So, here goes, the first real post...
There have been several instances in past relationships that the subject of comparisons has come up. An early partner in particular constantly compared hubby to her ex-partners (usually in negative ways) repeatedly. This was the single leading cause of that relationship breaking down and disintigrating rapidly. While I can understand how easily one can be prone to comparing current circumstances with past ones, the problem is that even if a situation might SEEM similar, this is a different partner with different reactions and views on things. Nothing undermines a relationship faster than pretending the new partner is going to react or behave in the same ways an old partner did. You are sabotaging yourself and your impact on the relationship when you make comparisons because that comes with an emotional price tag of assumptions on the other person's motives and opinion of you.
Sometimes this trap can easily be fallen into by even the most experienced poly players. For example, I once asked in regards to a girl that spouse was dating if I measured up (now understand they had been dating for several months and we had been married for over a decade at that point). This was frankly my own insecurities talking, but I digress. He gave me a wonderful and loving speech on how each of us was different and brought our own special qualities to the table and no, it in no way diminished what he and I shared. He was not showing preference for one over the other and endeavored to make sure I knew and felt this. He was successful in making me feel he was sincere (he was) and it is the primary reason we are still poly today.
Fast forward several years and I embarked upon my first experience dating another male partner. Suddenly he was asking the same questions of me! OOPS. Wow. I had to remind him of his words and that I understood now what he meant when he said he could not compare since we were each different and had our own qualities. I reminded him of our conversation then and why I could not even answer some of his questions fairly because they would be asking me to compare. He backed off and was much happier after letting that go.
The take-away lesson from all this is we are being unfair to compare our partners to each other (past or present) and we are being just as unfair to ask them to do the same thing. If you are asking them about intimate details wondering if you measure up, you are comparing and you are going to damage your relationship. If you are arguing with a partner and suddenly think well that is just like that time with so-and-so, you are comparing and cheating yourself of the unique personality of your current partner.
So, what are some things we can do to make sure we are not comparing? Right now I am just enjoying the diversity of my partners and comparing isn't much of a draw. However, I know sometimes the temptation might still be there when I'm feeling down/insecure to wonder if I measure up to some other relationship any of them has had. I would love to hear how some of you have dealt with those times and how you stopped that negative cycle in its tracks.
I don't want to compare my partners and I hope they never compare me to another as well. I am an individual and so are they and together our experiences could never possibly be the same.
~Becca... who should use spell check so I don't have to modify my posts every single time to correct an error. Ha.