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  #71  
Old 04-01-2014, 01:54 AM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default how to help a friend

Is it possible to rescue a friendship out of all this? Amy wrote a heartrending email about all the things going on in her life. It was a cry for help, frankly, from someone who consistently turns down help but craves it after the turn-down. So what is going on?

Her life is just a total shambles. What a hot mess. Her way of breaking up with Willa and me (independently, because our "triad" space had broken apart long ago) really wasn't kind. And yet, she asked (without asking) for our presence. And she craves for to be there even as she pushes us away. She needs someone.

We're not that someone. We CAN'T be that someone. The best we can do is to listen, but we can't do any more than that. For someone who needs help, that's barely enough, and it's almost unkind to do it. She needs something more than us and us being there only stop her from seeking the greater help she needs.

The way to help her is going to be for her to get help. I don't think she wants our help, nor has she hit that rock bottom space where she asks for more structural help. Until she does, I know to protect myself. And yet it aches to watch someone fall apart like this.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #72  
Old 04-01-2014, 02:55 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
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Could you tell her this? Perhaps other than the "protect yourself" part?

If you don't want to be unkind, then perhaps giving her some explanation, rather than simply saying "no", would help?
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  #73  
Old 04-01-2014, 02:13 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Hi wildflowers... Willa and I have talked, this morning, about how to help without trusting Amy to be help-able. And you're right, part of that is me telling Amy what I said here. I don't need to talk about protecting myself. I just have to do that. But the rest of it, the care that goes into saying "can you find someone?" is really meaningful.

Finding out that Amy helped herself, before reaching out to us, was really good, too. She took a major step yesterday, which I only found out about last night after Willa got home. That gives me hope that Amy might recover some of her Self out of the place where she is now. God, depression sucks.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #74  
Old 05-05-2014, 12:59 AM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default an update of sorts

Well, it's been a month, and I thought I'd return to writing a bit. Haven't really been on the forum. Took a break. Recovered and recuperated, found health where I needed it. Focused on exercise, my body and my health. Focused on friendship, my social world and my surroundings.

Through all of this, Willa and I have been talking about what happened and why.

Amy has been part of the conversation. She's gone through some of her own serious soul-searching, and we are talking more normally, now. We've recovered some of our closeness, but not our assumption of intimacy. Basically, we couldn't quit each other, any of us, but anything resembling a triad is long gone. The individual relationships exist, but different from how they were.

Willa wrote Amy and me a deep, meaningful letter, saying out loud what had been clear for months, already. We have an open marriage. We are no longer monogamous. What's important is that this was written after the wreckage with Amy, and during a time when we were barely talking to each other - not a long time, but a time of gathering our wits, defining who we are on principle and not due to a person, and recognizing where we've come from where we were. That Willa would "name" an open marriage is a huge deal. We've come a long, long way since last spring.

Amy, for her part, has done things she didn't do for months and months. She's come to our house, just casually. She's casual about things, closer to us now that things "are over" than when things were in crisis. There are reasons for it - we've had serious conversations about conversation styles, ways we've engaged (or not) with each other, the difficulties we've gone through, and how we were each doing "the right thing," just it was the wrong thing, for the other person, too.

So we're seeing each other. Amy was invited to our house for dinner tonight and laughingly said she'd have a 45% chance of showing up. She didn't. We're okay with that. Something is easier, something is calmer again. The blame is gone, the anger is gone, the ultimatums and the wild swings from black to white to black to white again - all gone. It's like the old Amy is back, someone I knew a long time ago, before things started going badly.

Right now, we're trying to see how we can be friends, again. That does involve physical intimacy like cuddling and kissing (and maybe more), but it's not the same glowing lust as before. NRE? Slaughtered and laid to rest. Mostly, there's no touch, of any sort - just sometimes, there is. Mostly, there's good talk - sometimes, it's hard again, but we are more gracious in backing away from hard spots, rather than escalating them. We talk about them later, heal quickly. A big blowup could have happened a few weekends ago. Instead, it ended with "oh, THAT was what you did, and THIS is why you did it - I get it!" Funny how the basics can, sometimes, seem so hard to learn.

