. We haven't had time to talk (this was over text while he was working---probably not my best move to start a convo then) so I'm hoping to sit down with him Friday and clear things up/get the reassurance i need before he leaves.

I'm staying home for thanksgiving. I was planning on seeing my family in AZ, but since my grandma died last year things have been different and my uncle changed festivities to a saturday which I can't make work. I think my grandma kept certain parts of our family together, and that's just not the case anymore. I was pretty sad about it yesterday (perhaps part of why I was so upset after talking to Pea) but Joe and our roommate and I are just going to do something at the house, and I appreciate not having to travel after 2 weeks of flying around.
As Pea has been away, I have done a lot of thinking.
It has taken me awhile to get comfortable with the subtle dancing Pea, Joe and I do around each other. I grew up in a household where lies were normal and so were loud, violent arguments, and I was in a romantic relationship for several years (before Pea or Joe) that was pretty similar. I am super confrontational and find it hard to not put everything on the table. Anything less than that seems insincere, or like those involved are keeping their blinders on/avoiding their reality. I have at times been guilty of oversharing, because I don't want to lie to those I love. It took me a bit to understand that some things can remain unspoken.
At this point, it seems Joe and Pea have adjusted to the new normal. It's been that way for awhile. I would say the last year has been pretty void of drama or big situations that need to be handled. While Pea has been away, I have confronted my emotions surrounding his family and feeling left out of his life/essentially in the closet still, and why I feel that way. We had a long conversation before he left about it, and while I got some reassurance there was still some shit left on the table. I don't think it's his family so much as his unwillingness to have difficult conversations.** I see the fact that they avoid me as a reflection of Pea not being open with them about how he feels about me. He's only ever answered their questions about the situation when pressed, so in my mind it's as if we're not really 'out' to them. And while I feel excluded and insecure when he goes to hang out with them, I think I've come around to accepting that this is Pea's dance.... I keep my relationships with Joe and Pea separate from each other (a hard enough task when we all live together), Joe and Pea keep their relationship with each other separate from me, Joe doesn't tell his family and friends I'm with Pea, and perhaps Pea just accepts that his family doesn't really get our relationship and would rather him pretend we are just friends. It's like we're all just trying to be good hinges.

** on Pea not being able to have tough convos: This is a recurring theme. I know for a fact Pea had feelings for me early on in our friendship, but he would never admit that to Joe and avoided the conversations surrounding polyamory when our relationship started. I think it's okay that I did most of the work in opening up because I was the one who was married, but Pea didn't do a good job maintaining him and Joe's relationship during this time and I think a lot of it had to do with this avoidance of tough/uncomfortable conversations. Only now do I think they've recovered the friendship they had before (and it's been 3 years!)
I sometimes worry that that me being poly is a way for Pea to avoid showing up emotionally in our relationship. He has done a lot of growing up since we started dating--as have I--but i find it hard to believe that he could be with literally any other woman and be as aloof and uncommunicative as he is now. I have Joe to talk about emotions with (always trying to avoid talking about Pea and I's relationship) and to lean on when life shit happens (death, disappointment etc. outside of romantic relationships). Pea cracks jokes to make me smile when I'm dealing with dark shit and is very expressive with his love in actions (cuddles, favors, meals, planning dates, surprises, etc.). I don't ever doubt that he loves me. There's just this wall with non physical/emotional intimacy that seems so hard for him to get over. Whenever i try to confront him about this it's like he's a rabbit stuck in a cage; literally his eyes are darting everywhere and he seems so unable to stay focused and not turn to sarcasm or jokes. Either that, or he shuts down and starts giving one word answers. I have cracked the code in some ways in realizing that he will talk if we go out to eat (must be some kind of connection in his head with conversations and restaurants, idk). I have never met someone so afraid of intimacy in my life--it reads like fear to me, but i could be mistaken.

I have been taking really good care of myself for the past year or so; I have a great skin care and yoga routine and have given attention to a lot of things that are important to me. School is going well. Pea has seemed head over heels for me (in his own way) this whole time; giving me compliments and stuff. It's awesome! Especially considering there was a time earlier in our relationship where I felt he took me for granted. During this same time I have sensed more reluctance from him to talk about the future. Even when we do, he says he wants me to "do what is best for me" when we discuss future plans with my career/where I might live/etc. Which is a great sentiment to have! but I want him to be there! One time he even said that he thinks I'm "out of his league"--I argued against that but he might still feel this way.
Joe and I are very much on the same page about future plans. It just seems like Pea's inability to be intimate/fear of me leaving (speculating here) keeps him from discussing the future DIRECTLY. it's not like he doesn't float out the idea of us having kids (that one was mentioned at dinner the other night and made me raise my eyebrows) or having a place together. It's just that if i directly put the topic into discussion, he gets antsy. Almost like I can only talk about the future with him in the periphery, or if it's him mentioning it. I think his home life growing up was safe and this always led me to assume he didn't have family trauma shit going on, but his mom has told him he wouldn't be with his dad if she hadn't gotten pregnant at a young age, and she has even expressed regrets about having kids early around me (we're not close and have been around each other enough times to count on one hand) so I know it's something that has been mentioned to Pea more than once. Part of the reason I love him is because he has this live in the moment mentality, but sometimes I wonder if that's a healthy thing, or something he does to keep him from getting his hopes up/avoid being locked down in any way.
I think in him being away, I've been able to identify that his weirdness around commitment/intimacy is a him thing, and not a reflection of how he feels about me. I am not sure I can do it well into the future, but if he's still not sure about some shit that's fine. All in time i guess. We're both pretty young, and I have a couple years on him. I'm open to advice though, from anyone who sees this and has been with an avoidant partner.

