Hi everyone! Iím new here and already Iím impolitely throwing my problems at you... But I really need some kind of poly support group right now, and maybe a bit of advice from people who have experienced a situation like the one Iím in.
My shiny FFM triad recently transformed itself into a Vee. That is, my girlfriend broke up with me. She didnít say that; instead she gave me a whole lot of contradictory information, but somewhere among it there was ďI want us to be just friendsĒ and ďright now Iím not in love with youĒ, so for my own sake I interpreted that as ďshe broke up with meĒ, because I need something
to be clear.
She also told us Ė our boyfriend and me Ė that at the moment she is extremely jealous and scared, and she doesnít know how to deal with the fact that he has a relationship with me. Still, she doesnít want us to split up for her sake, because Ė that is my interpretation Ė the rational part of her wants to be poly and believes that she canít tell her boyfriend whom heís allowed to love. But emotionally sheís overwhelmed and doesnít know how to cope.
To provide you with some context here: I came last into the relationship, about a year ago. The two of them had already been together for five years at that point, and I had been friends with them for about 2-3 years.
Iím basically poly or at least into open relationships since I was 15, and Iíve read, thought and talked about relationship concepts quite a lot. Which didnít keep me from making some pretty basic mistakes in this relationship, but at least Iím relatively sure what I want and what I donít want.
My boyfriend and ex-girlfriend Ė Iíll just refer to her as ďmy friendĒ, thatís just as accurate and less complicated here Ė were in a theoretically open relationship and open for poly. We all kind of stumbled into our triad, but for some time it seemed to work out wonderfully, with lots of talk and personal growth and stuff... Well, my current problem isnít why everything didnít work out as perfectly as I would have wished.
My problem is how to deal with the situation as it is now.
My friend and I are not generally emotionally unstable, but we are at the moment, due to several different circumstances unrelated to our relationship. One of our problems with each other is that each of us tends to get too involved in the otherís problems instead of concentrating on solving her own and trust that the other person will do the same for herself. So I really want to give her enough space to come to terms with her feelings, and I want some space for myself to do the same.
But when I talk to her I get the impression that she thinks her emotions are the only problem, and she has to get them under control so she can ďfunctionĒ again. She says that neither our boyfriend nor I can do anything to help, that she has to sort it out all by herself.
I donít believe that is going to work, and I have a very bad feeling about her tendency to make it all her problem. She has suppressed her feelings, needs and wants in the past in order to comply to what she thought we expected from her, and Iím afraid she will do it again.
Iíve come to the following temporary conclusion:
I want to tell me my friend that I believe that a relationship or friendship is not about one person perfecting themselves so they wonít ďdisturbĒ everyone elseís relationships anymore. Itís about negotiation and sharing burdens and trying together to find a way to make everyone involved as comfortable and happy as possible.
Therefore I would like to suggest to her that she could work on some of her (relationship-related) problems together with our boyfriend, or with me or with whoever could be of assistance to her. By working on those problems I mean for example talk about the situations that make her hurt. How she feels then. What she wants from a relationship. Maybe just take up a book on non-monogamous relationships or one of these guides on the net and work through it together Ė they havenít done that before. They donít have clearly stated rules, I guess because she still thinks itís not okay to have them, that she must accept everything or lose him.
I think that it is necessary for every one of us to decide whether we want to try and make this new constellation work, or whether we want to go away. If we decide to stay, shouldnít we commit to do the work these relationships require?
Or am I approaching this from the wrong angle, should I just be more patient and let her sort out everything on her own, like she says sheís going to? That just doesnít feel right.
Also, when we first talked about our problems a month ago, I suggested for the two of them to consult a relationship counselor. At the time I felt very confused and insecure and felt I didnít have the right to inlcude myself in my own suggestion and go to the couselor with them; I just said Iíd be ready to come if theyíd find it necessary.
Theyíve gone to see a counselor, but only for a first interview without any actual counseling going on.
I wonder whether I should suggest to go with them to the second interview?
Iím aware that I probably sound very confused and not like an experienced poly person at all. Thatís due to my emotions and issues being a quite a bit out of control at the moment. Iím in a transitional phase and everything is just a bit too much to survey and sort out.
Which is exactly why Iím asking for your help. I appreciate every perspective on my situation and my plans, every critique, every similar experience youíd like to tell me about.
Input about the things I want to tell my friend is especially welcome, since Iím unsure if Iím asking too much of her of if perhaps my conclusions donít make sense after all.
If something I wrote doesnít make sense to you, please ask me for clarification Ė itís likely just a language problem, since Iím not a native speaker. If it isn't, I'll still try and clarify.
Thanks in advance!