The Jealosy Diary

Arc

Member
If you want some background, here's my Intro thread: https://polyamory.com/threads/afraid-of-taking-the-leap-from-a-lt-mono-relationship.153695/ I've appreciated everyone's responses and support. I took a break from the forum around Thanksgiving, and have been mulling things over and focusing on other things besides polyamory and monogamy (which has been nice!)

Long story short: 20 year marriage, wife comes out as poly. I am trying to figure out what to do. We have not done anything but read, talk, fight, and start working on exploring platonic opposite-sex relationships.

One thing I have decided to work on, independent of specific decisions about my wife and our exploring whether to open the relationship, is: My jealousy. I am going to take this opportunity to unpack it, do a bunch of reading, talk it out with people (including my therapist), because I really want to understand what it's about. And I am going to use this space to do so. I welcome any comments or thoughts.

(One note: Even when I'm writing about jealousy in general, I may use the "she" pronoun for "the partner who is the object of jealousy" here, but that's only because it fits with my situation, not to imply that there are definite gender roles).

Entry 1:

One thing I (think I) know is that some forms of jealousy are genuinely unreasonable/abusive (e.g., "don't talk to other men or even look at them"), and then there is a wide grey area that is not abusive and is a mix of reasonable and unreasonable, going off towards zero-jealousy/compersion. Forms in the grey area includes:
  • "I don't want you to ever reference your exes";
  • "I don't want you to ever interact with your exes";
  • "No, it is not okay to me that you are attracted to that guy on Poldark";
  • "No it is not okay to me that you are attracted to that guy you work with";
  • "I don't want you to have platonic male friends";
  • "I don't want you to share personal things with this man but not with me";
  • "I don't want to have to think of her having sex with someone else";
  • "I don't like the idea of you talking about our relationship with another partner";
  • "I don't want you to fall in love with someone else."
  • [Insert other, less and less strong feelings of jealousy until you get to the asymptotic line of non-jealousy]
So I don't really know what to do with the grey area - some of these examples, I have not felt. Some of them I have felt but have gotten over. Some of them I still feel but don't think are reasonable. Some of them I feel, and feel pretty okay with that.

Case 1 - Here is one thing I am dealing with now, that is relatively simple, so a good place to start.

My wife has been texting another guy a lot, and hanging out every other week for walks. I am confident that the relationship is not sexual, that there is no sexting going on, and I trust that my wife would not cheat. I think she's enjoying the attention and flirtation of another guy, it's a break from the monotony of family life, and there's also a sort of compulsive aspect to texting where she can get a little 'ping' throughout the day. She has told me that there was a mild attraction at the beginning but for various reasons that attraction has decreased and she now sees him as "just a friend" albeit a male friend, which she acknowledges has a different, fun energy.

My reactions:
  • I feel annoyed by all the texting - it feels like I'm being left out of a conversation that's happening in the same room;
  • There were a few situations where she seemed to prioritize walking with him, when we actually don't get a chance to do that much (due to parenting duties, and COVID means we can't rely on other people for childcare; and also we just kind of forget to do "couples things" together);
  • Jealous that she is getting outer emotional fulfillment from another man (I'd still be annoyed by the texting if it were a girlfriend, but not jealous);
  • Worried that things are getting romantic/sexual-feeling;
  • Suspicious that she is talking about our relationship issues, particularly the poly part;
  • Suspicious/worried that she will get wrapped up in a secret texting affair and be too afraid to tell me;
  • I'm just not into this guy, he's kind of a dud/mess, so I am annoyed that she likes him to begin with;
  • Jealous that he has qualities that I don't have or think I lack - extroverted; better-looking; makes her excited like I don't;
  • I feel territorial: He's encroaching on my turf;
  • I have a vision of him being kind of cocky; in other words, general anti-man sentiment that makes me think poorly of him.
What I want: I want to be okay with my wife having male friends, and even being flirtatious with them. The one "limit" I set about flirting was that it not disrespect our relationship - I don't want her making jokes about cheating on my, i.e., "Hey, maybe we should get a room." That kind of thing.

I also know that I want to have an equivalent relationship with a woman, don't want to have a double standard.

I also think that I'm never going to be okay with a true poly relationship if I can't be okay with this type of relationship. So I might as well try to get a handle on this level of jealousy.

Okay, that's all for now. Not really sure where this diary is going, but I'll take it one entry at a time.
-Arc
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Since you invited comments, just one suggestion.

You say your goal is

  • What I want: I want to be okay with my wife having male friends, and even being flirtatious with them.

