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Old 12-12-2011, 07:42 PM
faraday faraday is offline
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Default Confusing New Situation

Okay so I'm not new to poly but right now I'm facing something new and I'm not sure what to do. I've been living in a triad for over a year and the three of us have been together for over two. I have been partners with the male half of my triad (Jack) for six years. And Jack and Jill (the other female member of our triad) have been together for about four years. Some people would call our relationship a V because Jill and I aren't sexual but we call it a triad because we are committed to each other and building our lives together. Jill is my soulmate just as much as Jack is I just happen to be basically straight.

The issue come in with a new friend we met at Burning Man. Adam is newly out of a five year relationship and he gets along well with all of us. He is our first good friend in the city that we moved to a little over a year ago. He fits right in with us. So at Burning Man it became clear that Jill had a thing for Adam and Adam had a thing for her. So one the drive back from the burn I had a long talk with Jill about being super intentional about her growing relationship with Adam because she has had major issues with intentionality in the past. Right before burning man she went to a six week retreat and had sex with some guy and didn't tell us about it until she came back. When she was living across the country from us for a year (grad school) she lied to us a couple of times around sex partners. Once asking if it was okay to have a threeway she had already had and once about seeing an ex of her's. And once telling us afterwards that she had sex with an ex. It's been pretty rough so I thought “Adam is a good guy Jack and I like Adam so maybe this is a good practice round for Jill being really up front about what she wants”

So a few weeks after burning man Jill goes to visit her very sick girlfriend, it's a scary hard experience for her understandably. While she and Jack are out of town Adam get's a extra ticket for a show and invites me. I go out with him and bunch of his friends and the night is epic. Just an amazing time from start to finish. Jill freaks out. She calls me from her girlfriends house (which I didn't know she could her girlfriend lives in Canada and before Jill left she said she wouldn't be able to call or text) and I don't have my phone on me. Jill gets really upset at me. Feels like I'm lying about my feelings towards Adam. (at this point I have told her that I am in fact attracted to him but it's not a crush and I wouldn't do anything to get in the way of whatever they are doing)

Jill is upset feels like I'm not communicating well enough and that I'm trying to go behind her back and do something with Adam. I listen to her and deal with my own anger about her not trusting me. I also know she is under a giant amount of stress around her other girlfriend and she is letting out some steam but it was still really shitty feeling.

Anyway that night I told Adam something a long the lines of “hey I'm attracted to you and I just want to set up some physical boundaries because you and Jill are doing something that I don't want to fuck up” So he listens and neither of us come anywhere near crossing a line the whole night but I do admit we became a lot closer.

So where I'm at now is:

Adam isn't pursuing Jill. Neither of them are particularly pursuer types but Jill NEVER pursues. And it is becoming clearer and clearer that Adam is into me and I am into him. I adore Adam but don't feel a rush to have sex with him or start a relationship with him. Things are to sensitive at the moment and I would much rather us all be friends then having sex with him and screwing everything up.

BUT none of us have talked to Adam about this. He has NO IDEA what is going on. And I need to tell him to back off physically from me because it's hurting Jill. But I don't want to just tell him to back off because I do like him. So I want to tell him what is happening. Like “Jill and I are having some conflict around you. It's not a big deal but I think we should pay attention to how much attention we are giving each other” But Jill doesn't want me to talk to him. She says she doesn't trust him but I think it really boils down to her feeling bad about wanting someone more then they want her. That has basically never happened to Jill. She is always the one people trip over to be near. We are talking about it. But it's a really sore spot. Half the time Adam is around Jill ends up fighting with me or Jack or getting really upset at Adam for something he said or did and doesn't talk to him about it and needs to process with Jack or myself.

So right now we have a friend that we all really like to hang out with but seems to cause a lot of issues between us when he is around who doesn't understand what is going on because no one is telling him and Jill gets upset at the idea of sharing information with him. I don't want this to blow up. And I think Adam deserves to know what is going on but I don't want to push Jill into doing something or having something done that she isn't ready for but I'm worried that if we don't start communicating with Adam he is going to do something stupid and unknowing that will hurt Jill so much that she won't want him around at all.

This is so rambling. It's just stupid amounts of complex. Ah the joys of poly. There are other issues going on here too. Like Jill turning 30 (which was hard for her) and cutting her hair short (she doesn't feel like she gets the same amount of attention from men anymore and it sort of upset at me that I do, although she loves all the extra attention she gets from women... so I don't know) completely separate from that Jack and Jill have been having a rough time (a lot of it is from Jill not being clear or honest about intentions but a lot of it is from other stuff between them) Jill's girlfriend being really very sick for a LONG time. And of course me being upset at Jill for what I see as holding bullshit against me like being younger then her and getting more male attention at the moment (in HER opinion) and it bugs the living shit out of me that this long into sharing a partner and loving each other that she never dealt with these issues before.

