This isn't my business, but. . .
I came here awhile back when I was just beginning a polyamorous relationship that had some trust issues going on. In the months since then, we are now in the open to his primary and with my husband, and everything seems to be going well. His girlfriend and I are also interested in pursuing a relationship with each other, which everybody is fine with.
But there is a single trust issue remaining. (For clarity, we're calling him Mike, his primary girlfriend Peg, and his secondary girlfriend is Cassie.) The problem is his secondary, Cassie. She has not been informed that he and I are seeing each other, and he has no intention of letting her know. With her, the normal "rules" of polyamory (inasmuch as there are rules) don't apply. For instance, she's jealous of his time and whines when she can't see him as often as she wants. Peg has confided in me that Mike's relationship with Cassie has "broken" her, and that she (Peg) and Mike need therapy. Mike is trying to see less of Cassie, and keep her and Peg apart. Every time I see him or talk to him, he tells me about that day's "Cassie drama."
I know that it is not for me to tell him what he should do in his relationship with Cassie. It's totally his decision. I get that. But if he was nothing more than a friend of mine, I would be telling him that Cassie is doing nothing but slowly wearing away at his primary relationship with Peg, and that she's using him (and her) and won't stop unless he puts his foot down. (The backstory is that she and two of her 6 children moved into their home when he left her abusive husband. She didn't work or do anything for 8 months. He finally told her she needed to get a job, a place to live, therapy, and a car if they were going to continue. Mike and Peg supported all of them, and she continues to make terrible choices that keep her dependent on Mike.)
Do I have an agenda? Totally. Do I want him to get rid of Cassie? YES! But I want him to get rid of her less for what I can get out of it and more about him being free of that albatross around his neck, and more about his keeping the relationship with Peg healthy. It makes me completely nuts that I can't fix this for him.
At this point, all I'm doing is being there to listen when he needs to talk, and IF he asks for advice, I give it. I'm being loving, gentle and undemanding of him. He and Peg are becoming very close with me and my husband, and we spend time at each other's homes frequently. I see the healthy relationships we can all form, but I worry that he'll just keep hanging on to this woman who is slowly poisoning him and his relationship.
Am I asking for advice? I don't know. I know I can't tell him what to do. But watching him go through all this is painful for me, and is continuing to break Peg. And I can't fix it. What do I do?
I see that it bugs you and that it isn't fun.
Could make him aware of it bugging you.
A) Could tell him to stop telling you "Cassie drama of the day" because you are uncomfortable hearing it. Because watching him go through all this is painful for you, and is continuing to break Peg, your meta/maybe GF. Could ask him to keep his Cassie crazy to himself.
B) Could ask him if he's considered breaking up with Cassie. Could ask him to make Cassie aware he's dating you. He doesn't have to do it just because YOU say so. But could he be willing to let you know if he's even considered these before?
C) Could stop seeing him. Could stop seeing Peg. Because you don't enjoy participating in this polyship if part of the price of admission here is watching your BF Mike hurt your GF Peg through his indecisiveness about Cassie drama.
D) Could do nothing and wait and see how this unfolds and how that improves/lessens trust between you.
E) Could do something else I can't think of right now or some "mix and match" of choices.
In the end? It's up to you what you are willing to participate in and put up with.
It's tough when someone we love is closely bonded with someone we don't approve of. Whether they are a lover or just a close friend...
My gf has a friend who I got tired of hearing about, and I told my gf that, I just didn't want to hear about her anymore. This woman was in a bad marriage and trying to leave it and kept going back to her asshole husband. My gf was her only friend left, all her other friends were disgusted with her. But lo and behold, after 2-3 years of floundering, she did leave her abusive husband and got custody of their kids. I know my gf sticking patiently by her helped.
So, maybe your bf sees something in Cassie you and Peg do not? He is driven to help her. I'd just make him aware you don't need to be in the loop, it's his business and you don't want to hear about it. Hopefully he will respect that.
I had a read through your older thread; when you first came here for advice. I'm really glad that you and Mike are now above board.
I don't mean to sound judgmental... but I am being ~grins~ .... I do question Mike's ethics. Not everyone in polyamory is ethical and not every monogamous person wants to cheat. But, for me, poly or mono, ethics are important. The *only* time I *personally* would completely keep an entire relationship a secret from one of my partners is if they specifically expressed a disinterest in knowing. For example, a casual partner who really didn't care what else I got up to, outside of them. Withholding *details* of what goes on inside relationships, I really don't mind at all. And actually... I don't always think as secretive or unethical people as selfish or monstrous. Often, I find that those who tend to lie tend to be quite cowardly in nature. That can be a concern in the bigger picture. Food for thought.
Anyway! What you seem to be facing now is Sample B of your polyamorous/polysexual journey. For me, Sample A is issues surrounding jealousy. Sample B is issues surrounding control.
We've all been there, I'm sure. We've all disliked a metamour. We've all perhaps even been affected badly by a metamour, in terms of the domino effect of their actions. We've possibly all done *something*, large or small, to try to take control of that situation. It could be giving advice that wards our partner away from this 'toxic influence'.... right down to the horrid, horrid Veto rule: "you cannot see this person any more" or (even more of a killer) "choose between us".
It's normal to want to have control - particularly when we are in emotionally stressful situations. It's what we do. Actually, life can feel a hell of a lot better when we relinquish control. (yes, yes, completely hypocritical, since I'm a Domme... but, hey, I think bedroom control is the good kind... ~grins~).
Issue 1 -
Cassie doesn't know about you and Mike.
Reason? Because "she's too whiny and jealous".
Real reason - because Mike is a bit of a chicken.
