Here's a headscratcher . . . little help please?
Hey polypeeps, here’s a situation I’d like your input on.
A friend of mine, Buddy, is into me. Fidelio was the first one to notice this and point out it out, but once I started observing the signs, umm . . . yeah. Buddy’s a great guy, there’s a lot I really like about him. But he has a few traits that for me are dealbreakers in the romance department. To offer one example: he has a habit of speaking over people. He’s a big guy with a big voice and it’s a challenge to participate in conversations with him because of this. I am not the only person in our circle of friends to notice this. This behavior demonstrates, in my mind at least, that at these moments he thinks whatever he is trying to say is more important than what the other person is trying to say, and that demonstrates a lack of respect. He does not do this with everyone, Fidelio for instance, so he is capable of controlling this behavior, but he does do it with me and with many others. On the occasions when I have gently called him on this, he apologizes and improves for a very short time. As his friend, I can put up with this annoying practice, but I could not open the deeper levels of my heart to someone who regularly demonstrates this kind of general disrespect, whether it’s directed at me or someone else. This habit is one of a handful that makes the romantic potential a non-starter for me, despite the fact that he's kinda hot.
In the last couple of months, it has become increasingly apparent that Buddy’s infatuated with me, and that he’s conflicted about it. He’s a Christian, as I am, but he’s Roman Catholic, and he’s still buying into the religious traditions about monogamy, sex, love, covetousness, etc. So being attracted to me is a source of all sorts of conflict for him. And knowing his reverence for the Church as he understands it, I have not shared my views on what a load of hooey much of religious tradition is.
Okay, that’s the setup. Here’s the issue I’m pondering: should I introduce him to the concept of polyamory?
On the one hand, if he were exposed to the idea that there is nothing shameful or harmful about being attracted to a married/attached person, and that deep, fulfilling and healthy relationships came be created where everyone’s needs are met and respected, maybe he could lay down some of the burdens he’s carrying. As his friend, I would love to help him shed that baggage.
But: having introduced the concept of polyamory in general, I would almost inevitably tell him I’m poly too. And if I tell him that, how do I then tell him I’m not interested in him romantically? How could I possibly express that in a way that doesn’t reek of “yes I do, but not with you”? He’s a great guy and a good friend, but he and I would not work not as lovers.
Tangent for anyone who’s wondering how a close friend doesn’t know I’m poly: I don’t hide my poly nature, but I don’t talk about it much either. I just live my life. People who know that I am a sincere and devoted Christian mostly assume that I automatically embrace the traditions of the religious establishment, which is not the case. And their bad assumptions are not my responsibility. So in a sense I am hiding in plain sight. When someone asks me a question, I answer honestly. End of tangent.
So there it is. I would like to help Buddy free himself from the baggage he is needlessly carrying, but I do not want to set him up to wound his pride with rejection.
So how ‘bout it, polypeeps? What is the wise, compassionate, loving course of action here?