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-   -   Feel uncomfortable living with metamour (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39625)

shiomi 01-31-2013 04:09 AM

Feel uncomfortable living with metamour
Hello. I'm mono and have been reading posts here for about a week. I'm not sure where else to look for advice on this, as my poly girlfriend (M) gets very upset about it whenever I try to talk about it to her.

I have been dating M for two years, long-distance. I also lived with my mentally, emotionally, verbally abusive family during this time. I have finally gotten the chance to move in with M and her girlfriend (J) and out of my former home. Here I have more access to public transportation and can look for work. I thought that I would be okay living with J.

Brief background: My relationship with M started as mono. She moved in with J and a few months later asked me if she could be poly with J. I thought I'd be okay with it so I said yes. J and M have been dating since November of last year.

M is also in debt to J for a few thousand dollars because M's employment situation was messed up just after she relocated to the area. I knew M was in repayment to J, and this did not bother me. However, I did not know J's attitude on money. Since I have gotten here, J has made a couple of remarks about me ordering a pizza and some tights (I had no cold weather clothes and have been stocking up). I tried to ignore them. Then, after a two-year anniversary celebration with M (cost $50), J sat us down and told us that we were being irresponsible and could not be spending money on dinner or "kitchen things" (a plastic pitcher and strainer, $10).

All of the things she was complaining about were things *I* had purchased, not M. I would not make M spend money she does not have. I am also good for rent with my student loans. I have applied to many jobs and am making finding employment a 20-hour-a-week commitment. I was shocked that J was so upset about me spending my discretionary budget. I've literally heard her say that we should live off sandwiches and noodles until we have more money (I have an eating disorder and having my food controlled by someone else makes me relapse so that I only eat one small meal a day, if I do eat at all).

I've tried to talk to M about how uncomfortable this makes me. I've told her that I don't feel safe in the apartment anymore and how I don't want to leave my room if J is home. I know that this is because of my abusive background and mental health issues, but I also feel like my every move is being watched. I feel like if I'm not spending my time finding a way to make money, I'm going to be judged and berated by J. I'm terrified of talking to J to the point where I've been throwing up from anxiety at night and not sleeping.

M just gets upset and says that how is she supposed to take me hating her girlfriend. I don't hate J, really, I just don't feel safe here anymore and I don't understand why my spending has to be line-item approved when I'm not the one in debt to J. All I want is to remove myself from the situation, or to be in a situation where I don't feel watched and controlled. I think I would be back to being okay again if that was so. I talked to M a lot about this today and thought she understood, then overheard J's sandwich/noodles comment and M agreeing. I'm now scared to do anything but sleep, do classwork, and look for jobs. I don't feel comfortable here. I felt safer walking around my home with my abusive family.

I don't know how to talk to M about this because M loves J so much. She always centers it back on me not being comfortable with someone she loves. Since I am not poly, and since I'm often panicking about this situation, I don't know how to reassure M that I'm not asking her to break up with J. At this point I want to talk about moving out when I have a full time job, because I'm so scared of being around J (I hope that will change when I have more money), but I think that M would take that as me asking to break up with her (M). I don't know what to do. I just spend my entire day scared, and I don't leave the room (unless I have to go somewhere) if M isn't home.

I need advice on talking to M. I feel like I can't ask J to change her watching my spending until I have a full time job, which is making me even more anxious about finding work. I just feel so isolated and more alone than I have ever felt in my entire life, and I don't feel like I can reach out to traditional support venues because they won't understand the poly angle. Someone please help me.

BoringGuy 01-31-2013 03:36 PM

Tell J the control freak that she is not the boss of you and to mind her own fucking business. You are letting her have this power over you. That's just all there is to it. Grow a spine. Yes it really is that simple.

LovingRadiance 01-31-2013 05:13 PM

I 2nd Boring guy.
You NEED to put your foot down. As lomg as you are paying your agreed upon share of expenses-the rest of your finances are none of her business.

Part of being an adult is taking care of yoirself. That includes setting and maintaining personal boundaries.
You need to make that houndary clear and not allow her to cross it.

nycindie 01-31-2013 06:09 PM

Yes, you need to stand up for yourself and create your own sense of safety. They only affect you this way because you are cowering in the corner. This is not your abusive family, it's just a person who is arrogant and bossy.

If J. even starts a conversation with you about money, plant your feet firmly, interrupt her, and say, "My money is my business, not yours. I pay my fair share on time and do not owe you anything, so stop this right now. It isn't your place to tell me how to run my life and manage my money. If M. doesn't mind you bossing her around just because she owes you money, that is between you two and has nothing to do with me, so BACK OFF! I will not tolerate that from you or anyone." Then, do not leave the room. Just stay put and do not waver.

shiomi 01-31-2013 06:30 PM

@BoringGuy If growing a spine were really that simple, then I think no one would ever be trapped in an abusive situation. I should have put more detail in about how failing my mental health is at this point in my life and for that I am sorry. However, it helped that you said it, because this has made me think that I may need some emergency care if I am so off-balance for what seems to others to be a relatively simple situation, so I will be looking into it.

@LovingRadiance I will try. I'm looking into therapy and emergency psychological care because it's become clear that there's something deeply wrong with me. However it helps to see that I'm not the only one who feels like J's behavior is unjustified.

@nycindie Thank you for the sentence about J not being the same as my abusive family. It has been very hard for me to mentally separate the two and having some new adjectives to describe the situation helps. I'm going to copy down what you said to tell her and memorize it. And my instinct would be to run from the room, so I will try to stay in it when the conversation happens.