I LOVE Jill. I want to spend the rest of my life with her and I want her to be happy. And if that means Adam can't be a part of our lives that is okay I just really hope there is a way to have both. It is so rare to meet someone who gets a long with all three of us so well. And I really do adore him.

Any advice or questions? Just writing it out helped me get a clearer idea about what is going on.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:06 PM
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Poly-friendly counseling for the three of you or maybe just plain old individual therapy for her. It's just silly, frankly, that a single under-requited attraction can cause this much drama. It's silly to let a situation lie like a ticking time bomb and wait for it to explode rather than just clearing the air and being straightforward. I could go on, but of course you see it all clearly yourself. Homegirl needs to develop better coping, communication, trust and self-control skills, and if she hadn't done it on her own by now then professional assistance is called for.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:20 PM
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Ahhh, "saturn return" at age 30 for women (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_return). Yup, its common it seems. For men its 40, for women it seems to be 30. I divorced my wife at 30, came out as bi, rather than lesbian, lost all my friends, came out as non-monogamous, started a primary relationship with my now husband, finished a masters degree and school forever and drank too much as a result.

I don't have any advice or comments yet really as you seem to be just going through some shit. Telling Adam would be the respectful thing to do but it seems that your metamour is not up on her self worth and it could embarrass her. Too bad as it might help. She has to get to that herself though. Tough situation. Good luck.
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Last edited by redpepper; 12-12-2011 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:54 PM
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Thank you guys. I feel like it will get better with time. Jill going through a lot of personal transformation right now (Jack and I often talk about it being saturn's return) but I'm not sure how to deal with my anger about her issues.

This weekend it lead to her getting drunk (we went out dancing with Adam and some of his friends) and screaming at me in the street. She was yelling things like "just fuck him already!" and "Jack get's angry at me and you are getting away with not being intentional at all"

I'm struggling really hard with her not believing me or trusting me around Adam. I don't feel like I've done anything that broke her trust. All the work I do to trust her even when she DOES hide shit from me and Jack and it feels like she isn't willing to extend the same trust even when I have never broken her trust or a boundary that we set up.

She is also so upset about asking her to be intentional. She thinks naming her desire before she was ready is part of the reason it didn't work. She resents being intentional so much. She is so upset by it and that is a constant struggle. We were both asking her to TRY it because she handles new relationships and sex partners badly. She feels like being up front about attraction and desire kills it for her. And it just sucks that this is going badly when she is working so hard on facing those fears.

She also feels that Jack holds her to a different standard then he holds me. And it's true. It;s because I haven't broken Jack's trust over and over again. So he doesn't get worried that I'm hiding things from him.

It's like she doesn't see how hard we've worked to be with her. She doesn't see the work and trust and love and time we've put in to try and let her have any kind of relationship she wants and all we ask is that she be clear and be willing to wait and trust that we are all working towards that same thing and we want her to have what she wants...

Sigh.

Things were really rough around intentionally shit before burning man. And the three of us are slowly getting back to a good place and it feels wonderful. I know she is working really hard. And she has honestly dealt with a lot of things that were causing problem. I have a lot of faith in her ability to work it out and I want to do everything in my power to help. I'm just hoping Adam doesn't end up a causality of this bumpy road we are on.

I just don't know what to do with my own anger. It bugs the shit out of me that she doesn't trust me or believe me. It hurts me that after all the work I did to deal with my own fears and insecurities to let her into my heart and life this completely it seems like she is unwilling to do that for me.

And the stupid shit is we always talking about “getting over your issue with every other woman in the world” as one of the amazing bonuses of being open and I feel stupidly, selfishly betrayed that she hasn't gotten over them she just wasn't threatened by me until now.

I have faith she will get through this. She is one of the smartest strongest deepest thinking people I know. I just need to figure out how help her and not get mad and feel resentful.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:07 PM
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What does "intentional" mean? Not understanding any of that.

I don't think you need to help her really. I suggest you consider her feelings when you act on yours, but that's it. You don't owe her that much. She isn't asking for help so let her be.

If you treat people as you would like to be treated then I don't see how you could go wrong. I would empathize and reflect back what she says but don't take it on. She will create her own reality with this. Especially if you have discussed all you have said here about it all. If not and there are things left us said about how you feel then I would let her know and then let her be.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:22 PM
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Oh sorry “intentional” is sort of a family term, I guess. For us it means being clear and making choices instead of “just letting things happen”. Jack and I have found that the more “I didn't know it was going to happen” or “it sort of just happened” the harder it was for us to feel safe and considered in each others relationships. So we ask (of each other as well as Jill and anyone else we are with) that people take the time to stop and think about what they want and why they are doing things.

Like, if I like someone I KNOW that somewhere inside of myself. It's not always easy to spot and I think socially we are taught to ignore when we like someone because if we admit it then we are risking rejection. I think this is especially true for women in western cultures. I used to fall into sex and cheating by sort of hiding what I wanted from myself as well as my partners.

