I figured out the root behind most of my current trust issues and fear. I’m afraid of being passed over for someone worse.
When I was seeing Miss Pacman, she was very, very in love with Shepard. I never felt threatened or excluded and I never had to question my place when she was with him. He was a high-quality person. He was good to her and he was good for her. I had my things going on and she had hers, but we still made time for each other, and I was secure in that. I think she was, too. I liked Shepard and I think he’s a cool guy.
Pikachu was seeing a couple, who I liked well enough. Then she got involved with Link, friend of hers, who I’d met previously. He was a good guy, too, and he lived close by her. She lived pretty far from me and it was hard to get together more often than we did. I was envious that Link got to see her so often but I was happy for their developing relationship.
Tifa, on the other hand, had another boyfriend who was neither good for her nor good to her. He canceled plans at the last minute. He upset her and disappointed her constantly. Even after this pattern became apparent, she kept seeing him. She kept talking about breaking up with him and for a long, long time, she wouldn’t actually do it. My time was affected by this guy who didn’t even treat her all that well, who she had already decided she didn’t want to be with. The worst was when she was so dismissive of his behavior and talked about how much more important I was, but then changed plans with me to be with him.
Vanille had a hard time finding quality partners, too. She made all sorts of drama around the one guy who was actually poly who she almost started something with. Aside from him, all of her other partners were married cheaters. The last one was someone she cared for a lot, but it was hard to be supportive when the other side of all of her other relationships was so shameful and illicit.
I don’t know if “threatened” is the right word, but I’ll go with it. I feel more threatened when a partner decides to spend time with someone who she later complains about than when she spends time with someone who betters her life. I have to share someone very precious to me with a person of low quality, someone who upsets her.
I know that I am going to get responses to this post asking who I am to judge these people. I’m someone who is good to the people I love. I am attentive and I listen and I’m thoughtful and courteous. That’s who I am. Whether a relationship works out in the end or not, I have references who can say I’m a good boyfriend.
When someone decides to go out with someone other than me and she’s going out with a good person who makes her happy, I’m happy for her. That’s awesome, and that’s why we do this. But when she decides to spend time away from me and with someone who doesn’t make her happy or who makes her complain or irritates her, I feel sharp, cold spikes of fear. I wonder about my place and about why this other person deserves time that she could spend with me, when she tells me how happy I make her.
Even if these other, low-quality partners aren’t a part of our big, happy, poly family tribe, they are still a part of my life. I have to see people I love in bad relationships and I have to figure out how to come to grips with those other people getting time instead of me.
It’s those people who make me feel, for lack of a better word, “jealous,” like I have to prove myself. How could I be so bad that she has to go and see someone like that? Am I bad enough that she needs time or love or sex or anything from someone worse than me? It makes me doubt myself and my spot. If she is willing to surround herself with people who aren’t making her life better, does that mean that she might have made a mistake choosing me, too?
I don’t feel like I have to compete with the good guys and girls. They make my partners happy, and some of that happiness transfers to me, so that makes me happy. I don’t ever feel like those good girlfriends or boyfriends are my competition. I feel like we’re on the same team. The bad ones? Definitely not on the same team.
I don’t have the right – I wouldn’t even want the right – to blackball anyone the girlfriend is thinking of seeing. I have to trust her to make her own decisions and figure out for herself whether they were good ones.