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Old 07-17-2010, 05:32 AM
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Default Ex-partners in poly: sharing information

It seems to be a very grey area when it comes to information about people that one has dated. What is the line between telling people information when you know they are dating an ex of yours? What is okay to talk about and what is not? Is it okay to initiate the conversation? or should one leave it to people to figure it out for themselves, even though you know others have been hurt?

background:

When Nerdist and I came back on the dating scene a few years ago, after raising our kid for a bit and taking a break from poly, we met a couple who said they were poly and looking for another couple or others to date and start a partnership with. We liked them although they weren't as forthcoming with information as we were and not as communicative. I dated the man and Nerdist dated the woman. We had a couple of double dates, but it was clear that it was not going in that direction and we decided to keep things separated.

After a few months Nerdist had fallen for the woman and was struggling to keep it under wraps. I suggested that he talk to her more about his feelings and see where he got. I was fearful and had a hard time with the way she was towards him, but we thought it best that he talk to her. Well he did and she flat out said that she was not feeling the same way and that she wanted to be fuck buddies and just chill. She was not interested in getting to know me or investing more beyond that.

After some days Nerdist decided to break it off as he realized that he would not get his needs met with her and it wasn't what we/he was looking for. Her thoughts on it were that she was sad that she wouldn't get to sleep with him again...

In the mean time I was dating the guy and we had not talked at all about where they were going and therefore how it effected us. I can't really honestly say what happened, but it turns out he thought Nerdist should suck it up and get over his love for his girlfriend and move on quickly and quietly.

I was left with a heart broken Nerdist and an irate Mono at how these two had treated us. Really it was a matter of not being compatible. So we broke up after an argument about it. If I were to define their relationship it would be that of "open" rather than "poly." There was no room for personal growth and every screw up was our fault it seemed and was fodder for their disapproval and judgment, rather than a supportive learning process.

Brings us to today.
A couple in the community I am in are now involved with them. I considered this couple my friends.

I wrote to them and said that I was being triggered about the fact that they are dating our ex's. I also wasn't sure if that kind of communication suited them as they are very quiet and I was a bit intimidated by that as I am very boisterous and forthcoming with my honesty. This has been known to bowl people over and I didn't want to do that to them. I said that I just wanted to let them know in case they were interested in talking to me about it. All in order to help each other as that is how I roll, or try to. I stressed that I didn't mean anyone ill will and wish them all well, but was concerned for them because of my own experience

It turns out that they read that as they trigger me and don't communicate well enough for my liking. Reading back I can see how they would mis-read that and apologized. It seems that the misunderstanding gave reason on their part to open a flood gate of opinions and emotions about stuff unrelated and I all the while just said, "maybe we could meet to talk about this as things get lost on line," and "I think you misunderstood me and my tone."

Anyway, I think they told my ex as his status update on facebook was seemingly directed towards the fact that his ex had caused drama.... sigh... I'm staying low and backing out. At least I am not perseverating over old hurts, cause now I got new ones... yay for me!
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:02 AM
jkelly jkelly is offline
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
What is the line between telling people information when you know they are dating an ex of yours? What is okay to talk about and what is not? Is it okay to initiate the conversation? or should one leave it to people to figure it out for themselves, even though you know others have been hurt?
I'd say that initiating depends on whether or not the friend knows that you used to date their new interest. If not, then I think you mention it. If they know, then you wait for them to ask if they want more information. I think pretty much anything outside the bedroom is fair game to talk about, as long as it relates directly to your experience dating that person. "This person hurt me in this way" is okay, but "This person told me that they hurt some other person" is probably not.
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:59 PM
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Having experienced in the past, the confused couples. (Are we swingers, or are we poly, or are we both ? phenomenon.) It isn`t much fun to deal with those growing pains. It can be difficult to know, if they really are growing pains, or some easy lines used to get what they want.

We decided just to chalk it up to experience, and not be taken down that path again.

If I were to say anything, I am probably more liable to say something to the 'ex' about making sure they treat the new couple properly, then go out of my way to say something to that new couple. Going out of the way to say something to the new couple, will always be countered by others, as 'sour grapes'.

Just the mention of sour grapes, will cancel out the advice offered, in most people`s eyes.

Many times unfortunate, but true.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:31 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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I am poly virginous...haven't quite gotten to *this* point yet.

I would say, I rarely interfere or give bad information. Interactions between two people require the chemistry of two people. As an example. My ex wife was a raging lunatic bitch...I was a jackass who ignored her...together we were these people...

now...well...she is a bit stalkerish but as far as I know a normal loving person. And I am me. Very different in my interactions and how I communicate. So I could never put her down to someone, as she may be an amazing person, with THAT person.

I think the same may apply in poly. So that poorly written example simply means to say, I would let things lie and let people make their own mistakes in relations. You never know that same couple might be a perfect tetris match in that relationship
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:05 AM
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That's an interesting idea superjast. I think it might work if I were close friends with the ex to talk to them first. I would have to have a pretty darn good rapport. I have talked to my ex wife about how she was when we dated. I have given her my opinion on new girlfriends and she has been receptive and grateful because we are very close still and she trusts me to be honest but loving. She knows I have her best interest at heart.... Otherwise I'm sure they would tell me to fuck off. Which essentially they have by their fb update. I think I am just too used to people trusting me and knowing where my intent comes from to remember that some just don't trust me for no other reason than they really don't know me and haven't established that rapport.

I think I have a grasp on my opinion now having talked to quite a few people. Mono said that in the navy they keep notes on individuals in terms of performance, behaviour that kind of stuff. If they have been disciplined in some minor way then that is in there too. When they go to a new job that info is sealed until such time as there is a problem and then the file is opened.