If you are going to change your mind about whatever it is you believe that makes you uncomfortable about your wife having male friends?

You have to be able to articulate your beliefs first before you can change your mind about them and choose to believe something else. If you are not able to articulate that at this time? Maybe you want to record your beliefs and thoughts where possible so eventually you CAN articulate what you believe.

Look at this one.
  • I feel annoyed by all the texting. it feels like I'm being left out of a conversation that's happening in the same room;

I would have put it like this.
  • Situation: Wife is texting in the same room as me.
  • Unspoken Belief: I believe that if I'm in the room, I need to be in on all the conversations that are happening in it. (Or is it some other belief?)
  • Action behavior or thinking behavior you do: I think I am being left out of the text conversation.
  • Feelings that ensue after behavior: I feel annoyed.
I don't know if that idea for expanding notes helps you any or not.

Galagirl
 

icesong

Active member
There were a few situations where she seemed to prioritize walking with him, when we actually don't get a chance to do that much (due to parenting duties, and COVID means we can't rely on other people for childcare; and also we just kind of forget to do "couples things" together);
I totally feel this one, the equivalent is very much one of Knight and I’s biggest problems. Still working on how to fix it.
 

dingedheart

Active member
My reactions:
  • I feel annoyed by all the texting - it feels like I'm being left out of a conversation that's happening in the same room;
  • There were a few situations where she seemed to prioritize walking with him, when we actually don't get a chance to do that much (due to parenting duties, and COVID means we can't rely on other people for childcare; and also we just kind of forget to do "couples things" together);
  • Jealous that she is getting outer emotional fulfillment from another man (I'd still be annoyed by the texting if it were a girlfriend, but not jealous);
  • Worried that things are getting romantic/sexual-feeling;
  • Suspicious that she is talking about our relationship issues, particularly the poly part;
  • Suspicious/worried that she will get wrapped up in a secret texting affair and be too afraid to tell me;
  • I'm just not into this guy, he's kind of a dud/mess, so I am annoyed that she likes him to begin with;
  • Jealous that he has qualities that I don't have or think I lack - extroverted; better-looking; makes her excited like I don't;
  • I feel territorial: He's encroaching on my turf;
  • I have a vision of him being kind of cocky; in other words, general anti-man sentiment that makes me think poorly of him.

I remember reading your intro thread back soon after your initial post. I don’t typically come to the blog page unless prompted by someone else so I didn’t realize you had a blog thread. From my memory and a quick scan of this blog there’s NO mention if your wife is a reader or member of the forum..... my memory correct ?

I think your outline above would be really good to share with her in either a printed out version or linking your threads in there entirety.

ALSO....THIS IS A BIG ALSO. If or when she ever comes around to the idea of therapy what you did right here is what you need to do there. Print off 3 copies and once the session starts pass them out. I’m telling you this works at keep on topic and coving ground.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Jealous that she is getting outer emotional fulfillment from another man. (I'd still be annoyed by the texting if it were a girlfriend, but not jealous.)

It's best to learn the difference between envy and jealousy. We tend to overuse the term jealousy, when what we really feel is envy. Even dictionaries tend to conflate the 2 words. But they are different.

envy- a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.

jealous- fiercely protective or vigilant of one's rights or possessions. OR- feeling or showing suspicion of someone's unfaithfulness in a relationship.

If you believe you own (possess) your wife, anything she does that does not directly reflect how you want your possession to act will cause jealousy. If you believe your wife owns herself, has self-autonomy, then you might feel envy, you'd want what she has.

This all comes down to fear of loss. You're afraid another man will take over ownership of a thing (your wife) that you believe you own, that is "your turf."

You don't believe a woman has the right to own your thing (wife), so you'd feel annoyance (envy?) about lots of texting conversations, not jealousy. This is, of course, sexist, and indicative of brainwashing by our culture's patriarchal set up. If your wife was bi, of course, a woman could "take her away." You could lose her to another person, if you think monogamously.

There are a lot of layers to this seemingly simple "jealousy"!

What you're saying is you think ALL your wife's emotional fulfillment should come from you, not from any other person on this planet. Not from a man, certainly not from a man she desires romantically/sexually, but also not from a female platonic friend. This is a pretty sad state of affairs. It hits close to home. My ex h was also of this mindset. He'd get upset and suspicious of conversations I'd have with my close platonic female girlfriends, including my own sister, who is only 15 months younger than me, and probably my best friend. His main fear was that us "girls" would be talking about our husbands, and that I'd talk about him, and say anything at all negative about him or our relationship (even if my sharing was a form of therapy and could potentially help our relationship!).

