Ok, summarizing and skipping a lot of details, a romantic partner sprung up ‘poly’ at a very delicate time (again, skipping details) and I put up with it because of reasons that now, in plain daylight, make absolutely no fucking sense to me.
When his other partner got tired of his shit and went full no contact, plus therapy, meds and good friends I realized that while I am open to being in a poly relationship, a relationship requires for all parties to agree, not to be held hostage; poly is different for everyone but you don’t seem to be poly (or happy).
Would suggest to read the ethical slut not to force yourself down that path, but to get a glimpse of the communication strategies that have helped tons of others figure some of this out.
Edit: removed extra word
It's not really about controlling your feelings. Feelings aren't really something that are "controlled" so to speak. Rather they occur whether we want them to or not. They are a part of the human experience and not something we should really try to stop exactly.
As to how to react when you do feel them, the answer is really the overly used word "communicate". Don't hide the fact that your feeling that way. Own up to it and look for a way to feel better. Just say "I feel inadequate that you slept with someone else this weekend. Can we..."
And that leads into things you can do about it. This is where poly/open people do a huge variety of different things.
Put boundaries in place: "You must use protection when having sex with others." or "No having sex with others in our shared bed."
Don't ask don't tell: Some people agree to just not really talk about it unless necessary. Some people find that not knowing about it is better for them and their relationship.
Tell me everything: Some people really want to hear about it. To help them cope with it and give them a chance to talk about their feelings. It also helps some people to see their partner happy.
Ask for something extra: Rather than slapping a boundary on something, ask for something more to help you cope. "Hey after you come home, can you take some time to cuddle with me?" or "I really just need to spend some one on one time with you this week after your date with Sally. Can we do that?"
Get some reassurance: Sometimes we just need to hear "Hey, I still really like/love you too."
Agree to do nothing: Sometimes if we have feelings but don't voice it, it can feel like we're in a weird limbo. Sometimes it's helpful to say "Hey, I have feelings for you. But let's not do anything different than we already do." to get out of that limbo feeling.
There are a lot of different things you can actually do with your feelings other than keep them bottled up or act in manipulative or negative ways. What works for you depends on you and the relationship you have with someone.
As to books specifically, I've heard "The Ethical Slut" is good. I've yet to read it myself. But I hear a lot of good things about it.
That's a tough one, for sure.
I'm that silly romantic who will not say no to love if it's there, even if I know things seems to be a batch match overall, I still have to go for it. I know I've said that to you before (I think). At the same time, I do believe that feelings of love and intimacy for someone can develop in tandem with them developing for someone else. I've been reading the Ethical Slut book recently which kind of gets into this idea. I've always had these ideas in my mind, but that book kind of helped formula them in a better way in my head (and my current FWB has shown me this to be possible as well--not that I'm in love, but there were strong feelings of intimacy already).
So, I'm not sure you're setting yourself up for failure unless you truly believe that you can only romantically love one person at a time.
>we're looking for a third
Couple dating together (super common in monogamous couples opening their relationship for the first time) is a huge red flag itself. Lots of couples set up elaborate systems of rules to help prevent jealousy, because that's the big fear for couples opening up. Typically (in a previously mono couple) this means the man has set rules for the woman. That "rules to avoid jealousy" mindset is a precursor for lots of conflict down the road, and is really, really difficult to manage, especially as a secondary partner, because it takes away your agency in your relationships.
For example, if I start dating a couple, and they have a rule that they only date two nights a month, and they only date together, I have to bend over backwards to make my schedule meet the two nights they have to give me. Or, more seriously, they have a rule that says (really, really common) they only have sex with the "third" together. Except I'm not really interested in sleeping with one of them; now I have to give up being with the one I want to be with, or submit to being with someone I don't want to be with. This happens all the time, especially with married couples that include a straight man and a bisexual woman, exclusively looking for another bisexual woman to join them. It's so common they have names, the couple are unicorn hunters, and the single, bisexual woman who can stay equally attracted to both of them and never threaten their relationship is called the unicorn... because they're about as common. I dunno if OP is a man or woman, but either way...