I like this idea. And I think I will think of that next time I am faced with the situation I am in. Essentially it is like telling the new partner that you dated them. The understanding would be in telling them that, that it's okay to come to me if you want support at any time... end of story, full stop. Any trigger I have should be dealt with on my own... feeling rather a fool now as it just is so clear now... ah well. This is how one learns, right?!
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Last edited by redpepper; 07-18-2010 at 03:14 AM. Reason: not finished, resuming.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:03 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I wrote to them and said that I was being triggered about the fact that they are dating our ex's. I also wasn't sure if that kind of communication suited them as they are very quiet and I was a bit intimidated by that as I am very boisterous and forthcoming with my honesty. This has been known to bowl people over and I didn't want to do that to them. I said that I just wanted to let them know in case they were interested in talking to me about it. All in order to help each other as that is how I roll, or try to. I stressed that I didn't mean anyone ill will and wish them all well, but was concerned for them because of my own experience
This is where I think it went to hell. Too much chatter hemming and hawing around instead of providing information. I'd say they were likely put off because you didn't simply make your point and go on.

If you think it important that somebody know about how your exes behave, then simply provide an overview of that behavior and let them follow up with questions if they wish. "Hey, this is the experience we had...I'm happy to answer questions." Then leave them to proceed as they will.

They might be offended that you would "intrude" on their business. They might just write off what you say as sour grapes. They might simply ignore what you've said just to approach things without expectations. If you're going to offer any such information, you have to be prepared for any response, whether positive or negative.

Any such effort can strain or break friendships, so you have to prepare for that. I think that sets the bar for when it's appropriate--is the information about something so important that you would jeopardize a friendship to deliver it? If it's not that important, stay out of it. I'm thinking warnings about domestic violence, substance abuse, and such would be important enough to report. Warnings about people just not being straight up about their intentions? Nope.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:45 PM
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Thanks autumnalnote. I fucked up on this one royally. I can see now how to go about things differently. Lesson learned. I've not come up against this situation before. Definitely a learning curve.

I think that really I should not of wavered wondering how to approach it. Either committed to saying what I experienced or just said I dated them. Its the waffling that has caused the up heaval.

No worries, when I saw things go array I kept my responses to wanting to meet and talk rather than email and kept saying that they had mis-read me and that I was sorry about that. Enough said. Its up to the now.

As for the ex, well he made up his mind long ago that I am a fuck head and is not interested in knowing differently as I think it pleases him to think so. Some people are just like that. They like to think negatively of people and love it when they're backed up. No doubt he is very pleased with himself because I just backed his opinion up.

We were really not a good match. I tend to think of those that are struggling more in terms of the fact that they are on their own journey and learning. I have empathy for them because we all are on own journeys. I am no different. I can empathize with their struggle and am willing to walk with them rather than beat them down even more with their mistakes. In giving to them I receive. I know people don't always have their shit together. None of us do. Its only human. This guy, my ex, thinks I should and likes to beat me over the head with the fact that I don't always at any opportunity. Unfortunately I give him opportunities.

I'm sure that he has had a nice long chat with my friends and they are all gloating over the fact that they are right and I was wrong. Meh, so be it. It kind of makes me laugh as I think its hilarious that they care that much to even bother! Oh I am so loved... In a fucked up way, they love that I am a fuck up in their eyes. Glad I was so entertaining.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:31 PM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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The motivation to share information is a very important aspect of this discussion as it relates to your example and situation, Lilo. Anyone who truly knows you also knows that your concern for the hearts of others is extremely deep and, in my experience, without equal. You have a genuine concern for all people and especially the friends in our relatively small community. You chose to talk to our friends out of concern for their well being and because you had a personal experience that may have been a benefit to the expectations of this new relationship. There is no harm in that but there is a window for mis-interpretation as to what you wanted to achieve....helping others. I'm sorry this came back to cause you pain but am also sure our friends will eventually understand and things will heal.

Now for my empirical response to the idea of sharing information on ex partners



Unless there is a very real and imminent threat with the people involved, I believe it is everyone's right to enter a new relationship with a clean slate. A history of unsafe sex, dangerous drug abuse practices, physical violence or clear emotional abuse would be examples.

We do not know what has changed for ex partners; how they have grown etc. There is also the very real possibility that your own future interests will hear about you sharing your experiences with other partners which could lead to a pre-mature lack of trust.

Simply stating very casually that you have dated this person in the past is innocent enough. If there is a desire to hear more than you will probably be asked. To offer your opinion upfront (primarily negative) can be seen as a warning which will probably serve to create animosity between you and the ex. It may also be seen as jealousy or vindictiveness.

In the military we pass on the positive attributes of a person but uless there is substantial reason we keep the negatives sealed and to ourselves unless there is a problem that requires a look into their history.

Openning the door to your experiences is fine in my book. Pulling people into that doorway without being asked is a potentially damaging action; one that could hurt you and the other people involved.
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
The motivation to share information is a very important aspect of this discussion as it relates to your example and situation, Lilo. Anyone who truly knows you also knows that your concern for the hearts of others is extremely deep and, in my experience, without equal. You have a genuine concern for all people and especially the friends in our relatively small community. You chose to talk to our friends out of concern for their well being and because you had a personal experience that may have been a benefit to the expectations of this new relationship. There is no harm in that but there is a window for mis-interpretation as to what you wanted to achieve....helping others. I'm sorry this came back to cause you pain but am also sure our friends will eventually understand and things will heal.
What he said. I know you had their best interests in mind. You did what you had to do being who you are. Maybe some things were misworded but your heart was in the right place. I hope your friends are a better match for this couple than you were. After all your ex and his girlfriend aren't bad people they just interpret poly differently than we do.

-Derby
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:23 AM
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Agreed derby. I'm hoping they are a good match, I wish for them all to find what they are looking for.
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