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-   -   Communication after the fact (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=963)

Ceoli 10-15-2009 11:44 PM

Communication after the fact
So I'm huge into communication. I used to spend too much time setting aside my feelings in order to protect other people's feelings. I've learned the lessons that taught me- that this is a form of dishonesty and ultimately weakens relationships. Now open and radically honest communication is fundamentally important in all my relationships.

In this last breakup I had with the couple I was dating, hindsight definitely shows me that there wasn't as much space for my feelings as I would have liked. As time has passed, the boy and I have kept in touch and have decided to build a friendship. I would like to build a friendship with her as well, but there has been very little communication with her since the break up. Every now and then she'll leave a comment on some facebook post of photo, but that's about it.

In the meantime, I'm finding myself sitting on a lot of unresolved feelings about what happened and while I've talked with him about it to a certain degree (this whole breakup was driven by her and took him by surprise), there are a lot of hard things that really have to do with her. I sent a letter outlining my feelings about what happened.

I wrote about how the fact that she did not include me in any conversations when things were getting challenging makes me feel like I was viewed as nothing more than a tool for her adventures and experiments in her marriage and not as a person they both approached for a relationship. I talked of the affection that I still hold for both of them and how I supported her decision to return to monogamy, but that how she did it without giving space for my feelings is what burned me.

Now, all of this is after the fact really. I have no expectations from sending this except to create the space for my feelings that wasn't there as this was happening. I also hope to salvage a friendship, and know that I can't do that without all of my feelings out there. But the main reason I needed to send it is because I dislike sitting on feelings.

I've had lots of discussions with friends about this letter and lots of different opinions about whether I should have sent it or not. Have any of you felt the need to express yourself after the fact? After things have ended yet there are still unresolved feelings? Has anybody found doing so useful? Destructive?

Just sort of looking for thoughts on this rather than advice as I already made my decision in this case. But it still has me thinking in general about communication in all it's forms.

NeonKaos 10-15-2009 11:50 PM

I've never been involved with a couple, but whenever something happened with one of my relationships, I wouldn't shut up about it and I think a lot of my friends just got sick of hearing it.

But this hasn't happened since I've been with my husband.

I mean, I still don't shut up very easy, but he's the one who gets to hear it now :)

Ceoli 10-15-2009 11:55 PM

I think of talking about it with my friends as having a different space than talking about my feelings with the actual people involved. Talking with friends might help me sort my thoughts etc, but resolution can really only happen with the people involved.

And yeah, this isn't specifically a poly thing but a relationship thing. The fact that it was a couple is really incidental to the main stuff.

LovingRadiance 10-16-2009 12:17 AM


Originally Posted by Ceoli (Post 9085)
Have any of you felt the need to express yourself after the fact? After things have ended yet there are still unresolved feelings? Has anybody found doing so useful? Destructive?

Just sort of looking for thoughts on this rather than advice as I already made my decision in this case. But it still has me thinking in general about communication in all it's forms.

I definately have felt that need, acted on it and been relieved I did. It's funny how so many people accept that after a death one needs closure-but they don't recognize that the termination of a relationship (whether from one type to another or ending altogether) is a death.
Death of any type requires some closure and how wonderful that when it's a relationship (opposed to a life) ending we CAN speak to the other person about the ending-because they are still alive.

I think sometimes some people take it wrong-but I think it can be a very useful thing. For both sides. You learn some about yourself in doing so, and in what you need to do for future relationships and the other person learns about themselves and what they need to do for future relationships as well. Very helpful all the way around.

Of course there are those who will recieve such a missive and either dismiss it (leaving themselves open to repeat mistakes) or fly off the handle. I advise taking either of THOSE two response with a grain of salt.

Ceoli 10-16-2009 12:24 AM

Well, like I said, I have no expectations from sending the letter except to put it out there. One of the best lessons I've learned in relationships is that it is always ok to be open and honest with my feelings. However, that doesn't mean the people I'm expressing my feelings to have to act the way I want them to act- I'm not entitled to that. They are free to do what's right for them, but that will never curtail me from doing what's right for me too.

So yeah, I've sprinkled some salt on this :)

LovingRadiance 10-16-2009 12:25 AM

Always good to use a little salt when seasoning. ;)

Ceoli 10-16-2009 02:31 AM

She wrote back with a nice letter of apology and some further gestures of friendship.

Hmmm...now to figure out what I need for this healing.

Ceoli 10-17-2009 02:45 AM

As I said earlier, she wrote back with some gestures of friendship. There were still things bothering me though. I still didn't get a sense of where the room would be for my feelings if we were to move forward. The boy and I easily translated into a friendship where I felt things were reciprocated. I wasn't getting this sense from her.

So when I pressed on that issue, her reply was "I guess I didn't realize you had to bend over backwards to make room for their feelings when you break it off". What it came down to is that she really didn't like me but kept on thinking things would get better. Her way of dealing with it was to disappear and get ill rather than just be honest with me.

I thanked her for finally being honest, as that's all I wanted in the first place. I didn't feel comfortable moving forward in a situation where I had a distinct feeling that I wasn't wanted.

So in the end, I held to my standards of radical honesty and I guess I dragged her kicking and screaming into that. We're terminating the friendship. As for how the friendship will move forward with the boy, he has still told me that he would like to remain friends. It will be awkward to figure out how that'll work, though I'm willing to try.

Despite the ending and the revelation that she really didn't like my company (though it wasn't that surprising), I feel like I did the right thing in getting it all out.

LovingRadiance 10-17-2009 02:52 AM

For all it matters coming from a complete stranger-I think you are dead on right that you did the right thing Ceoli.

NeonKaos 10-17-2009 12:51 PM

Ew, reading that just made me feel all icky. I might have to go wash myself.

I'm glad you have some closure on this.

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