Spilling the poly secret to your best friend
So, I've been very best friends with LT since I was 16 or so. We had babies together, both married our high school sweethearts, and have grown as adults together. I still see her 4-5 times a year since we have moved to diff areas of the country.
Here's my dilemma. I haven't told her about my 4 month relationship with my gf MD. I have told her that my husband, FJ, and I have discussed the possibility of me fooling around with a girl on the side. She knows I am bi. We have very candid and frank convos about all types of sex and our own sex lives. But when I told her the FJ didn't mind the idea of me and another girl she couldn't wrap her head around it. Doesn't understand how he could be ok with me "dividing" my love and attention. I have felt judged by her at times, although it usually is nothing-just her protectiveness over me.
I have to tell her about this part of my life. I know she'll be hurt I haven't told her for so long, and I'm afraid of the fall out. Any suggestions of what to say? She is a very thorough questioner, so ill be bombarded with a million questions.
I don't have any great insight for you, but I have had a somewhat similar conversation.
My best friend is married, straight and mono. She has always known that I am bi and poly. BUT when I got involved with Dude I didn't tell her right away (my prior poly ventures had all been with women - and never evolved into anything more than FWBs - this was different).
It turns out that she knew something was up (I'm a talker, and Dude kept coming up in conversations ... as a "Friend"). When I was ready to have "the conversation" (6 months in, or so) it actually went fairly well. She had some questions and concerns and I answered them to the best of my ability.
I don't think that she was really, really "ok" with it, though, until we (the three of us) stopped to stay with her last year. At that point, she was able to SEE that MrS was perfectly comfortable with the dynamic and happy - and her fears seemed to visibly evaporate. (She really likes and respects MrS - most of her fears were that he was "putting up" with something that was eating away at him inside because she knows how much he loves me. Her main concern was that I would hurt him and screw up our marriage.)
Her husband...NOT okay with it (although he was perfectly pleasant and hospitable while we were there - his negative reaction will only ever be expressed to her, never anyone else). Nor would I have expected him to be, nor do I particularly care. Just means that when she comes to visit US, then he won't be coming along.
"I've been wanting to talk to you about something important that has been going on in my life, but I was afraid of how you would react. We have talked about my bisexuality and that FJ and I have discussed me being with another girl. You may have noticed that 'something was up' recently - it's that we have forged ahead on this front - I have been seeing MD for the last 4 months.
I know that you have concerns - you have expressed some before, but before we get into it I want you to know that I love you and value your insight but that FJ and I are just fine. This is a new experience and there are some wrinkles to iron out (time management, etc) but we are learning and growing. MD and I are so new, we are still figuring stuff out. I have really wanted to be able to talk to you about this but I was worried that you would judge us - even though I know that it is just because you care about me."
At this point - if she doesn't yell that you are a horrible person who is going to burn in hell forever and that she never wants to talk to you again as she slams down the phone - she will probably have a LOT of questions. You won't have all the answers - that's ok.
If her questions have to do with how FJ "really" feels - you could say: "We have talked about it and he tells me x-and-y, his actions back that up, so I believe him." and offer that she could talk to him herself.
If her questions have to do with how this could affect your children - you could say: "We have talked about this...Obviously making sure that our kids are not harmed is a very high priority. So we have made x plans regarding that (making sure that they get quality time with you, etc.)
I would expect a lot of "What if" type questions - you answer those depending on what they are:
"Well, that would be a possibility even if we were just friends - I don't know that dating someone makes that more likely."
"Well, we thought about that, and if that were to happen then I think we would respond by doing X"
"Well, that is an interesting question...I actually hadn't thought about that before, THIS is why I like being able to talk to you about this...my gut response is Y but I think I need to talk to FJ about this some more."
If she stops asking questions and starts accusing/judging you? (i.e "I can't believe how selfish you are being. Your husband is only saying these things so you don't leave, how can you DO this to him. You are a bad mother to do this to your kids." etc.)
My advice would be to dis-engage and walk away for the time being. "I'm sorry that you are responding this way - I was afraid this might happen, which is why I didn't come to you sooner. I want you to know that FJ and I are comfortable with our decisions, we love each other, and this does not change that. I'm going to leave it at that for now, and if, in the future you want to talk about this again - once you have had time to think about it - then I am open to that. But we all have to decide for ourselves what is best for us....Goodbye."
She might need time...or she might never be okay with it. But I wouldn't try to argue and justify things if she responds negatively to your initial disclosure. You will both end up saying things that could hurt the other, that could actually permanently alter your friendship - and that is so NOT the point.
PS. If push comes to shove you can point out "you don't HAVE to understand, you can just ACCEPT what I am telling you"
That's exactly what I needed. Those are the perfect words for this situation. I really think she probably already suspects, so I'm hopin it will just be a huge relief for both of us.