Heaven help me if I had any kind of deep conversation with a guy. (Even though I am bisexual, he was still more worried about men taking me away from him, emotionally or physically, than he was worried about women doing the same. Again, sexist.)
 

Arc

Member
Since you invited comments, just one suggestion.
Yes, happy to have comments.
You say your goal is

  • What I want: I want to be okay with my wife having male friends, and even being flirtatious with them.

If you are going to change your mind about whatever it is you believe that makes you uncomfortable about your wife having male friends?
Yes, I see your point. But question - by 'believe' do you mean actually believe (conceptually, logically)? For instance, in the example above, in my mind I don't believe she shouldn't have male friends. When I think into why I am uncomfortable with it, the first thing that comes up is fear. I am afraid about what will happen - e.g.,
  1. She'll connect with this new person emotionally, rather than dealing with our own lack of connection;
  2. She will talk about things with him that she doesn't share with me;
  3. She will eventually fall in love with him, it's just a matter of time.
So is the idea to then pinpoint the ideas to each of those fears? Like,
  1. By connecting with someone else emotionally, that means she will connect less with me. (zero-sum)
  2. She should not share things with a male friend that she doesn't share with me.
  3. It would be bad if she were to fall in love with him.
Am I getting the hang of it?
You have to be able to articulate your beliefs first before you can change your mind about them and choose to believe something else. If you are not able to articulate that at this time? Maybe you want to record your beliefs and thoughts where possible so eventually you CAN articulate what you believe.

Look at this one.
  • I feel annoyed by all the texting. it feels like I'm being left out of a conversation that's happening in the same room;

I would have put it like this.
  • Situation: Wife is texting in the same room as me.
  • Unspoken Belief: I believe that if I'm in the room, I need to be in on all the conversations that are happening in it. (Or is it some other belief?)
  • Action behavior or thinking behavior you do: I think I am being left out of the text conversation.
  • Feelings that ensue after behavior: I feel annoyed.
I don't know if that idea for expanding notes helps you any or not.

Galagirl
Yes, this does help me, but it is a challenge - I'm not used to breaking down feelings like this based on the idea underneath. In particular, I'm having a hard time distinguishing between the unspoken belief and the thinking behavior. But to try it out, I will adjust the one you selected:
  • Situation: Wife is texting frequently in the same room as me; I have a sense of expectation, waiting for each notification to come in, which is distracting.
  • Unspoken Belief: I believe that getting and responding to notifications throughout the day and being on your phone a lot while with other people is impolite (I know this makes me seem really old-fashioned).
  • Action behavior or thinking behavior you do: My wife is turning into an impolite, compulsive texting person.
  • Feelings that ensue after behavior: I feel irritated, and unhappy about that. I liked it better when that was not the case.
How does that sound? Please feel free to point out anywhere I mixed up categories.

-Arc
 

Arc

Member
I totally feel this one, the equivalent is very much one of Knight and I’s biggest problems. Still working on how to fix it.
Yes. It is really hard with limited time; it doesn't feel like a very good way to strengthen our relationship to swap "childcare duty" while we see other people. And the date with the other person, because it is more solid and immovable, less convenient to move, and maybe feels more 'special', tends to take priority of the looser more flexible family plans.
 

Arc

Member
I remember reading your intro thread back soon after your initial post. I don’t typically come to the blog page unless prompted by someone else so I didn’t realize you had a blog thread. From my memory and a quick scan of this blog there’s NO mention if your wife is a reader or member of the forum..... my memory correct ?

I think your outline above would be really good to share with her in either a printed out version or linking your threads in there entirety.

ALSO....THIS IS A BIG ALSO. If or when she ever comes around to the idea of therapy what you did right here is what you need to do there. Print off 3 copies and once the session starts pass them out. I’m telling you this works at keep on topic and coving ground.
No, I don't believe she read this forum. That could change, and she would certainly recognize me if she read my threads!

Thanks, I'll keep in mind the idea of sharing the list, either with her directly or in therapy. Part of my goal of this blog is to get as many thoughts in order as I can so I can be effective when we start addressing them together.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am afraid about what will happen - e.g.,
  1. She'll connect with this new person emotionally, rather than dealing with our own lack of connection;
  2. She will talk about things with him that she doesn't share with me;
  3. She will eventually fall in love with him, it's just a matter of time.
So is the idea to then pinpoint the ideas to each of those fears? Like,
  1. By connecting with someone else emotionally, that means she will connect less with me. (zero-sum)
  2. She should not share things with a male friend that she doesn't share with me.
  3. It would be bad if she were to fall in love with him.

