AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Insecure Affections

Question: I am spending this afternoon and evening with a new partner who has potential for becoming the 3rd primary partner in my intentional open polyfi family. 

For the first 3 years of my relationship with my 2nd primary partner I dealt with huge jealousy issues with her. I studied up on how to best support her through her jealousy issues and it paid off though it was a long hard road to go down.

I am very affectionate and like giving and receiving a lot of affection. Over the last week my 2nd partner has focused a whole lot of insecure affection. A lot of kissing, holding, hugging and stuff I usually enjoy but I am finding I don’t enjoy this at all. In fact it creeps me out, especially the clingy stuff.

 I want to help and support her in getting through this time as best I can. Should I just suck it up and say nothing? 

When I am in NRE, which I am, I find I am more passionate and affectionate with my 2nd partner than normal because I am able to have this new partner in my life. When my 2nd partner gets like this though I find it pushes me away, takes away my passion for her, and makes me not want to even be with her. I usually find that I also want more time for sex with her when I am in NRE and she likes that but then with her being like this I don’t want to have sex with her.

My 2nd partner is monogamous. I tell her poly is about more love, fun, care, and sex for all involved; not less. It should be that way but when she is like this, it is not.

 

Answer: There are 2 things going on here. First of all, your 2nd partner is monogamous, so she is depending on you for support and affection. You mention that you’ve dealt with jealousy issues in the past with her, so this is not surprising. It is possible that she’s more affectionate because she sees that you’re very happy but I’m guessing it’s more the jealousy issue. It sounds like you would like to initiate the showing of affection, so just tell her that- I’m sure she’ll be understanding. Second of all, the NRE – it sounds like your 2nd partner doesn’t really understand how that process works. Maybe you can explain to her how you felt when you first met her. That will make her feel appreciated and it’ll help her understand what you are experiencing right now. However, if these jealousy issues continue to come up, I might reconsider the relationship. Some poly people say that they could date a monogamous person, but it is not always the best idea. 

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One thought on “Insecure Affections

  1. I definitely feel for the 2nd partner. You are adding someone new, she is monogamous, it is understandable that she needs some extra reassurance of your love and affection for HER and probably doesn’t know how else to seek it out. Maybe if you go out on a limb to make her feel safer she won’t feel the need to cling as much. Do some things with her to show she is still special to you and definitely don’t stop having sex. Her big fear is that she is going to be abandoned for this new partner and you withdrawing your affection and showing lack of interest in HER is going to compound that times 10. If you aren’t feeling it with her and really only want the 3rd person right now then maybe you are not being as “polyamorous” as you think. You are withdrawing from her to focus on someone else. So sometimes in that case it might be better to end the relationship with number 2 than to try and drag her through this and all the confusing emotions when you aren’t really feeling her and she is obviously threatened and unsafe with it all. If that is unthinkable then you need to force yourself to do the extra work necessary to make this a comfortable relationship for her too and not just think of yourself and your own selfish needs.

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