If she asks you why you didn't tell her sooner, you can just say you wanted to wait until you felt things were solid with your gf before telling anyone. And with this being new to you, you didn't want want to jinx anything by gushing over it before you really had a sense of how the relationship was going. How could she be mad or hurt at that? You can even say the truth: "I was a little afraid to tell you, because I wasn't sure how you'd react. I thought you might get a little protective toward me and worry, but I hope you will be happy for me."
Well, that was awful. At first when I told her, she had a few questions but it was the end of the night and was tired. She said she needed some time to process, but that she loved me and would call me the next day. Well, when she called the next day she was angry and had lots of judgements. I'll bullet point some of her issues to help shorten this story:
Then she called a second time and just flat out said she hates this. That she doesn't know who I am, she feels like she's lost her best friend and that my kids are going to suffer. She then said she is so angry at FJ for allowing me to explore this. That if he hadn't been open to the idea, I wouldn't have gotten involved with MD and none of this would happen. She feels like he doesn't love me enough to keep me to himself.
I tried to answer her questions without being defensive. I understand that this kind of news can feel like betrayal, and I want to give her the space to wrap her head around all of this. But I never thought she would be this judgmental. I explained that by definition, cheating is breaking the rules. Our rules are different from hers, and that doesn't make either of the sets of rules wrong. That all 3 of us involved in this relationship are happy, and constantly communicating about our needs and wants and feelings. The minute one of us isn't satisfied, we'll work it out. I told her that I feel more loved, and closer to FJ through this all. Tried to explain compersion. Was honest about the challenges that we've been working through with time management and calming NRE (didn't use a bunch of terms...didn't want to freak her out). Apologized for not telling her earlier, and explained that the emotions were so intense, and I didn't even have words to explain the situation. I also reiterated that I am intensely committed to FJ and our children, and they receive lots of time and attention from me. And reminded her that when you have more children, your love grows, not divides. And that you don't add a child to a family because something is missing or that first child isn't good enough. I asked her to remember her love and respect for FJ & I, and to trust us because she knows us well enough that we hold our children's best interest above all else in this. She said she wasn't convinced that we are being good parents right now. That stung. Also, the whole "who are you praying to" pissed me off. I told her that I am being honest and acting with integrity, no one is getting hurt or being forced to doing anything. In fact we are all being less self-centered through this, growing personally, and that more love can't be a bad thing. In my opinion this has no affect on my personal spirituality.
Our last message was that she was SO angry, wasn't sleeping and had a horrible day. She said she hoped I thought this was worth it because she didn't know if she could be around for the fallout.
This is a friend that has stood by me through everything. EVERYTHING. I never thought she would be this upset. She has stood by another friend of ours who has 5 children as well, and cheated on her husband for a year, left him and is now married to the person she cheated with. In fact, they are good friends with the couple, visiting and vacationing sometimes. How in the world is what I am doing not worthy of the same love and understanding she gave that friend??
I told her simply that I loved her, that I wasn't going to push because I knew she needed some time, but that I was the same person.
I'm really torn up over this.
I am sorry to hear that it didn't go better.
I am on the ipod, so i can't be too long.
What i am getting is that your BFF sees your relationship with her as a validation of her own choices. You said you went to school, had babies, etc. together and it even looks like you both followed the Life Script together, and she sees you as her personal human mirror. If she looksat you and you look the way she imagines she should look, then her brain tells her that god is in heaven and all's right with the world.
You just took that away from her.
Unfortunately, I think that may be true. Which is why I do understand that she may feel like this is a betrayal of sorts. Not that it is, but in her mind I've betrayed who she thinks of me as.
I am just taking JaneQ's advice and letting her have space. She knows I'll be here when/if she's ready. I just hope it comes.
I predict that she's waiting for something to go horribly wrong so she can say "i told you so". Then and only then will she be your friend again. Because you see, true friends are there for you when no one else is. Girlfriends and boyfriends may come and go, but... Once you have learned this the hard way and realized that you have sinned, you'll repent and things will be back to the way they should be.
I generally agree with "true friends are there for you when no one else is" but there are limits. If I found out that someone I thought of as a friend was a child molester, I would be clicking that "Unfriend" button faster than you can blink.
Please don't think I'm saying what you did is anything like being a child molester. From my perspective, you're just living your life and doing what makes you happy. No one is being harmed. But in her mind, what you're doing is Wrong, with a big capital W. I'm sure she doesn't think it's as bad as being a child molester, but it rubs against her morals. She's in a situation where someone she thought of as a friend turned out to be not who she thought you were.
Unfortunately, there's really nothing you can do about that. She is entitled to her morals, as you are entitled to yours. She's allowed to pick and keep her friends using any criteria that she sees fit. Hopefully she comes around, but if not, then she's not someone you really want in your life anyway.
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