Angry GF problem
I've read the forums for a while but been lurking and learning :)
My partner and I are both 34, lesbians and have been together for 7 years. We have a 2 1/2 year old son. We've been pretty fluid around the openness of our relationship at various times and had the usual assosciated problems with it being fluid and therefore non-negotiated much of the time which of course leads to heartache. But generally we've had a very strong relationship and have weathered the ups and downs really well.
We recently moved from a large city to a small town where we know very few people. It's been a difficult time and we've had some r/ship problems around my partner drinking/drugging/staying out all night and not sticking to any boundaries which is totally new to me. These problems have been witnessed by our friends. Recently my partner said to me she was feeling suffocated in our r/ship and wanted to open things up and I agreed. That has led to much more negotiation and her starting to adhere to boundaries instead of acting rebellious and stupid so even though it breaks the "rules" of having a really good, strong thing going and then opening up it has instead taken our r/ship problems and fixed quite a few of them.
Now my partner has a special friend who she has been seeing who I really like and am close to. And I started becoming very close to a woman who is partnered and in a relationship that has very strict boundaries about her playing outside of it. One of the rules in their r/ship is no playing with anyone from the town we live in. Now I was equal friends with this woman (T) and her partner (K), but in recent times her partner has been extremely busy with work/study things and T and I became very very close and flirting heavily. We've had a bit of a kiss and cuddle but we both agreed that we would back off so she could negotiate permission to sleep with me once her partners study thing ended. T has cheated on K in the past and we agreed that the cheating thing is not on so we would only move ahead if K agreed.
Well T went to K to ask permission/ renegotiate the boundaries and K has absolutely flipped out and sent me abusive text messages accusing me of seducing her girlfriend and being a liar and bad friend. She also wrote terrible things about my primary relationship and accused me of only being interested in her girlfriend to "sop up my misery" in my primary r/ship. She says that I knew their "no locals" rule and that I've shown her dreadful disrespect. I have since spoken to her and said I don't disrespect her - that I did not have sex with her partner and that I had discussed with her partner that if she wanted to renegotiate their boundaries then that was their business and I would not be involved sexually with her until they did. But basically, she still hates me.
I guess I'm asking where to from here? I have very strong feelings for this woman. We have an amazing friendship with much of our time together based on family events with her kids and my family and friends (including my partners lover). I would hate to lose her friendship and will be devastated if we can't spend time together. I have strong romantic feelings towards her, but mainly we are just very close friends who support and care for each other. Her partner is furious and apparently the fighting at their place is dreadful over this. But her partner also leaves for a month overseas in 3 days time which will mean I can spend as much time with T as I like until her return.
Should I be avoiding spending time with T while her GF is overseas? I'm concerned our strong feelings will spill over into sex which goes against our original intention of openness and honesty. And I'm also worried that our relationship will become even stronger and then T may be forced to choose between leaving their pretty much mono relationship to pursue poly (her preference) or to have no relationship with me at all and stay in her mono. T has already told me that she's always been able to compartmentalise sexual relationships separate to her primary r/ship but that she has really intense feelings for me that make her want more of me all the time. We spark on such a deep and intense level I haven't felt something like this since I met my partner. I'm currently staying away from them while they sort things out in the time leading up to her GF going overseas.
I'm feeling very confused. I thought we had done the right thing by sticking to flirting with each other until things could be negotiated but now I've been painted as a "scarlet woman". I'm feeling very guilty for all the trouble this has caused them, but also I'm dreadfully missing my friend and longing to be in contact with her.
Any advice offered I'd be grateful for! Should I run away from this whole thing until they sort it out? Or should I stay close to the woman I have such a close connection with and ride out the storm?
ETA: Before T asked for negotiation around sleeping with me, K had already asked for a "free pass" to fuck whomever she pleased during her O/S travels and was given it.
Wow... you are definitely in a tough position.
