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Old 12-16-2012, 03:41 PM
curiouskitty curiouskitty is offline
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Default Metamour said hurtful things- how do I proceed?

Backstory: I am in a relationship with a man I'm in love with, "Joe". He is also dating another girl, "Sue". Joe and Sue met Nov 2011. I met Joe in January 2012, and the spark was there immediately, but we were just platonic friends. I was not looking for a poly relationship, and neither Joe nor Sue had ever been in one before. Unknown to me, Joe brought up poly to Sue to gauge her feelings, she was willing to explore- she was not rushed, she spent several months reading up and talking to others. She agreed that she was fine with him dating me and we began seeing each other in May 2012. At first, Sue asked for quite a few boundaries-all of these were respected and they eased up pretty quickly. Initially, the idea of us all being involved was thrown out there, but I just am not attracted to Sue at all, so we remain a V where both of us are considered equal partners to Joe. We all live separately from each other at this point.

Over the course of things, I have done my best to be friendly and respectful to Sue. As I said, I respected all boundaries and I have constantly tried to be concerned with her feelings and not doing things that might hurt her. I was the one who reached out and suggested we spend one on one time getting to know each other and we connected on a friendly level. She doesn't seem to have many (well, any) friends and I felt kind of bad for her- I'm the kind of person who can make friends easily anywhere, so I didn't think twice about attempting to be friends. She seemed thrilled to have me want to be friends with her- and almost immediately started the oversharing and having odd boundaries. She several times made derogatory comments about Joe to me, which I tried to ignore. I didn't really know what to do with this, but it wasn't really hurting me, so I just tried to take it in stride. Then she told me, on two separate occasions, that she wanted Joe and I to stop texting. Joe and I text frequently throughout the day and both enjoy the constant communication. She is not generally around during these times (workdays and whatnot), so his texting with me is not taking attention from her. They usually speak on the phone at least once a day and she does not like texting, so she really does not even want him texting like that with her. I calmly explained to her that we were not going to stop texting, as we both enjoy it and it's not taking anything away from her. She agreed that was true and didn't bring it up again.

Fast forward a bit as mine + Joe's relationship progresses- and it is obvious to all of us that my relationship with Joe is simply just more affectionate than his with Sue. I also find out at this time that Sue has NEVER been in a dating relationship that lasted longer than three months (she is 30, not a young kid). Around this time, the hurtful comments start. After she met some of his friends for the first time and had him tell his friends at the same event he was also seeing me, she came to my house and said, "I know he told his friends about you, but other people already know he's with me. You can't really expect to be acknowledged." Slap in the face. Not to mention, Joe and I had discussed that situation before starting anything and had agreed that once it was obvious that things were panning out, I would not be some "secret relationship". I had assumed he had discussed that with her and she was on the same page. She twice brought up "the risks he's taken to be with you", specifically mentioning not being mono with her- the second time literally yelling inches from my face. She claims she was trying to be supportive in saying that, but her tone was less then friendly. We are all in the BDSM scene and there are certain types of play that she does with him that I'm not comfortable doing. He is fine with that and doesn't bother me about it. She, on the other hand, constantly brings it up, trying to bug me in to doing those things. I have asked her repeatedly verbally and through email to stop, and have even explained that being pushed just shuts me down and makes it less likely to happen. She still kept it up. These are "edge play" things and can be very dangerous- not something I want to be pushed in to if I'm not ready- if I react badly, I could get seriously injured or become so shut down, that I would be unable to sustain things with Joe. Even explaining that didn't stop her. She also said several things regarding how my relationship would be like hers soon- as I said before, Joe and I are more affectionate, despite us also being in a D/s dynamic, and Joe and I had discussed how that was something we both wanted, but she kept saying I'd have to not have that. I finally had to say something to him, at which point he spoke to her and she backed off. Before I spoke to him, I had one last outing with her. I had recently been triggered by something and was dealing with some emotions regarding my being raped several years ago, which she knew. She asked how I was doing with that and I admitted I'd been having a very rough time and just really wanted to avoid the topic. She then launched in to a 30 minute spiel about rape, while I sat there unable to say anything, mind blown at having to listen to this. When I finally said something because I felt pressured to talk about it, I admitted something very personal- I have permanent scarring on my labia from my attack. Her response, with a confused look: "Why would that bother you?" Seriously???? More things had also been said and done, but these are a few stand out things. Generally when she is being hurtful, I'm in such shock that I don't really respond.