Yes, you can list like that. Then you can examine it later with your counselor.

Like...

1) There's a lack of connection between you. Could you bring it up and ask about improving this?

2) If you don't want her sharing personal info about you to others, ask her not to. If you want to be included in things that are important to her, ask to be included.

3) She wants poly. It means "many loves." Why would this be bad? If you prefer to be in a monogamous relationship? Where you and the other person are each other's sweetie and that's it? No more people? And Wife wants poly now? Then you might have to consider you have become incompatible. Entering poly fearing her sharing love with other people... it's kinda like why do poly in the first place?

I don't know if this helps you any.



Yes, this does help me, but it is a challenge - I'm not used to breaking down feelings like this based on the idea underneath. In particular, I'm having a hard time distinguishing between the unspoken belief and the thinking behavior. But to try it out, I will adjust the one you selected:
  • Situation: Wife is texting frequently in the same room as me; I have a sense of expectation, waiting for each notification to come in, which is distracting.
  • Unspoken Belief: I believe that getting and responding to notifications throughout the day and being on your phone a lot while with other people is impolite (I know this makes me seem really old-fashioned).
  • Action behavior or thinking behavior you do: My wife is turning into an impolite, compulsive texting person.
  • Feelings that ensue after behavior: I feel irritated, and unhappy about that. I liked it better when that was not the case.
How does that sound? Please feel free to point out anywhere I mixed up categories.

That's about it.

You are the one there. You are the one who observes what is happening.

a) It could be that she IS getting phone obsessed.

b) It could be that your expectation is a little unrealistic. Over here if we agree on a family date to do the xmas tree trimming? We are all PRESENT. Nobody is taking texts. When the activity is over? Well, one is reading, one is video gaming, one is cooking, etc. We are all home, but so long as the phones aren't booping loud, people can take texts however they want.

c) It could both things above.

d) It could be something else.

It's on you to discern. Maybe the counselor can help you.

Galagirl
 

Arc

Member
Jealous that she is getting outer emotional fulfillment from another man. (I'd still be annoyed by the texting if it were a girlfriend, but not jealous.)

It's best to learn the difference between envy and jealousy. We tend to overuse the term jealousy, when what we really feel is envy. Even dictionaries tend to conflate the 2 words. But they are different.

envy- a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.

jealous- fiercely protective or vigilant of one's rights or possessions. OR- feeling or showing suspicion of someone's unfaithfulness in a relationship.
Thanks, I will keep this distinction in mind. I have not thought about it in terms of ownership or possession. Obviously that makes it sound terrible when put in those words.
If you believe you own (possess) your wife, anything she does that does not directly reflect how you want your possession to act will cause jealousy. If you believe your wife owns herself, has self-autonomy, then you might feel envy, you'd want what she has.

This all comes down to fear of loss. You're afraid another man will take over ownership of a thing (your wife) that you believe you own, that is "your turf."

You don't believe a woman has the right to own your thing (wife), so you'd feel annoyance (envy?) about lots of texting conversations, not jealousy. This is, of course, sexist, and indicative of brainwashing by our culture's patriarchal set up. If your wife was bi, of course, a woman could "take her away." You could lose her to another person, if you think monogamously.

There are a lot of layers to this seemingly simple "jealousy"!

What you're saying is you think ALL your wife's emotional fulfillment should come from you, not from any other person on this planet. Not from a man, certainly not from a man she desires romantically/sexually, but also not from a female platonic friend.
Well I don't want to give the wrong idea - I definitely don't believe this, and she has close girlfriends and siblings she talks with all the time. I will cop to "Not from a man she desires romantically/sexually." That's where this really becomes an issue. And since she told me that to some degree she will desire any man sexually, that means that any male friend potentially fits into this.

I'm not defending this stance, it's just there, and one reason I'm blogging here is to see if I can deconstruct it/dissolve it.
This is a pretty sad state of affairs. It hits close to home. My ex h was also of this mindset. He'd get upset and suspicious of conversations I'd have with my close platonic female girlfriends, including my own sister, who is only 15 months younger than me, and probably my best friend. His main fear was that us "girls" would be talking about our husbands, and that I'd talk about him, and say anything at all negative about him or our relationship (even if my sharing was a form of therapy and could potentially help our relationship!).
Heaven help me if I had any kind of deep conversation with a guy. (Even though I am bisexual, he was still more worried about men taking me away from him, emotionally or physically, than he was worried about women doing the same. Again, sexist.)
Okay, just to set the record straight, I am a lot less extreme than your ex-husband! I don't have a problem with girlfriends. And guy friends is complicated because this situation came up right in the middle of her coming out as poly, wanting boyfriends, etc. So it is very hard to separate her having male friends from all the things she said about wanting to have sexual/romantic relationships with other men.
 

