“…I am 20, male, bisexual and I have been in open/poly relationships in the past with very serious girlfriends. My currently girlfriend and I were poly the first time we dated but when we got back together decided to be monogamous.
Recently, prompted largely by her interest in woman, we have decided to try opening up, testing the waters. We got on tinder and she went on a date with a girl but before things got heated I got overwhelmed at home and asked her not to go further with anything sexual.
I want to let her explore women, she’s amazing and deserves the world. I know a big part of me wants to explore other people as well. But I just freaked out thinking about someone else getting to hold her and kiss her and touch her. I can acknowledge this as irrational in my head based on my feelings but I just can’t seem to get comfortable with the idea now.
I guess I’m just looking for advice as to how to let go and stop worrying. I suffer from intense anxiety and self confidence issues, but I think the healthy thing is to let go of my ego and explore this with her.
Thank you for reading and for any advice you may have.”
Dear There One Go 12,
You are approaching this with a lot of emotional maturity and intention that I don’t personally see very often in even most experienced polyfolks. So great job so far!
You have already completed the first, most important step: acknowledgement. You are absolutely right. This appears to be an issue that is much more internally and irrationally driven for yourself. There isn’t really all that much your partner can do here except to assure your place in their lives and continue to establish and reinforce that fundamental level of trust with you. Majority of this labor ahead of you is your own responsibility.
It wasn’t easy when I first started dating. I did not have the kind of confidence now. I knew how to talk to people, but I tensed up when I knew it was a date. I couldn’t get out of my head. And at the time, seduction techniques and various pick-up artists were starting to take advantage of the mass appeal online approach to teach other insecure men to at least get their foot in the door. Most of the advice was – and still is – garbage. One book that I read in particular dedicated a whole chapter to the difference between “Hi” and “Hey” as an opener. But there was something very important I took away from my deep dive into modern world of dating.
“Fake it ’til you make it.”
And I ran with it.
I continued to run with that same ideology when I first faced jealousy and insecurity in non-monogamous relationships. I repeatedly told myself and eventually convinced myself that I was attractive on my own accord, and my partners’ desire to explore and develop intimate relationships with others did not take away from what we had. Instead, it enhanced what my partners had with me to see what others didn’t bring into their respective relationships. If you decide to fake it until you make it like how I did, grit your teeth and try your best to get more comfortable (even if it feels like temporarily lying to yourself).
So conquering your ego might be the ultimate goal. But perhaps reconsider that approach to embrace your ego. Your ego deserves better than to be conquered. It deserves nurture and love, like any other parts of your self and identity. So embrace it and learn to love every aspect – flaws too – of yourself.
Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.
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