“The backstory is that my wife has been transitioning MTF for a few years. And as she has gotten more comfortable in her body, it became apparent that ultimately we were both straight girls who enjoy dating men. So we decided to open up our marriage to the idea of separate “boyfriends” to fill that need while remaining partners and co-parents for life. I am genuinely happy for her when she spends time with someone else and she is very supportive of my dating as well.
I met a guy on Tinder that I clicked really really well with. He is ultimately looking for a serious partner but a friendly sexual relationship fits his current lifestyle best (very busy guy) and I have been very honest about my situation (very busy girl). Since meeting him I haven’t been particularly interested in other men and we see each other several times a week for sex and cuddling. We recently even discussed that we are not having sex with other people and can be a little more relaxed, etc.
So why am I so crushed when he updates his Tinder profile with pictures and things that are going on in his life right now? I am happily married for goodness sakes and expecting him to be fine with that (which he is). I actually froze my Tinder because I was enjoying my time with him and stopped dating because I enjoyed spending that extra time with him. He has made it clear that he is attracted to me and goes out of his way to be available to me when it’s possible. I feel like my feelings are definitely unreasonable. Is this just a huge crush? How do I chill out?”
Anonymous on /r/polyamory.
Start of any relationship is insecure. Some of that insecurity is simply masked by the surge of lust and energy that we call New Relationship Energy (NRE) in the polyamory world. What NRE doesn’t do is to provide an actual backdrop of support for a sense of safety and security in your relationships.
It could be very possible that when you see your connection update his Tinder profile that you are worried about eventually losing him to someone he can be more serious with because the implication in “ultimately looking for a serious partner” is that you are not the serious partner he is looking to settle down with. Even if that isn’t something you want with him, you can still feel some sense of rejection from having had that particular door closed on the breadth of his potential connection with you.
Another possibility is that because you froze your Tinder account so that you can focus on developing this specific connection, his continued engagement with Tinder might possibly threaten the amount of space that you are currently taking up in his life should he add another partner into the mix. And the possibility of not getting all your sexual needs met through this specific connection because he does not have enough energy or time to spare could also cause you some sense of insecurity as well.
So actually, your feelings are actually very reasonable.
They are rooted in the assessment of how much you are enjoying this connection now, as well as the uncertainty of the future for when he finds another, more serious connection he wants to pursue. And your feelings are valid.
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo once reflected that we often confuse love with attachment. The Tibetan Buddhist nun further elaborated that we sometimes misunderstand the clinging and grasping as signs of love, when in reality it is better described as attachment. Instead of holding someone tight until your hands hurt, it is sometimes a much more ethical way to care by holding just strong enough to not let go.
In the same way, it might be a good idea to reflect on and iterate how much you mean to each other now without holding any expectations about your future together. Another really important perspective to consider is that because you have such a strong and fundamental connection with your wife and co-parent, it is easy to get caught in the trap of comparing how secure you feel with your wife going on dates to how insecure you feel with your new sexual partner also going on dates. That is not fair as they are two different people with two completely different backstories on how they became established in your life. It wouldn’t be fair to read the National Geographic magazine thinking it is going to have the same kind of literary depth as Don Quixote. Two completely different literary experiences. Two completely different relationships.
Wrestling with some level of insecurity will always be a theme in any kind of relationship – mono or non-mono; it just happens to come up more often in non-mono dating as we are constantly forging new connections while also sunsetting incompatible connections. It is much more important for you to develop tools that allow you to manage your insecurities in a more productive, healthy way. Your insecurity management toolbox might look completely different from mine, but I commit more to meditation, self-care, and quality time with my partners when I feel insecure about any of my partnerships. Sometimes, even when I know that I have a good handle on my insecurities, I let my partners know what I have been chewing on just so that they can appreciate and recognize the progress I made.
So keep trying things out. Your belief in yourself is just as valid as the insecure fears that you feel; you just happen to be much more resilient than those insecurities.
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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