I probably will continue not to read the boards. The tone doesn't sit well with me, and I continue not to see myself in most of the postings. I'll lurk, but not write. Maybe (given how busy the rest of my life has been, but is no longer), I'll start reading more often. We'll see.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #75  
Old 05-16-2014, 05:19 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default rebooting - wasn't ready - being out

Back in a low-to-no-blogging phase of my life. Thought I'd write a bit, though.

A few nights ago, I spent the night with Amy. Tonight, Willa might. Our "triad" is no longer, but we're back to seeing each other as couples, in a way.

Things have gotten immensely better for all of us. Medication, moving, more understanding of each others' desires and goals. Things are simply much, much calmer. I won't guess as to what made the biggest difference, but things feel radically different from, say, February or March.

Amy needed us to see her as she is, but she also started seeing me (and Willa) as we are, too. There was a time when she gave back some things we'd given her, and we talked pretty intensely about what had happened. Her powerful words were "I'm sorry. I wasn't ready." No accusations, no sense that everyone else was doing something wrong. We've all been touched by a deep humility.

And, yeah, Willa has a date with Amy tonight. I hope it goes well for them.

We're talking, this time, about not hiding like we did before. The kids are going to find out soon. They've already been told a few things in age appropriate language, but we're going to tell them more adult versions of "we have a non-monogamous relationship with another non-monogamous person" pretty soon. Part of that is because of spending the night - "where's dad?" needs an answer, and "where's mom?" does, too! We'll see how that goes, when it happens.

Being more out with our friends has also been helpful. Some know what has happened, and know that things are changing. Some even want to invite all three of us, so that we can BE NORMAL in some settings - these friends really get it. Willa told her mom, too. Reaction? Total normalcy. "Oh, THAT explains what was going on for you guys last time I was here. Now I get it. Plus, she's a lovely woman..." Can't ask for better than that.

Anyway, my turn to be alone tonight. Grab a good book, drink a bit too much wine, head to bed relaxed, and not worry about whether my snoring is keeping anyone else awake. Ha.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #76  
Old 05-19-2014, 01:20 AM
crecia crecia is offline
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I find your triad very interesting. Trying to work on a similar situation-finding it difficult .
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  #77  
Old 05-19-2014, 06:47 AM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Thanks, Crecia, for reading and following the craziness that we've been through.

Amy and Willa's date was good for them both - Willa spent the night but came home before the kids could notice, like I do when I have spent the night. It was Willa's first time away to be with someone else - a new milestone in the "open marriage" world we live in. I felt fine, until she woke me up coming in the door, and then I really needed her to kiss me for a while, and then we fell asleep. A good transition into a new world, for us (Willa was once so VEHEMENTLY anti-poly. Spending the night with Amy, after all we've been through, is a big deal.)

Amy and I saw each other this weekend, too. Willa gave a big thumbs up (you need this...) and Amy and I connected, again.

I feel myself falling in love again, and Amy is saying things she hasn't said for months, as well. We are all starting to tell people we're close to, and finding serious safety in it. Doing that now, as the old relationship is lying in shambles, but while a new relationship is budding, seems like the right step. Given all the other things going on these days, it feels important to not go it alone, this time. Wary, fearful of trusting, and experiencing the intensity again... it's a powerful elixir.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #78  
Old 05-19-2014, 01:52 PM
elemental elemental is offline
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Default

Do I ever relate to that feeling of trepidation re-engaging into the triad again after a spectacular failure. Go slow and watch for the same signs/dynamics that where present before and maybe you guys can head anything off that comes up. It takes a certain kind of humility and openness to let go of the control I think. Sounds like there are some real positive signs.

