Poly problems

I’m more jealous, with The Pedant, than I’ve been with any partner in a long while. Normally someone I’m dating can tell me how hot they think some other woman is or even that they’ve asked the hot woman out, and I’m pretty much fine with it. Maybe an easily-stifled twinge or two and that’s it. But when The Pedant tells me how hot another woman is, my emotions range from guarded to tearful, depending on the day.

Is it because he talks about that shit alllllll the damn time? Is it because I don’t remember ever having been this attracted to someone, so it feels like if he falls for someone else I have more to lose? Meh, a little.

But mostly, I’ve realized, it’s that I’ve never had a chance to feel secure. When we were dating the first time around, his behaviour with me sent mixed messages and I couldn’t tell if he saw me as a girlfriend or a fuckbuddy or what; I loved him but had no idea how he felt about me. The second time around, he told me he was dating OtherGirl and felt he had a future with her and would have to make me a lower priority right after I told him I wanted to date him again. And shortly after that, he was like “Yeah by the way I might cancel plans with you sometimes to go be with OtherGirl. Also, as soon as our STI tests come back clean I’ll be ditching condoms with her, which means I’ll be wrapping my junk up again with you.”

I’d spent so much time in my life teaching myself to be healthily poly by reminding myself that my partner having other partners doesn’t take anything away from me – but in this case it did. In this case The Pedant literally told me that he was taking away my bareback privileges because he wanted OtherGirl to have them instead, and that he would also be taking away time slated for me to give to her (although I made him recant on the latter because that is just bullshit). Oh, and then he suddenly decreed that he and OtherGirl were going to be monogamous for a while, thus taking all the sex away from me and giving it to her.

He and OtherGirl broke up a while back, and he has since told me that he considers me his primary partner and that he feels things between us are going well. But it’s pretty obvious that I’m only “primary” because OtherGirl – whom he loved more – is out of the picture. And I’m gun-shy and wondering if every chick whose hotness he prattles on about will be the next one to displace me.


If The Pedant had somehow managed to date OtherGirl without taking anything away from me, I think I’d be a lot less paranoid and insecure right now. Because it’s really not about the fact of him having stronger feelings for someone else. It’s the fact that him having stronger feelings for someone else had huge practical repercussions for me. Apparently, when he falls for someone, it fucks my shit up. So of course I’m gonna feel a bit tweaked whenever he seems to be into someone.

I’m not sure how to get my sense of security back. I might ask The Pedant to fully just stop talking about other women to me for a while, but I’m fairly sure he’ll forget and then I’ll have to be like “dude, you’re doing it again” and I’ll feel whiny/naggy in a way I don’t like.

I’ve already told The Pedant that it hurt a lot when he revoked my bareback privileges and gave ’em to OtherGirl; his response was that he was so head-over-heels for her that he would have wanted to give her the bareback option no matter what, “even if we were both married and cheating on our spouses and could only see each other once in a blue moon. She meant that much to me.” Okay awesome, way to rub salt in the wound dude.

Soooooooo my usual tack of airing out my feelings (and feeling better for having done so even if my partner doesn’t offer a solution per se) backfired on me.

And there’s no way for me to ensure that his future relationships don’t fuck me over; I can’t find security that way. The Pedant is an autonomous human being who gets to decide what he does with his heart and his cock, and he clearly wants to give them to whoever inspires a certain level of feeling in him, which is his right.

I think I may be out of ideas, aside from “wait a year and if he still hasn’t found a new #1 then probably this knot in my chest will start to ease up.”


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4 responses to “Poly problems

  1. I’m not poly, but I have to admit that when I’ve thought about it, I have always thought that it’s almost impossible for interest in another person NOT to take something away from me and make me feel bad (unless I really didn’t care about the person, which has nothing to do with poly and more to do with a ‘meh’ level of interest on my part).

    I’ve always thought that the big issue for me would be about how much time would be allocated to me (because in a mono relationship ALL of their spare time belongs to me at my whim), but your example of ‘bareback rights’ is another practical example of how one relationship impacts another.

    My question then is this: do you have a picture of how it could work for it NOT to feel like time and energy spent on another was taking something away from you?

    I know many poly folks eschew the idea of a ‘primary’, but for me, being the clear primary is the only possible way I could see other partners not really impacting my relationship because in effect I get ‘first dibs’ (you can tell I’m not poly just by the way I think about this: “sure you can have other partners as long as they have absolutely no impact on me or us whatsoever in any way at all ever, mkay?”!).


    • Well, if he’d only started spending less time with me and more time with OtherGirl I think I could have talked myself down from that. Yeah, it still means another relationship is “taking” from me, but so would lots of things: job stuff, errands to run, family stuff, getting sick. I could rationalize it as not being a POLY issue per se but a TIME MANAGEMENT issue.

      There’s no way around a transfer of barebacking privileges feeling like he’s taking from me and giving to someone else, though.

  2. I wonder if it’s not just feeling like you never know how strong his feelings for your are? That can be both intriguing and frustrating heh. It’s hard to feel secure in a relationship if you never feel like you know where you stand in the first place.

    • That was definitely it the first time around. It’s gotten better now because he did, at one point, tell me he loved me (or rather, I wrote it to him in my breakup email and he said “the feelings are being reciprocated.” :P) and I know this time around that he considers this an actual RELATIONSHIP. He even said recently that he considers me his primary partner and that he feels like things with us are going really well.

      Blogging about this shit and interacting with commenters has helped me figure out that what’s making me feel insecure THIS time was how much The Pedant sprung shit on me. Like telling me he and OtherGirl had decided to be monogamous…RIGHT AFTER HE AND I HAD SEX, while he was getting dressed to leave. “Yeah by the way we won’t be having sex again for an indefinite period because I’m gonna be monogamous to my other partner. Well, bye!”

      I want to feel like my feelings matter, which would mean him telling me news like that AND THEN STICKING AROUND to help me through my reaction.

      He seems to understand now that I need a bigger heads-up on stuff – he was very good about debriefing me recently on the whole might-become-roommates-with-his-ex thing. I guess it’s just gonna take a while for me to build my trust back up again.

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