tuneinturnon: poly charms self-primary pendant (poly charms)
[personal profile] tuneinturnon
I'm just gonna start by saying that this is extremely edited, because while I'm angsty, I actually would like advice from people, and I don't want to go off on unimportant tangents that will make reading the whole thing a chore and undermine my purpose. So if it feels like I've left someting out, it's probably a bad edit, feel free to ask me for clarification.

I started Saturday by having some awesome sex with my fiancee!! He had a promising date scheduled for later in the afternoon, and it went very well. I ended the day with the rare but welcome treat of him getting me off (a) without the use of any battery-operated devices, which is such a much more wonderful and different kind of orgasm, and (b) without getting off himself - I got to be the only one! 99% of the time if only one of us gets off it's him, so that was really excellent. :)

We tried that last night too - he wasn't feeling sexy, but he was willing to get me off (yay!) - but it was just too damn late after a long day, and he was making a valiant effort but falling asleep, so I told him to just go to sleep and I used a toy.* Then a little while later, before I'd even tried to go to sleep, he was getting all sexy with me, that fabulously creative and uninhibited sex that we have when he's been asleep and may not even be fully awake when he starts. *wicked little grin* So you'd think I had a AWESOME weekend. And in the sex department, it was way more awesome than most! I did work Saturday but it was easy duty, and I took a nap Sunday and that was really welcome also.

So back to that wonderful date J had with someone he'd like to spend a lot more time with. I'll call her the New Girl or E. I am thrilled for him! I'm truly happy for him. She seems like a perfect fit for him (in different ways from how I am), and she's a really nice person as far as I know. He says she's a combination of him, me and her own special brand of herself. She sounds like a really cool person to get to know, and I really really hope I can climb out of my anxiety long enough to actually get to know her.

She's very experienced in poly, and he's a lot more experienced at it than I am. I'm a newbie, though. This is the first time that someone I've been with has a shot at having a successful relationship with someone else, and I'm pretty terrified that I'll do something to screw everything up - screw up their shot at a relationship, screw up my relationship that I have with him... putting way too much pressure on myself in the process, making my anxiety and angst worse.

I know that if I keep acting this way, I very well may bring about the thing I'm trying to prevent - she might feel like he's not worth the trouble if she/they have to deal with me being all angsty, and I don't want that. I don't want to be trouble. I want him to be happy! I want to work through my shit so this can be successful. I told him it's not "so much trouble" for him to date her, but I have to talk about my uncertainties and insecurities and ask my newbie questions, and he's the one I talk to.

Now, so is she, which so far has been really helpful. Her reaction when I was being all angsty and stuff was to be worried on my behalf. That is really sweet. :)

I'm not good with process. I want to be able to realize what the problem is and decide on a solution and implement it and get on with my life. I know that's not how it works (damn it). So I've begged their patience while I sort through all this emotional crap.


Sunday, we invited her over (at my suggestion) and hung out. Apparently I don't know how to do that. I'm out of practice. :/ I'm also really awkward getting to know new people, and she admitted she has trouble making friendships with women too, even though we both sleep with them, so we're both afraid of missteps. She thinks I'm always like this, which I'm not, and I feel bad about that too. I don't want to be a problem that everyone needs to solve, but I feel like I am being one.

We got together just to hang out last night, and I got really bothered by a couple things and was pretty miserable all evening because I couldn't figure out necessarily even what was going on in my head, let alone how to talk about it, plus I didn't want to interrupt group "friend time" by taking him off to the side for a Relationship conversation.

Apparently I looked totally miserable the whole time, but neither of them said "what's going on?" J said he tried, but like Is aid, I didn't want to go start a big complicated conversation that wouldn't include our guest, so I just tried to keep away from things that were triggering my bad feelings. So it was the elephant in the room, I found out after the fact.

She feels, rightly so (though I had to come around to this), that he and I are a 'package deal' - that he is involved with her, I'm involved too, to a degree at least. I don't want to butt in or try to insert myself where I don't belong, but it makes me feel respected. J's ex didn't deal well when he dated someone that she wasn't also dating or sleeping with; first time she met me, she got drunk and propositioned me, and I felt like I had to comply because I'd risk pissing her off and making things worse for me/us if I did, but it wasn't a smart thing to do.

I don't want the New Girl to look at my anxiety & say "fuck this, it's not worth the angst" and then he loses because of me. I want to be okay with everything, but I know I can't make myself okay just by force of will (God damn it). Xanax, on the other hand... :) So also did tell her that and say that trust me, he is worth it!

The sex part of his new relationship is no big deal. I have another lover, we've had threesomes and moresomes. Seeing him kiss someone I know he doesn't care for was absolutely fine with me. Sometimes it's hot!

But seeing him hold hands with, cuddle with and kiss someone who I know is more than just a hottie to him gave me a funny unpleasant feeling. I wasn't sure how to deal with it. Next time I think I'll try channeling the happiness and just trying to be happy because they are happy. Advice for how to handle this is welcome here.

