The realization that I'm not as all-together as I appear happens when one of my significant others is first expressing interest in another significant other. I take a lot of pride in being the one among some of my acquaintances who has been in an open relationship for the past ten years; who knew she wanted an open relationship since she understood the concept of "relationships" as they were supposed to be formed. And then Now-hubby or Frisbee will casually mention some lady that they've been hanging out or are interested in meeting with and they'll say something like, "she's pretty cool, right?" and I will completely crumble. Not outwardly, of course. I have more self-control than that. But internally I will be more or less a mess for the next few hours that it takes me to rationalize how I feel about them having feelings for somebody else.
It's partly that I wanted open relationships from the get-go. Before I even was in a "relationship" with anybody I understood that this was what I wanted and I wasn't going to be okay with one of those relationships where one partner is poly and the other is mono. So I understood also from the get-go that there was the possibility of somebody I was with expressing interest in somebody else. That's the way I wanted my relationships to function. So it's something that I had to internally work through by myself.
At first, they will say something about another lady being "cool, right?" and my internal monogamous monologue will kick in. In most cases, it will be somebody that I also think is fairly cool, so it's not a question of whether or not their assessment of "coolness" is accurate or not. It's more whether or not her "coolness" is a threat in any way to my "coolness." The usual, "what qualities does she have that are comparably better to my qualities?" argument. (Which, of course, is only my perceived self qualities versus another's...so...automatically skewed.)
A lot of my understanding of how poly works is based on what I think about the relationships I am in in addition to what those who are in relationships with me tell me about their feelings. So that's what I have to go on. And when I am rationalizing another lady's "coolness" in relationship to mine, I tend to come back to the fact that those who I have expressed love for I have also clearly expressed the need to know when they are in love with anybody else. I also think a lot about my "coolness" factor and how it's sort of relieving in a way to not have to be the entirety of everything for somebody all the time. Frisbee or Now-hubby loves me for the qualities I have that mesh with theirs, but it doesn't stop them from having other qualities that might mesh with somebody else. I can't encompass all of them, and that's okay. It's honestly sort of a stress relief to not have to try to be an entirety. Not to say that it means I can slack off on things, because the qualities that they do care about mean enough for me to want to maintain them.
And so this entry isn't an entire wall of text, here's a little ray of sunshine courtesy of the German (he showed me the first of this series, there's quite a few at this point).