Arc

Member
Entry 2: This one's more of a rambling story, just trying to get out what happened. Two nights ago, we were getting ready for bed, with mutual understanding that we'd have sex (her suggestion). I walked into the bathroom and she was sitting on the bathtub texting the man she's been texting a lot and seeing every other week (platonically but flirtatiously).

It felt like she was "hiding" this from me by doing it in the bathroom, although this may have been reasonable because I'd said the day before that her texting him a lot while I'm in the room (as in, texting, sitting there waiting for the notification, texting, repeat) felt awkward. So she may have been trying to keep from bothering.

We did not make any comment on it - there was not much to say. I felt bothered; it was a reminder to me of this new development in our life, and her texting him right before having sex felt like an intrusion of a third person into our being together. This let me to think about what it would be like in a truly open relationship and what feelings or situations I'd have to get used to. This got me down, I felt discouraged about us having success finding a compromise around open relationships.

Another thing to highlight is that I feel a lot of self criticism about being jealous. As in, I don't want to be upset about a stupid text she is sending, I don't want to be possessive. I can't really defend it, so I'm not going to bring it up each time I feel it; it would just upset her and kill the mood. But that means that I end up feeling a sort of low-level depression about it. We did end up having sex, but I think we both felt a little off.

The next day, she's going on a walking date with him. I'm home with the kids. I feel down from the night before, down about the whole situation, and left out of her fun times with this friend. I am also down because some of my own attempts to connect with people and build relationships recently did not go as well as hoped, so I'm discouraged for myself.

When she gets home, I'm in a sort of dour mood. Unfortunately, this tends to happen when she goes out with him. She picks up on it. I don't think I was grumpy, but do think I felt distanced, maybe withholding affection from her because she'd already gotten it from this other person. Maybe it's a sense of injustice or resentment, like, "I'm not here to just wait around, taking care of kids, waiting for you to come waltzing home from your date, so I can keep you entertained. I've got my own needs to think about. Apparently I'm codependent and have to work on being less dependent; so if I have to be less dependent, so do you."

I just realized as I write this that I do have resentment about the feeling that I need to get over my own feelings of enmeshment by being less needy, but I should still be happy and available for her when she wants me to be.

Well, eventually she asked if I was down because of her walk with her friend, and I eventually said that had something to do with it. She got mad, disappointed, discouraged, basically, "Can't I even have male friends?" I tried to say that there was a history to this, that it was all tied up in the poly discussion and I was still not over that, so this friendship-date brought up feelings about that.

I am feeling pretty bummed about the whole situation. I am afraid our relationship is damaged. I seem to have lost some trust in her; I don't have full confidence that I know what's going on inside her, that she will say what's going on, or that she's being open about what she's feeling (or open to herself). I am not saying that I think she is actually keeping things secret, but my confidence in her dedication to the relationship is damaged. So when things like this happen (the texting before sex; the walking date) it brings up a sense of dread for the future, even if that's not a fair response to the actual situation.

As someone else commented here, it seems to all come down to fear of loss.

Arc
 

icesong

Active member
Well I don't want to give the wrong idea - I definitely don't believe this, and she has close girlfriends and siblings she talks with all the time. I will cop to "Not from a man she desires romantically/sexually." That's where this really becomes an issue. And since she told me that to some degree she will desire any man sexually, that means that any male friend potentially fits into this.

I'm not defending this stance, it's just there, and one reason I'm blogging here is to see if I can deconstruct it/dissolve it.
Another thing to think about - this particular stance is the root of a lot of biphobia. I mean, this meme is a running joke in the bi/pan community, but only because there's a grain of truth in it on how we're treated sometimes.



