Advice? Tentativeness in merging relationships...
Hi friends. I have a situation that I would greatly appreciate some input around.
I'm relatively new to the polyamorous lifestyle (last couple years) and have primarily taken an approach to developing and maintaining multiple relationships that allow me to keep my relationships separate. I currently have two main partners, and have been involved with both for about six months. I have a richer and more satisfying sexual relationship, am more emotionally/intellectually compatible, and find it easier for me to communicate with one partner over the other--we'll call him Tyler. I greatly enjoy spending time and working on deepening the relationship between me and my other partner--we'll call her Denise--but we haven't yet established the same level of intimacy that Tyler and I have been fortunate to share.
For the entirety of my relationship with Denise and Tyler, I have kept these relationships separate from one another. Both D & T know about eachother, generally and in some detail, and have both periodically expressed desire to meet each other. I was hesitant, just for the sake that merging social circles is somewhat new and a bit anxiety-provoking for me, but figured that eventually we'd all hang out. The opportunity presented itself for the three of us to get together, and we all spent some time together this past weekend. I was aware of the fact that the dynamic between me and Denise was different from the dynamic that Tyler and I shared, and I was curious to see how that played out in a group setting.
Unfortunately, and somewhat unexpectedly, I ended up being pretty uncomfortable during our time together. Perhaps I wasn't well prepared, or overly sensitive, but I definitely walked away feeling uneasy, overwhelmed, and somewhat ganged up on by the two of them. I ended up needing to take some time to myself to wind down.
Later on, I found out that Denise and Tyler has gotten together in the meantime. They discussed the possibility of the two of them developing a separate relationship, and perhaps exploring a three-way dynamic involving me down the road. While they had fooled around a little bit, they decided to wait to proceed any farther without checking in with me to make sure I was comfortable with the situation.
Which puts me at my dilemma. They both desire to pursue an independent relationship between the two of them, and are asking for my blessing. Given my perspective of relationship and commitment to a polyamorous lifestyle, I feel like it's not my place to get in between Denise and Tyler, or to express disapproval about the arrangement. I also feel quite hurt that neither Denise or Tyler talked to me about this possibility before discussing it amongst themselves in private. While I still wouldn't have expected this from Denise, I found it especially surprising coming from Tyler. We had experienced positive group interactions in the past, and the process by which these came about incorporated a lot of open, honest discussion and a dedication to making sure that both he and I felt comfortable with the prospect. This approach was a marked contrast from the current sequence of events between he and Denise. I brought this up with Tyler, and he responded by saying something to the effect of, "I'm sorry for the way I approached this, but it is what it is", continuing to ask me if I was okay with him and Denise exploring a relationship.
For some of the reasons I mentioned earlier, I'm very tentative about moving forward with this arrangement. I feel like Denise and I have a ways to go in terms of communicating more effectively with each other, and I'm still working on opening up and trusting her fully. Further, the three-way dynamic I experienced was initially unpleasant and intuitively uncomfortable. I anticipate a shift in both of my relationships that I fear would interfere with the intimacy and trust I've established with Tyler, and result in my withdrawing myself from both he and Denise.
I'm faced with the choice of expressing uncomfortableness with the idea of Denise and Tyler pursuing an independent relationship--and being seen as hypocritical or controlling--or passing along my go-ahead and going against my intuition and taking a risk that honestly wouldn't offer a lot of personal benefit in the best case scenario.
Can someone offer me a reality check? Is my hesitation and intuitive uncomfortableness about this situation reasonable? If so, what would be the best way in moving forward? If not, do you have any ideas of how I might overcome this uneasiness in the least risky way possible?
Thanks in advance for your insight and support. I really feel fortunate a forum like this is available!
Holiday weekends being busy and all that!
I don't have much useful advice, I would be pretty upset and probably a bit paranoid if two of my partners started seeing each other without saying something ahead of time (like oh hon, I thought Denise was interesting and we're going to meet up for coffee alone tomorrow) and even think if they were just friends and not your lovers, I'd think one of them would mention it to me if I was in regular contact with them. It is unfortunate it happened that way, as it now puts you in the position of feeling possibly quite more unsure about the situation than you would have otherwise.
Do you feel its been explained to your satisfaction WHY it happened that way, or do you feel there's been hedging about it? Are you content with what Tyler said?
I was also wondering if either of them have dated other people while you've been together, and if they were more forthcoming about those new people than they were in this case. Obviously my worry would be that they had discussed me & decided that I "couldn't handle" them liking each other. That would piss me off if it were the case, and would make me nervous that they would choose lies of omission over honesty. I would also be pretty uncomfortable to think of the two of them discussing a potential three way dynamic with me in the future before they'd even mentioned to me they were interested in each other.
Anyway, it does sound like things may change more with Denise if this happens, since that is the relationship you feel has more work to do. And it does sound like its possible this would end in one or both relationships for you since the situation is making you withdraw. On the other hand asking for it not to happen would likely result in a worse result that you'd feel bad about yourself because of, at least keeping out of it will make you feel like you're acting with integrity.
I am guessing what I would do is say "I'm not thrilled about you guys dating but it's your choice to date who you like. I would like to keep the relationships separate because I did not enjoy the dynamic of the three of us hanging out. I also would prefer you guys don't discuss private details about you and I with the other" That would be honest but not hypocritical, and draw boundaries I would be comfortable with.
Not sure any of that helped but I hardly got any sleep last night so I don't expect that it did :rolleyes:
Speak your truth. From how it reads to me, your truth is something like:
Your worry of being seen as hypocritical or controlling?
Deal with that one when you get there. Cuz that's not your bag -- you are owning your own baggage by reporting your internal emotional weather. If this causes other people weather, THEY have to report their own shit.
Emotional intimacy is emotional intimacy. Sooner or later you get around to sharing the Vulnerable feelings. Some of that emotional weather is like sunny days, some of it is like cloudy, some of it is like stormy.
I'll quote Tyler:
We feel what we feel when we feel it. We do not get to choose that.
We only get to choose how we behave in response -- react or act with intent.
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