tuneinturnon: poly charms self-primary pendant (poly charms)
[personal profile] tuneinturnon
I'm listening to a book that I thought would help me at work and maybe help me have a more positive attitude about life. (Yes, I love self-help books. *hangs head in mock shame*) Now that I'm an hour into it, I'm finding that the meat of it may actually help me with a poly problem I've been having.

I have had a negative reaction to seeing J engage in PDA with other women. The exception was Plaything, a woman we were both sleeping with. I was amazed that it wasn't bothering me at all when she'd hug and kiss him (and vice versa) in front of me and that I was able to be happy for him. I'd hoped that me not being bothered by her was a sign that I was over it, but apparently I'm not.

The other night when J's new *[see below] was over and she got close to him, and I was bothered by it. My response was to leave. I didn't want to make her feel awkward when it's my problem. Since he & I communicate and care about one another, once she'd left, I told him I was bothered by it. He said he'd suspected as much.

I said to him "given that this has bothered me again and again, as much as I hate to ask, please do not be physically affectionate with your partners in front of me and please ask them to refrain too." He said he would.

But he also said I'd better get used to it since I'm going to be around sometimes when things like that happen. That didn't really go with saying he would refrain, but I could see his point.

This book I'm listening to is about how you can choose how you respond to situations - you can step back from yourself, observe it, see if you feel the same way when you see it objectively, and decide what you want to do. You can ask yourself questions to encourage your mind to get out of negative mode, questions like "what are the other people in this situation thinking, feeling and wanting? what are my choices? what's best to do now? what's possible?"

I'm not saying these are a guarantee to get me over my discomfort, but it's worth a shot. I can certainly ask - I'd be curious what he'd have to say, at least, about what he's thinking, feeling and wanting in a situation like that. What does anyone think when they put their arm around someone? What are my choices, besides (a) put up and shut up or (b) leave the environment? What is the best choice I can make at that moment? [For example, I think choosing not to ask them to stop just because I felt weird was a good choice. If we'd been in the middle of doing something where I had to stay, like if we were mid-meal, then I think I would have said something to them about it at the time... It's depending on circumstances.] It's possible, and reasonable, to ask for their consideration and respect; it would not be possible or reasonable to try to "make" them stop doing what I don't like.

* I don't know what to call his partner because they have only just recently met. They clearly intend to keep seeing one another, at least as far as I know. I wouldn't say they're involved enough to be "dating", certainly not enough that she's his "girlfriend" or "secondary". I suppose I could just call her his "lover," that's true enough, but it falls a bit flat. I lack vocabulary. What would you call someone like that? Am I ascribing too much import to "dating" or "seeing someone" - would that really be the most appropriate term?
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January 2015


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