Originally Posted by copperhead
But I still don't know if we (I) handled the situation in the best possible way. Is there something I could learn from it and bring with me to another relationship? What are the guidelines to deciding? I feel like I can only talk for myself and watch for my own boundaries in the end. But where do you (yes You) draw the line between respecting your own boundaries and other peoples rights? When do You decide you've been hurt enough and it's time to stop? How do you react if someone asks/tells you to stop, because what you are doing is hurting them?
I always respect my own boundaries. I'm not responsible for enforcing other people's rights, that's their responsibility uniquely.
I'm not sure what you mean by "guidelines for deciding." But in a nutshell, every single interaction with every single person gives you experience you can take to the next interaction with the next person. Relationships are full of interactions, so you gain an entire knapsack full of things to bring with you to the next one.
As for where do I decide when I've been hurt enough and it's time to stop, I'm not you. Let me emphasize that. You are not me. What I do has absolutely no, zero, none whatsoever, bearing on what you do. I've been poly my whole life. I'm a "live and let live" kind of person. What Gralson and Auto decide to do with their lives is not up to me. Ever, at all, period. If Gralson wants to go to the bar and pick up chicks, that's his prerogative. I trust him to be safe and to consider my feelings where that applies, and so far he hasn't let me down. If I was dating someone who was not considering my feelings, I would stop dating them. But you're not me, you're not going to just magically wake-up tomorrow being 100% fine with your partner doing whatever the hell he wants, so why do you care what I do?
You're the only one who can make those decisions for yourself. You need to learn that what other people do is not necessarily what's best for you. You're a different person. Yeah, maybe that's completely unhelpful, but it's the only truth. I can sit here and tell you what to do, if that's really what you want, but it won't make your life easier, it won't make your relationship work better, and it won't help you find happiness. What other people do can only get you so far. At some point, you just have to grab the bull by the horns and do what's right for you.
Careful about things like "ask/tell." Which one is it? Those are polar opposites. "Ask" means you're fulling acknowledging that it's the other person's choice. It means that you will take 100% full responsibility for whatever you feel in response to their behaviour. You will be accountable to yourself. "Tell" means you believe you have control over another person's behaviour. It means you're putting responsibility on them for your feelings. You are making them accountable to you.
The only time I "tell" Gralson to do something is when I've "asked" him to do something else, and I perceive that he's feeling obliged to agree even though it's not what he'd like to do. Then I "tell" him not to dare do what I "asked," because we'll both pay for it, and I don't want that. And when do I let someone "tell" me to do something? When it's my employer and not doing it would cost me my job. I don't date people who tell me what to do. So in that context, never. At all. Period.
I use my own definition of asshole. If you're basically a nice person who considers the feelings of others, it's unlikely that anyone will label you as an asshole. As long as I'm living up to my own moral code, that's all anyone can reasonably ask of me. If someone believes that my morals aren't "up to snuff" then they're unlikely to be dating me in the first place. Problem averted. If someone labels me as an asshole because I didn't bend over backwards to give them their way, accommodate their needs when doing so would fail to meet my own needs, or generally didn't do what they'd like me to do... then I shake my head and forget about it, because those things are all that person's hangups, and I won't be held accountable for the feelings of others. Every person on this planet is responsible for their own feelings.
If my own morals still result in someone else getting hurt through no intention of my own, then I rely on them to express their feelings and needs in a way that allows me to adjust my behaviour so that their lives can be as positive as possible. If that adjustment isn't possible because it would result in me not meeting my own needs, then I communicate that to them and we work on a solution together.
There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and asking for time to adjust to a new situation at a pace you can handle. There's nothing wrong with your partner choosing to go at a pace that fits with that. You're not capable of forcing him to do anything he doesn't want to do. You may ask him for allowances, but at the end of the day, he makes his own choices. If your partner is dating someone who just can't wait, then that really isn't your fault or your problem. You're not responsible for some third party's feelings. Sunflower is responsible for dealing with her shit, just like you're responsible for dealing with your shit. If your partner makes choices that give you time and space to deal with your shit, that doesn't mean you're to blame for their relationship not working out.