After I spoke to Joe, she apologized via email a week later by saying it all was "miscommunication". She said, "We communicate differently, but there's nothing wrong with the way either of us do so." Um, in my book, if you're not trying to hurt somebody with your word and you do so, there actually IS a problem with the way you communicate. I tried to accept this, but it has been very difficult. Aside from Joe and Sue, whenever I have told people what was said, the reaction I get is: "That's not miscommunication. She wants you out and is being manipulative." I really don't want to believe that- I just don't buy her as that sneaky. She claims she has no problems with me, my relationship with Joe, or with poly in general- everything is supposedly sunshine and roses on her end. Joe tells me that her social skills are just not good, that she's a "loner" and "not the most social". I've taken some time and space from her to try to process how I feel and to figure out what boundaries I need. I recently have tried to interact with her, which went well, but mainly because she did very little talking. I can't be in a relationship where I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her- I worry that if I try to loosen up around her again, she will say more hurtful things.

Any advice on this situation? How do I work through this? I am very happy with Joe aside from the Sue situation, so I'm not looking to end things there. And I don't want to be giving ultimatums about his relationship with Sue. I've been doing all I can to be able to accept that she is just socially awkward and doesn't know how to talk to people, but that she's not a bad person, but I just have such a hard time being around her now.
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  #2  
Old 12-17-2012, 05:21 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Honestly, I think the key here is that she really IS socially awkward and struggles with communication. I would try not to take anything she says personally.

Her comment about the scarring on your labia from your rape--yes, totally inappropriate, but that's what socially awkward people do--they say totally inappropriate things and have no idea it was inappropriate. I have no idea WHY she said such a thing, except that if she's into edge play, maybe scarring is normal and/or a positive thing for her???? Socially awkward people have trouble empathizing with what other people are thinking/feeling and can only use themselves as a frame of reference.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:20 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Have you talked to Joe about this part?
Quote:
She said, "We communicate differently, but there's nothing wrong with the way either of us do so." Um, in my book, if you're not trying to hurt somebody with your word and you do so, there actually IS a problem with the way you communicate.
If he is telling you she has poor social skills, is he also telling her this? Is he aware that she has no plans to try to change her behavior towards you, but instead thinks her communication skills are fine and tries to excuse it as "miscommunication"? (Taking, at best, half responsibility and trying to put the rest on you)

If he chooses to be in a relationship with someone who has poor social skills, that's his choice, but you do not have to be friends with her or even spend excessive time with her. Especially since you all live separately, it shouldn't be too difficult to exercise your option of, "I do not want to be around someone who repeatedly hurts me, regardless if that's their intent or not. Our scheduling will need to take that into account from now on." Being respectful and civil when necessary is enough.
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  #4  
Old 12-17-2012, 06:29 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I would just stop any contact with her outside of pleasant friendliness at group events. A number of the things you are saying are her trying to be hurtful don't necessarily come across as that way to me, but since they do to you, I would not hang out with her, as clearly she isn't going to change if she doesn't even understand there's a problem.

Stick to respectful, and stop worrying about being a friend. If it's also a problem because the three of you are in the same place together OFTEN, then I might want to see about if he is willing to have some dates where only one of you is present, so you can still enjoy your group of friends without having to deal with with her every time you go out.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:56 AM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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I sympathise! My motto is that you can't pick your parents... and you can't always pick your metamours!

It's a tough balance, because often the hinge wants their two V arms to get along well. It makes things peaceful and less tricky. But - it's not essential to poly and hopefully he will be able to see that.

Women have a naturally competitive streak that is different to the traditional competitiveness of man. I can't remember what TV show I saw this on, but someone said that male lobsters in a boiling pot form a ladder to save each other - female lobsters drag each other down. I've seen it so many times and I think that there is some truth in it!

The best thing you can do here is remove yourself from her before you start to feel competitive. I can see that you are already starting to feel that you are.... better (bad choice of word, but it's the only thing I can think of)... than her in some ways: i.e. being more social, veering away from edgeplay, having more affection with Joe. It's natural that you would point this things out, because she is causing a hostile environment. When things are hostile, we automatically start to fight for survival of the fittest.