In the past year, it's become really clear to me how my relationships with Joe and Pea fit into each other based on what I need romantically. In the beginning, I would feel guilty at times if I felt more sexually compatible with Pea, or if I felt I could talk to Joe for hours and learn so much. I can finally say without a doubt that I'm poly as fuck lol. I think a lot of my doubt in the beginning (and subsequently, me attaching importance to a lot of issues that weren't actually important) was from me second guessing how I felt about Joe or Pea or both. I love them both so deeply, and I can see how different both of these relationships are and can admit that they work well for a reason. I think I have accepted what each relationship looks like and stopped comparing them to each other or mono relationships. Joe has been my first healthy romantic relationship, and I think for awhile I assumed that Pea and I would have to mirror that in some way, but that's just not him. And that's okay! That doesn't mean he loves me less, or that I have to match his aloof/sarcastic/sneaky vibe when it comes to expressing love. I think Pea genuinely enjoys how lovey I am. He has a lil shrine in his room with all my notes and mementos from awesome dates we've been on. I have accepted that maybe Pea doesn't really write the notes, but he enjoys reading them and appreciates how I express love.
Overall, I'm at peace with both relationships, even if there's always work to be done. I am really thankful to have a place to put these jumbled thoughts ! :)
I've been reading the "Attached" book by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. Awesome read! I'm for sure the anxious type--which i already knew but I got the ultimate confirmation with behaviors and thought patterns mentioned in the book that I've experienced so many times. I've been working with my therapist on ways I can focus on *myself* and not assume that changes in behavior from partners or friends has something to do with me. Highly recommend for anyone who wants to reflect more on how they and others interact in relationships.
Attachment types are stable but plastic. So I'm really working towards becoming secure. Spending more time alone and cultivating positive affirmations for when I feel ick/unworthy of love has been helping a lot.
feeling a bit hurt right now... had made agreements awhile with P to visit Iceland for our next trip together (not sure when that will be so it was just a verbal thing) and he's considering going with a friend of his and his friend's family, mostly because they are willing to let him stay with them so he would just have to buy a flight. He at least brought it to me beforehand, but it came with a ton of excuses and hypothetical "wouldn't you go too" scenarios--not really any space for me to be miffed, or an "I'm sorry". I would never tell him not to go. I don't think the trip bothers me much, it's really just that i feel so distant from P and the more permanent parts of his life. he still hasn't told his best friend we're dating and this is the friend that he's going on this trip with. It's as if he wants to stay closeted forever and I'm not sure I want to do that. An even bigger bother to me is that he hasn't made any headway in several years on his financial and career goals. Just seems like he keeps himself continuously distracted by saving up for the next big vacation with his family or thing that he wants to buy. I think his priorities have shifted dramatically since we started dating, and although I know he loves me and I love him, I don't really see a future with him if he continues on this path. His words just don't match his actions, both in regards to our relationship and his career. Planning on having a very difficult conversation this weekend before he goes on a trip with his family next week. I'm not talking to my parents currently, as they had a violent episode the last time I saw them and I've pretty much resigned myself to being detached from them the rest of their lives if they can't figure their shit out. All in all feeling pretty down, which is a bummer because I've been doing well but always manage to type some sad/doubtful shit on this blog haha
talked to P before he left. things feel a bit better; i focused on our relationship and left his future plans out.. that's for him to deal with and im not his mom. we agreed to hang out once a week no matter what*--lately with moving and schedules changing, me putting in extra hours in lab, etc. we haven't been able to spend much time together. This has really been happening since January which makes sense; I've been feeling our relationship is off this entire time. he just isnt going to iceland i guess? which wasn't my request but i think he gauged that the trip wasn't worth me being sad over--i want to encourage him to go but it's his choice. that doesn't solve the problem of feeling disconnect between the two of us, but we're coming up on an aligning of schedules for awhile. I'll just stay in touch with my feelings and see what happens.

as far as future career shiz, he's aware that Joe doesn't want to live in a 2 bedroom apartment forever. I'm all for everyone living together in the future, and I think Joe would be cool with it but only if P and I (Joe is already in his career) leveled up financially and bought a house together or something similar with more space. like, 3 people benefitting from living together, but not *needing* to live together or *depending* on each other--ideally we could all afford our own place and live together consciously. if he knows this (we all talked about this with the start of the new year) and doesn't plan for it, it's on him *shrug*. A lot of this shit seems urgent because im getting closer to graduating, and it's not looking like I'm going to stay in CO so im eyeing the next move, wondering if P is going to make choices that align with sticking around (he has verbalized wanting to do that). time will tell