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  #1  
Old 07-12-2018, 08:00 PM
Annika Annika is offline
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Default My boyfriend told me to break up with my other partner

My boyfriend (we'll call him Matt) and I have been together for a year and a half. I told him before we even started dating that I was poly, and he said that he was completely okay with that. Up until a couple of months ago, he was the only person I was dating. He asked a few people out and went on some dates. He said that he loved not having to hide his crushes or stop himself from pursuing other people, which was great! And he said that if I ever wanted to ask someone out, then he 100% supported that.

Four months ago, Matt and I went out to an event on the other side of the country so that he could see his old friends from there. While we were there, I got a crush on his best friend (we'll call him Ethan). I told Matt that I thought Ethan was really cute, and Matt told me to go for it. I chickened out twice and he encouraged me to try again. And Ethan was interested! We really hit it off. But when I told Matt about it, he was quiet for the rest of the day. Then he told Ethan and I that he was feeling really awful when he didn't expect to, but that he'd try to work through it. Ethan and I went ahead with plans.

After the trip, Matt said he felt angry and betrayed. He said that Ethan and I abandoned him. I couldn't figure out what I did wrong. He spent a lot of time messaging back and forth with Ethan, trying to figure out how to stop hurting.

Ethan and I made plans for me to come out and see him in a month and a half. Matt was initially very supportive of this. He told me that he thought he was okay now, and that he wanted me to go out and have a good time. But when I bought the plane tickets, he started to panic. And he got more and more hostile as the trip got closer, until he told Ethan that if he continued to pursue me, then they would be enemies. They stopped talking after that.

Matt begged me not to go. I told him that I loved him and that I was sorry that he was hurting, but that I wasn't going to snuff out my relationship with Ethan for him. He told me that he might end his life if I left, and asked me if doing this was worth that to me. I got scared, told him that I'm not responsible for his life. I tried to talk it out, but nothing worked. I went on the trip. It was amazing, but when I came back, Matt told me that it took everthing he had to stay alive, and that I need to take responsibility for what I've done to him. We fought about it, and after a while, we made up, but it felt like we were just ignoring the problem. He told me to never talk about Ethan.

Recently, he straight up told me to break up with Ethan. He said that I was being selfish, that he needed me to break up with Ethan so that he'd have the space to get over his insecurities, that we wouldn't have these problems in our relationship if I'd just leave Ethan. I told him that I wouldn't end a relationship with one partner just because it makes one of my other partners uncomfortable. He asked me why I would do something that hurts him so much if I love him, and no answer I had would satisfy him.

I don't know what to do! Am I being selfish? Am I being unreasonable? What should I be doing differently?

TL;DR:
My boyfriend encouraged me to go out with his best friend, and when I did, he got uncomfortable and demanded that I stop.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:31 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is online now
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Hello Annika,

The thing is, to me, that Matt gave you his specific go-ahead for you to start a relationship with Ethan. Sure he changed his mind later, but by that time, your relationship with Ethan had already been established. If you broke up with Ethan now, that wouldn't just affect you, that would affect Ethan. So it's not fair to Ethan, for one thing. And it's not fair to you. Neither you nor Ethan has done anything wrong.

Is Matt saying that if you broke up with Ethan, then Matt would be able to handle you seeing other men in the future? If so, I am skeptical. He already gave you his word that he would be okay with you starting a relationship with Ethan, and he did not keep his word. Why should he keep it in the future? If he was (spectacularly) wrong about how he'd feel about you and Ethan, why should he be right about how he'd feel in the future? He cannot make you those guarantees.

And I'm not sure he's not just saying that he'd be okay with you breaking up with Ethan and then not getting together with any other guys -- not ever. If that is what he's saying, it might at least be more honest. He's okay with himself having other partners. He's not okay with you having other partners.

And you are absolutely not responsible for his talk about committing suicide. That was his own idea, he just wants you to be the responsible party. Honestly, if you are going to break up with someone, I would suggest breaking up with Matt. He's not ready for a relationship, much less a poly relationship.

Anyway, most of what Matt is saying is a red herring. The only thing that really matters here is that Matt told you, explicitly, that it was okay with him if you had a relationship with Ethan. Now he wants to change his tune. The only way this could even be technically okay is if you and Matt had a veto agreement in place. I'm thinking that you did not, but if you did, then Matt technically has your word that you would let him veto any relationship of yours at any time. Which, by the way, is exactly why veto agreements are such a bad idea.