Pulling for you guys to make it work!
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  #79  
Old 05-30-2014, 12:26 AM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default decision time - again

As Ella has pointed out, this is getting ridiculous. Ups, downs, goods, and bads. After the good space Amy, Willa, and I inhabited existed just long enough to tempt us all, things blew up again. Last night, Amy said she couldn't balance the pain of not being closer to me with the magic of wanting to be near me. The pain is bigger than the magic, it's time to end it. For the, what, 15th time? Smirk.

A big part of that space comes from Amy's assumptions about Willa. And Willa has changed incredibly in the past year. What she can imagine now, like living in adjacent houses and really wanting that, is something she couldn't IMAGINE doing only 8 months ago. But Amy has stayed with the Willa of the beginning, in her head, and the constraints of "the slowest member of the group" were so bad that she was hopeless about ever seeing more of me. How can she find TIME when Willa doesn't want to give it, and I don't want to blow up my marriage by moving faster than Willa can manage?

This morning, Willa headed to Amy's. They talked. And Willa said a lot of things that Amy had to ... stop and think about. As the line went, there was nothing I could say that would change her mind, anymore - she was gone from me and had called it quits. But Willa?! She wasn't prepared for Willa talking, and offering something she might want. Might really want.

Big family, shared time, more of an intertwined unit. Rather than wanting to go away, Amy has wanted to come closer. And she hasn't been able to - so many reasons, some of which are my responsibility, most of which aren't. But with Willa saying "let's try this, I'm crazy scared, but let's try it," who knows what might happen.

I can't believe I've been writing the same post for months, now. Things were better. Now they are worse. They are over. Now they are better. Hey, they got worse again. I was pretty sure that this week's date with Amy would be the deciding moment - and it was. Amy left. And then Willa chased her down, and Amy might come back. God, what a rocky path this has been.

If it weren't so magical, if I didn't constantly fall right into the captivated space with Amy, I'd have ended this ages ago. But when we had our date, we both started crying - the attraction and understanding and laughter are there so easily, and we can't make the logistics work out. There's GOT to be a way, we have told ourselves. I don't think there is. Sometimes I wish she weren't so magical.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #80  
Old 08-11-2014, 12:30 AM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default quiet update

Thought I'd post an update here, rather than elsewhere.

Willa and I continue to process what happened with Amy over the past year. There were so many entry points that we didn't take care of as they happened. Trying to blend with someone with her background, present, and health issues was a different difficulty. And each one of us has learned a lot about what went wrong and what responsibility we carry for how things ended up.

I do wish that Amy would have that same conversation with us. Instead, we get angry diatribes from her every 5 to 10 days, just explosions of frustration and hurt and anger, with incredibly disrespectful language and accusations that escalate as the emails cascade down on us. Responding makes it worse (we get more email). Not responding makes it worse (we absorb this hurt and can't do anything). We're each individually hurt, too, deeply hurt by what Amy did and how she did it, but at least we're not responding like this.

I'd love to talk to Amy, but she is hard and won't listen - she only yells at us, it seems, without listening to a response. There was a period, right at the end, when I spent half my time with her and half with Willa, over a two week period. Yeah, I was still trying to figure things out. It STILL wasn't enough for Amy, who pushed me away, saying that I was leaving her.

It's been hard to love someone and realize that she isn't actually ready to be loved. (Those are her words, not mine.) And it's hard to get all that anger and not be able to respond. So many bridges have been burned, and then she asks me to come closer over (metaphorically) the burning embers. I tried, and finally I stopped trying. A while back someone said "you're a persistent mofo," and I was, for a long while. Then it wasn't worth it.

But I miss the relationship we had, the friendship before we even started our triangle. I really do. It's just covered up in all sorts of shitty and more recent interactions. Who knows, a year or five from now her life might not be the crisis it has always been, and she might see me again. But she and I did a lot to each other this past year, and it wasn't good, sadly. No matter what changes, she's gone, and I'm not sure I want her back.

Anyway, while Willa and I have been talking, I've barely been on the forum. Too busy, too caught up in my own world. There's a lot to write about there (Willa wondering about her own non-monogamy and bisexuality) but it's unresolved. Maybe I'll start a new blog when we get that far...
__________________
Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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