Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.
Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.
Enlightenment for the Enlightened
Do you ever find yourself feeling a certain way about something and then chastising yourself for feeling that way because you know better?
It's not really a good place to be emotionally.
Recently The Boyfriend started seeing someone new. You might think that Oh So Enlightened Poly Person (me) would be beyond fine with that sort of thing. In fact I have been encouraging him to date other people. I assured him that all would be well, I wouldn't get weird, and our relationship would be A-OK. I mean I am a self-contained person; I can handle this poly thing right?
It all sounds so good on paper.
I was quite surprised to find myself feeling possessive and jealous almost immediately. Now, in my defense, the sexual part of his relationship with this other woman went from zero to sixty way faster than I was prepared for. I didn't have any period of adjustment between them meeting and them being intimate. Also she is able to spend overnights with him, which I cannot do very often, so immediately I felt like she was getting to do something with him that I do not!
So I sat down with myself and collected my thoughts. I knew that I was not threatened by her. I do not fear that The Boyfriend will leave me for her. I do not feel that she is better than me or prettier or smarter or whatever. I believe that my negative reaction initially was caused by my annoyance at The Boyfriend for not being ethical or considerate of my feelings. I wasn't given any notice that he was going to be intimate with her; I didn't have any time to prepare myself for that event. I found out after the fact and it made me angry. Had it been a gradual process or if I had time to get to know her, I am sure that I would be nothing but happy for them.
I use the example of my husband and the woman he has been seeing. I have gotten to know her and become her friend, and when I think of them spending time together my heart swells with compersion. I care for both of them, and the fact that they enjoy being with each other makes me so happy, in a way I never thought possible.
So here I am feeling annoyed and upset, and then telling myself that I am intelligent and well-read and NOT a slave to my emotions. I tell myself that I should know better how to get rid of these yucky feelings, never mind the fact that I don't think I should be having them to begin with. I know that I can control my emotions, and that I can change my perspective to be happy about what is happening and to give The Boyfriend a break because it's not his fault. I told him I would be fine, he believed me, and went ahead thinking all was well. I have already expressed my thoughts and feelings to him, so why don't I feel better?
Well I guess the short answer is because I am allowing myself to stay irritated over it all. I need to get to the bottom of why I am upset with him and why there is so much negativity attached to his relationship with this other woman. I want to be happy for him, I want this other relationship to be successful, honestly I do. Just getting to that point is harder than I imagined. I feel more unprepared than I thought I was. It's like a deer in the headlights moment. You think you know what's coming, and then suddenly you get run over by a tractor-trailer doing eighty miles per hour on the interstate.
Even if a person really believes and insists that they will be ok with something, that does not make it true. I think it is better to err on the safe side and make sure before you plunge into something head first.
Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.
Nobody's Angel; September 01, 2006
folks have read this article.