An LTR and a childhood friend...help?
Hello, all. Quick turnaround, ive looked around the site before and checked out SOME advice, but im still pretty confused, so, well, reaching out to an anonymous third party for their input. Just didnt think id be asking this quick, but my situation is pretty unique, as i guess most relationships are.
Ive been semi-monogamous my whole life. Ive catered to the ideal that two people fit together....and yet, ive cheated a couple times, when i was younger and when i was in serious LTRs. About 2 and a half years ago, i started dating G, and despite some rocky moments mostly from poor self esteem and insecurities on G's part, we have had a very successful relationship and have been very good for each other. We have motivated each other to higher dreams, where 2 years ago neither of us had any ambition we are now both in intense medical school fields with high hopes (and high paying jobs when we get out!) Weve been living with each other for about a year and a half, the last year of which has been completely on our own. With some ups and downs, which are -either- normal roller coasters in an LTR or deepset issues caused by mental disorders on G's part and different upbringing on both of our parts.
But all in all, we want the same thing - a family, to be together, maybe kids at some point. Seems healthy, and its definitely something -I- want out of my life.
Enter C. Ive known C since i was a young teenager, and have grown really close to her and her family. I never pursued anything with her because either we were unavailable or i thought she was uninterested. She has been Poly pretty much since she discovered her sexual identity, and has had a long series of rough relationships....also due to psychiatric difficulties of an entirely different sort. C is Schizophrenic, which is also degenerative. In several years, this childhood friend of mine will no longer....exist, atleast not on the same level mentally or emotionally.
About 6 months ago, G, C, and C's boyfriend M started getting much closer. C and M introduced us to Stranger in a Strange land, and it feels like something hooked. Many of the ideas expressed both in the book and in polyamory theory seem to really click. Why should we be limited to one person? I can care for someone else as much as i care for my, rather, Primary, if thats what you would call it. With my history of wanting other women, and some changing definitions of love myself, it seems like this might be the sort of thing i can get into - but keep that in mind when giving advice. I say im ready for polyamory, i feel like i am, but who really knows until they are there?
C and M can be sort of reclusive - it isnt a lack of reciprocation, or care, thats just the sort of people they are. But that is not what G is expecting out of whatever happens to form between the four of us. And the more that G pushes them, it feels like the further she gets pushed away.
But i havent been. C is still very close to me, and if anything over the past several months we have both realized feelings that neither of us had acted on before. It feels right, even like a dream come true. And this might just be an utterly, terribly selfish thing of me to say, but i dont want to lose that connection - which i am going to forcibly lose in several years anyway.
More recently, G has figured out that C and M have different feelings in regards to LTRs, and that neither me or her -really- fit into those. It has caused hardship between G and I, as she initially had encouraged my feelings with C.
It hurts very much. These were romantic feelings that i had thrust to the side long ago, thought of as an impossibility and gotten over. Now, it seems like there is a flicker of chance to care for someone ive always wanted to care more for, and the person who ive known a less amount of time but have a strong relationship with wants to end it. She understands that what she is doing right now is hurting me, emotionally, that it feels like im getting torn in two directions and the only thing i want is for people in this to be happy with each other.
G, as i have said, has a history of personal depression, medication misprescription (which cause further damage), a very strict, fundamentalist Pentecostal upbringing, and lots of repressed feelings and distinct feelings of paranoia. I have reassured her, to all ends that i can, that i do not want to leave her, or care for C more than her, and she understands that - but has a blockage at some point between "understanding it" and "believing it".
C, also, has severe mental problems. Early stage schizophrenic, a history of suicidal thoughts (but no attempts), a former history of alcoholism, and a history of personal abuse in relationships has significantly harmed her ability to connect with other people. This is a major reason why i have concluded that she is probably not going to fall for G in the same way that G has fallen for her, and expects reciprocated. Even with this combination of mental problems and social anxieties, C is still able to open up to me and still cares greatly for me. There have been times in her life that i was the only remotely positive role model in her childs life. Whatever we have, it is real...but not permanent.
I am at a total loss. I feel like i am having a rug pulled out from under me and my jaw breaking on the concrete below. G understands that what she is doing hurts me - and recently (past several days) stated she doesnt care if it hurts me, because she is "that selfish".
Despite our stable LTR, due to G's insecurities she has repeatedly tried to break up with me, for reasons ranging from i dont deserve her, or that i would be better without her, and most recently - that i dont have a sexual relationship, at all, with C unless G has the same sexual relationship. This also hurts because i have never wanted to end the relationship with G, have never suggested it and even though there was some consideration, i held off for better, and it usually got better.
Yesterday, she gave the ultimatum - No sexual relationship with C unless G gets the same, or we are over. My relationship with C is not sexually based, she even has serious restraints against it because of the issues she has had in the past. But it seems like, if me and C were to be there, at the right time, then it shouldnt matter, and doesnt affect my relationship with G.