We did not make any comment on it - there was not much to say. I felt bothered; it was a reminder to me of this new development in our life, and her texting him right before having sex felt like an intrusion of a third person into our being together.
I don't think it's unreasonable to be upset that in a moment that you thought she'd be focused on / anticipating sex with you, she was talking to someone else instead. I'd be upset about that if either of my poly partners did that, whether they were talking to one of their other partners or to a friend. Just because there are other people in their / her life, doesn't mean never getting undivided attention, or it shouldn't.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I think this specific situation, of her texting her friend, either on a sex date night, or any other night, can be dealt with by addressing it when you're both well fed, well rested and calm. The problem is, when you're mono, you spend almost every night together, at each other's service. When you're poly, some nights you're busy with another partner. So, not every night is for your nesting partner. The 2 nesting partners have to actually plan dates together, when phones will be left alone, and the focus will be on each other, and/or on the activity you're doing together, dinner, a game night, a movie, a walk or whatever it may be.

She's not texting YOU while she's out walking with Friend, right? So, she wouldn't be texting HIM while she's on a planned date night with you. This is a very common negotiation between poly partners, especially people that are new to the lovestyle.
 

Arc

Member
Another thing to think about - this particular stance is the root of a lot of biphobia. I mean, this meme is a running joke in the bi/pan community, but only because there's a grain of truth in it on how we're treated sometimes.
Interesting. I see what you mean. And not to draw too strong a parallel here, but it's generally assumed that men can't be "just friends" with a woman - they will always want or be open to sex. In fact, my wife said her friend would probably be game, just because he's a guy (and she's cute - my opinion).
I don't think it's unreasonable to be upset that in a moment that you thought she'd be focused on / anticipating sex with you, she was talking to someone else instead. I'd be upset about that if either of my poly partners did that, whether they were talking to one of their other partners or to a friend. Just because there are other people in their / her life, doesn't mean never getting undivided attention, or it shouldn't.
You know, I appreciate you writing this. It just goes to show how mixed up I am these days, in that I can't tell when I'm being posessive, when I'm being needy, and when I'm having a reasonable response to a situation. Any time I have a reaction, my first response is to feel bad, like I'm being some patriarchal, possessive husband. Why shouldn't she be able to text her friend? He's just a friend? Etc. etc. It's hard to keep straight what is a 'reasonable' versus exaggerated response these days.
 

Arc

Member
I think this specific situation, of her texting her friend, either on a sex date night, or any other night, can be dealt with by addressing it when you're both well fed, well rested and calm. The problem is, when you're mono, you spend almost every night together, at each other's service. When you're poly, some nights you're busy with another partner. So, not every night is for your nesting partner. The 2 nesting partners have to actually plan dates together, when phones will be left alone, and the focus will be on each other, and/or on the activity you're doing together, dinner, a game night, a movie, a walk or whatever it may be.

She's not texting YOU while she's out walking with Friend, right? So, she wouldn't be texting HIM while she's on a planned date night with you. This is a very common negotiation between poly partners, especially people that are new to the lovestyle.
Yes, since we live together all the time, it's not like pre-sex time is all special and date-like; we're putting away dishes, double checking that doors are locked, sending that last work email we forgot, picking up the kids' messes, etc. So that's why I didn't say anything - I mean, if it had been our anniversary and we had gotten a hotel and she was in the bedroom texting him, it would have been more obviously a wrong move. In this case, we're just getting ready for bed, with the understanding and anticipation that we'll have sex. I think it just got to me because I felt the porousness of the boundaries around my home, relationship, family, which up until recently I thought were pretty solid and nonporous - if that makes sense. Suddenly there's a guy in the bathroom! (figuratively). Wait, this is my bathroom! Etc.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Yes, since we live together all the time, it's not like pre-sex time is all special and date-like; we're putting away dishes, double checking that doors are locked, sending that last work email we forgot, picking up the kids' messes, etc. So that's why I didn't say anything - I mean, if it had been our anniversary and we had gotten a hotel and she was in the bedroom texting him, it would have been more obviously a wrong move. In this case, we're just getting ready for bed, with the understanding and anticipation that we'll have sex. I think it just got to me because I felt the porousness of the boundaries around my home, relationship, family, which up until recently I thought were pretty solid and nonporous - if that makes sense. Suddenly there's a guy in the bathroom! (figuratively). Wait, this is my bathroom! Etc.
I get you on the porousness. You feel insecure, and you aren't sure where the boundaries lie anymore. Even though your wife claims this guy is a friend, the constant texting tells me otherwise.

But my point is, you want/need reassurance, in the midst of the changes. Wife is in NRE, she's focused on new guy to the detriment of almost everything else in her life right now. It's a rush of excitement, like a drug, and it can frankly, make people act like assholes. We've all had friends who fall in love and completely get in that bubble, and stop contacting friends. Then, after the NRE wears off, and they infatuated person tries to contact friends again, the friends have felt neglected so much, they may no longer be there to continue the friendship. This is similar.