I think that K & T have relationship issues that have nothing to do with you and T. K obviously dominates that relationship, and it sounds like she tends to want what she wants but not give any in return. She cheated on T. She has been given a free pass to have sex while she is overseas, but she doesn't plan to extend that courtesy to her gf? That seems just wrong. Did she give T any permission and it's just because it's you, and there are emotions involved? Or was it a flat our refusal - just an "I get to do this, but you don't" situation?
In all honesty, I would suggest that you back away from T a bit, to give her some time to sort out her relationship. I don't believe it sounds all that healthy, but she has to realize that for herself, if it's the case. Regardless, the feelings the two of you have for each other will probably only make it a harder decision for her. It may push her in a direction she otherwise wouldn't go in, and that might lead to resentment between the two of you later. Do T & K have kids together? Because that also would be a challenge, since they'd still need to see each other.
Do you think that you'd have been open to feeling what you do for her if not for your partner's behavior that led to the relationship being opened up? I'm just curious. Is your partner no longer drinking and using drugs? Because that would be a major concern for me given the child involved. It also almost sounds like she was putting you in a hostage situation... she acted out like a teenager and demanded a major change in your relationship - which you granted because it seemed honestly the better choice, between that and the behavior she'd been exhibiting, or just walking away from what had been a strong relationship.
I can see why you and T would be drawn together, given the fact that both of your existing relationships seem to have their troubles. I am glad things with your partner are better, and if you are truly happy in the open relationship, then that is wonderful. It's not that I don't believe it can work, I'm just a little hesitant to say that it IS working, given how it came about and given the intense feelings you have for T now, who is also in a challenging situation with her partner.
Welcome to the Forum
Quite a story. My two cents- your friend T needs to work this out with her girlfriend to a place where they are satisfied with the terms before you become physically intimate with her if you are to uphold your intentions of being open and honest all around. It sounds to me like it is important to you to do this.
If they have not agreed, then you should stay friends until they do one way or another. If I was you, I'd stay friends while the gf is gone (whom you also described as your friend) and when she gets back all of you can re-evaluate the situation. Respecting their relationship in the interim will show the gf that you are above board and care about her feelings,- that you are not willing to cheat or using T because your own relationship is lacking.
If you do this behind gf's back, it could really blow up in your face- as you said- T may have to choose when gf gets back, and you may be hurt. My computer is about to run out of battery so I'll leave it at that for now. I hope you find the best answer for you.
From what you are writing, it seems that T and K have a very unbalanced relationship, with K calling all the shots and T left unhappy. Are they into poly relationships, or is the open relationship model about sex only and not emotional attachment? Perhaps the emotions T feels for you are the big threat here. Also, Ts former cheating (how has she "cheated" in an open relationship?) may still be having repercussions of mistrust for K.
This really doesn't sound like an issue you can have much say in. If your partner is alright with this and you and T know your feelings, it is in Ts hands. She has to decide what it is she wants-you or K or both-and work towards that. By expressing your feelings, being honest, staying within the boundaries they set so far, and talking to K even after the abuses, you have done pretty much all you can. The remaining issues are theirs to face. All you can do is step back as far as you're comfortable and hope they work it out. I wouldn't stop a friendship based on a jealous gf if I could help it, but wouldn't push the boundaries of that friendship either. Not while the negative effects are still so intense.
K sounds, in your story, as if she's one of the sort who don't mind "letting" their partner have sex with faraway strangers with whom there will be no ongoing emotional connection, but who must create elaborate obstacles which prevent their partner from forming other loverly bonds. Many couples seem to have worked out a deal which allows for "just sex" -- and that only in other towns, far away (to be sure that no closeness could develop). For one or both members of such couples, it is outside emotional bonding that is verboten. And it is verboten, generally, because of intense insecurity. Such people may one day evolve into beings capable of polyamory, but they aren't there yet.
As long as K and T are together, romantically, you're probably looking at a LOT of drama if you should like to be even so much as a close friend with T. Some folks just LOVE drama, but I find it ... well, boring. Affection and love and joy and peace?--these are not boring at all, not to me.
My advice is quite simple: run far away from the situation. Anything with that much drama involved is trouble...big Trouble with a capital T.