Polyamory/sexuality isn't only about getting your rocks/lovehearts off with multiple people. It's not just about 'not feeling jealous' (I feel jealous all the time). There is a whole other side, that I actually find equally, if not more, important. That side is COMPASSION. Nurturing, understanding, taking responsibility, balancing your life, being fair to other people, resisting the urge to only think about yourself.
I don't know Mike - I'm not saying he isn't wonderful and sweet and fun. He could be the most lovely, caring guy in the world. (In fact, he most like is sweet and quite passive; judging by his conflict-avoidance; the way he puts up with a seemingly high-maintenance secondary and the way he avoided flirting with you when you were monogamous).
Issue 2 -
You and Peg think Mike should dump Cassie.
Reason? She's toxic.
Real reason - you and Peg cannot let go of the urge to want to make Mike's decisions for him.
I don't mean that rudely. I have many moments where I just want to throttle some of my GF's other partners. I have moments where I wonder what on earth she is thinking; why she is willing to put up with so much crap, etc. She has many, many moments like this in terms of my choices, too. When we care for someone, we don't want to see them unhappy. We want to protect them.
But... consider this.
Mike is getting something from Cassie. There's something he thinks is worth the trouble. It could be sex, it could be emotion, it could be the thrill of drama... it could be anything. I think it's to do with feeling needed.
It's wonderful that Peg feels comfortable enough to confide in you. This means that you can both vent about your feelings, without burdening Mike with them. Hopefully, Peg has said all of this to Mike himself - since he is the one that needs to hear it.
But if Cassie has affected their marriage in some way, how is this all Cassie's fault? Even if she's a complete shit, Mike is the one choosing to date her. Peg is the one choosing to stay in the marriage, despite feeling that Mike 'shouldn't' be dating her. Both of them decided to let her move in - and to support her whilst she wasn't working. Mike and Peg are the two people responsible for what is happening in their own marriage - not Cassie. Both of them could take steps to drastically cut down the impact that his secondary relationship has on them: one of the most helpful steps being to create an environment of distance and autonomy when it comes to that relationship. No whining about Cassie drama, no inviting Cassie to the house, no avoiding responsibilities because of Cassie, etc.
There's something about drama, you know. It is like a drug. I've been involved with some dramatic women in the past and they have a way of hooking you in. I have this need to help people. I'm a fixer. I used to work in the Psychology field and this is simply in my nature. Curse it! Because it attracts selfish or needy people to me like moths to a flame. And dramatic people do make you feel needed. If Cassie is somewhat emotionally unstable (and it sound likely, after suffering the abuse from her husband), Mike probably feels like she is a victim and that he needs to help her. He may even enjoy the attention, the intensity, or any other by-product of it. There is also the endorphin rush of drama. Why do you think make-up sex is such widely recognised treat? When we fight with people we care about, we are overcome with negative emotion. When we make up, we are flooded with joy, relief, happiness, excitement. It can be very difficult to let go of the drug-effect that dramatic people bring into our lives.
It could even be that Mike *has* lost interest in her as a lover but struggles with assertiveness and really, really, really wants to help her.
A few final thoughts on what you can do about this...
As GG said - honestly, if it brings something negative to you, ask him not to talk about it with you. Even better than that would be to focus on the *good* feelings that being there for Mike creates in you. Same for Peg.
Furthermore, help Peg by ensuring that she is making her voice heard to Mike. If Peg feels that Mike's relationship is damaging their marriage, she needs to be fair to him and put this out there, very very clearly. They absolutely do need to go to therapy and find a way to deal with this.
Overall, this is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately and I do completely understand that it's a tricky one. We are all affected in some way by our metamours - in minor or major ways. If we don't believe in controlling our partners, we must either be there to offer counsel and support, or completely remove that option and insist that our partner deal with this problem on their own. What is unfair to *everybody* is allowing a partner to keep using up our support - but mentally punishing them for carrying on with the relationship.
Personally I wouldn't want to be involved in any of it, this sounds very childish. If he has an issue with her he should tell her instead of playing this game of turning his back on her and hoping she "gets it" and goes away. The fact that you want her to get dumped makes the whole thing even more cruel. This is a perfect example of how adults should *not* deal with each other.
I feel bad for her, even if she is a mooch. Sounds like high school and she is the unpopular kid getting shunned by the pretty girls. Have you tried putting something sticky in her hair?
I am with GG that perhaps you should separate yourself from this negative gossip; for everyones sake.
I agree with Marcus. I wouldn't want anything to do with the whole disaster. Regardless of Cassiee, the rest sounds like a drama boiling. Blech.
I appreciate all your opinions.
What I've been doing thus far is kind of a combination of many of the suggestions given to me here. I'm supportive of him, at the moment. When he brings Cassie up, I usually say something like, "I can't really speak on that." I've already told him that because I don't know everything that's gone on in her life, I'm not qualified to really judge her.
However! When he asks, I will give my opinion, although I would never directly tell him to dump her. I generally tell him that my big concern is seeing him being used and hurt.
Yes, I think he's beginning to see that he needs to do SOMETHING, but he isn't sure what, yet. And yes, I do believe he needs to feel needed, and he feeds a bit on the drama.
As for Cassie, I've known her far longer than I've known Mike. I met Mike when Cassie took up with him, and spent a few years just knowing him as the guy she was seeing on the side. Even though she's never been anything but nice to me, I've never been comfortable with her. This is an embarrassingly subjective thing to say, but she's just one of those people who switches on my "be wary" button. She always has been.
So thank you all for the advice. For now, I think all I can do is keep on keeping on the way I have been, and letting it play out, hoping that however it ends up, everybody is okay with it.
So you actually met Mike through Cassie?
I think you're going to have to tell her that you're seeing Mike.
Okay, thanks. I'm still new to polyamory and clearly am lacking when it comes to the proper etiquette.
I will muddle through on my own from here on out.
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