Broken agreement or misunderstanding?
Hi everyone. I am new to this site, although not entirely new to polyamory. I have been having a difference of opinion with my live-in boyfriend and hope to get some input on it.
So my live-in boyfriend, I'll call him Brian, and I were preparing to spend an evening with our other partners, who were a married couple. I had been involved with my other boyfriend for quite some time, but Brian had only dated boyfriend's wife for a couple of months at that point.
Because of some issues that Brian and I had been having, I was uncomfortable with Brian doing one particular thing with other girlfriend that particular evening. I did not feel that I could, or should, try restrict him from doing that thing, but I told him that I did not want to witness him doing it that night. I made it clear that I was fine with him doing that thing with her in general, even in front of me, but that particular evening I was struggling. I asked that he at least not do it in front of me that evening.
Brian said, "Don't worry, I don't need to do that thing with her tonight." I thanked him for his sensitivity and stopped worrying about the upcoming evening.
During the evening, I went off alone with other boyfriend in order to give Brian a chance to discuss with other girlfriend what was going on between us. I was prepared to talk it over with her too if she wanted that, but thought that he should speak with her first. In the meantime, I told other boyfriend what was going on between me and Brian, and he was supportive.
Brian not only did not discuss with other girlfriend what was going on between us, but instead, did exactly the thing he had (I thought), promised not to do that night, and it was very clear to both me and other boyfriend that they were doing it.
Other girlfriend heard about what was going on, from her husband, after they left our place, and was upset. She said that she did not want to be a source of friction between me and Brian, and that he should have told her what was going on between us. She also made it clear to all of us that she would have been fine with that one limitation on their activities together that evening.
Brian says that saying, "Don't worry, I don't need to do that with her tonight" was not a promise to limit his behavior that evening, and that he never considered it to be a promise. I maintain that saying that is of course a promise, because if it is not, then one is just pointing out that an optional activity is indeed optional, which makes no sense. It would be like me saying, "Don't worry, I don't need to eat that candy bar." Of course I don't need to eat that candy bar, the only reason anyone who doesn't struggle with blood-sugar issues would ever NEED to eat a candy bar is if they were starving and it was the only food available. It's a want, not a need. So I don't see why saying "I don't need to give in to my want tonight," especially in the context of a partner's discomfort with said want, can be anything but a promise to just not go there. It seems very disingenuous for Brian to keep telling me that he never made me a promise. I think he's just rationalizing breaking a promise in his mind because he doesn't want to be a person who breaks promises.
I really don't know what to do about this issue. We may have to agree to disagree. Brian insists that he never promised me anything. But that makes me feel that I can't trust him to honor agreements in general.