Two things (of which there are three) about a partner’s new lovers

Up until a month ago, Gabe’s love life outside of me was mostly stable. It consisted almost entirely of a relationship with his most highly awesome girlfriend (who I like a lot). Now, in the last two weeks or so, there’s been big change. He has had:

A) several sexual encounters with a neat girl; I was there for one of them, and I definitely approve.
B) A few nights and many emails of getting to know another girl.

In addition, he got some time with an old dear loving friend and received word that some interest he has in yet another woman is mutual. Yes, it’s high time we get him the full pimp suit.

I have noticed that gaining a second and third co-Gabe-lover is a world away from gaining a first one. The first time around was fraught with long-distance angst and worry, first time mistakes and fears, new identity and role issues for me and big questions of the “how are we going to do this?” variety. This time, for me it’s mostly about meeting awesome new people, and having fun times.

There’s two things I want to talk about, though.

The first is that “feeling special” issue. Yes, I have lots of self-confidence, carefully and proudly cultivated over many years. I know that Gabe loves me for who I am, and I know how complex and powerful our bond is. But there are days when that’s harder to remember than others, when one’s best self can be slightly misplaced. On those days, it’s an easy short cut to put stock in something like “Gabe plugs into music with Red August, and theology with me”, or something like that. She has this area, and I have this one. The set of “Gabe lovers that are not me” has undergone a profound change though — it’s multiplied exponentially now! So that short cut is harder to use. My choices are, 1) to take evolutionary leaps forward and come to understand more deeply our intangible and unique connection, or 2) find more and new short cuts. I’ve explained to him that I need a thorough list of shared interests and important compatibilities of each lovely woman he bangs, in order to develop a specialness chart. He doesn’t seem eager to get back to me on that one.

The other thing I want to talk about is NRE. Now, first off, you should know that I’m not about to complain about it, at all. From what I hear, I get a fantastic version of New Relationship Energy from Gabe. There is no sense of redirection away from me in our household. Gabe just gets giddy. And happy. And has pretty pictures of pretty girls to share with me, both literal and mental. It’s a kind of high that I can groove off of too. I’m starting to think it may be more than just a high, though. I have felt myself on some level picked up and shoved a bit, by this craving for new beginnings. I’ve wanted to leap into newness… but I didn’t have any new beginnings handy. While this has been frustrating, I believe it’s also ultimately shaping some personal growth for me into new areas that will be very valuable.

(Ok. I noticed a third thing. One kind of jealousy that Anita Wagner covers in her awesome jealousy handout in pdf form is an important kind to know about in any romance. It so happened that my partner had a kick-ass wonderful week last week. In this case, it was because of hanging out a lot with two new, beautiful women in his life, but it could have been good news at work or good fortune in some other area. I, on the other hand, had a rather completely shitty week. No, I don’t begrudge him his great week; I’m truly glad he had it. But a lesser person than myself might say that it certainly highlights how the universe was dumping big honking sucky rocks on me. I wouldn’t do that, certainly, but somebody else might. That person might find it handy to unpack what kind of jealousy they’re feeling, and how to live with it.)

7 Responses to “Two things (of which there are three) about a partner’s new lovers”

  1. Callaigh Says:
    November 8th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    <3 you, Elizabeth.

  2. stoat Says:
    November 8th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    shitty weeks be damned. but you articulate human feelings clearly and beautifully here. i have always wished for some way to communicate about my feelings in the wake of some unexpected relationship twinge … but you seem to have put something really important into words…could it be that there is a deeper human need that is somehow related to “specialness” but more profound than any sort of desire for a unique perch in a person’s heart…? perhaps a daily rhythm or ease-of-being with a person that gets momentarily jostled by newcomers and NRE? you are so wise and grounded that i’m sure you will soon have it once again…but in the meantime, that “newness” you speak of can be a wonderful medicine. on the hypothetical specialness chart, you would presumably have a shifting constellation of needs as well, and these moments of flux can potentially open up creative energy that has never before been seen. i should also say that hearing you describe such feelings that you describe here is really a privilege for me. the next time i feel what i call a “twinge” hopefully i will feel slightly less alone in the cosmos…

  3. stoat Says:
    November 8th, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    oops, by “newness” i didn’t mean gabe’s new partners, i meant your own evolving metamorphoses. i posted without proofreading 😛

  4. Erich Viedge Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Hi there
    I love this post. Love it love it love it.
    I am the community manager for Polyweekly the podcast and would like to run this as a Happy Poly Moment of the week!.

  5. blessed_harlot Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Callaigh – right back atcha, babe. <3

    Stoat - Thank you for your very kind words. I do find the specialness issue to be a fascinatingly complex one. And I'm starting to think that this relationship with my honey is not only a gift because of all the joy and love it brings me, but also a gift of a bright shiny toy for my trained counselor/analytical side, who feels she has hit the jackpot! ;-D

    Erich - I'd be honored! Thank you!

  6. TheShorty Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    “But a lesser person than myself might say that it certainly highlights how the universe was dumping big honking sucky rocks on me.”

    Then use them to give hot stone massages! 😀 It’s been a hard week for quite a few people, it seems. But what goes up must go down, so the opposite has to be true, as well. It has to get better! We will make it so! 🙂

    You’re really awesome, in case you didn’t remember that. 😛 😉 Watching you with Gabe, even before the last few weeks transpired, was always an adventure in “this is what a healthy, strong, interesting relationship is supposed to be like”. You two, together, just ooze this bond… I can’t explain it, but it’s refreshing and fun and amazing to even experience. It’s amazing to watch and interact with- you guys are just so freaking adorable. From the other side of the world, though, it’s interesting and at times overwhelming when I think about if there’s even a way to fit into the picture. After all, he’s got 2 absolutely amazing women already!

    And that chart really is awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and commiserating parts of it from past experiences. Should be required reading before going into any relationship- not just for the poly!

  7. blessed_harlot Says:
    November 23rd, 2009 at 12:03 am

    Hey! We’re on Polyweekly! Thanks for the shout-out, y’all!

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