Again, i am not even sure i am Poly. I know i agree with the ideas, and that it is a lifestyle i believe fits better for me than monogamy. But, at the heart, i feel G will only be satisfied with just monogamy. I dont want to lose her, but i dont want to lose what time i have left with C before i wont have any.
I know the first and simplest solution most people would say is - Quit dating crazy women! Hah....if only i could. If you read all of this, thank you very much for caring, and maybe even responding.
TL;DR - me and G have feelings for C, but C doesnt reciprocate the feelings that G expects, so G is willing to end something, or everything, which i am unwilling to do.
Hello and welcome! You are certainly in a difficult situation.
As a lifelong Heinlein fan (the author of Stranger in a Strange Land) my ideas about poly and relationships have been shaped by concepts in his books since an early age. However, not everyone, it seems, is predisposed to be able to practice the "ideal" represented.
Mixing psychiatric problems into the mix only adds to the strain. Just based on what I have read in what you posted...it sounds like C and her boyfriend may not be the best match for you and G in your current situation. Perhaps if you took sex off the table G would be more comfortable with you providing C with the love and caring that you want to give her. Just a thought...could you be C's "platonic boyfriend" for some period of time - free to cultivate emotional intimacy, spend a significant amount of time with her, etc - with an idea to revisit this boundary in 2-4-6 months?
I think I understand that C's diagnosis - the fact that it is progressive and you feel you have a limited time to experience your old friend as the person you knew her as - lends a sense of urgency to the issue. But focusing on the quality of your time together rather than the quantity may be useful. (Perhaps you could even negotiate with G a limited number of sexual encounters spaced over a reasonable time-frame that would be acceptable even if uncomfortable?)
Another consideration in how you proceed: How much are you willing to risk losing/disappointing G (with whom you have the potential / intention to have long-term plans) to realize your unrequited feelings for C (with whom you only envision shorter term possibilities given her diagnosis)?
Just some thoughts based on one post...
Thanks, and thanks for the reply. :) Loved Heinlein for a while, im actually kind of ashamed to admit it took me as long as it did to getting around to reading about the immaculate Michael Valentine Smith.
Honestly, one of the things im worried about is boundaries. If G decides she doesnt even want me and C alone in a room together, how am i supposed to cope with that? Maybe im just overly worried about the old monicker "Give them an inch and theyll take a mile".
And you know, Ive given myself the honest question. If i promised to G that i wouldnt do this, could i hold back? The answer is yes....resentfully so. Which brought a lot of pain to us yesterday, as well - G acknowledging that i would still want to have sexual encounters with C, even if i stopped myself for her.
Theres also the factor that, really, im not sure how easily me OR C could keep things restrained. We barely see each other as it is (I am enrolled in nursing school, which soaks up 60+ hours a week, which is a whole nother demon that i will address in a minute), and even our conversations over the phone or through text tend to be very limited because of C's social anxiety. So when we are actually physically near each other, its almost like we zero in for each other.
Another very large problem that you addressed rather astutely - how much will i hurt G, to feel for C? Well, put exactly like that, i wouldnt ever hurt G for C, and C has loudly and vocally stated that if she were to ever be the wedge between people that it would hurt her as well.
I feel a wedge coming up, and it doesnt entirely have to do with C. I feel like my feelings of love have evolved, because they honestly have. I have no compunctions or reservations about G seeing people, or sparking old flames, or anything of that nature, but she has repeatedly stated that this is not her desire, and that it even -hurts- her that i would feel that way. Here, G's insecurities come into play again, because sometimes i feel like yes, she does want to connect with other people on a private, possibly sexual level other than me, and other times she switches back to a total mono sort of mindset around me.
We had a friend come over for counseling with us yesterday, after G dropped the ultimatum. I had basically already felt the emotional detachment of "She has broken up with me", which i think im pretty discerning about since out of the 50 or so times G has tried to let go of me this has been the only time i really considered it already happening. So if we are already having these disagreements on love, on what it means, on how we are supposed to care for each other, then how is it possible for me to continue in this relationship, C being disregarded? What if i feel this sort of connection with someone else, and we come to butting heads?
As many hopes and plans for the future with G as i have, 1) I can see them also happening with someone else, 2)I see our definitions and expectations of our relations changing more and more, and 3) after yesterday, i am almost emotionally detached enough to call it quits and see what happens.
This is our spring break right now, too (and what a hell of one its been! -_-') and after counseling with our friend yesterday, we agreed not to bring up or dwell about C and M, to relax and enjoy our spring break, and to focus on each other. It's worked out ok today, so far, and it probably will until the end of spring break. But next week, i go back to the grind of school, and i am not completely sure i can deal with the level of emotional stress getting thrown around....stress primarily coming from my primary.
Hey, you know, one of the facts of life is that you can't always get what (or who) you want. And oftentimes we're better off that way, though at the time we may not see that. Just let it be a deep friendship with C, enjoy that, focus on your studies, nurture your love relationship with G, and let go of wanting more.
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