Baby steps

Last night we took another baby step. Mike got drinks with a girl. They may or may not end up sleeping together and were sort of feeling out each other’s personalities. It went well. He had a good time and said she was really nice.

I felt … pretty good actually. We hung out before hand and had a nice time together. As he left, I felt emotionally fine, but physically anxious. I  ran to work off some nervous energy and worked hard to calm down. I practiced compersion. I felt secure and happy. I got stuff done and was productive. I did some self-care things. It was nice.

The only hard part was near the end. He was a little late getting back and it made me feel sort of hurt and rejected and nervous. That was when my old jealousy started creeping back. I walked the dog and when I got home, Mike was home. He was sweet and reassuring and I felt better.

I know it seems like I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but this was a step in the right direction for me. A few months ago, him going out with the possibility of future sex would have been devastating. I figured out some triggers for when Mike actually sleeps with someone else and am thinking of a plan for it. Mike was really proud of me, and it made us both feel better about each other and our relationship. We still have some stuff to figure out about getting back into non-monogamy, but we’re dealing with them as a team and it’s no longer a contentious, stressful thing to talk about.

I was telling a close friend about it and she told me I should give myself credit for how well I did. She was right. I sometimes focus so much on what I still have to do that I forget how far I’ve come. Sometimes I feel like I am bad at this and I beat myself up over it a lot. It sucks feeling like you aren’t cut out to do something you care about. But I think/hope that maybe I just have a steeper learning curve than some people due to my mental illnesses. I’m learning to work with it, but I worry sometimes that I’m making things harder than they need to be for everyone. When I’m jealous, it sucks for me, it sucks for Mike, it sucks for Mike’s partner and it sucks for the friends that I lean on.

I wish my brain made things easier, but it doesn’t. And I guess all I can do is keep trying and celebrate my progress and see if things continue to change for the better.

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2 thoughts on “Baby steps

  1. It’s interesting to read from the other side of the equation. I recently dated someone who’s primary felt the same way as you. She absolutely believes in non-monogamy, but her emotions and mental health don’t play well with the reality of it. However, since she and her husband (who I dated) opened up, he hadn’t really found anyone he was serious about… till me. So we went and fell in love, and all of a sudden it was like our happiness was literally killing his wife. She mentally and physically fell apart. At the same time, she felt so guilty about it that she refused to set boundaries and just say “I need him all to myself right now till I’m in a better place.” I think compounding the guilt is the fact that she has her own OSO who lives with them and it must feel pretty shitty to deny her husband even a portion of what she has every day with both of her loves by her side.

    Currently, we’re splitsville and I’m not over it. I’m still a friend of the family, and they’ve still both said “maybe someday”, but they obviously need mental health space with no timetables. Still, It’s very important for me to experience empathy for her because if I just dismiss it as “she’s the bad guy”, I won’t learn nothin’. Also, the universe has a funny way of making you eat your words and I wouldn’t be surprised if I someday found myself in a similar position to her, and to you.

    • That’s rough and I’m sorry you all had to experience it. Luckily when we took our break Mike’s only other regular partner had just moved far away. I had a semi-regular partner, but honestly I’d become so exhausted and put off by non-monogamy that we’d essentially stopped the sexual part of our relationship.
      What you say about her feeling so guilty about her jealousy that she didn’t set boundaries and compounded the problem really rings true for me. I’m trying to get to a place where I’m better at asking for what I need in hopes that I don’t have to do all this again.
      I hope your ex’s wife is in therapy and getting better.

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