Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   Poly Relationships Corner (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
-   -   Temporarily closing an open relationship (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55982)

starmonkey 09-18-2013 11:54 PM

Temporarily closing an open relationship
 
Has anyone had the experience of temporarily closing an open relationship when someone is having a really difficult time? I'm not talking about a few pangs of insecurity or jealousy, I am talking about crippling emotional meltdowns where one of the partners can't function at all.
This has happened with my girlfriend, and I was wondering how other people have handled this - and how it turned out.

Dagferi 09-19-2013 12:04 AM

Honestly I would NEVER cut an existing relationship off because my other partner was having a bad time. It is not fair to the other person.

But I would not start a new relationship.

nycindie 09-19-2013 12:59 AM

You need to respect everyone with whom you are involved, not just one of them. Your girlfriend's emotions and how she handles them are not your responsibility. It is possible that becoming crippled by her own feelings is a strategy she employs to control situations that make her uncomfortable. In other words, a manipulation- though it may be a completely unconscious reaction.

Tossing away another relationship in deference to her meltdowns would likely do nothing to help her deal with the root cause of her emotional storms, and it would be callous to the other person with whom you are involved - you would be sending a message that they are unimportant compared to her.

I would fathom a guess that a fear of losing control and deep insecurity is at the core of her problem - and those definitely require inner work, not you placating her. She may benefit from intensive therapy, counseling, or possibly medication if her emotions are that crippling to her.

Marcus 09-19-2013 01:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starmonkey (Post 231937)
I'm not talking about a few pangs of insecurity or jealousy, I am talking about crippling emotional meltdowns where one of the partners can't function at all.

Does she have good health insurance? Sounds like she could use some intensive therapy in a full time clinic.

Emotional breakdowns to the degree that the basic ability to survive ceases is either a sign that a person is fantastically manipulative, chemically unstable, or a mixture of the two. Either way, none of that can be fixed by the people standing around them. As I've heard nycindie say, it's "an inside job".

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't care, or that you shouldn't treat her with kindness and compassion... just that you should very quickly come to terms with the fact that she is an adult and is 100% accountable for her own feelings... at all times.

Marcus 09-19-2013 01:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starmonkey (Post 231937)
Has anyone had the experience of temporarily closing an open relationship when someone is having a really difficult time?

Do you have another romantic interest at the moment? Or are you talking about temporarily closing your OKCupid profile and no longer getting the numbers from hostesses?

LovingRadiance 09-19-2013 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starmonkey (Post 231937)
Has anyone had the experience of temporarily closing an open relationship when someone is having a really difficult time? I'm not talking about a few pangs of insecurity or jealousy, I am talking about crippling emotional meltdowns where one of the partners can't function at all.
This has happened with my girlfriend, and I was wondering how other people have handled this - and how it turned out.

Yes

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dagferi (Post 231940)
Honestly I would NEVER cut an existing relationship off because my other partner was having a bad time. It is not fair to the other person.

But I would not start a new relationship.

Using this method.


Medical crisis as well.

When I was in medical crisis in 2010(3 major surgeries in 1 year)-the guys both opted for not dating new people or seeking new partners.

When I was in a mental health crisis 2012-same thing.

The first one lasted 8 months. The second one was resolved within 3 months. But in both cases, I was under Dr. supervision asap.

Definitely reasonable to look at an existing relationship and say "WOW-this person I care for is having a crisis that requires more of my time and attention."
I wouldn't consider terminating an existing relationship.
BUT-I would certainly look at a partner and say "my other partner is in crisis, I'm going to be tied up a lot in the next few weeks/months helping deal with that, which is going to put a HUGE crimp in my time availability. i don't want you to think this is a sign I don't care for/love (choose your appropriate term) you-if it was you in crisis, I would absolutely do the same for you-but this person I care for needs more of my time and attention while we deal with this crisis."

BUT-I wouldn't leave it to myself to fix the issue with them either.