From what you've written, I think you've done a great job so far of trying to allow things to smooth over, without bending Joe's ear about her. If it were me, what I would do now is have an open talk with Joe - I'd tell him that you genuinely do not want to cause problems for him, or put him in the middle, that you would have liked to be close to her, but that you think your personalities are a better fit for a more casual friendship, than a close one. See what he says to that.

If this helps at all, my metamour has social awkwardness. Luckily, he is too uncomplicated to be malicious... ~laughs~... but he has a very, very low awareness of personal boundaries and appropriate behaviour. I live with him, along with my girlfriend who is the V, and I navigate him in the best way that I can, because I would prefer to live with them than not. Luckily for you, you don't have to live with her or be around her, so a cooler connection could work very well.
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  #6  
Old 12-17-2012, 01:24 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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The others have done a good job discussing your situation and how you might approach resolving the situation (i.e. backing down your interactions with her to "casually friendly", etc.)

Just a few random thoughts I had as I read this thread:

From your first post:
Quote:
I was the one who reached out and suggested we spend one on one time getting to know each other and we connected on a friendly level. She doesn't seem to have many (well, any) friends and I felt kind of bad for her- I'm the kind of person who can make friends easily anywhere, so I didn't think twice about attempting to be friends. She seemed thrilled to have me want to be friends with her- and almost immediately started the oversharing and having odd boundaries.
I spend a lot of time thinking about introvert/extrovert interactions so this bit stood out for me. Maybe, being socially awkward, she IS looking for friends and doesn't know how to do it and you ARE doing her a favor by making the overture. However, this is not always the case. Perhaps she is an introvert, perhaps she felt obligated to accept your offer of friendship as your metamour, and then got confused when the type of "friendship" you wanted wasn't the "close/best friend/sharing everything" type.

I am an introvert, I don't WANT a lot of friends (two or three max, that I talk to once every few weeks/months is about right for me), but once I do let someone into my life I don't have any filters on private information ("oversharing"?) - it's kind of all-or-nothing. In my experience many extroverts look at their introverted acquaintances and "feel bad" for them and want to "fix them" by offering to befriend them and introduce them to people - essentially offering the type of superficial "friendships" that many introverts find so emotionally draining. No thank you! I would actually rather spend the night at home by myself than go out socializing with you and all the "nice, fun" people you are friends with. We just want different things, socially, but we are not necessarily broken.

And I totally agree with MeeraReed when she says this:
Quote:
Honestly, I think the key here is that she really IS socially awkward and struggles with communication. I would try not to take anything she says personally.

Her comment about the scarring on your labia from your rape--yes, totally inappropriate, but that's what socially awkward people do--they say totally inappropriate things and have no idea it was inappropriate. I have no idea WHY she said such a thing, except that if she's into edge play, maybe scarring is normal and/or a positive thing for her???? Socially awkward people have trouble empathizing with what other people are thinking/feeling and can only use themselves as a frame of reference.
Dude is, in my eyes, socially awkward verging on Asperger's. I love him but it drives me CRAZY that he literally can't conceive of the fact that other people can be bothered by things that wouldn't bother him. AND he cannot read the social cues that people use to let others know that they are uncomfortable so he just keeps going. I have learned to say to him: "Look, I understand that this topic doesn't bother you and you are not TRYING to piss me off but you are making me mad right now and we need to stop having this conversation."

I had more but I just realized I am late for work...

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Old 12-17-2012, 02:22 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Ack. There's socially awkward and then there's unacceptable.

Could just tell her you need a break from the "friendship." Break up with her. I don't think it is much of a "friend" if she's doing these things:
  • oversharing and having odd boundaries
  • made derogatory comments about Joe to me
  • hurtful comments to me like " You can't really expect to be acknowledged"
  • literally yelling inches from my face. She claims she was trying to be supportive in saying that, but her tone was less then friendly.
  • constantly brings up (BDSM edge play I do not want to do), trying to bug me in to doing those things.
  • She also said several things regarding how my relationship would be like hers soon (jealous of affectionate behavior toward me from Joe)
  • launched in to a 30 minute spiel about rape ignoring my request to not talk about the topic
  • minimized my feelings about my scars on my labia
  • Generally when she is being hurtful, I'm in such shock that I don't really respond.

Those are some SERIOUS boundary breakages to me. It goes beyond "awkward" to me. It skirts into the land of verbal abuse.

