Fear of Being a Stepping Stone

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m waiting for him to decide that he doesn’t want to be the boyfriend of a married woman, even if I strive to give him so much of me and of life. I’m wondering when he’ll realize personal demands that I simply cannot meet. I’m wondering when the novelty of Samantha’s pretty face will wear off.

I don’t know how to not feel these fears. It’s been almost five months and it’s been a (mostly) wonderful ride. We’ve had some dark moments, but he’s freshly out of a decade spent with a woman who didn’t see him like I do, so they’re to be expected. In nine years of non-monogamy, (and obviously not including Steph) no external partner has loved me like he does. Perhaps because no other “serious relationships” have occurred with single people for me. I’ve always been compared to my lover’s primaries, part of some female competition I never wanted to sign up for. The love for me has always come at a cost vs. his which is so pure and uninfluenced by at least “current” comparisons.

I’m doing what I can to ignore my cynicism. I’m doing my best job at trusting his words and not worrying about the future, one way or the other. I’m choosing to not get caught up in both waiting for things to go belly up OR thinking those fantasy thoughts about the three of us living together and frolicking around like a perfect little poly family. Those thoughts get me into SO MUCH trouble and I’ve learned my lesson from past disasters, at least I’m trying to act as though I have.

Have my lessons been burned into me a little too deeply though? I am often quick to say that lovers will eventually see me as disposable, easy to say farewell to because I have a husband I can fall on and could never fulfill them really. I say these things as though they’re facts, as though I’m daring my boyfriend to prove me right, while hoping harder than anything that I’m wrong. Of course it’s all so circumstantial. There are plenty of poly people who live beautifully wonderful and fulfilled lives only seeing some partners occasionally. It annoys me that I seem to need it to be such a vision of high contrast, with no shades of exception in the frame. It’s either good or it’s bad, a classic Samantha defense mechanism.

I do know why I feel this though, and it’s a reason I loathe: years of being open has taught me so many things about myself and even more about the world. I’ve been disposed of before and I’ve come to expect it now from anyone and everyone I date. Breakups and heartaches are good for at least one thing, showing you what’s up. I am the woman that you date that shows you things about yourself you’ve never seen before. I am the woman you go out with a few times while you’re waiting for your ex to come back to you. I am the woman that makes you feel powerful when you’re in control and safe when everything is falling apart. I’m a reminder that your last (or current) relationship isn’t what defines you as a man (or woman). I’m the woman who doesn’t just accept your sexual advances out of marital obligation, I encourage them. But even with all that, I’m often just a stepping stone, an in-between ego-boost vacation and never a home.

I don’t know how to deal with things like actually meeting his family because he just wanted me to. I’ve never been accepted this way and sometimes it’s funny how normal it seems to him when he’s doing things that literally blow my mind and make my heart melt. I don’t know how to sit quietly underneath the umbrella of his love and not let worry creep in, but I’m trying my hardest because it’s a love I don’t want to lose.