K and T obviously have major issues. The important point to keep in mind is that T is as much part of the problem as K. She's enabling all of K's drama, which indicates that she gets something from it--and she's likely going to try to get that sort of drama from you, should you get involved deeply.
It's not just an indication that their relationship isn't very good, it's an indication that each of them isn't in shape for a serious relationship.
I also suspect that your partner is struggling with depression. The move from the city to the smaller place appears to have left her reeling. While what you've done may be helping, I think she could probably benefit from a bit of counseling, too, so you may want to explore that with her (and some couples counseling, perhaps).
Keep your stick on the ice. We're all pulling for you.
Some folks just gotta have lots of drama in their lives, so if it's drama you want, go for it. But if it is peace and love and joy you want, you might try another berry patch.
I am in total agreement with SeventhCrow...
"K and T obviously have major issues. The important point to keep in mind is that T is as much part of the problem as K. She's enabling all of K's drama, which indicates that she gets something from it--and she's likely going to try to get that sort of drama from you, should you get involved deeply.
It's not just an indication that their relationship isn't very good, it's an indication that each of them isn't in shape for a serious relationship."
That's basically where my thoughts were going. If she is willing to settle for a relationship that doesn't seem especially fair or healthy, there is a reason for that... and it is probably going to result in drama that you, your partner and your child do not need in your lives, especially as you're coping with the issues your partner faced following the move.
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much for your answer! SO much to think about.
Yes T and K have had the agreement around having more non-amorous style involvement away from home. This has been used more by K than by T in many ways, because when she's travelled she enjoys sex with people at conferences etc. Where T is more of a poly type person who opens her heart to people. The way she cheated was that she entered a relationship with someone without any negotiation at all and continued it despite K's wishes. It ended up being that T can now no longer speak to that person at all. That was a year ago and since then T has adhered to all the rules that K has asked for in their r/ship so I would feel that she has proven her commitment to her primary.
The person who mentioned depression - my GF does have depression and moving here made it worse in some ways. I don't think I was ransomed into opening the relationship. I knew the woman she was interested in starting a r/ship and like and trust her. I agree with poly and because we've done more of a swinging type thing in the past I was happier for that to be open to poly which (in my opinion) is family-friendly. My GF's lover loves our child and is very understanding of my partners parenting commitments and helps out eg: took my patient to the doctors yesterday so I could stay home with our little boy so he wouldn't be exposed to illness.
My GF had started using alcohol quite a lot since moving here which is unusual for her, but she's always been a pot smoker and that had escalated dramatically with the stress of the move and her underlying anxiety/depression issues. It had been real teenager stuff, but she really has snapped out of it, stopped using so much pot and really stopped drinking since we negotiated new rules for the r/ship. She has also started seeing a psychologist weekly to work through her depression issues. It's like once the whole thing came to a head in a bang then she really re-committed to her own health, to our relationship and to family life. She was doing her messy smoking/drinking behaviour away from our child at other peoples houses. I should mention also that she and T are good friends and she's very supportive of my friendship and poss relationship with T.
I think it's fair to say K is very threatened by the idea of T being sexual with me because she can see the connection we have and is probably frightened by it which is understandable. She has said she has a "no locals" rule so she doesn't have to see people "all over her GF" when they go out since it's a small town. T and K both have a history of cheating in r/ships and that's why they negotiated some openness in their r/ship to allow for outside contact. The problem is it allows for K's desired method of outside contact but not for T's. Luckily this is a problem my GF and I don't have, since we've both been happy in the past with the more swinging style of contact and are both happy with poly so there's no real problems around that stuff. K has basically said to T (from what I have been told by T) that if she wants poly then that's the end of their r/ship.
