My clients often come to me when they are just beginning the open relationship/non-monogamy journey and one of the most difficult period of growing pains is when one of you gets their first crush.
If you have been practicing traditional monogamy this can really be difficult. Most couples don't practice acknowledging attraction to other people when in a relationship, so acknowledging the attraction alone can seem like a huge leap.
That said, with some care and honesty you can easily get through this together. Here are a few things to focus on:
Acknowledge other people are attractive.
It's true and if this is going to work out you are going to have to face it. Other people are attractive. Pretending this is not true only forces you and your partner to be dishonest with each other.
Even if you never have intimacy with another attractive person, being able to openly acknowledge other people are in fact interesting, smart, funny, or beautiful allows you an opportunity to learn and connect at a deeper level.
Understand other people's attractiveness does not diminish yours.
Many of us like to believe a fantasy that we are the only smart, special, funny, interesting, or beautiful person in our partner's life. However, clinging to that fantasy puts undue stress on the relationship, both for you to try to be all of those things and for your partner to try to get all their needs met just with you.
We fear that if someone else is funny, smart, interesting, or beautiful that makes us less so. Fortunately there is plenty of funny, smart, beautiful and interesting to go around in this world. You are still all of those things even if someone else is too.
Getting stuck in comparison will only bring you pain.
Your emotions are yours to take care of. It would be nice to hand off all our emotional responsibility onto our partner to "make us" feel more confident and secure, but the kind of confidence we get from others isn't as long-lasting as the kind we build for ourselves.
When you find insecurity and distrust comes to visit practice focusing on gratitude for your awesome relationship instead of fear you will lose it. Start a gratitude list in your head to remind yourself why you want to hang onto this relationship.
When comparison and insecurity start to sneak around remember why you are special and important. Do something that helps you feel great about yourself. Surround yourself with people who you feel strong around.
Do things to remind yourself instead of depending on your sweetheart to remind you.
Ask for reassurance.
Once you have practiced self soothing it is perfectly fine to ask for specific acts of reassurance. Think about a time you felt really strong about your relationship and remember what you and your sweetheart were doing. What specific behaviors helped you feel so safe and strong? Ask your partner to engage in those with you now.
Sometimes I see clients mistake information for reassurance. They ask a lot of questions or start doing detective work about the crush as a way to find security. Usually that kind of information really only feeds comparison and insecurity. Instead try engaging in specific behaviors that build you up together (instead of secretly internet searching for information, checking phones, or other detective work).
You can totally get through the first crush one of you has, but it will take care and intention. If you want help moving through this difficult time please set up a free consultation with me.
She can help you:
- rediscover passion in long-term relationships
- repair trust after infidelity or dishonesty
- move past jealousy, insecurity or codependent patterns
- open your relationship or practice polyamory with care
- resolve sexual dysfunction and disconnect
- break unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship
Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.