I identify as monogamous and in a poly relationship. My boyfriend of several months has been in a long-distance open relationship with his girlfriend on the East Coast for nearly a decade. I’ve been working on my user manual and communicating my needs, but we don’t yet have the line of communication open with my metamour. Because I have never met her, never spoken to her, never even reached out and Facebook-messaged her, in my mind, she’s just this perfect goddess I can’t even hold a candle to. I make comparisons to her, and so I’m afraid that given a choice, my boyfriend will always choose her and I’ll be left behind somehow. How do I stop putting my metamour on an impossible platform and release some of those anxieties?
Insecure on the West Coast
First of all, let’s acknowledge that you’re doing a great job of doing the work and owning your shit! You’re taking positive steps by writing your user manual and setting up regular relationship check-ins with your boyfriend. And you’re also acknowledging that your fears are probably unrealistic and might not have much to do with reality. Bravo! Those are all positive steps to dealing with your fears.
But let’s also acknowledge that you have a few things working against you: being monogamous in a poly relationship, being in a long-distance relationship and being new to polyamory are each significant challenges on their own, and you’re trying to tackle all three in the same new relationship! That is a lot to take on.
And you’re absolutely right: those voices that tell you she is prettier, thinner or more successful than you are coming from within you and typically don’t have much to do with reality. Those are your fears to own and most likely not spawned by anything external to your own head and past experiences.
While you’re already doing everything right, I do have two recommendations. The first is to take your fear cycle to its maximum ridiculous silliness by filling in the blanks:
I’m afraid that if ____ is the case, that will mean _____ and I’ll ____ and then ____.
If the last blank isn’t “and then I die alone,” add more blanks until you get to that point of silliness. Remember that your fears come from within you and typically have very little to do with reality, so let’s take this to the worst-case scenario to bring those silly fears into the light. For example:
I’m afraid that if she is prettier and more successful than me, that will mean that I’ll always be second fiddle, and he’ll eventually figure that out and choose her over me, and then I’ll be single again, and then I’ll be heartbroken and pathetic and eventually die alone.
If your final blank isn’t something as final as “and then I die alone,” keep asking, “and then what?” until it is.
The second recommendation is to reach out to your metamour on Skype or Facebook or whatever in advance of a face-to-face. Skype communication is better than no communication and can help put the chattering monkeys to bed. And why not even be vulnerable and tell her how you are feelings–that you are insecure because she seems so pretty, thin and successful? She will most likely take it as a compliment, and you’ll feel better for having extended trust by being honest and a bit vulnerable with your metamour.