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Old 04-30-2011, 06:32 AM
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Ivy Ivy is offline
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Default Breakups and Social Circles?

So, Iím new to polyamory and I think Iím failing at it pretty badly so far. Or maybe associating with the wrong people. Or something.

My husband and I have been together for 13 years. We were monogamous until about a year ago, when I started dating ďE." Unfortunately, E and I had a somewhat messy breakup a little over a month ago.

The breakup itself needed to happen, and we settled that peacefully. We were incompatible on many levels, but most significantly, we had very different personal histories and levels of sexual confidence. E is the type who can walk into a grocery store and come out with a new sexual partner (and probably will, if sheís in the mood). Iím not unattractive, but I could spend six weeks in a bar wearing nothing but lingerie and even the bartender wouldnít offer me a drink.

E and I had the same circle of friends, and, because of her confidence, she has on-and-off sexual relationships with most of these people. Since our breakup, almost all of them have cut off contact with me, but remain in (very) close contact with her. I canít help but suspect theyíre doing that because they want to maintain their sexual relationships with her. Theyíre simply applying a cost-benefit analysis, and choosing sides based on it.

To complicate matters, over the years Iíve been attracted to several of these people, but only one ever returned the flirtations, and that was a no-go because I was monogamous at the time. We agreed to remain friends. Ironically, heís now Eís primary, and was the one who set E and I up to begin with. Heís also told me directly that heís uncomfortable remaining friends with me in light of the breakup (but at least he was polite and honest about it).

Iím heartbroken over the breakup, but to compound the pain, Iíve lost most of my social supports. My husbandís been tremendously encouraging, but his kind words arenít helping as much as they should. My sexual confidence has somehow gotten worse, and Iím even skittish about getting nekkid around my husband now. In theory, Iíd like to start dating againómy husband thinks this would help my confidence, and I agree, sort ofóbut the thought is just plain terrifying.

I havenít had a whole lot of breakups in my life, but especially not poly ones. Is it normal for entire social circles to vanish like this? ĎCause it really sucks.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:19 AM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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I would say this can happen with any breakup, whether poly or mono. It is they who suck, not you. You can start a blog here and make some new social contacts and friends.

I am on the ipod so that is all im gonna write for now. I think there is a plate of eggs benedict somewhere out there which has my name on it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:08 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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I have to agree with Neon... this happens regardless.

I lost a lot of friends to my ex many moon ago. In the end they were more her friends than mine. It happens.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:06 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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It's situations like this that show you which ones are your real friends and which ones aren't. If a friendship was so weak that it was "lost" over this, then you're better off focusing your energies elsewhere (namely, on yourself).

I had the eggs benedict, and it was good
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:15 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonKaos View Post
It's situations like this that show you which ones are your real friends and which ones aren't. If a friendship was so weak that it was "lost" over this, then you're better off focusing your energies elsewhere (namely, on yourself).

I had the eggs benedict, and it was good
Congrats on the eggs benny

I was lucky, I knew they were her friends and not mine. For the most part that whole group was "lost" to me in the last few years of the relationship. I did recognize it at the time.

I am even trying to think of when I had friends breakup. There was always a "side". I always friended one side more than the other, it was rarely even. It wasn't malicious (ok one time it was).. but the sides were there. Just by pure commonality.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:28 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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I don't think I've ever "lost" friends because of a break-up, but I sure can think of a couple times when someone else's break-up sent ripples through a particular circle of friends. I seem to recall people taking sides, but I don't recall any REAL friendships being destroyed in the long-term. If they are really friends with both members of the erstwhile "couple", they will say "I think you're both good people who are just not right for each other, and I want to stay friends with both of you, so please don't talk shit about each other to me."
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:26 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Hmm. Maybe it's a time thing, then? Perhaps I should attempt to reconnect once things have cooled down?

I am trying to meet new people at least, and have started some athletic stuff I had abandoned, but recent social ostracism + new friends = fear of new, exciting social ostracism.

Mmm, eggs benedict. Yummy. Now I have the munchies.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:42 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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I'm somewhat of a pessimist, especially when it comes to the people in my life. I have noticed that the less I focus on "meeting people" and the more I focus on just doing what *I* want, the less "meeting people" seems to matter.

Having said that, my husband and I have a huge common social-circle (not many of them are "close friends" to me), while my boyfriend and I have virtually no common acquaintances at this point (there was a time when we did). So if I were to "break-up" with one or both of them, it would not affect my social life (if you want to call it that, LOL), and I could pretty much count on one hand the people I would still hang out with after - they are the same ones I hang out with now.

I realize that some folks prefer to connect with as many other people as they can at all levels; I used to be that way until I admitted that it stressed me out more than it gave me satisfaction. Perhaps it's because I prefer the company of cats to the company of humans, except for certain things such as sex.

This is a very good topic, and I'm moving it to "General Discussions" because it's not peculiar to those who are "New to Poly". If you want to have a thread that chronicles your "journey" with minimal interference by discussion tangents, please go ahead and start a thread in "Life Stories and Blogs". Feel free to copypasta whatever you want from this thread.
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:02 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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I don't know if you are anything like me, but I need tons of reassurance from friends. If I have had a falling out or a break up I need to hear from them that its okay between us. I forget that they likely are not paying that much attention anyway and maybe if I reach out and tell them what is going on for me, they might take notice and reassure me.

People generally get about the act of living life and are really not all that concerned about how other people feel, just what they do in terms of gossip. At least this is what I have noticed. Have you reached out to them? Maybe they don't know where they stand and are having a hard time adjusting themselves. Maybe you could tell them that you are still here and still consider them friends. It might be all it takes for them to say, "oh hey, I'm so glad you got in touch because I thought maybe because its over between you and *name* that we are not friends now..."

It could also be that they are not really taking sides but considering that their friend is going through a tough time and they don't want to add to that by them thinking that they are taking sides... maybe they are just being really quiet with both of you? Hard to say unless you investigate.... which means putting a big smile on your face and cheerfully asking how they are doing and when is it possible to get together to catch up. Then you can add, that you can understand that they might want to wait, but that you are still around and still keen to be friends.
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:19 AM
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I've definitely thought about doing that. It would really help clear up who's actually "picking sides" and who's just in social panic mode. I do think I'll wait a few weeks, though--right now, I've got a heightened sense of potential rejection and I don't want that to taint my contact with them.

I'm also dealing with some envy and insecurity here, since E's got sexual relationships with many of these people. I tend to assume they won't want anything to do with me, since remaining friends with me might throw a wet towel on their relations with E (and almost certainly would, in a few cases--E can be quite possessive when she feels a bond with someone). For some of them, that's probably true, but I won't really know unless I bring up that concern with them directly.

And I think I need a little more healing time before I can have that kind of talk with them.

Meanwhile, new sports friends have gotten it into their collective heads that I have the perfect 1950s white-picket heterosexual monogamous breeder lifestyle. Ack. Not sure if or when to divest them of that belief.
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