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-   -   Partner getting Divorced (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=60309)

lyrias9 10-22-2013 07:16 PM

Partner getting Divorced
I've been dating my partner for about six months. He two other partners, one of which being his wife of many years. They'd been in an open relationship for years (their definition being just sex) and about a year ago they decided to open that to poly (their definition being relationships with the sex). She's now decided that she wants to go back to monogamy and have him go back to the person he used to be. The chances are very slim that this is going to happen, he has other people in his life now and he feels he would be unhappy going back to that lifestyle. There are other issues of course that have grown from their time together, but the poly thing is the big one. They've essentially decided it's over and are just getting to the point of officially ending things.

My question, I suppose, is how do you support a partner who is facing the end of a marriage? He moved to my city about a year ago and doesn't have many people to stay with, so we've basically decided that he'll move in with me (if and when it happens). This can either be temporary or permanent depending on how we get on in that capacity. I love him and want to help him through this but I know it's going to be a shit time for him. I have no idea what to expect and I'm concerned about walking the line between carrying on with our relationship and allowing him the time and space to grieve for his.

I realize every situation is dependent on the people involved, but if anyone has dealt with helping a partner through a breakup and has advice I would appreciate some insight.

Anneintherain 10-23-2013 05:10 AM

So far, I've had 4 important relationships while being poly - my ex-husband, my current husband Adam, and my partners Brian and Greg.

I got divorced from my ex, and stayed with Adam a couple months while I waited for my mother to move from her place so I could move in there. This happened at about 6 months into our relationship, and my unsolicited advice is that if there is another option, don't move in together. Lots of reasons, but it drove us up a relationship escalator when it probably wasn't the best idea. This was how Adam supported me - offering me a place to stay.

Now my partners Brian and Greg, both of them are somewhere along the process of divorce - one is waiting for the paperwork to go through, the other will probably not get to that point for awhile. One doesn't seem to NEED support, doesn't talk about it and doesn't want to, so I support them by minding my own business. The other is more visibly stressed, more often stressed, and besides being willing to be open to talk if they need anything, I've let them know I will ask how they are every morning, and if they have anything they want to talk about, it's a good opportunity for them to be reminded they can have my ear/shoulder if needed.

You tell them you want to give them the time/space they need to process the big changes and loss they are going through, and you schedule dates as wanted. What works well for me, support them via IM, or coffee/lunch dates, or phone calls during the rest of the week, and try to concentrate on the two of YOU during your actual dates.

Note - I've also recently been supporting a partner through the death of a metamour - the same applies, things have gotten less painful for them over the last couple of months - I check in about how they are doing, they try to stay present during our dates, and don't always succeed. Try not to take things personally if you know things are due to grief. Try not to let your stress and worry about how they are doing affect your happiness to be with them.

bookbug 10-23-2013 01:46 PM

Anneintherain gave some excellent insight. I would add that some divorces can cause as much grief as a death. Everyone handles it differently depending on how much grieving occurred before the legalities, the causes, personality types, etc.

Although the guy I am involved with ultimately chose to separate from his wife, he never believed that things couldn't be fixed through open communication and working together to make repairs. The blow came when his wife, who stated she didn't want the divorce, also had no interest in communicating or doing anything to make repairs. He is a very logical person, but his grief has been rather intense.

As Anneintherain pointed out, I try to take my cues from him. When he wants to talk about it, we discuss it. And when he changes the subject, I let it drop. Oftentimes there is nothing logically left to understand, it is just sorting through the emotions, and that takes time and repeat conversations.

HisPet 10-25-2013 02:46 PM

Great advice from the previous posters. My current partner divorced after we'd been together over three years and we too faced the idea of us living together. We had wanted to for years -with his wife and daughter - but that didn't work out. It seemed important to me that he have some time between living with her and living with me (long story). I felt bad holding to this boundary but he did find a room to rent in a house with room for his dog and great people. We couldn't have lived in my place anyway and it turned out fine. Supporting him emotionally through the process - exactly as they said above.

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