Polyamory Pass or Fail

Seeing polyamory as a game you can win or lose can often put more pressure on you to be "successful".

I (29 Trans man) have struggled with my Meta. 
I’ve had a hard time enjoying this new person in my life. And told my partner (25NB) that I think Parallel is the kind of relationship I wanted with my Meta. My partner was sad of course. Because they really would like a kitchen table polyamory relationship. But they really understood where I was coming from and did not push the KTP style anymore. 
My partner and I have started to go to therapy together. I’m also still in therapy myself, and my partner has started therapy as well for themselves. Our first Therapy appointment together was hard. There was still a lot of unspoken resentment I felt for their new relationship. And they understandably had resentment for how I was handling things. I’ve never been one to be kind to myself or allow myself to feel my feelings. 
For almost 30 years I’ve buried my feelings and not allowed myself to feel. This has been a big shift for me to allow myself to work through the emotions. And sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the feelings and become aggressive. I have never hit or broken anything in the home. Just a lot of aggressive talking and yelling. I feel deep guilt for it, and I am truly working on handling my anger with my own therapy.  Its hard not to truly hate myself for things I’ve said out of anger. . .  
But something unexpectedly happened after our first therapy session together. On our way home we where both crying and just trying to talk about what we had been feeling. I had told my partner that I felt really left out and secondary to their new relationship. And that my head is getting the best of me. My head has told me that its only a matter of time that the feelings they are having for meta will be more than the feelings my partner has for me. Because that's what happened when my partner and I first got together 7 years ago. I was married and my marriage was open. But being with my partner showed me the value of communication and selflessness that I didn't have in my marriage. And something my wife and I couldn't fix together. So we decided to end the marriage. And the though scares me that it's my turn to be left 
My partner then told me that their boyfriend (27 Trans man) had feelings for me.  And my partner hadn’t said anything because I had taken the new relationship so hard in the first place. They wanted to have the KTP style because it’s the closest they could get to a throuple. My partner went on to tell me that both them and him had fantasized about dating me all together. My partner had wanted KTP because they didn’t think I would be into the idea of a poly relationship like that. But in all honesty the feelings of being secondary didn’t feel so bad if I was included in the relationship.  
To say I was shocked was an understatement. It felt like a shotgun blast to me to hear that. I honestly had convinced myself that my meta wanted nothing to do with me like I had thought I wanted with him. I couldn’t understand how feelings could develop for someone who has been so mean and nasty. I also felt very sad that my partner didn’t feel comfortable with being honest with me about what they truly wanted. But to be honest I can’t blame them for not telling me. I haven’t been the best lately with my reactions to things.
So, Meta and I started talking. Just texting and getting to know each other.  He is really sweet and caring. He has also reassured me he does not want to come in between my relationship with my partner. He just wants to add love to both of our lives and in return receive love.  I can see why my partner has the feelings that they have for Meta.  Him and I have been talking for about four weeks. There was a date in the first week. It went well, and we are really feeling each other. 
Talking with him has also made talking with my partner so much easier. We went back to being the strong power couple that all our friends and family looked up to. We've always been told by our friends and family, how jealous they are of how strong of a couple we are . My partner and I have always had really good communication. It's something we both value heavily in our relationship. We also felt so much closer. It was like we were dating each other again. It was almost like my partner, and I had found NRE again with each other. And it was magic.
This last weekend was the first time the 3 of us had all gotten together and spent time.  I can’t lie and tell you that I was not fucking stressing the whole time. I didn’t know what I would feel if I saw them loving up on each other. But that wasn’t the case. They wanted me to sit in the middle of a cuddle puddle. They both gave me all the love I could ask for. 
At one point my partner started to do things that they know turns me on. And Meta joined in. Well we ended up being fully intimate with each other for a few hours that night. And then again in the morning. Its was honestly a really good time.  There where parts that hurt to see. Like him going down on my partner. I didn’t enjoy that at all. I know I could have stopped it at any point. My partner had told me that would be alright if I needed to take a break.   But I didn’t want to be the buzz kill for the group. So, I didn’t stop it.  My partner was enjoying themselves and I didn’t want to stop that. No matter how much it hurt me.
This weekend my partner is spending the time with Meta. And I just feel so lonely and I had a mental breakdown when my partner was leaving lots of tears and anger. It's almost like I took a step back. I didn't think it was going to be like this. 
I just think I bite off more that I can chew and I’m back to a place of anger and unwillingness to investigate what I’m feeling because the feelings are to much.  I don’t want to think I fucked it up. But deep down I think that I’ve completely failed all the work I’ve done the last few months with one night.
I just want to be stronger for my partner. I want them to have the world. I want to watch them grow. I want to watch them have love. I want to watch them give love.  My partner means absolutely everything to me. My partner has been nothing but understanding, forgiving, compassionate, caring, constantly reassuring me of my value, And the hand I can hold tightly while I walk through this dark tunnel of feelings I've never faced before. I just feel like such a failure. I'm a huge stop sign when I just want to be their green light. 
I'm at a loss and don't want to ruin the progress we've made.