I am not involved in your situation, so do take what I've said here with a grain of salt. It's just my opinion; use your own best judgment. I feel badly for you, you are caught between a rock and a hard place. I hope you can work things out.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:28 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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I would be dumping Matt to be honest.

You are NOT responsible for his insecurities and issues. I would not tolerate the ultimatum of "I am going to kill myself". First of all if he honestly meant ot then he needs help. Second if he "just said it because he is upset" that is a pretty fucked up thing to say. It would be manipulation.

Frankly I would have called the authorities and his family immediately and sent them the evidence of what he said so he could get help.

But I would bow out of the relationship with Matt. It isn't your job to be his security blanket and dumping Ethan wpuld frankly give him power over you.
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Last edited by Dagferi; 07-12-2018 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:29 PM
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100% with Dagferi.

Matt’s behavior is way off the chart of “stuff to try to work out” for me.

In other circumstances, a before-the-fact talk about “messy people” might be in order, to give everyone a chance to anticipate and avoid this kind of problem.

But again. Matt’s behavior is inexcusable. In your shoes, I could not be convinced to trust him ever again.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:58 PM
Annika Annika is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post

Is Matt saying that if you broke up with Ethan, then Matt would be able to handle you seeing other men in the future? If so, I am skeptical. He already gave you his word that he would be okay with you starting a relationship with Ethan, and he did not keep his word. Why should he keep it in the future? If he was (spectacularly) wrong about how he'd feel about you and Ethan, why should he be right about how he'd feel in the future? He cannot make you those guarantees.

And I'm not sure he's not just saying that he'd be okay with you breaking up with Ethan and then not getting together with any other guys -- not ever. If that is what he's saying, it might at least be more honest. He's okay with himself having other partners. He's not okay with you having other partners.

And you are absolutely not responsible for his talk about committing suicide. That was his own idea, he just wants you to be the responsible party. Honestly, if you are going to break up with someone, I would suggest breaking up with Matt. He's not ready for a relationship, much less a poly relationship.

Anyway, most of what Matt is saying is a red herring. The only thing that really matters here is that Matt told you, explicitly, that it was okay with him if you had a relationship with Ethan. Now he wants to change his tune. The only way this could even be technically okay is if you and Matt had a veto agreement in place. I'm thinking that you did not, but if you did, then Matt technically has your word that you would let him veto any relationship of yours at any time. Which, by the way, is exactly why veto agreements are such a bad idea.

.
Thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

We don't have a veto agreement; I would never consent to one. He said that he intends for the breakup to be temporary, while he gets room to breathe and work through things, and that if I did break up with Ethan then I could just pick things back up later.

I'm skeptical, like you are; I'm afraid that he'll never work through it, and if I leave Ethan, that I might just make it easier for him to ignore his issues. And I explained that Ethan probably wouldn't appreciate being vetoed and might be hesitant to get back into a relationship with someone who would do that to him. I'm definitely not breaking up with Ethan over this. Matt did say that he would probably be most comfortable in a situation where I don't see any other guys but he can see other people, but he also said that he doesn't want to ask that of me because it would be unfair.

It's frustrating because Matt is normally so supportive, reasonable, and compromising. He's always bent over backwards to make me comfortable without being asked. But he's acting so different about this one issue.

Last edited by Annika; 07-13-2018 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:13 AM
JasonJones JasonJones is offline
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It's a jealousy and ownership dynamic that irks me with what you say about Matt. ..or something I call one sided Poly. In Matt's mind OK for him to go and have relationships but you can't because he is uncomfortable. More than likely it's with intimacy issues that you are having a relationship with another person especially a good friend of his. Although I would suspect he would have those same feelings if it were a stranger to him as well. Talk of suicide is a control aspect to get you to do what he wants. Otherwise, he needs to see a counselor and work out his issues. Either way it's not on you.

I would seriously be having second thoughts of the entire relationship with Matt. Not sure what he expected when he did the encouraging. Many men can't get over the, excuse the bluntness here, another mans penis in "His" girlfriends vagina. There is your jealousy in a nutshell. It's not insurmountable, but with the shitshow he gave you when you came back from your trip is pretty red flag that he probably can't change.

It's really on you to figure out whats best for you. Take everyones opinion and formulate the one thats best for you. I am sorry you are in the situation that you are... I do hope things work out for the best with your situation.

-Jay
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:46 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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That's really too bad. But poly is hard. There's a learning curve. Something might seem a turn-on in fantasy, but when it starts happening for real, it can seem much different.

But quite often poly people have "messy persons" lists. Like, don't fuck my sister, my bff, my mom, my dad, my aunt, my boss, my co-worker, your co-worker, my brother.