That is why it helps you to try and rein her in just a bit, show her your reality. "Hey, I'm still here!" Talk to her about setting up casual at-home "date nights" (because of Covid), or plan walks with her. You'd like to walk with her, right? You're envious of the walks she has with New Guy. One of the main efforts that must be made by a hinge in a V is to balance the care and affection for both partners. If she's giving all her good stuff to New Guy, it's not poly done well. She's taking you for granted, and if she continues this way, it will keep damaging your long established intimacy.

Read this

 

dingedheart

Active member
I’m not sure trying to rein in each and every action that you find offensive will achieve what you want. I do think a serious conversation of what’s at stake needs to happen. IMO the spouse who pushes for open and or poly should be doing significant prep work AND know the pitfalls of NRE / polyhell and take steps to mitigate those. I think those people have a responsibility to their spouse or marriage and by extension to their kids /family to try to limit or dampen turbulence. NOT I’m free at last and your emotions are yours to deal with and we’ll figure this out by the seat of our pants. And please don’t wreck my buzz with a lot of whining as that makes you less attractive to me.

People always talk about intentions vs a specific action. As to say a specific motivation or intention was greater than the action. So was her intention of texting her BF in the bathroom out of public view so to speak being considerate or was it being covert ??? Was the intention to make sure future lover is tucked in and happy without making waves for hubby. OR is it possible she was doing what’s often suggested by bringing some of that NRE back into the sexual side with her husband fitting this into her planned sex event with him. Living the dream 1 minute talking or texting one man and a few minutes later going at it with another. I’m sure that could be a very intoxicating set of thoughts. And if you pull it off ( minus getting busted sitting on the bathtub texting bf ) everyone would be happy.


I’m not sure I completely understand the issue of boundaries here. Didn’t she say what difference does it make what adults do with their bodies. You’re stilled tied to thinking sex or loving making with her is “ special “. It use to be exclusively or extremely special and as this process plays out you’ll discover or determine the level of compartmentalization needed to adjust to fit the new reality ....and more importantly your wife’s new definition of what is “ special “. It could be ” reclaiming “ after her being with lover or and mandatory 24-48hr no go period after said encounter. Or in this case NO texting or sexting on scheduled sex nights or maybe just 1hr pre foreplay.
 

Arc

Member
Entry 3 -

Thanks for all the responses. I will try to respond to them soon, but first, a short Christmas Eve entry.

Interesting observation about jealousy: It turns out, the more I have to drink (and I'm talking about a few drinks, I'm not a heavy drinker), the more okay with Poly I feel for myself. I have a sense of, "What's the big deal?" How to interpret this?? The most obvious explanation is that alcohol decreases my inhibitions, worries, concerns, and so it all seems fine. Does this mean that this is what I really feel though? Or am I just overlooking all the negative consequences and only thinking about the positive ones?

Other thoughts... I have been really annoyed by jealous thoughts (as opposed to feelings) - as in, they feel compulsive, intrusive, and looping. This is different from feeling jealous. It's some sort of brain look that I don't have a lot of control over. Distraction works. Any other ideas?

Today, at least, I can identify a few fundamental fears underlying my jealousy:
  1. I feel a sort of discouragement/hopelessness about my wife and my relationship growing and deepening. At the moment, I have this sense that that is just not what she wants, that she's good where it is and would like to actually deepening it with other people - you could say, growing horizontally, not vertically. There is some sense of rejection, but not a lot; more a sense of sadness that it's not the marriage I wanted or hoped for. Feels tough saying this but there it is.
  2. Then there is the more instinctual jealousy - some guy is going to sleep with my wife, laugh at me, make fun of me or feel sorry for this sad-sack husband. (I'm exaggerating a bit to make the point). I'll be a chump. Now, would I feel like that about a husband of someone who I was in a relationship with? Probably not, but maybe, if he really did seem like a chump.
  3. That I'll be left in the cold - she'll get 15 lovers and I'll get none (mainly because I'm the guy, but also some insecurities about my own ability to attract people). I know it's about quality, not quantity (they say) but on a certain level I don't really believe it!
I think there a few more I could discern, but don't have time for.

Meanwhile, I have a Zoom "date" with a female friend this weekend, and socially distanced walk with another the next day. I am looking forward to them, but also a but frustrated that these will not likely turn into intimate relationships (for various practical reasons; maybe I'll be surprised and they are both poly or non-monog? That would be nice) while my wife is off and running with her non-sexual flirt buddy who would be up for something if the opportunity arose.