I was even more bothered when he wanted to be physically affectionate with both of us simultaneously. I don't know if that sort of behavior is "normal" for poly people or not, if they'd expect it to be no big deal and I'm the freak (of course given how low I feel about myself right now I suspect that I must be the freak). I can see where he'd think it's perfectly normal. He loves me, he really likes her, he's been intimate with us both, why not stroke one's hair while cuddling with the other?

But I've never done that with him where I'm not involved somehow (even just physically) with the other girl. New Girl and I aren't involved that way and had no plans to be so (and given my experience the first time meeting J's ex, I wanted to stay as far away as possible from making her feel pressured into having sex with us) so I was terrified of overstepping boundaries. I resisted getting all cozy with them both. Even when we did all cozy up to watch a movie, I was trying to be super careful not to touch her in any way. I imagined that there was a wall drawn down the center of him and I was forcing myself to stay on my side, which wasn't easy. I felt like saying "I'm cool with you having more than one girlfriend, sometimes even in the same geographic space, no problem, but not SIMULTANEOUSLY." Is that normal? Is it unheard of? Is that the dumbest question ever?

Plus, he was doing what I call "petting" me, stroking and touching me, rather like you'd pet a cat - I'm not talking about sexual behavior. But we don't sit around and do that. We spoon in bed, but that's very different. And when he has done it, I've made it a point to say how much I like it and wish we'd do it more. So it was really turning me on. New Girl is really hot and really bi and might've been really interested in acting on that, but when I put it on the table, they were both saying basically "whatever you want is fine with me" and I decided if they were going to be that indecisive, I wasn't going to be the pushy one and start something. Also, it hurt my feelings a bit when we were in that situation and J said "we should do this more" and I said "that's what I've been saying to you for months!" Obviously he wasn't getting the message from what I was saying.

But I guarantee you that if she hadn't been there last night, we wouldn't have been hanging out in bed cuddling like that. I don't think we've ever done that because life is too busy - although I have a memory like Swiss cheese so maybe we have and I just forget. He would have been on his computer or playing a video game, and I would've found something to occupy my time. Anyway, I've been craving that interaction so badly. So for him to say we should do it more often, when I was already worked up, made me cry. I didn't want to start a fight with him in that particular social situation, but I did at least say that I'd been trying to tell him that and he said he hadn't realized and I said now he knows so hopefully we can do something about it because I do love it so. And I had a flash of thinking maybe this is one of those things that I want that he's going to do with her and not me and I'm not going to be able to fix that because I'm the one he lives with, I'm the workday wife as it were and not the guest star. When we were dating, I don't think he ever turned down sex, but now that we're together every day instead of a couple times a week,

I can tell you what I DON'T worry about. I don't worry about her "stealing" him from me. Nobody can be stolen if they don't want to be. If he were to someday ditch me for another woman, I'd rather that than stay in a relationship he didn't want to be in. He's not looking for another primary, he's only thinking of her as a secondary. Then again, I was a secondary when we started dating, and that all changed VERY rapidly. He'd proposed to me 3 months after we started dating, while he was still living with his purported primary. Relationships will be what they are. I have to accept the possibility that it may not end up being what he thinks right now, since they've just seen each other twice, once with me around being all Anxiety Girl.

I know not all relationships are the same. But I know from previous experience that if if my primary and his secondary have a relationship component that I really want but don't get from him (that he knows I want - not expecting mind reading), I will be envious of that. The example from before is that my ex was very flirty in his conversations with his secondary, and he never flirted with me. I wanted to be flirted with! I didn't want to feel like "I see you all the time, so I don't have to do that work to woo you." I couldn't figure out how to FIX it, how to get him to be flirty with me too, so I felt like it was my fault that I couldn't make my ex engage in that behavior with me. I have better meds now and I'm really hoping I can manage that. I've been really burned by my last two major relationships - both resulted in marriages then divorces.

J reminds me that he's not my ex, which is quite true - this is a very different relationship, much better. Also, it's made very clear to me that there are elements in my relationship with J that he will probably never have with anyone else because of the way he loves me and is committed to me. I just have to grow to accept that the way we love others will have those sorts of special things as well and that this is not anything I'm doing wrong or him taking me for granted.

One thing that came up during the development of my relationship with J is that we broke the rules of his relationship with his primary and then lied to her about it. In our relationship, when one of us has gone out of bounds (and we have both had our moments of going out of bounds), we've owned up to it immediately and we've been able to have reasonable adult discussions about it.

Also, I think I've just decided to offer to help change linens from now on if I'm with someone who has an SO. Common courtesy & all. I wished the sheets had been changed before I got home Saturday. All the covers were off the bed, but I think that was just from the play.


I don't want to be an impediment or a worrywart or uptight or intimidated or intimidating. I just want this to be easy. I don't want to fuck things up for him/them though so I can't help worrying I'll do something wrong. I so often do, after all, even when it's not something this important. Sigh.

* My ego gets so fragile when related to matters of me getting off - I like that he embraces using toys and that me getting off is important to him, and I understand that arthritis prevents him from being able to devote the time and energy required to get me off manually, but manual orgasms by hand or tongue or a combination of them are so so much better! Those are my screaming-at-the-top-of-my-lungs writhing orgasms. The others feel like pale imitations much of the time, but better a pale imitation than nothing.