The biggest problem you're having is the fact you're constructing everything as if there are two options: pass or fail. And to a certain extent, that does make sense. You either stay together or you don't. But I feel like half of the problem that you're having is the pressure you're putting on yourself to control whether or not that happens.

When you decide that there is either pass or fail, then you constantly are on alert to measure yourself for "progress" in your emotions. But the fact of the matter is that it's not as simple as that. One of the worst things I did for my own anxiety was see any panic attack I had as a "failure". I put an enormous pressure on myself to "progress" by not having any anxiety at all and any time I had anxiety, I contextualised it as rolling back in "progress".

Think about other aspects of your health. Would you consider yourself as losing "progress" in your overall health if you caught a cold or the flu? Obviously being sick would make you change your behaviours, but you wouldn't see being sick as a sort of rollback in your overall health. Would you consider yourself as losing "progress" in your ability to drive a car or bicycle if you hit something or fell off your bike? Again, obviously going through these things would impact your life, but you don't see your overall capability to drive or your overall health as a pass or fail scenario.

Think of your mental health and your relationships in the same way. This isn't about your ability to be okay with the situation in order to make this work. Relationships are complicated and they involve so many moving factors, outside of trying to be a decent person, there is not much you can do to control all of those moving factors. I know it's hard with a caring partner and a metamour/new partner that obviously cares for you to not feel like you are the squeaky wheel on the cart, but your emotions are your emotions.

While I understand your partner's reasoning for keeping your metamour's/new partner's feelings for you a little bit on the low key while you were feeling emotional, in a way, I feel like this reinforced the idea within your head that the "success" or "failure" of this budding triad is hinged upon your ability to, if not be, at least look emotionally put together. This puts a huge pressure on you to be okay with everything. Your partners both tiptoeing around you reinforces the idea within your head that everything is down to your ability to cope. That doesn't make this situation any easier.

I am fairly certain that your partner and your new partner both have their own stuff to work out. Neither of them are perfect human beings. They may just not show it in the same ways as you or you may not actually notice it because you are holding yourself to this emotionally unaffected standard that you would actually never dream of holding a partner to. To compound the issue, I feel like the original problem here has gone unsolved, so it's unsurprising that you are still not "okay".

Fundamentally, you felt for whatever reason, sidelined to your metamour. That was never addressed. It was glossed over by going, "Oh well actually the metamour also likes you so problem solved!". But actually, that really hasn't solved the problem. It just created other problems. It sounds like the fun you had in being involved in a new relationship kept you afloat with good feelings for awhile, but those problems weren't actually solved.

Even if you have a new relationship with this metamour and a new relationship as a triad, you still have a relationship between you and your partner. Why did you feel sidelined? What behaviours made you feel that way? Have you discussed with your partner what you want your ideal polyamory situation to be like? It's easy to feel secondary and to have this fear of being the one who is "dumped" come back alive if you never have established how polyamory fits into your lives together. Have you had any of these foundational discussions?

I think what might actually help you both is figuring out what your individual ideals are when it comes to polyamory and how that fits into the life you have built together -- if that is how you have decided to live? You felt secondary but were you ever a primary? Is that actually how you wanted to structure your relationship? How does your shared partner now fit in? And can you all commit to being fully honest with each other instead of pretending to want things as a "compromise" and not telling each other when things come up.

You also need to give yourself a break and work on loosening the pressure on yourself. You're not the only imperfect human in this relationship. Your partner and your metamour didn't tell you the truth about the situation which isn't easy for your anxiety but you don't mention this as an actual thing that they've done "wrong". Not that I am saying that's how you should contextualise it, but you are creating a situation where you are the only one doing things "wrong" when there are a lot of things not happening here that trigger anxiety.

Give yourself a break and figure out among you what your ideal situation is. Will there be more partners? How will they fit in? Figure out what the situation is and you might find that you experience less anxiety. Understand that when you have anxiety, it doesn't represent a failure on your part to cope. It's an understandable part of trying out a new way of doing relationships. There's more about this in my 101102 articles and book that you can read.

I hope this helps and good luck.

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