Adventures in friendship
An old old ex boyfriend, W, came back into my life a couple of months ago. We had dated, only in the way teenagers in high school can awkwardly over 10 years ago and it ended in a short, silly way and faded into history. It was for the best as I have since been with the same man, now my husband, for nearly 12 years I love him with all of my heart. Since reconnecting, W and I have gotten close. Outside of my husband, W is my best friend and he introduced me to polyamory and as such, my husband and I have a girlfriend now. We are all quite happy, but W is in what I believe to be a toxic relationship. He and I had been toying with the idea of becoming partners, but his relationship issues keep getting in the way and I have no intention of getting mixed up in that until it's fixed. So, for now, we're just really good friends, but I still try and understand his relationship and offer support where I can. This was today's conversation:
Me: If you both are so unhappy in your relationship, why don't you end it?
W: It's up to her. I do not have the right to end it.
Me: Why? Is it this way in every relationship you've had?
Me:...but what about you and I? You ended things between us. You said you had enough and I didn't get a say. You just left.
W: Yes, and I've regretted that for the past decade. You're the reason why I can't back out of relationships.
Me: You do have a choice.
W: Yeah, I'll just move away. The problem will go away.
Me: For you.
He just nods and leaves and I am alone with my thoughts. All I could think at this point:
And I still don't get a say.
It was a petty thought, I know. It just hurt to hear that it would be so easy for him to drop me again, I guess, but in my heart I just want him to be happy. He's had it rough and his sense of self worth is so poor that he won't acknowledge what he really wants and needs. He tells me all the time his unhappiness and his partner's are all his fault...but a relationship needs all parties involved to work cooperatively to keep it alive and healthy. I just can't make him see that.
That's terribly sad - both for him and for you, as he has treated you badly. Maybe he didn't mean to but the result was the same.
Some people are not emotionally or pyschically or mentally ready to be a in real, adult relationship. W sounds to me like one of those people. Refusing to be the dumper in a toxic relationship is not a good sign. Honestly, you are probably better off in the long run being friends instead of romantic or sexual partners.
@opalescent- Yeah, it kinda sucks, but I am learning to roll with the punches. He's definitely a piece of my heart and if we can only be friends, then that's more than enough. I just want him to stop hurting.
Update on the situation.
My husband and GF are being awesomely supportive of me in this and I love them to pieces for it. Hubby and I talked and with his advice and constructive criticism I decided to take a little action.
I went above W's head and messaged his SO to ask her to talk to him. Why did I do this? Because I've done it before for friends that had semi-dense partners. Said friends, like W, were uncomfortable with their own feelings and rather than communicate and work it out, they'd rather bottle it up and cause themselves grief instead of "inconveniencing" their partners with their problems. It's a tough sort of love but all I do is say to the partner: "Please talk to your partner. S/He really needs to talk to you." That's it. I don't give any details and if they ask for clarification, I just restate my request. It usually sparks communication for the involved parties and 9/10 times it leads to conflict, discussion, and resolution. It isn't always my place to do it, but some people just need a little push like that...
That was the 1/10 case this time. W's SO demanded he tell her what was wrong, so he did. She got incredibly irritated with him for it, argued her point, wouldn't let him speak any further, and has not talked to him since. I again tried speaking to her to clarify some things and she has not responded to my messages.
Sure, I come off as a pushy, nosy jerk, and I know I can't fix problems for people, but when I see something so painful that could be fixed so easily, I just can't sit still off to the side. Especially when W keeps howling about it.
I am going to let her cool off before trying again, but I hope this will open W's eyes as to what he's holding on to.
Wow, that's a bold move.
It's a tricky one when you feel like something needs to be said, but it's really not your business.
I had a situation like that with a couple of friends of mine. This guy P had been dating his girlfriend for a few years. Then one night at a bar I bumped into P, who was there with another friend of mine (who I knew through separate circles), J. They seemed like a couple and really happy.
J was gushing to me about how nice P was etc etc. All good. Then later I checked in with P as to whether he'd broken up with his other girlfriend. No, he hadn't. Did J know about this other girl? No, she didn't. Okay...
I had a dilemma because I felt like J should know that P was dating someone else. And the fact she was my friend made me really want to make sure she knew about it, and wasn't getting screwed over. But I also was cautious about putting myself into their drama, as I didn't feel it was my place.
After agonising a bit, I came upon a plan that luckily worked!
I confronted P and told him that if he didn't come clean with J by a certain deadline (a few days, I think) then I would tell her myself. He said that was fair enough, and that he would reveal the truth to her. Which he did.
If he hadn't been honest, I would then have felt justified in breaking the news to her myself.
I know the scenarios are different here, but the dynamics are similar enough I think. If you think there's something W should be doing or saying, it could be a good idea to flag to him that you're at breaking point, and that you're about to raise the issue with his SO, before you go ahead and do it.
You often walk a fine line when performing an intervention! I try to be as sure of myself as possible (including, if possible, getting opinions from others who know the situation well enough to comment) and proceed with caution.
Sorry for the long reply on your blog but your story struck me.
Alright! So now a couple of weeks later and my meddling eventually yielded some results. I know I was in the wrong for suddenly jumping in, but fortunately it worked out.
W and M are working things out, thank goodness. I don't know if it was really my push that did it, but something changed after I stirred the pot and it eventually led to communication about insecurities which became something positive.
Because of it, we are all much happier. In fact, me W, M, and my Fennec are all going on an outing together this weekend! Yay bonding!
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