Originally Posted by monogamishSF
This is an update from this post I wrote last week.
I'm posting because, now that the third party got fed up and left, I (of course) feel much safer. But (of course) my partner is hurting something fierce. And it ended because of my struggles, and her poor decision making in the face of NRE.
She's holding out for a chance to see this girl again sometime in the future, but I'm not sure when/if I'll ever be okay with it. But this person made my partner feel happier than I've ever seen her (with another partner), so this person is extra special to my partner. They have a strong, very positive, healthy connection. My partner had waited a long time to find a second person to feel that way about, so this isn't just a fling she can't have. My partner misses her ex really badly.
1. Would you give someone another chance, if they made a royal mistake during their first pass at a secondary relationship? What might that other chance look like? Do I loosen/negotiate less tight boundaries so my expectations aren't so high and I'm less likely to be let down? Or do I hold tight to the same boundaries and remove them as I feel safe, the way I hoped it would go the first time? Or do I work on trusting her the next time, but with someone new instead?
2. How do you help a partner mourn a relationship that involved agreement violations? Do you? I feel as her partner, I have a responsibility to help her through any kind of tough time. But given the circumstances, I'm having a hard time gathering any sympathy. I have empathy, but... I'm also still hurt and angry (though less every day), so they seem to be cancelling each other out.
First I do want to say I don't think that a relationship formed on lies or broken agreements of any kind = a positive healthy connection.
I'm a bit sad your partner is focused on a future of getting back together with this other person, only because if she is focusing on building trust again with you, and making sure your relationship is strong, her energy and attention seems to be pretty divided. I also don't think it's very kind to ask you to shoulder the burden of her unhappiness (only because of the rule breaking - I'd be OK with a partner asking for breakup support if the metamour had been irritating, or even rude to me.)
I think GalaGirl has much more uplifting advice than I would give, I haven't read through all of it yet.
#1. Would you give someone another chance, if they made a royal mistake during their first pass at a secondary relationship?
If it was the first time somebody screwed me over, and I could see they were determined to fix stuff? Probably. What I would do is ask them for what agreements they WERE willing to make. I'd probably go through Tristan Taormino's Opening up checklists, and as them what their ideal poly looked like, then decided if I could compromise or negotiate from there. Or maybe I would realize we were too far apart.
If the other party left because they were fed up that you wouldn't just suck it up and deal with the mess they made? No. Never. Not with that person. My husband could feel free to go be with them instead, but I don't hate myself enough to be the bad guy, when I didn't do anything to fuck stuff up.
2. How do you help a partner mourn a relationship that involved agreement violations? Do you?
If agreements had been broken and I was still working through it and my partner wasn't being sensitive to it - I'd say "I'm really sorry you're hurting, but the way the relationship came about hurt me, and I feel hypocritical trying to supporting you through this, because it's still a source of pain for me. I love you, but if you need a shoulder to cry on I think it would be better for both of us if you leaned on other friends for this - but I am always willing to give you a hug when you are sad.