I meant to post about this last week, but somehow life got in the way of blogging…and here it is a week later… But I am glad I waited (albeit accidentally) because while this is always an issue I can speak (volumes) to, right now it is especially apropos.
Sometimes “acknowledging and accepting” your feelings means accepting that it’s just not working, or that it’s not working in the way that you or your partner might want it to. That’s a hard thing to do, especially when you know that saying so may cause a rift, or hurt feelings, or even make things change.
“I love that you say to “acknowledge and accept” these feelings. My bf and I opened our relationship for a time and unfortunately it caused a lot of stress for me. I handled it badly at first, but once I was able to acknowledge that I wasn’t really ok with it and accept that it wasn’t the right lifestyle for me we were able to stop, take a breath and take the time to figure out what would work for us both.”
We all know the poly mantra: “Communication, communication, communication.” But part of being able to communicate is feeling safe in doing so.
One of the reasons people don’t communicate is because they are afraid of the reaction they will get when they do. It may be that we learn this as children: we break a lamp and try to hide what we did. The parent says, “Why didn’t you just tell me?” and the child responds, “Because I was afraid you’d be mad at me.”
More often as adults what we say is, “I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to hurt him/her.” If you’ve been reading my recent blogs, you have read how safe I feel in my relationship with Ad, so much so that I can say, “I think I might want to move out,” and he doesn’t immediately assume that I don’t love him anymore, but discusses whatever issues I am having, calmly, trying to get to the root of my issues. That doesn’t mean that me saying that to him doesn’t hurt or scare him, though. I know that, and that is why, even though I know his reaction to me will make me feel safe, will not be defensive or angry, I still hesitate to speak my mind initially, out of fear of hurting him. But I have learned, the hard way, that it’s better to say what I feel than to try to save someone’s feelings. Because you know that lamp you tried to lie about to your mom? You know how she always found out? Same thing in relationships. Eventually it always comes out.
Course there’s saying something in the heat of the moment and taking time to consider what you will say and how you will say it. I tend to be…emotionally impulsive at times. I am going through a different kind of issue (this seems to be my week for issues) with W. While I find it easy to talk about my needs at times, when it comes to my weaknesses, my failings, to the ways that I don’t live up to my own expectations, I have a harder time discussing those. I want to react a certain way, I want to feel a certain way, but the reality is, oftentimes I don’t. I am a big fat FAIL at feeling the way I “should” sometimes. But I am learning to accept that feelings don’t fall into “should” and “should not” categories–we simply feel what we feel. It’s how we deal with those feelings that matters.
In this instance it has to do with W playing with another girl. I don’t know why I have such issues with her in particular, but I do. Or maybe it is any girl, I don’t know. I just know that this is a looming issue right now, and it is making me feel like shit. Because I hate this about myself. I hate it that I can’t be like him, excited to know he is turning someone else on, doing all those things he does to me. To him that is cool, to me, it is painful.
I do want him to be happy, I want him to experience play with others, I love knowing that he is enjoying himself, but when it comes to the reality of it, say, when I go stalk her on FL and see that she put a picture of the two of them up as her profile picture, I want to fucking SCREAM. I mean I seriously see red, feel my heart race, my palms get damp, I want to throw things. I want to write an email to him that says “FUCK YOU!” and never speak to him again. (That’d be that emotionally impulsive thing.) So that’s when the “saying something in the heat of the moment or taking time to consider what you will say and how you will say it,” thing comes into play. (And well, okay, before that is when I need to remind myself: do NOT do the things that will make you crazy. I know very well my own triggers. Tripping them in that way is my own damn fault.)
In any case, “communicating” that to him in that moment would not be productive or healthy. But I do have to communicate my feelings–and, actually, have. Not this particular knee-jerk reaction (well except now, here, haha) but we have talked extensively about my insecurities about it, and it is only in talking about it, in accepting that I’m not fucking perfect and I am probably not really okay with it–but I am determined to get through it, regardless–that we are able to (hopefully) find ways for me to be okay with it, or at least okay enough that I don’t just say, as above, “fuck it.” Because it’s hard to feel this way, to not be able to control these feelings, to be so insecure about it. And part of me just doesn’t want to feel it. But the other part, the part that knows so much more than that emotionally knee-jerking part of me, the part that knows I have absolutely nothing to fear, the part that hears W’s voice in my ear on the phone telling me all the things I know to be true between us, that is the part I have to listen to. I have to get through this, I have to succeed, I have to get to the other side. I couldn’t respect myself if I didn’t. And the only way to do that is to communicate my fears to him so that he can help me do that. Just like with Ad, and all the stuff I am going through on that front, if we don’t talk about it, we can’t find a way to make it better.
In the case of the person who posted above, she had to take the chance that her not being okay with what they were doing might end their relationship. Instead, they were able to talk things through and (hopefully) find a path that worked for them both. If she had simply “put up and shut up” to make him happy, they would have both ended up unhappy in the long run. It is an act of courage to speak up, in the face of unknown results, when something doesn’t feel right. But the first step comes from within, when you accept your own feelings as legitimate, whether or not they are “pretty” or what you want them to be.