I think Matt had no idea sharing his bff with you would be so hard. This isn't such a far out idea. But to threaten suicide is just way out of line.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:23 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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You told Matt before you even started dating that you were poly, and he said that he was completely okay with that. So this isn't coming from nowhere. You didn't lie and this isn't a surprise. You asked him if dating Ethan was ok. He said it was. Matt encouraged it. From your end, you were approaching it ethically.

It may be that Matt realized that Ethan is one of his "messy people." People who would be too weird for you to date -- like his father, his brother, his boss, and perhaps his best friend. Which sucks to come to the realization AFTER you are already started dating Ethan. Would have been better to know this ahead of time rather than after.

That said?

Guilt tripping you/threatening you with suicide gestures not appropriate behavior nor is it the mark of a healthy dynamic.

I think you did the right thing. Matt's health is NOT your responsibility.

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/welln...icide-threats/

If Matt needs to step away from this to sort out his mental health first? Then he could do that. If he doesn't do that? Then YOU do it for him -- end the relationship with Matt and point him to healthcare. If he gets under management, you can think about getting back together later. Or not.

Quote:
He told me that he might end his life if I left, and asked me if doing this was worth that to me. I got scared, told him that I'm not responsible for his life. I tried to talk it out, but nothing worked. I went on the trip. It was amazing, but when I came back, Matt told me that it took everthing he had to stay alive, and that I need to take responsibility for what I've done to him.
I am glad you told him you are not responsible for his life. His life and his health care is Matt's responsibility. If he is suicidal, he could check himself into ER, make a doc appointment, call a hotline, make a suicide management plan, etc. If he is failing to do that? That is him failing to do that. It isn't you doing things to him.

If he thought he could be ok with you dating his friend, and it turned out he cannot? That is not your doing either. That is Matt arriving at a personal limitation. He has to digest that and figure out if it is a hard limit or a soft limit. This is intrapersonal work. This is not stuff you can do FOR him.

Holding you like "emotional hostage" over it like that is no good. Threatening to kill himself over it is messed up. You do not exist to be his "life raft" person in life. You have your OWN life to lead. Not always be his keeper or warden to make sure he doesn't kill himself. What kind of life is that for YOU?

Quote:
He said that I was being selfish, that he needed me to break up with Ethan so that he'd have the space to get over his insecurities, that we wouldn't have these problems in our relationship if I'd just leave Ethan.
It is possible for Matt to create the space he needs by asking you to dial down the NRE around him. Or chill on other behaviors around him like not text Ethan when on a date with Matt. Matt could also create space for himself by ending it with you.

I wonder if it doesn't really matter that this time it is Ethan? ANYONE you date would have triggered all this? Is it that he only wanted Open on his side but not yours?

You three are adults. You all consented to ride the Poly Bus. If Matt changed his mind and no longer wants to ride like this because Ethan is now on the bus? He can change his mind. He can pick what to do too.
  • Matt can choose to stay on the bus but put some distance between his chair and Ethan's chair. Have a very separate V, dial down the NRE around him, work on poly hell issues and his mental health issues.
  • Matt can choose to get off the poly bus entirely and not consent to do a poly V with you and Ethan any more. And work on his mental health issues.

Or if Matt makes you be president-of-all? You can make the choice for him:
  • You can end it with Matt and encourage him to work on his mental health stuff.

I prefer people be in charge of their own selves. But if someone insists on you being in charge of their well being? Makes you be president-of-all? Go ahead. Make the choice for them then.

End the relationship to take the pan off the burner and reduce the stimulus/pressure, point Matt toward a doctor to address his healthcare and then let it go. Let Matt be in charge of his life and his healthcare. There. Now he has lots of space.

Hopefully he uses it to attend to his health things appropriately.

If you choose to get back together with Matt later on, make sure he has his health stuff under management.

If you prefer not to? That's ok too.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-13-2018 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:20 AM
Evie Evie is offline
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Does this resonate?

https://www.psycom.net/depression.ce...orderline.html
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:53 AM
powerpuffgrl1969 powerpuffgrl1969 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evie View Post

I don't think it's helpful to try to diagnose someone over the internet, especially seeing as that you have never met the person.


Regardless of whether or not Matt is Borderline is not the issue, and it's not right to try to label HIM; this board is not chock-ful of mental health professionals, and no real professional would try to diagnose someone based on this sketchy information.

Matt's BEHAVIORS are something that can be commented on. He shouldn't have drawn the suicide card, and that would be a deal-breaker for me.
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