Date: 2012-04-28 01:21 pm (UTC)
gwydion: Vlad and Niran kissing (Kiss)
From: [personal profile] gwydion
Slow is pretty normal just starting out. It sounds like they are being understanding of that, which along with her willing to answer your questions and hang out are really good signs. What's the opposite of a red flag? Whatever that is.

If this is absolutely how your brain is organized, which is most people, you will likely need processing time. That means thinking and talking it out with your fiancee. It's completely normal to need time for mental adjustment and emotional processing. It's very normal to need tighter rules early on because you don't know what your default comfort level is and comfort level tends to increase with familiarity if your partners re going as slow as you need them to.

I'm maybe not the best help with the jealousy issue as I don't have the capacity for sexual jealousy. (My brain's wired a little differently than average in a number of ways, this is one of them). My best guess is to ask yourself what would make things okay for you. Would you be okay if the cuddling happened where you couldn't see it, or are you not going to be okay with him having emotional involvement at all? These things may improve with you comfort level, but they may not. Everyone's a little different.

For some people, him being simultaneously affectionate would read as comforting, as trying to make sure you both felt safe and included. I'm willing to bet that's what he was intending. It's okay that that's not how you feel. Part of learning to do this is being honest with yourself about your own reactions. If X makes you uncomfortable, it's a good idea to unpack that. Where are the boundaries of the discomfort? Run through some alternative scenarios in your head to figure out which rules work for you. Remember, you can always revisit later when you are more used to this.

One of my earliest configurations was me in a primary couple with a third we were both dating/into. My main boy was a bit jealous and the rules ended up being we'd only do anything with him, including cuddling together. One of my last configurations involved us seeing separate people we were both friends with, but no touching the others in front of the primaries and only normal friend type interactions. We would say who we were dating and crucial planning details like I'm seeing B Wednesday, but beyond that he didn't want to see or hear about what I was doing or tlk about what he was doing. There is nothing at all wrong with either configuration; it was entirely a matter of what was most comfortable to my primary. If you end up closer to the second configuration in this paragraph, there is nothing wrong with you. Remember poly is best done customized.

If you try to hide the less pleasant feelings from yourself, it will be harder to negotiate what you need.

If what you re worried about is pressuring her, why not talk to her about it? say, these are my fears. What is comfortable to you as far as cuddling in a non-sexual situation like watching a movie? I'm betting that would be a whole lot less worrisome to her than your unspoken discomfort.

So it was really turning me on. New Girl is really hot and really bi and might've been really interested in acting on that, but when I put it on the table, they were both saying basically "whatever you want is fine with me" and I decided if they were going to be that indecisive, I wasn't going to be the pushy one and start something.

They were likely leaving it up to you because you are the newbie and the least comfortable of the three. I'm betting they weren't indecisive out of lack of interest, but rather ceding control to the person most in need of it. It's a way of signalling that you get to set the pace. It's the sort of thing I do in those situations. It's another opposite of red flag? A green flag maybe? Anyway, don't let it stress you out. If you say what you are comfortable with, it'll likely be inside their boundaries which is why it was offered, if that makes sense. They are experienced enough to have extra flexibility. I'm usually the more flexible person as far as rules go, so I mostly cede to the other person where they have a pressing need. I'll speak up if I'm uncomfortable with something.

Also, it hurt my feelings a bit when we were in that situation and J said "we should do this more" and I said "that's what I've been saying to you for months!" Obviously he wasn't getting the message from what I was saying.

Most men are dense that way. It's annoying, but it's not something you can fix. What you can do if he's not getting something is try saying and showing it in different ways. Remember, you can also initiate. If you like cuddling and petting when watching TV, cuddle and pet him while watching TV.

I know from previous experience that if if my primary and his secondary have a relationship component that I really want but don't get from him (that he knows I want - not expecting mind reading), I will be envious of that.

Tell him this. He absolutely needs to hear it. It sounds to me like you need to have a sit down, write out the rules conversation anyway, and this should be the first thing before that. He needs to be really listening, not faffing about on the computer either. You've done the work to identify a deal breaker. Luckily, you can solve this one with better communication. Statements that start with "I feel" and "I need" are your friends. Remember a lot of guys are bad at subtle and reading between the lines. Best to be extremely clear and give specific things he can do or not do to make this work for you. Give him permission to to do the same without worrying you will freak out.

For the record, the stuff about no one getting stolen who didn't want to leave? that tells me you are a real grown up. It's also a good sign for you being able to do this. so is the bit about owning up immediately if you fuck up instead of lying or trying to hide it.

Deep breath. This stuff is normal.

Poly is hard. It's incredibly fun and rewarding if you are doing it with the right people for your particular emotional makeup and needs, but you need to work even harder at stuff like communication and in monogamous relationship. I'm a huge fan of communication regardless, but having done mono and poly in quantity, trust me, it does take more work because the system is more dynamic. I think that need for constant communication can be a long term strength, because I think falling into habit instead iof periodic negotiation leads to the relationship not growing with the people in it, if that makes sense.

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