Quote:
I can't be in a relationship where I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around her- I worry that if I try to loosen up around her again, she will say more hurtful things.
I agree. This person is not emotionally safe for you. Could choose to not be friends with her. You sounds like to me you have reached your limit and want to know if it is ok to withdraw. I would!

You could choose to NOT be in relationship with her and NOT loosen up around her. Be a formally polite but distant metamour, but not a friend who shares personal info. The friendship with her brings you joy, love, support, and kindness how?

You have already tried to be that kind of a friend, and it's just not worked out. You are not obligated to sign up for verbal abuse here just because Joe also dates her. Joe dates her. Not you. It's not on you to deal with beyond basic polite should you run into her. You can manage calendar and be respectful of her time with Joe without having to be her pal.

Quote:
After I spoke to Joe, she apologized via email a week later by saying it all was "miscommunication". She said, "We communicate differently, but there's nothing wrong with the way either of us do so." Um, in my book, if you're not trying to hurt somebody with your word and you do so, there actually IS a problem with the way you communicate.
She's minimizing it. Not actually willing to be held accountable for less than acceptable behavior and own it. I don't think this is apology like "I see what I did hurt you. I am sorry for hurting you. I will not do it again." This is "it's just my style of communication, deal with it!" and paving the way for more shenanigans in future.

Ugh.

You are responsible to you -- and that includes choosing the company you keep and being around healthy people. Try to see if you can be in better relationship with Joe if you just skip being her friend and leave it at the polite meta place. Hopefully it will feel better to you with some distance from her.

If your relationship with Joe is not satisfying for you that you are happily willing to deal with a weird meta as part of the "price for admission" here with him... break up with him before it goes deeper. You have been dating him since May 2012. It's only December. You haven't dated all that long and you are not obligated to put up with shenanigans just because you do date him.

You don't have to be issuing ultimatums like "Pick! Her or me!" But you can always pick yourself and your own best healths and walk out. No ultimatum -- just walk away because choosing to be in relationship with him and deal with her is too draining and emotionally unsafe for you.

I know that could sound cold or mean, but if YOU don't put your own oxygen mask on to look out for your own mental health, emotional health, physical health, and spiritual health...who will?

Sigh. I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

But see if it feels better if you do a "friend break up" with her and leave it at polite metas. And if it doesn't improve? Pick YOU. And walk away from unhealthy. You don't need it.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-17-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:35 PM
curiouskitty curiouskitty is offline
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A bit belated, but thanks to all who responded. I've done alot of self work about all of this, trying to figure out what I needed to do and what I needed from Joe and Sue to be happy. It was becoming difficult because even when I was trying to be patient and understanding with Sue and trying to work with the "she's just socially awkward, not malicious" thing, if I asked any questions about her behavior (in polite ways), Joe immediately got defensive, which I found really insulting because I have never been mean to or about her and have always gone out of my way to be considerate of her. It was creating a them vs me dynamic, and I'm definitely not having that! Luckily, one of our D/s things is that I write a daily journal and Joe reads it once a week. Once he was able to read how unsupported by him I felt and how I wasn't trying to judge Sue or fight with her, but that I just felt constantly threatened by her presence because I didn't know if she would be hurtful again, he seemed to get it more. He was able to understand that I need to see a pattern of non-hostile SEEMING behavior on her part- I don't care about excuses, by age 30, unless you have a disorder, you can learn a few basic social skills and implement them regularly. (And I'm saying this as an introvert myself- I just had no choice but to learn how to deal with social stuff coming from a huge family and going in to performing arts.) I made it very clear that I needed to see some personal responsibility on her part...and if the pattern of hurtful behavior continued, I would not be able to remain in a relationship with him, as much as that would hurt me. That REALLY seemed to make things click for him!

I'm not sure what has been discussed between him and her, but we recently all spent New Year's Eve together. Before the day arrived, Joe asked me several times to come up with ways he could better support me and help make it comfortable for me, which I appreciated. I treated myself to a spa day the day before to get calm and refreshed, and before going over did restorative yoga and meditated, so I was able to go in there feeling very calm and positive. Sue behaved nicely- she even said hi when I came in! (Small blessings, right?) It wasn't the easiest night ever...but it wasn't the worst either. I'm trying to go forward taking baby steps with her and knowing I have to set the boundaries that work for me. I'd like to be as friendly as possible, that's just my nature-but I also need to not let her lack of social skills cause havoc on my own happiness or my relationship with Joe.
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