Fighting for control

My partner and I was considering playing solo in the lifestyle, but our first attempt was unsuccessful and left us confused and a bit hurt. We would like to try again on more solid ground, but not knowing where to go from here. Anything you can suggest that would help?
We started to try a do solo in June. 

I felt it would be easier if I got the chance to have a solo date first, with a woman like we both discussed and agreed on. My date canceled, and was looking to reschedule. Meaning he would go first, he didn't give me alot of details of what he wanted to do or what he would have hope for, he Is very quiet and keeps thoughts to himself kind of person. Before him I was in a very trama filled relationship even though it was more then 15 years ago I'm sad to say it still effects me.  While he was preparing for his date I really tried to be the supportive person, but alot of red flags of past relationship and being cheated on came up. I texted him like everything was good and when he got home I blew up. He was confused and I was hurt, I lashed out and had one of the worst arguments we ever had. We moved on and I started to talk to a couple, to be their unicorn. I felt like I sucked at talking to woman and because my partner is so closed off with his emotions, I could fill that cup with this new couple. We spoke for 3 weeks leading up to our date. When it seem like we was already talking long term with no insight with my partner joining down the line. He told me 48 hours out that he felt uncomfortable and left out. He felt like he was in a cuckold, because we was all suppose to meet for drinks at the hotel bar before I went upstairs with the couple. I felt hurt and upset that he didn't voice his feelings anytime in the 3 weeks before hand. We haven't tried anything since. We have talked about it which now I know that he wanted to explore impact play. Maybe I would have felt better going in knowing that. I should have also stuck to playing with woman like we agreed on. It's alot of trama now around the lifestyle for us, and not sure where to go from here or if this is even normal.

Even though you’re intending on dating “solo”, it seems like your behaviour is still very much that of a couple that dates together and you’re extending way too much control over each other’s lives to solve anxiety and fear and the control will not solve that anxiety or fear because, as with most anxiety, the more control you try to have, the less secure you actually feel.

Why do you both have to discuss and agree on your dates? Why do you have to both be involved in any way when you have an individual date? Neither of you are also making space for each other to have negative feelings about either of you dating other people and instead are either hiding the feelings because you don’t want to have them, in the case of your partner, or trying to relieve the pressure by constant contact and then exploding, as you did with lashing out.

Instead of accepting that you both will have negative emotions, you’re doing everything possible in an attempt to control those emotions, prevent them or stop them and that’s just not a realistic thing to expect of yourself. You both, I assume, grew up in a monogamous centric culture. Why would you expect yourselves to just be able to do polyamory without any negative emotions? Firstly, you need to expect each other to have a negative feeling about the other and be okay with that and not take it personally.

Secondly, you need to stop controlling all aspects of this partnership. Maybe put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak. How would you feel if you were going to date someone and the person you wanted to date could not go out with you unless their partner knew about you and had to “approve” you? You need to trust each other to make good decisions, to not cheat, and to respect your basic commitments. Needing to approve each other’s dates is a sign of distrust and it won’t prevent anxiety. It will, if anything, exacerbate anxiety. Because what if you “approve” someone who turns out to not be so great?

Truly date in a solo way. Trust one another. Seek out your own partnerships and don’t involve each other in going out in meeting for drinks, trying to get their approval, etc. I’m not saying turn your relationship into a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell relationship — because that’s also done to avoid anxiety at times. But think about what you might tell a close friend about a date. Don’t hide things from each other for fear of each other’s reactions. It takes time to get this bravery and it’s not always easy. But the more you avoid or do things to avoid making each other upset, the more the upset actually will be.

Let go of the past experiences and mistakes you’ve made and truly start fresh. Learn more about what you want in non-monogamy and talk to each other about it. I have some exercises in the beginning of my book that might help or you can check out my 101 and 102 articles that might help you both figure out what you want, ground yourself, and then continue on in a way that will make you both less anxious over time.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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