New relationship drama
I've got some recent relationship drama on my hands and I think it'll make some good reading. Comments and advice are very welcome.
So I'm a member of the local poly community in Maine along with my wonderful wife. She's one of the coordinators of our group actually. I have three friends in this story, Jim, Ellen and Sara (the names have been changed to protect the guilty). Five months ago, Jim and Ellen started dating. Their relationship was monogmous. Two months into their relationship, Jim and Sara and my wife are spending an evening together. At the time, none of us knew of Ellen or Jim's relationship with her. My wife goes to bed and with her blessing, Jim, Sara and I have a threesome. Oops, Jim just cheated on Ellen.
So about two months ago, Jim starts bringing Ellen around to see his friends. They come over to a bbq at our place, we go out on the town together, etc. Jim and Ellen start coming to the local poly community meetings. My wife and I invited them out dancing. Jim declined and Ellen came along with us. Thus, we became friends with Ellen.
A couple of days later, Jim ditches Ellen to go hang out with one of his ex girlfriends. Ellen calls me up and asks if we want to hang out with her. We meet up and she vents about her relationship issues with Jim. Apparently they haven't been doing so hot from the beginning. They've broken up a couple of times, gotten back together the next day. He's not communicative, doesn't make her feel good about herself, flirts with other girls. Recently they've been considering a poly lifestyle because their needs aren't being met in a mono relationship. That's why they've been coming to our group's meetings.
They talk the next day and he says to her that he's considered them poly for awhile now, and has been testing the waters when he's been flirting with other girls. This was news to her, but she took it in stride.
Here's where it gets a little messy. My wife and I ask Ellen on a date. She's cute, smart, recently poly, an all around good catch. She says yes! My wife calls up one of her boyfriends and we make it a double date. My wife and Ellen are also bisexual and have some chemistry between them too.
Then we realize something, Jim and Ellen had been dating for five months, three months ago, Jim and I had sex with Sara. My wife has a zero tolerance policy for cheating, we have a new friend in Ellen, who's not having her needs met with Jim (who's also our friend) and keeps coming back to him, not realizing he's been dishonest. So my wife decides to tell her. I advise her to tell Ellen in person. Our date with Ellen is on Tuesday, so I call her and ask if she's free on Monday. She says yes and we make plans to get together then and give her the full picture.
Ellen had been sort of living with Jim while she was looking for a new apartment. She got an apartment just a little while back, but hadn't fully moved in, as she'd been staying with Jim. They have a spat and she decides she should be living more on her own, but they're still willing to see each other. This was the same time they decided that they should be able to see other people also.
So, on Monday, Ellen goes to Jim's house to pick up some of her things. She thinks Jim won't be home, but it turns out... he is! My wife calls to say we're coming down and she says "Jim wants to know if he can come along." My wife, caught off guard says "umm... I guess." So the four of us have dinner and then part ways. Ellen still didn't know what was up.
The next day is our date, and we have my wife's friend come along. We thought it would be awkward to mention that during the date, it would have been awkward for my wife's friend, and so on. But the date was a hit, Ellen, Wife and I all get along great. I think I like this woman. We make plans for her to come to our place on Friday. To make things a little less complicated, Wife and I have only kissed Ellen, there hasn't been any sex.
My wife's been bothered by the incident a few months ago and is fretting about how to tell Ellen about this, so she drops a hint asking if they were broken up a particular friday in April via email. Ellen asks Jim about this today (Thursday), he fesses up apparently but thinks we've been trying to pull them apart and wants to have all four of us get together when he gets back from Vegas this weekend to talk. Ellen is upset and needs some time to herself. I think they've broken up, but I'm not really sure. Anyway, she's not coming over this weekend. She needs some time to herself without any relationship stuff going on.
Jim is worried that all this is going to impact my friendship with him. I think he blames their latest breakup on my wife and I. I admit our timing was bad, going on the date and *then* telling her, and I wish that had turned out differently. I think Jim has treated Ellen poorly and has acted this way in the past with others, but usually doesn't suffer any consequences. I don't think this is a bad lesson for him with his relationship and interpersonal skills. But I don't harbour any ill will towards him.
So Tuesday, the four of us our getting together to talk this out. Ellen's upset, and justifiably so. Jim wants to blame my wife and I for splitting them up. I want Ellen to be treated well, and I don't want this to ruin our budding relationship with her. She said she doesn't want to get between our friendship with Jim either.
I'm not too worried about my friendship with Jim. He's not in my closest circle of friends, but close enough that I think we can weather it. My wife is pissed at him for cheating on Ellen. So my biggest concern is keeping the door open with Ellen for my wife and I. We'd intended to tell her before our date, but now it looks like we've tried to split them up and take her for ourselves, which is not the case. I'm perfectly ok with Jim and Ellen having a relationship as long as she's happy in it.
That's the story in my rambling, disjointed style. I hope there's some sense to it and it's not too long to read. Has anyone been in a similar situation? Think we can work this out, stay friends with Jim and not kill our new relationship with Ellen?
If you guys are looking for something that will last, I'd say your choice is clear. Put it out on the table and see if you all weather the storm. Otherwise you'll have that nagging secret holding all three of you back...and if the fourth finds out down the road it will probably be worse.
Just my 2 cents :)
Take care and good luck
Jim is your buddy. Be honest with your buddy and put him in check a little bit. I think your friendship will make it through this. Even if you weren't interested in his GF....we depend on our friends to let us know when we're being ridiculous.
It seem obvious to me... keep communicating and now... why have you waited so long to say something to Ellen? If this were me I would of gone to Jim and told him so as soon as I realized I was interested. To me that is respectful and good manners towards someone else's partner... I would be explaining that it would be either me or him that tells her that he has cheated as I would feel uncomfortable holding that secret.
Now you are in a different spot because it has been too long a wait and he can easily put it on you because you didn't keep him in the loop and communicate.
When I wanted to date derby I discussed it with my partners and we talked it through. Then I told her husband and after I asked her for a date, she talked to my husband and partners. This to me is just respectful to those that are already in someones life. It's not a matter of asking permission, but just as heads up and gives some indication of whether or not its worth pursuing. It sets a tone for the relationship of caring and respect and shows good integrity I think.
Jim knew about the date and was ok with it, although I guess I could have gone to him directly and told him we were interested.
I don't think we waited that long to tell Ellen. It was Sunday we realized it and Thursday my wife said something. I thought it was something that should be said in person because that was pretty heavy news.
Thanks for all your comments!
Hmm. So Jim's a computer guy, eh? Simple deduction Watson, though I could be wrong. Lots of people come to Vegas all thetime - and some came this weekend that weren't here for DefCon, I suppose. :p
That's a heckuva mess. Jim needs a shot in the arm and to learn some relationship manners - though frankly, I would have qualified as in his league a couple short years ago. Too bad I didn't know he was in town until now - we coulda takin him out too, just for 6 degrees sake, lol.
You and your wife have this down pretty well it seems. I also think it should be clear to all that no wrongdoing was made by either of you. Yes, you could have talked to BOTH of them ASAP, but ce' la' vie. Frankly, Jim and Ellan need to talk HONESTLY with each other, and I get the idea that having you two there to act as referees - while uncomfortable for Jim - may be just what is needed.
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