breakups and the bigger picture
Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Ah, the life of Sparklepop is a right pile of shite right now. ~grins~ Get your popcorn.
I'm looking for perspectives and advice on navigating breakups in poly. Also, the concept of 'pseudo-veto'... where your partner never outrightly requests that you end a relationship; but you end up feeling like keeping the extra relationship may cost you your current one.
A synopsis, if you want it.
My GF and I have had a rough year. She broke up with her main secondary of 2 years in January and was devastated, depressed, distant. In May, she broke up with her other secondary, of 7 months. This time, for some reason, she pretended she was fine. Both scenarios had different impacts on us as a couple. The first breakup created a feeling of loneliness and neglect in me after some time. The second created none of that; but I wasn't able to be supportive enough, because I couldn't see her pain.
My own secondary relationship of 7 months ended a couple of days ago. I am devastated. We had a rare and deeply special relationship that neither of us wanted to end. During the lead-up to this, I tried to remember how I felt during GF's breakups, but I'm not sure how successful this was. My GF voiced her feelings of neglect last week and I'm glad that she did. I arranged some one on one time with her and vowed not to talk about it as much.
So, it seems that my GF and I have both now been on each side of the breakup coin and we're trying to learn from that. What we've found so far is:
- we will become distracted during turmoil / breakups; it's to be expected
- we should speak up if we feel neglected
- we need to try not to have the debunk 'your relationship made me feel x y z insecurity' on the day of the breakup
- we need to administer care without losing ourselves; similarly, accept care without sucking our partner dry
What are your thoughts on this? How to practically make this happen?
The next issue... is why these relationships end and what we do afterwards.
In the past, we've both ended some relationships partly or largely because of their impact on our relationship. I'm currently seeing a new perspective on this. My secondary relationship ended because I was involved in a triad with her and her girlfriend, but no longer have feelings for her girlfriend. She decided to stop, because it was clear that her girlfriend was going through too much hurt for us to continue. But now that I've been there, I guess I'm feeling... sticky... about doing that to someone else. At the same time, I would never, ever want to hurt my GF. I adore her.
By some force of divine intervention, GF's most recent ex emailed her out of the blue, asking to reconnect, the very night I broke up with my secondary. It really got me thinking. Prior to this, she'd stayed away from him post-breakup because she didn't think I could handle it (and I probably couldn't have) - and because she didn't want to get attached to him again. They broke up in the first place partly because of my issues with him / impact on our relationship, and partly because they had a troublesome, high-NRE, time-sucking, emotion-draining connection that was driving her nuts.
I never close doors to exes; but my GF struggles with this. She doesn't want me to keep the door open with my most recent ex. I understand this and don't want to put her through turmoil. GF mostly approved of my ex; moreso than my other partners. She now feels that my ex messed me around during our relationship and is very angry about how she treated me during the breakup (my ex cut off communication for a week so that she could think, which was agonising, and avoided confirming her decision to split until I pressed her for it). GF and my ex had a... volatile.. conversation and things are on very bad terms between them. Finally, my GF is angry with me because I actually accepted my ex's reasons easily. During our breakup talk, I understood everything, felt how genuinely cut up she was, understood why she had hidden from making the decision, how she'd tried to distance herself from me to make it easier to forget me. I don't see the point in hanging onto anger. GF feels resentful that she has spent all this time supporting me and hearing my upset, anger, etc. and feels I let my ex get off far too easily. She said that not only would me getting back involved with her effect our relationship; but would also be unhealthy for me.
I am wondering...
- What constitutes as being 'bad' for an existing relationship, regarding extra relationships?
- How can we avoid neglecting our relationship during breakups, or the lead-up to breakups?
- How can we ensure that we provide immediate care to the heartbroken partner, without finding ourselves swallowed by their grief?
- How and *when* can the non-grieving partner voice their own feelings on that former relationship, to eradicate resentment and strengthen the existing relationship?
- Would you end a relationship because your partner was unhappy about it?
Thank you everyone.
me: female, 29
GF: my primary girlfriend, 39
3 year, open poly V, long distance