But I am feeling good about taking these steps, and also feeling inspired after reading a few threads from the past about men who have been in my situation and ended up making poly/ethical non-monogamy work for them. I would love for the "penny to drop" and I wake up one day thinking, "What was the big deal? It's just sex/fun/relationship!" I know I can't make that happen but I have a hope that if I read enough here, it will sort of normalize it in my unconscious and one day acceptance will become conscious.

One more think - I've been thinking about a few off-the-wall things that could help with jealousy, such as hypnosis and guided hallucinogenic trips (which I was already exploring to address past trauma/PTSD; there's a lot of good evidence for this as a mental health treatment). I will try to get into my thoughts on those things in my next post!
 

Arc

Member
Entry 4 - Today, while still enjoying Christmas, I've had a pervasive sense of anxiety in my solar plexus. It seems to be related to why seems like my wife getting increasingly entwined, emotionally, with her male friend. This feeling is combined with a slew of compulsive thoughts about that relationship - thoughts that don't go anywhere, just circle back and back. Really annoying. Please cut it out, brain.

I don't exactly know how to pinpoint the source of anxiety, except to say that it feels like a sense of dread that my life is going to fall apart. Why do I think that my life is going to fall apart? I am afraid the Poly situation will be insurmountable. Maybe it's seeing my family, my lovely family, on Christmas, and knowing that it has a different feel than previous ones because the assumptions of the family's integrity have been severely challenged.

It is, I think, literally impossible for me, currently, to imagine a Poly arrangement that still maintains the health and functioning of my family, and the sense of trust and closeness that I felt with my wife (albeit with a lot of undiscussed issues and communication jams). This is not to say that I believe it is literally impossible, it's just that I can't envision it. It seems too bizarre. The fact that I'm so shook up about this non-sexual crush situation feels like a bad sign for me adjusting to a Poly arrangement.

One thing feels really clear - I can't see myself being at peace with my wife being in other romantic/intimate relationships until I am in some sort of romantic/intimate relationship of my own. Maybe it's just about fairness, or pride, I don't know. But I think once COVID lets up I'm going to have to start frequenting the local Poly groups, and trying to meet people. This makes me nervous, insecure, and pessimistic. At the same time, I think there are a lot of women who might like to date me! Anyway, that will be an interesting adventure sometime later in the year. Is it reasonable to ask my wife to wait to have sex with someone until I do? I don't mean this as a controlling rule, but I actually think that would be a practical way to save our relationship.

I've been reading the book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. I am not usually into this type of self-help book, but in the first chapter she hit the nail on the head: The fundamental fear is that "I won't be able to handle this." At the root this applies to pretty much every fear and anxiety I have. So I've been telling myself, "I can handle this," when I start getting worked up and fixated on an unknown future, and it actually helps bring me down to earth a bit.
 

Arc

Member
Entry 5 - I seem to have gotten over a stretch of 3 days of an admittedly over-the-top anxiety/fear about my life falling apart because my wife was in an texting/walking relationship with another guy. It was spurred by a realization that they were getting more close than I had realized or that she had told me, and a fear that there was not honesty of communication.

We actually had a good short conversation about this. She told me that there was a personal attraction but very little physical attraction. I asked her point blank to please let me know if this changes - i.e., turns into something more intimate and emotionally connected (or sexual for that matter). I said I would probably be okay with it, but I don't want to be surprised that something has been going on for a while without me knowing it -that would feel like a breach of trust, and working on me accepting Poly requires trust; breach of trust would be a huge setback (for her in particular because I'd be less comfortable moving forward!).

She agreed to tell me, and this made me feel much better. There is still a lot of grey area - what does it mean, really, to shift to something more intimate/emotionally connected? There's not litmus test, and it's not clear we have the same definitions, but I do feel good about speaking my mind and expressing to her what information I need to feel comfortable. And I can hold her to that commitment in the future.

On another note, I went on two "dates" this weekend (mentioned in entry 3). Okay, they were not really dates, but they were get together's with women I like and find attractive. It would be quite a coincidence if they were poly or open, and I have no reason to think that they are, but it still feels good to hang out in that way. And I talked with my wife about it. She asked if I was attracted to them, and I said yes, and we talked about why it feels better to hang out with people we're attracted to, even just as friends. This seems pretty simple, but it is good for us to be talking about it openly and regularly.

Even if these relationships remain platonic (most likely), the fact that these two women are open to being friends boosts my confidence a bit about the idea of dating or meeting people in the local poly community, once I venture out.
 
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