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Old 12-03-2013, 01:51 AM
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Default Ex's, Boundaries, Transitions

Hi and thanks for reading/ providing your feedback

My concerns/questions are my current girlfriend's ex. They were together for 17 years before I arrived on the scene. They do not live together nor are they legally domestic partners, though health insurance and some other financial stuff lists them as partners.

They had some very rocky years before I even knew them. Then I arrived and the ex became irate and overly emotional at my girlfriend. The ex claimed that they never had an open or non-mono/poly arrangement. My girlfriend was confused as both and she and the ex had had other lovers over the years. My girlfriend had some relationships that never went anywhere. My girlfriend offered couples counseling over the years and again during the 9 months of turbulence. The ex said no way. So the ex unceremoniously and abruptly ended their relationship 3 months ago.

Now its the holidays and the ex is back sniffing around looking for connection, seeking "to talk" with my girlfriend. Girlfriend is saying she won't get back together unless they go to couples counseling and doesn't think it is possible to become lovers with her again. She does want to try and transition the ex-lovership into friendship.

I come from a different way of doing non-mon - wherein everyone knows and meets each other. They had a don't ask don't tell setup (which failed quite wretchedly). Girlfriend doesn't want me to meet the ex saying that that ex will be jealous of me and cause further emotional wrinkles.

I'm out here wondering what the heck? Working on finding out where my boundaries are, what is reasonable to ask for, what isn't? What and how can a transition happen here when it seems there are so many closed doors and secrets and walking on eggshells?

My ideas for boundaries are:
- please let me know if there's contact (don't need specifics etc) but would like to know about dates or big emotional email/letter bursts
- when and if there is some resolution and what the dimensions of that resolution looks like
- sexual reconnection or reuniting; would like to know about this so i can make decisions for myself around the situation

I'd like input on the following:
- stories of transitioning old loverships into friendship (good, bad, ok, totally screwed up)
- what you might consider bad boundaries or emotional blackmail, if you were in this situation what would you be willing to make an agreement on if you were my girlfriend?
- any sage wisdom for the girlfriend who is faced with transitioning a person who has been part of her life for such a long time

anything else you can add (that is useful, not flaming) would be appreciated. I am not new to poly I know how to have conversations with grace and dignity. i know how to behave if i am a secondary or a primary or something else. just murky in my thinking around this situation.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:50 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I just know that in that particular situation, I would more or less insist on MEETING the ex if there is any chance of rekindling the relationship - just coffee or a passing hi. That would likely be good (or at least, telling) for each of you, and as this isn't a new relationship but an old one, putting a face to all the emotional feelings and seeing that you're just a nice person is the only thing that could make me feel optimistic that is was going to be doable.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:17 AM
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If my partner insisted on meeting my other partners when he knew that is something they don't want, i would think that they have problems respecting boundaries and end the relationship.

It also sounds as if you're threatening to punish her if she dares reunite with this guy. What you need to realise is that the boundaries you request need to be about you and her not her and him. As long as they have safe sex, their relationship and how it doesn't work is their business, not yours. If their shitty relationship does start to affect yours then make sure he stays away from you and she doesn't discuss him but other than that, it isn't your concern.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by london View Post
If my partner insisted on meeting my other partners when he knew that is something they don't want, i would think that they have problems respecting boundaries and end the relationship.
In some cases that makes sense to me (casual friends or relationships, long distance relationships, and that does include if the OP considers their relationship such), but I find it much more dysfunctional feeling to be in a relationship that I want to last far into the future, and have a metamour OR friend of a partner that's been around for 17 years and might want to be around for 17 more, avoiding me for the rest of my life. And in this case, it seems like more than not wanting to meet me, it'd also be refusing to go to events, birthday and holiday parties if I might be there so they don't have to meet me, if I moved in with this partner some day, the other party would refuse to come to our shared home unless I'll be out, I'd be unable to come home if the other person is over and my plans out fall through. So yeah - if DADT doesn't work for one party short term, trying to deal with it long term isn't too appealing.