If someone is suffering that severe of an emotional reaction, they need medical attention.
I have severe depression.
I have anxiety.
I have struggled with PTSD issues.

The bottom line is-that these things require more care than "closing a relationship" could ever give.

starmonkey 09-19-2013 05:48 PM

Hey everyone - thanks for the comments.

A bit more information: when this first came up, I was concerned this was a some kind of semi-permanent proposal. It turns out this was a 2-day closed arrangement (now over) formulated so my girlfriend could have the piece of mind to figure out her needs. I think she just needed to feel safe enough catch her breath and think clearly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 231950)
Tossing away another relationship in deference to her meltdowns would likely do nothing to help her deal with the root cause of her emotional storms, and it would be callous to the other person with whom you are involved - you would be sending a message that they are unimportant compared to her.

Yea - that was the exact issue I was worried about. I am seeing 2 other women and 1 guy casually, but it seemed hurtful and grossly unfair (and *really* manipulative) to modify those relationships to pander to insecurity, envy, etc. These are FWBs (empasis on the F part) that I care about. Giving the extremely short length of the closure, no-one was affected.

We were able to talk about what was really bothering her - and the answer really floored me: she doesn't have any issue with my other relationships - what flipped her out is seeing my toothbrush and other toiletries not in the apartment. So I need to get a travel toothbrush - solution is that easy.

She does have some issues with depression she is actively engaging. I'm OK with partners having issues as long as they are working on them, which I believe she is. Seeing the intensity of her emotional state, I didn't think it would run its course so quickly. She seem to be able to process very intense emotions much more quickly than I can.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 231958)
Do you have another romantic interest at the moment? Or are you talking about temporarily closing your OKCupid profile and no longer getting the numbers from hostesses?

I have 3 other, more casual FWBs, and one more that may become a FWB, so I feel pretty poly saturated; I suspended my OKC profile a while ago, as I'm not really looking to add anyone (the potential new FWB is one of my girlfriend's current FWB I discovered I have some chemistry with). As cute as the hostesses might be - aside from being pretty full, I'm sort of adverse to seeing anyone monogamous, so I usually like to know someone isn't from the get-go. I really do not want to deal with another cowboy or cowgirl again - once was enough for me.

I'm still wrapping my head around the face that the solution here is as simple as a separate overnight bag.

bookbug 09-19-2013 06:33 PM

Often something as mundane as a toothbrush can become representational. Toothbrush gone may trigger the feeling that you are gone, and not just visiting your friends.

It is kind of freaky when a person's emotional reaction overrides logic. Unfortunately, it is not that uncommon.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I value my INTJ playmate - logical to the core. :)

LovingRadiance 09-19-2013 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starmonkey (Post 232067)
We were able to talk about what was really bothering her - and the answer really floored me: she doesn't have any issue with my other relationships - what flipped her out is seeing my toothbrush and other toiletries not in the apartment. So I need to get a travel toothbrush - solution is that easy.



I'm still wrapping my head around the face that the solution here is as simple as a separate overnight bag.

Isn't that always nice?
I love being in relationships (friendship or dating or whatever) with people who are self-motivated/driven to do their internal work, because they figure out the actual details of what is wrong instead of blaming it on something bigger, and that makes resolving it so much easier!

When I had my meltdown that Maca thought was going to "end the world", it was over my shirts. Sounds stupid, but I had recently dealt with someone stealing (and being caught) about a half dozen of my special shirts. The idea of him bringing a stranger into MY (not our, MY) room and showing them around, triggered fear that my shirts would go missing again.
All I needed from him was reassurance that he wouldn't bring anyone in my room, that it would be my privilege to do that if there was any reason-problem solved.

Silly little things that are so simple. ;)

Inyourendo 09-20-2013 03:45 PM

I would never close an existing relationship. I'd I did I would always resent my partner and I think in the long run it would be detrimental to our relationship. It's on the shoulders of the person having a hard time to learn how to handle their emotions.


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:12 AM.