Monday, November 5, 2012
At times, seeing my partners date others can be a challenge for me. Feelings of insecurity can pop up but usually dissolve as the relationships take form and I get a chance to know my new metamour a bit. This has been something of a challenge for me with a long-term partner who hasn’t had any other partners since we have been together. Those feelings of insecurity have been floating around in my head for a while; what will happen when she does engage with someone? Will I be jealous? Will blinding NRE take her over and ruin us? How will she manage time or affection? Will I find she is actually a serial monogamist when she leaves me?
The flip side of that is that I’ve had several other relationships since we have been together. And she has had difficulty with those. I tend to verbalize my thoughts as I enter new relationships which to me, is something of an evaluation process. Do we fit socially? Emotionally? Physically? Can I fit into their life? Them into mine? And so anyone around me will hear different positions come and go as I think about those things. Some days I may be charging in full force, other days thinking it won’t work, and even other times moving with caution. That is confusing to say the least. And that confusion leads to frustration on the part of my long-term partner as she ends up not having a clue what I’m doing until I’m either engaged, or disengaged, with the new person.
The result is that we both have some frustration along with less than desirable emotions and feelings that pop up.
Those emotions, I think, are somewhat normal. They seem to come from a fear of the unknown and to a lesser extent possibly, the contemplation of change. The insecurity, in my mind, is born from not comprehending how our partners engage with new people. The rooted fear being that what they are doing is entertainment, distraction, or the search for someone *better* as opposed to engagement with another out of emotion, attraction, or love.
Back to my situation; my fear may be that my partner hasn’t engaged with others due to our relationship and that when she does it will be with the intent of replacing me. In fact, it is simply that she approaches relationships differently. She takes the time to find someone she really connects with deeply before becoming involved. She prefers to take time, get to know someone, and fully evaluate who they are and how a partnership might be formed.
On the other hand, I follow my heart easily. I prefer to explore connections without preconceptions. Maybe those connections flourish into a romantic relationship, maybe they don’t. During my exploration is where I learn if there is a lasting romantic relationship to be built, or if maybe we will just be friends, or maybe there really isn’t anything there at all.
This is where the epiphany struck.
Though both approaches sound different, the intended results are the same. We are both looking, with integrity and ethics, at potential relationships as long-term engagements. Neither of us is looking for a replacement or playing games. Neither approach is better or worse, just different. Realizing that we simply have different approaches, but are both in fact hoping connections will result in similar results, has done a lot to minimize those undesirable emotions. It has helped me to understand emotionally how my partner is feeling, both toward me and toward potential new partners. The epiphany for me; knowing that in the end my partner and I are more the same than I had realized. It has also allowed me to see that although we follow different paths toward similar goals, and I may not always understand what she is doing, I can possibly learn from her approach as hopefully she can from mine.
My advice to you is this; if you are having mixed feelings about your partners activities with others it may be because you lack confidence in what they are doing. How you find that confidence will be different for everyone so I won’t try to suggest how it be found, but try. I think when that confidence is realized you will find that many of the negative emotions dissolve easily with the knowledge your partner is acting with love in their heart and purpose of mind. It will make it much easier to trust your partner, their approach to new relationships, and allow you both to relax a bit.
As always, love well.