If you start dating somebody who is DADT, it is inappropriate to insist that the other partner meet you, however as her partner had broken up with the other partner and this isn't the case, I don't find it unreasonable to ask "for relationships we start/rekindle from this point on, it's important to me that I have the option to meet them". And yep, that might end a relationship for me, but since I don't see there is any healthy motivation for them not to meet, just fear and jealousy and anger, that would likely be the preferred outcome over being compartmentalized for those reasons. Nevertheless, in this case asking to meet is *not* a boundary pushing behavior because her gf is not dating the ex so there's not DADT agreement in effect, and it's perfectly reasonable IMO to try to sort this out with the gf. *shrug*
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:27 PM
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Just because someone doesn't want to meet their metamours, it doesn't make it a DADT. Not wanting to meet your metamours doesn't mean you won't be civil to them when they come to your paramours bday party either. Some people just have no interest or need to formally meet their metamour or spend time with them.

ETA I got confused about this thread. I just wouldn't be comfortable with anyone insisting on meeting a reluctant partner. Meeting metamours isn't something that has to happen and the Insistence that they meet insinuates that meeting is the right thing rather than something some people do.

Last edited by london; 12-03-2013 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by london View Post
Just because someone doesn't want to meet their metamours, it doesn't make it a DADT. Not wanting to meet your metamours doesn't mean you won't be civil to them when they come to your paramours bday party either. Some people just have no interest or need to formally meet their metamour or spend time with them.
Yes, that's true, but I was getting wordy and using it in a nice loose way as in this case the gf and ex had one, and I've seen people have DADT that range from no mention of other partners at all and lying about where you are going to be that night, to minimalizing mention of, and avoiding addressing that other parties are romantic or sexual partners and refusing to meet them.

I'm not clear in this case the ex is willing to meet in a social setting. I consider a brief introduction of 15 seconds at a social situation to be meeting however, and that would tick my box. Having been ignored "civilly" at a couple of social situations by the partner of a friend and a metamour in the last few years, it's just clarified how important it is to me that people are willing to be say hi or nod in greeting if they are 5 feet from me, and not pretend I'm not there if they are uncomfortable. I had no idea how fucking awkward that would be until it actually happened, never expected it, and I know for me at least, it isn't workable in the future.

Sounds quite feasible that not meeting the ex could be tolerable if the gf didn't vent or tell the OP about the issues she has with the ex though, I can do compartmentalized if its actually compartmentalized, but not if things are bleeding over into my relationship like that.
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mewster View Post
Girlfriend is saying she won't get back together unless they go to couples counseling and doesn't think it is possible to become lovers with her again. She does want to try and transition the ex-lovership into friendship.
Sounds like she's managing her relationship.

Have you taken an honest look at what it is exactly you are afraid of? My shot in the dark guess is that you're afraid he'll come back in her life and force you out. Or is it the potential drama associated with having a toxic metamour?

In either case, if she were waffling and of weak moral character then it might be reasonable to assume there will be trouble. At this point it might be a good idea to plan your exit strategy. If she's a grown woman entirely capable of managing her own relationships then you might just be letting your insecurity fog up your vision and prompt you to take action on something that is not your business.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:33 AM
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thanks for the opinions and feedback.

first, we're all women, no men in this situation, thankfully (no offense guys).

mostly im concerned about about the co-dependency that's been operating for a long time here. i am wary not jealous because of what i've witnessed going on between the two of them, albeit from a safe distance.

but yes, my boundaries are about keeping myself safe which i guess is a backwards way of controlling that thing over there. i know i don't want to be a passive aggressive controller person so i've got to to think about what i can ask for that isn't sideways or backwards. watching my girlfriend get steamrolled, not stick up for herself and become re-enmeshed in a former relationship that wasn't meeting any of her needs (her words not my viewpoint) is not something i want to put myself through.

the question i think i need to be asking myself is that if the reunion happens how much co-dependency will i put up with - where is my threshold? i've got to dig a little deeper here.

thanks again for the perspective.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:39 AM
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But the co dependency is between your partner and this other woman, right? Not your partner and you?
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:07 AM
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Yep co-dependency is between them. But it has impacted me when the other one cried wolf, went into freak out mode and my girlfriend went running. Wary of bad behavior.
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