Thanks all.

BoringGuy 01-31-2013 06:49 PM

It really is simple to grow a spine as far as dealing with J is concerned.

Your mental health is another ball of wax to deal with or without J. I never tried to imply that you can fix yourself by "growing a spine". I said that it was how you need to handle J. That is something you can do without needing therapy. Believe me, this won't be the last obnoxious person you'll ever meet. Especially since i am in the Boston area. This will be good practice for when you take the T during rush hour.

Really. Seriously, don't let other people fuck up your shit.

SNeacail 01-31-2013 06:55 PM

You do need to sit down and have a conversation with J. Maybe someplace neutral, like a coffee shop, the park, etc. As long as you are paying your share of the bills, she has no business getting on your case about your spending. It is very possible that she is resenting lending M money only to watch her not be frugal in her spending and is transferring all that to you as an extension of her frustration with M. Not exactly fair and she should be called on it. In a polite way of course, "Hey, please don't take your frustration with M and HER finances out on me, I have nothing to do with it".

Do you pay the rent to M, J or the landlord? If you are paying M and leaving it to her to forward everything, that's probably not a great idea in this situation. It sounds like she might be afraid that she will end up having to support 2 people, because all she really knows is that you are also unemployed and looking for work. Relieve her fears about your financial situation. Ask her if you guys can come to an understanding and what would make the whole living situation run smoother.

GalaGirl 01-31-2013 11:22 PM


I need advice on talking to M.
Nope. Do not put M in the middle. The one making inappropriate comments about YOUR wallet? That is J.

So the next time J makes a comment, could respond to J.


J has made a couple of remarks about me ordering a pizza
and some tights.
Could be the "weather reporter" and just state what you see/hear/ IS:
  • "Yes, I have bought a pizza for my dinner. Thanks."
  • Yes. I have bought some tights for my legs. Thanks."

Play the broken record. Eventually J will get tired of your non-engaging. It takes two to tango. Choose not to dance.

Could also point out the dog and play THAT record. When you have a baby you are always saying things like "See the dog? Can you say dog?" Could do the same and point to the boundary and her crossing the line.

"J, how I spend my money is my responsibility. Could you please be willing to respect that how I spend my money is up to me and not comment on it unless I ask for input?"
And just lather, rinse, repeat that.

Here's another broken record to play:

"Thank you. But in this matter, please do not worry or stress yourself out for my sake. "


After a two-year anniversary celebration with M (cost $50), J sat us down and told us that we were being irresponsible and could not be spending money on dinner or "kitchen things" (a plastic pitcher and strainer, $10).
Could try to look for the feelings behind the words.... but that's tricky. KNOWING that M owes J a few K. I am going to guess this... Maybe J did not even have it to LEND, really? So is really strapped now.

Since you are ok and can take M out for anniversary? Maybe this roundabout fusspot at you both about being "irresponsible" is J projecting on to you what J feels?

That J "irresponsible" loaning out more than J could afford to loan?
That M is "irresponsibly" goofing off having good times with the other honey rather than working hard to pay J back?
And perhaps J is now feeling left out/jealous that you can afford to take shared sweetie out and J cannot?

You could simply ask J. something like...


"J, I see that this bothers you. That I took M out to celebrate. I do not understand WHY it bothers you. Could you please explain why? "
But if you really don't want to go there... don't. *shrug*

If J was not there on the date how does J know if you spent $50 or $500? If M is telling J about YOUR finances, that is the only thing you need to tell M.

"Please do not share information about my personal purchases with other people." You could also NOT SHOP with M if she's a "leaky hinge" and this stuff just inspires J on toward more inappropriate comments/upset.

If you can afford to move out -- move out. You can still date M. Still be polite to J. But then do not have to be around for household drama foo foo. Don't even have to tell the real reason why -- that J annoys you as a roomie.

Just say thank you for helping you "bridge the gap" time from you leaving the parental home and that you are ready to move to the next step toward your dream of having a flat of your own.

There's places you could take this so that you are looking out for your own best healths without having to get sucked into other people's weirdness.


BreatheDeeply 02-01-2013 06:58 AM

It's not always easy to stand up against someone who's been living in a place longer then you have. It's as if you're lower down on the pecking order because you came last, and maybe that's what gives J the imaginary belief that she can boss you around.

What Gala Girl said about the broken record is really spot on. You need to think of some phrases or really, just some verbal self-defense sentences, to use against J when she tries to tell you what to do. Keep repeating them. The repetitiveness of what you're going to be telling J is going to sound strange to your own ears. But keep it up. It may even infuriate her (and yes, making someone mad is probably the last thing you want to do, but short of making her violent, you'll want her to know that you are firm in your beliefs and will not back down). Eventually, she will start to respect you.

The alternative is to allow what's been going on to continue, or maybe even get worse. So if you're going to do this, do it sooner then later. The longer you wait, the harder it's going to be to change her attitude about you.


opalescent 02-01-2013 04:21 PM

What everyone else said ^^^^.

My suggestion is to figure out an exit plan. Sounds like you have a glimmer of one anyway - looking for part time work and so on. Make that explicit - figure out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. I find having a plan comforting, even if the payoff is not immediate. I also understand that creating plans is so hard when dealing with mental health problems - it can seem insurmountable. So maybe start small. Plan how to deal with J's money assholery. Then how to get a job, save money, and so on.

Of course, if the only problem in living with them is that J is a bit of an ass about money, you may want to address that problem and if that is resolved (you got some great suggestions on that), you may enjoy living there. But it kinda sounds like they have some other issues that may impact you adversely.

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