Seriously, again?

Is this happening again?

I have had several relationships that have ended because I have violated some edict I was “just supposed to know,” or done something that made a woman uncomfortable that she couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me about. Many of these violations and atrocities I committed had to do with new partners. I never violated a rule. I never did anything that I knew would pass a current partner’s comfort boundaries. I tried paying attention to signals but I am not good at reading between lines, especially when I don’t know what the lines are!

Now I am in adding mode again. Things have been very in-flux with my relationships and my self image lately. Lots of ups and downs. But lately, lots of ups. I’m feeling good about me again, feeling good about being social again. I’ve met a lot of new and interesting women, but now, once again, I find myself having to guess and wonder about what the signals mean that I am getting.

One of my partners has told me only that she gets extremely nervous when new people enter the picture. For nearly a year, she hasn’t been able to tell me why that makes her uncomfortable or what I can do to make her feel more comfortable, how much information she wants, what will make her feel good or bad about it. So I stay vague on most of the details, update her on the whos, the whats, and the whens, and the rest she can see from my Google Calendar. I don’t know whether this is enough for her.

Another partner is going through some emotional restructuring right now. She tells me in vague terms that she is afraid, and that she doesn’t want to be second, and that she is afraid of the unknown. She is upset that with her and her spouse’s complicated and unconventional work schedules that she doesn’t ever get a fun night out. But then she says that she doesn’t expect me to sit at home. She can handle my existing relationships but doesn’t know if she can handle any new ones. She doesn’t want to come home to me after I have been physical with a new partner, but doesn’t feel comfortable telling me where the line is, how physical is too physical.

And in fairness, I say that I get nervous and insecure with the thought of someone now coming in because I don’t want to be replaced. She has told me the thinks we each process that in different ways. She’s right. I am so convinced I am going to disappoint her that I think I dig until I find disappointment. I have a really hard time, especially lately, accepting, “It’s okay,” without any strings attached.

So once again, I am being left to guess. Guess at what is going to upset someone I love. Guess at what she really wants. Hope that I am not doing something that will upset her or upset the balance or upset the status quo – for each partner! On top of that, I worry that previous partners will be very upset and take it very personally if I make a behavioral modification that they wanted or expected but couldn’t express a need for.

Each of my partners is going through some deep issues right now, with herself, with a metamour, with one of her own current partners. I don’t want one of those issues to be me. But I am faced again with not knowing the lines, not knowing what I will mess up by doing something I don’t know is hurtful.

I suppose the safe thing to do is just to sit at home, not date anyone new, work on a project or two, and wait for one of my ladies. But I wasn’t asked to do that. “You can still be you,” they say. Can I? Can I still be me? Because being me might involve something someone doesn’t like or makes someone afraid. Now I am walking on eggshells again, and I do not ever want to be tempted just to not say anything about something I did so that nobody will be upset. That is cheating and that is awful and I won’t do it. I can follow rules and guidelines, and I never want to make someone upset. But the constant guesswork, not knowing whether any particular action or activity is in the plus column or the minus column… It’s exhausting. Maybe sitting at home is best after all.

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3 thoughts on “Seriously, again?

  1. Elinor says:

    Keep your head up. Remember that their discomfort and fear is just that, THEIRS. You can help them by listening but not by changing who you are. They will have to work through their envy. You can’t do it for them. If you try, you’re actually robbing them of the opportunity for them to grow. Growth hurts.

  2. also, hurting your partners with unintentional actions isn’t the worst case scenario. so, twisting yourself to avoid a mid case scenario will suck all the joy out of life

  3. The hardest thing is acknowledging that you’re both afraid of being replaced. It’s not that your partners are envious of your new prospects, but that they are worried their place in your life might become less than what it currently is – and it sounds like you have the same fears regarding at least one of them. Keep communicating. One partner doesn’t want details, the other does. One doesn’t want to process that you are enjoying another person, the other NEEDS to process that information in order to be sure she is still important to you.

    And sometimes, you just have to deal with “I WANT FRENCH TOAST!” as an attitude.

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