Hi all! Sorry to leave you all hanging a bit---the last week and a half have been a bit of a rollercoaster, emotionally.
I met with Q and told her that I would step back from the relationship with Z if she would agree to examine and maybe work on getting past her unease at him getting involved with me. She was hesitant (and very insistent that her feelings wouldn't change no matter what, ever), but she agreed. This worked fine until all three of us were together, and then I was angry and resentful and jealous and pretty much in tears the whole weekend. Z was also unhappy, but he's pretty good at concealing his emotions, whereas I---especially around people I trust and love---tend to wear my heart on my sleeve a bit. There was a bit of discussion but we all three were at an impasse and very upset about it. By the time I got home on Sunday, I was pretty much trying to prepare myself to let go of them and walk away. I couldn't stand being so miserable, but I didn't want to make Q miserable either; she deserves better than to feel even a fraction as bad as I felt.
Q and Z apparently talked that night, though, and got somewhere with their discussion, because Q decided that she'd rather see us happy and work on her jealousy than remain stubborn over getting what she wants and watch us be miserable. So I'm currently cautiously optimistic about our ability to work things out.
Our next plan of attack is to each decide what, exactly, we're looking for from this relationship, and what, if any, boundaries and rules are needed to get there. I've been thinking about it a lot and I'm not entirely sure of what I want; ideally I'd like to be considered an equal partner, rather than a secondary or a 'third', but I realize that in many ways that will never be possible and there's certainly nothing to be done to make it happen right now. I may ask that we strive for some sort of balance, though, especially in terms of time we spend together. I also plan to ask that the relationship remain closed at least until some of that balance is achieved, though again I realize that complete equality may never occur. I suppose we'll see; this has been an excellent exercise in learning to be patient and letting things go where they will.
(Hey mods, could you whoosh this over to life stories? I have a feeling it may go on a while...)