I take it from what K has said to me that she thinks I was bullied into opening the r/ship and that we're really fucked up as a couple. My GF and I have never cheated on each other at all or been involved on the other side of the cheating either. Our stuff has always been out there to be seen and discussed even when it's messy or awkward. I have a very open style to being involved in a r/ship that allows the other person to be who they are and me to be myself too. This has been read before as me being too accepting and "easy" on the other person by both K and T. They are both people who have a more forceful r/ship style who want to "do things" to fix problems all the time instead of ever just letting things go along to see where they head. I have learnt over two longer-term r/ships that you can't force the other person to change who they are or do anything, but you can decide your own role in that or reactions to it. I also think you can't judge an entire r/ship based on its worst times and her doing that to me was cruel. I haven't judged her r/ship based on it's worst times and I'm sure others were happy to do that when there was cheating and stuff.
I think after reading everyones stuff I'll maintain my friendship with T during her GF's absence and will remain committed to not sleeping with her. I feel already that I have tried to do the right thing and have not acted on our attraction and have "not done the crime but am still paying the time", but compounding on that by doing the actual crime isn't going to help is it? I understand the POV of the person who said to run away from their drama, but I really love T and couldn't be without her friendship where K's friendship I could give or take in comparison.
I understand Karelia's concern about my feelings for T maybe arising out of the recent dramas. T and I have gradually developed our friendship over 6 months and as we discover more and more about each other we are discovering the more there is to like. We also discovered that we share a huge number of sexual kinks too which has been eye-opening to say the least LOL! We have spent most of our time not so much as one-on-one stuff but more in a family setting and it has been really strange for me to find my feelings really growing for T when it's over stuff like doing the dishes from cooking for our kids - isn't that when you lose feelings for people normally? :p But seriously it's like my friendship with T has been a Christmas gift that as the layers come off and we know each other more and more it becomes more exciting and interesting. This is opposite in many ways to my attraction to others from the past where it's been the immediate physical attraction thing + friendship but never really gone deeper.
You know what? I feel so much better just being able to talk this over with you people! My partner and I are talking about it heaps but it's different because she's involved too. She's been very wonderful and supportive though and even though this has been difficult it's also shown how much she's pulled her head out of her arse and really gotten her act together again. And no need to hold back on any answers or thought - I appreciate honesty and forthrightness.
"You know what? I feel so much better just being able to talk this over with you people! My partner and I are talking about it heaps but it's different because she's involved too."
Oh, I do understand that feeling... I am here because as supportive and open as my husband and our girlfriend are, there are issues I sometimes need to sort out before I can bring them to my loves... and sometimes there are things that I'm upset or anxious over and just talking about it or reading reactions to it makes me realize how insignificant it is, and that I'm overreacting (which I def do sometimes).
I understand not wanting to give up your friendship with T. I think that if you are able to remain firm in the face of temptation, it will work itself out. I do think that sleeping with her before she's resolved her relationship with K (either by allowing it or by that r/ship ending), it will just create a very messy situation. You mentioned that the time she cheated before resulted in her NOT speaking to that person anymore, and that's what I'd remind her and yourself of when the temptation arises, and I'm sure it will given the connection and the amount of time that K will be gone. It sounds like you value the friendship over anything sexual and that is probably the thing that will keep you both strong.
It is good that your partner is getting help... that's definitely important. It's also good that she is supportive of what you are building with T and that her lover is supportive of your family dynamic. I agree with you on the difference between swinging and poly. I could not swing. My best friend and her husband were swingers and I was semi-involved with them sexually before I met my husband (and early on before there was a commitment between him & I), and I always had my doubts about him. I didn't know him well enough... she and I didn't talk for 8 years (not exactly related to that), but I was not even remotely surprised when she told me that one of the women they were with regularly - a friend she trusted - had been having an on-the-side affair with her husband, despite the three of them being sexually involved together. I always got the impression that he would've been happy to get me alone. There were subtle hints, and it made me uncomfortable.
When I told her about our triad, she was telling me that she couldn't imagine that because the emotions would scare her. For me, opening my marriage without that emotional connection would just break my heart. It would taint our marriage... I am *not* judging anyone else's choice. I'm just saying I couldn't go that route. Our GF was a HUGE surprise... but the love is what makes it worth the effort and any risk of getting hurt.
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