March 29, 2011
If you are experiencing jealousy, there is a pretty good chance that it is an unfounded jealousy (if your partner is threatening to leave you, well, your jealousy is founded for sure, but you have bigger problems.) Jealousy is a sneaky and harmful emotion if you let it start to take over, and it can harm your relationships as well as both your and your partner’s happiness. But don’t look to your partner to make it go away (although maybe he or she can help). Your insecurity is the root of your jealousy, and that is something you have to examine and deal with on your own.
So how do you deal with it? When you feel jealousy, you are feeling your insecurities made manifest. You are, in essence, afraid that you may lose your partner to this other person because… why? In what way are they “better” than you? It’s time to step back as far as you can and objectively (I know it’s hard) look at what you think is so much better than you are. If you can do this yourself (“I’m afraid he’s more handsome, but we’re both good looking guys.”), cool. If you can’t, it’s time to involve your partner, not to bolster your self-esteem but to help you sort through what the new person may have/do better, what your own merits are over said person, and why these things are important to your partner.
The rest is all processing, I’m afraid. You have to examine your self-esteem flaws to death. You have to hold on to your trust of your partner, even when you feel like it’s killing you. Because in the end, the only one who can banish your jealousy and insecurity is… you.
March 24, 2011
Last weekend I felt sick. I had a lot of work to finish up (mostly it was done, it just all needed editing and finishing touches), and some sort of cold, and my husband was at his family’s home hanging out all weekend and was not being very responsive to texts. It was a sad, lonely kind of weekend, and I realized that what I truly want isn’t necessarily a relationship (although I wouldn’t rule one out), but I friend I could call up, hang out with, and just talk and cuddle. There is one good friend of mine who would be perfect for that if she didn’t live so far away.
I wonder how you go about finding yourself a cuddle buddy? Does anyone out there know what I mean? Have any of you had thoughts along these lines? Maybe you have a cuddle buddy of your own? I’d love to hear others’ points of view.
March 23, 2011
PolyAnna had a great post last week about the various kinds of guilt that many poly people experience. They were in-the-closet guilt, unfairness guilt, and if I understood her correctly, just plain guilt about being poly.
The first kind is pretty easy to understand. You might feel that you are unfair to an OSO if you aren’t out at work and can therefore only bring/talk about the known spouse/partner at work functions. You might feel some of the same guilt at family functions if you are not out to everyone. And on the other side of the coin, you might feel guilt for not telling friends or family, particularly if the secrecy is to protect one of your partners when you might otherwise be “out”.
The second kind stems from the fact that poly is just rarely fair. You might both WANT to find new partners at once, for example, but that doesn’t usually happen the way that you hope. And while you are out enjoying yourself and basking in the heady cologne of NRE, your partner is sitting at home. Alone. Maybe miserable or at least lonely. This isn’t always the case, but it is certainly a source of guilt.
The last type seemed a lot like the second to me, but I think it was more of a “time spent” guilt. For example… If I weren’t poly I would spend more time with my kids. Or maybe “if I weren’t poly I bet I would be a better husband.” But for some people, poly is just a part of who you are. You aren’t cheating or trying to be unfair… This type of guilt, I think, is almost entirely societal.
Guilt can be helpful up to a point in that it can force us to take a look at our actions and whether they are truly warranted or whether they are really the best option. Once you have determined that you are doing the best you can, communication with your partners about your guilt and wanting to let it go might be the first step toward relaxing guilt’s hold on you.
March 22, 2011
I hadn’t thought about Matt and our failed relationship for months until about a month ago (maybe more) I had a totally random dream about him in which I ignored him while shopping in a store that he owns. He confronted me about ignoring him, and I said he was beneath my attention, and that I’d let him know if I needed help with my purchases, but I didn’t have anything else to say to someone with no balls. Hey, it’s a dream, I can be a bitch if I need to!
I’ve thought about him a bit off and on, and wondered how I’d react to hearing from him now, or contacting him. I was afraid there would be a lot of anger or resentment, and I wasn’t sure how I felt, still, about the way our friendship (not so much the relationship) ended. And then yesterday I got a spam message from his email. I sent him a polite note back to let him know he’d been hacked (I always figure better to get swamped with messages to that affect than to have all of your friends assume someone else will tell you). He sent a message back that was probably a “form” message to his entire inbox, basically thanking me for my concern, letting me know he’d been hacked and the steps he’d taken, and apologizing for the messages. Impersonal, professional letter.
And I felt nothing. No hurt when I saw his name in my inbox, no problem being distant in the communication about the problem… he’s like anyone else I don’t know well or don’t have a relationship with, no hurt or sentiment attached, apparently. It’s nice to know, and it isn’t what I thought it would be.
March 17, 2011
My husband and I have a primary relationship. Period. But there is the possibility, eventually, that someone will come into our lives and become so important to both of us that they become a third primary in our relationship(s). Until then, no one has the priorities, the considerations, or the power in my life that my husband does.
That’s not to say that I don’t respect secondary relationships. In fact, I was a secondary (an interesting experience for me!) in my brief relationship with Matt. Okay, his primary relationship was wobbly and damaged, and it ended up costing me a potential relationship with him (and him one with me). But other than his wife’s super-special-crazy-sauce, I found the secondary relationship comforting. I didn’t have to be the primary source of love and affection in his life (okay, turns out I did, that was one of the many problems – but I shouldn’t have had to be), I didn’t have to commit tons of my free time to the relationship since we were both busy, and I still got plenty of affection and support.
BUT… I already have a primary partner. I can see how these things – which I thought of as so wonderful – can be a big downer for someone who is single. No attentive primary relationship, competition of a sort with the primary (for time, for attention, for affection), and possibly worst of all, the power that someone else may have over your relationship.
What do you think? Do secondaries get the short end of the stick?
March 15, 2011
Still on the topic of communication, when do you disclose information about a potential new partner to your current partner(s)? A lot of this will have to do with your partner’s comfort level, of course, since while some people are interested in hearing whenever their lover sees someone sexy, others want to know only important information, like who you’re sleeping with.
There are a lot of different areas where you can disclose, and problems with any of them. Take ‘when you’re interested in someone’, for example. How interested? You might look at hundreds of people each day and have sexual thoughts or fantasies about a number of them, so when do you cross the line into ‘interest’? When you talk to them? When you ask them out? When you suspect they might have feelings for you? When you first sleep together? (After all, a relationship can be totally platonic and then suddenly turn into something more very quickly).
In our relationship, Michael and I are pretty casual about disclosure. We both share a lot, and we both want lots of information (or maybe I want lots of information AND I love to share, and he is sort of neutral on both). Anyway, we often talk about people we find attractive, people we’ve been speaking to, etc, but it isn’t necessary to have disclosed an interest before we take action so long as we disclose promptly afterward. We even have special allowances built into our rules for one night stands even though neither of us is generally a one night stand kind of person, just in case.
So what are your disclosure rules?