Reading vs. Reality

You've done all of the homework in polyamory but you're still feeling at the whim of your emotions.

I'm in desperate need of advice. My partner of almost six years (married for four months) and I have opened our marriage and it's admittingly been an overwhelming experience for me - emotionally, physically, and mentally.  We've talked about our interest in being open/trying an open relationship before marriage (and, briefly discussed it during premarital counseling).
My partner even bought me the Ethical Slut for Christmas. I brought up my interest in dating someone a month ago. I told my partner that I did not have to act on my interest, but they wanted to give being open a shot. We came up with our agreements, went on some dates, and while I've had fun, I had no idea that the experience itself would so strongly stir up so many emotions for me: jealousy, insecurity, paranoia.
When I say strongly, I mean that I feel like I've doubted parts of our relationship that I've never doubted before - I almost came to tears at work whenever I couldn't find our wedding photos on my wife's facebook which she admittingly barely uses. I've had several nights where I could not sleep at all, and I've had this almost persistent overflow of emotions which manifest in me not being able to concentrate at work, or during the activities I enjoy. I find myself sweating all day at work in my freezing office because of the situation. 
During this time, I've tried a number of different things. I've read through your book and started another, I've listened to podcasts, read blogs and reddit posts, I've leaned on several friends, I've tried to stay busy, I've been more active than I normally am (I'm a very active person to begin with), I've continued with my preexisting mindfulness practice - none of that has helped. I've tried to imagine different scenarios - like, what would ultimately happen if my wife sleeps with someone else.
I know she would never leave me, but even just the thought of her being with another man creates an overwhelming gut reaction that I cannot control. But, also there are several other scenarios I never imagined - how I would feel if my wife got emotionally involved with another person, for example. I read the books, but I obviously skipped the homework.
I feel like I've read the books, am aware of the tools people try to deal with these types of issues, but I just don't think I'm ready or have the skills to continue in this situation much longer. Here's the crux of the situation - my partner wants to continue temporarily being open and has asked me to give her this since we're planning on starting a family soon and she wants something for herself. She's aware of how I feel, but still wants to continue in spite of my state and in fact has told me that she's already started resenting me for wanting to close back up.
I absolutely hate the idea of my wife resenting me, but I'm also starting to harbor resentment towards her for feeling stuck in a situation that feels very unhealthy to me. We're going back to couples counseling this coming Monday, and I'm starting my own personal sessions Saturday. I want to stress that I'm not entirely turned off by the idea of being open - I just don't feel ready for it right now, but I am willing to start the work now that would hopefully put me in a better position in the future.

You all have talked about being open, but it doesn't seem like you've talked about your ideal situations or motivations for trying this, just agreements. Was this about sexual experiences or about other romantic experiences? Did you and do you have set time you spend together and set time you spend apart?

A good deal of this is sitting in discomfort. You've been raised your entire life in a mono-centric society that has told you that your partner being interested in someone else is a threat to your relationship. It's natural for you to be freaked out and to have intense emotions. But if you had no real idea as to whether or not this was about sexual experiences or about new relationships and what the purpose of it is, then you have even more of a reason for you to be worried. I'm curious as to, if this is about sexual exploration, you didn't consider other options in terms of hiring a sex worker or even going out to swinging events together.

On the one hand, it would be good for you to acknowledge that being open or closed can't ultimately keep your wife from falling in love with someone else and leaving you. I write a little bit about this in my 101 article, because a good deal of anxiety in non-monogamy and the desire to close a relationship because of it comes from the sort of false security that monogamy promises. Even if your partner had no resentment about closing up and you closed up today, in two months she could meet someone at work, hit it off, fall in love and leave you. As much as monogamy and marriage seems to guarantee that our partners will be with us forever, the truth is that we can't always control who we love and it can and does happen to people in monogamous commitments.

Reading through my 101 and 102 articles might help you out there, but some clarity should really be had between the two of you about what the role of being open plays in your relationship. Will you remain open and what if one of you wants to remain open? Is this about exploring things you may not get to when you are officially married? Are there ways you could stay semi-open to new sexual experiences through hiring sex workers, attending sex parties, going to swinging events, etc. while you work this out together?

I also think it's worth exploring the context in your couples therapy of your partner saying she would resent you for closing up the relationship. While it's good she's honest about her emotions, it depends on how this news was delivered. I do worry that this puts even more pressure on you to be "okay" with something and what the benefit is of sharing this kind of thing with you.

Overall, some of this is just sitting in discomfort but a big part of this is exploring the reasons for why you opened, what it is meant to accomplish, why you would be closing again, and making sure you're spending time with one another intentionally so you don't feel like your relationship together is being neglected.

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