What if a poly goes REALLY south?
Hi everyone-- I've been lurking for a bit and a lot of the discussions about other's relationships has helped me, however I feel like my "problems" have enough drama and uniqueness that I'd love your advice.
First of all, my spouse has been rather interested in poly for awhile, but entered into a mono relationship with me about 8 years ago. The IDEA of a poly relationship is something we had discussed before. I am attracted to both men and women and he is fairly pansexual. It makes for some pretty interesting possibilities. Then, this past year, he reconnected with an old friend who he felt intense feelings for. They slept together (without my permission, which still urks me a bit), he informed me, and then suggested that she enter into our relationship. (Okay, yeah, that was probably my first mistake...)
After talking about it first together and also with her for about a month, we agreed to proceed. The "plan" was a typical, well, unicorn idea... she would be in a relationship with both of us, since she is also attracted to both men and women, and though her relationship with my spouse was more developed, she and I would date and try not to prize one relationship over another.
This went south FAST. Several things soon became clear:
- She did not want a romantic relationship with me at ALL.
- She did not want a poly relationship really. She wanted a mono relationship with my spouse and thought this was the best she could have.
- She was emotionally pretty unstable, going through extreme bouts of rage and depression
Soon, our attempt at polyamory shifted to a dysfunctional polymono. I was the mono, as I still loved and had a relationship with my spouse, but wanted nothing to do with the bag of drama that I saw his girlfriend as. And she CLEARLY wanted nothing to do with me and had very little respect for our (his and my) relationship. This was very difficult for me. I love the idea of a polyamorous relationship, but one with people who love and respect the relationship my spouse and I already had (and who are truly comfortable with the idea and not just pretending). I became very depressed and hurt myself. As her emotions became more unstable, he spent more and more time trying to be a stabilizing force for her (she mentioned being suicidal to him) and I felt myself more and more alone. Finally, after it became clear that the relationship between her and my spouse was borderline emotionally abusing and hurting him, I gave an ultimatum. I'm sorry, but this is too much-- I either need to leave this situation, or you need to end the romantic relationship with her.
He chose the latter. We celebrated the holidays as a mono relationship. I felt calmer. Great right? Well, my partner still feels very strongly that the young lady in question is still in his life. She has been a friend for awhile and he does care for her quite a lot (love even). She has no support in this city and has very few other friends and no family. He feels responsible (logically or otherwise) for her current state of emotional instability and just "wants everyone to be happy."
She now is trying to get her life in line and says she realizes the mistakes she has made and is trying to change the things in her that made the relationship so bad.
He is sympathetic to her emotional vulnerability and wants to support her life changes. I am supportive to a point... personally, I want nothing to do with her, but I try to support my spouse's desire to help/support her and spend some time around her here and there.
Now, here's the rub. She thinks the current situation is hurtful and unfair-- she can tell he still cares for her and she has "learned so much" and is "changing" so she wants there to be a new relationship between them. He just wants everyone to be happy, and right now no one is.
And I am so amazingly against it. As in, my reaction is "never in a million years am I inviting that back into my life." Lately, as she has felt more hurt by the situation, and he seems more and more not AGAINST a new relationship with her, I have become more upset, angry, possesive, and depressed. I'm having trust issues and no matter how much he says he'll defer to me on the romantic nature of the relationship, he is feeling like my "possesiveness" and anger with his "former" girlfriend's desire for a new relationship is not healthy or mature (or "advanced"... I don't know, insert your own semi-condecending adjective there).
I'm sitting down with the girlfriend tomorrow evening to try and talk about our feelings, but one thing I want to know is: from an outside perspective, how can/should things be fixed or made "better," in your opinions? Is there a best-case-senario that you see? I'm too in the thick of it, I think. ANY suggestions or ideas would be appreciated.
Thanks all, you rock.