This is backed up by
>eventually I can see you alone after we get to know each other
So you're starting a relationship with someone whose involvement in that relationship is controlled by someone else. This is almost always a recipe for disaster. Couples like this almost always prioritize their relationship above the person they're inviting in. Anything that "threatens" that relationship (like one member of the couple feeling jealousy, which WILL happen) is treated as an antagonist, even if it's something as simple as the "third" setting boundaries for themselves.
Couples like this often also expect the relationship to be a closed triad, meaning the "third" is not free to date other people, or have a romantic life outside the couple, even though they are likely getting a much smaller piece of the couple's time and energy than the members of the couple are.
Even the use of the term "third" is a big red flag. Hierarchal poly people usually use terms like "secondary partner." Third feels like a value judgement.
I know I'm reading a lot into a few words, but there is a lot of information out there to back it up. Check out r/polyamory and you'll see that like every third post hits on something similar.
For more info, especially on how to navigate this stuff, I definitely recommend The Ethical Slut or checking out More Than Two.
I certainly don't want to give the impression that polyamory can't or doesn't work; I've been happily polyamorous for years and will probably never go back to monogamy. But this kind of toxicity is unfortunately very common and destructive.
Edited because I'm tired and markdown is hard, apparently.
> Is it actually possible to care deeply for two different people on an emotional level?
You already do, and have said as much in this very post.
The question, now, is what to do with that.
I recommend honesty, and, if you're interested in the lifestyle and the world around it, reading something like "The Ethical Slut" (if you dig books) ir Kimchi Cuddles (If you prefer Webcomics).
I wish you the best of luck!
Hey there! Good questions. My wife and I both come from a very strict fundamentalist Christian background also, and we've both been exploring non-monogamy for about a year. I can definitely relate to the sex-negative past and its affect on things.
The biggest thing for us (and I suspect for everyone regardless of background) was open and frequent communication. We found it was necessary to have regular times of discussing our feelings and thoughts as we moved forward, and always reminding ourselves and each other that both of us could take a break/drop it all together if it was harming our relationship.
One question you'll want to discuss (if you haven't already) is whether or not you'll be telling each other about your adventures in detail. This is a tricky one at times. It can be a turn-on to hear about your wife's explorations (it is for me), and vice versa, but it can also be a bit dicey depending on the mood.
Best resource for us was reading The Ethical Slut . Great, great book on communication and doing things ethically (duh) by all partners involved. Good luck! Any other questions?
The feelings are not going to pass. It is up to you whether you can live with it or whether it is going to break you emotionally/spiritually.
Some books that may help:
Living Two Lives ,
Dear John, I love Jane and
Late Bloomers .
Long thread about gays & lesbians in hetero relationships (lots of sad passages).
You may want to search AL for "marriage" or "married" as that seems to pull up a lot of stories similar to yours. Get an idea of what others have done. What worked for them. What didn't work for them. Some folks are suggesting polyamory or nonmonogamy. That works for some folks, it doesn't work for others. Some folks think they can handle it in the beginning and later find they can't. The 3 major books on this subject are: Opening Up , The Ethical Slut and More Than Two .
You are not alone. You are not the first woman in this situation. You will not be the last.
Would I feel bad about her being with another guy? Not at all. She did have a boyfriend for a few months about a year ago, which I encouraged because they had a good time together.
If she enjoys her time with someone else better than me, that's entirely fine (regardless of gender or sexual identification). I. am. okay. with. that. I want her to be as happy as possible.
If you read my other posts, I talk about this being a journey or a path down broken glass. You're going to learn a lot about yourself during something like this. I was secure before my wife because I know what its like to have nothing left. What's the quote? "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."
I'd highly recommend The Ethical Slut (https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1587613379) for anyone interested in the non-monogamy lifestyle, and how to handle the related emotions.