So being intentional would be saying something like “I'm attracted to this guy and we are going out to grab coffee and I don't think it's a date but I would be kind of excited if it turn into one” instead of just saying “I don't think it's a date”

The hard part about being intentional is it's often guessing at feelings and desires a little before they are fully formed. And it can be embarrassing if you are really excited about someone just to find out you aren't really into them at all. Or they aren't into you. It's easier for me then it is for Jill. I've always been a pursuer sexually. So I've been rejected a lot. It doesn't bug me. I mean it can hurt my ego but it isn't a big deal. If I like someone and it's a possibility I take the first step.

Being intentional is taking the time to examine your feelings about people and explaining them to your partners and taking steps towards what you want instead of waiting for “it just happened”.
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Old 12-13-2011, 01:49 AM
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I think that "intentional" is great - think I'll talk to my husband about that tonight, I always like more fodder for conversation

Anyway, I have a question. Have you been intentional about how you feel & what you are thinking about Adam? It seems from what you've said that you are kind of conflicted too. Part of Jill's reaction could be that she's sure you like him/want more than you are admitting to, though it sounds like she may be projecting some too because of her past behaviors.

"So being intentional would be saying something like “I'm attracted to this guy and we are going out to grab coffee and I don't think it's a date but I would be kind of excited if it turn into one” instead of just saying “I don't think it's a date”

You say you aren't in a hurry for anything to happen, but have you used that example above to address the current situation? It sounds like you might be kind of hedging, and I wonder that because you told Adam that you wanted to set up physical boundaries so you wouldn't overstep, and yet you find yourself growing closer to him. If you haven't is that because you are making the effort to consider him only a friend as Jill has first dibs on him, so you're avoiding it? (really I have no idea what you have said, my mind is just rambling around a bit)

"I'm attracted to Adam and wish ____________ but I won't act on it/want to act on it because of __________________"?

You say that you wouldn't want to "interfere" in what they have going. Seems like they don't have anything going, or it might not even be healthy for him to have something going with her from the way she is acting out. Have you discussed both dating Adam? Are you afraid that if you try that and he is interested in you but not her that it will poison the friendship?

Sounds like you are thinking things through well, just curious if the intentional goes hand in hand with 100% being upfront with Jill about what you'd really like. Also wondering if you have feelings grow for Adam if it's a smart or healthy decision to let Jill's fear or insecurity keep you from pursuing it. I don't envy your position at all. Sorry not to make more a more cohesive post, a bit under the weather and it appears to be affecting my sense of editing
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:52 AM
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I feel like I have been clear about my feelings for Adam. That I'm attracted to him and if there was a simple non-painful way to be sexual with him I would. Like if I was single or if all three of my partners were pretty open to the idea. I feel like that is clear but Jill doesn't believe me. Or rather she believes me some of the time but then gets upset about it and doesn't believe me some of the time.

Mostly I think he is a great guy and a blast to hang out with. Jill asked me if I was holding back because of the thing between her and Adam and honestly I don't know. My partnership with Jill and her comfort comes way way way before having some fun sex with a good friend. I feel like I've been 100% upfront. But I also feel guilty as shit because I think Adam likes me more then he likes her. So she might be seeing that guilt and thinking it is something else. Or that guilt might be in the way of me seeing my own feelings. I do think my feelings for Adam have grown in the past couple of months but the attraction seems to have stayed the same as best as I can tell.

So yes, I am conflicted and that might be getting in the way. But even conflicted I would hope she would trust me. I feel like I have earned her trust, I feel like I deserve it a this point. And it hurts and feels unfair (I know childish) that I've put in so much energy into trusting her even in the face of her breaking that trust over and over again and it seems like she is unwilling to give me that trust.

I'm doing my best to be emotionally honest with Jill but I also have to admit that her anger is really hard to face and I scared of it. So I think I might be avoiding talking about Adam in general which might give a hand to these blow ups. I also end up really angry myself when she does things like yell “why don't you just fuck him already” while she is drunk in the street. I scared to death of blowing up at her the way she does at me and making things worse. So I don't bring it up.... which might be added to the problem.
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Old 12-13-2011, 02:58 AM
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Adam sounds like a "splitter" to me. This is a term my ex and I used to use after taking relationship workshops led by facilitators who used to talk about "relationship splitters." It's a little different from cowboys and cowgirls. It just means that the person in question has a certain energy around other people in relationships that they start up a dynamic of fighting, and splitting people's allegiances.

It's a very old pattern that people carry from childhood - think of the little kid who has to wriggle in between his parents when they are making out or something - they just want attention from one or the other people involved, not necessarily that they want to be involved with any of them themselves. You and Jill need to stay aware of whether or not this fighting, arguing, and mistrust always comes up when he's around. And the two of you need to communicate better - she sounds a little bit like a drama queen when she gets going. Does she often retaliate by getting drunk at you?
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:15 AM
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The drunk thing has only happened once. She has really blown up about it three times, two times were sober. Normally she as is adorable as a kitten in a tutu when she is drinking.

I for sure don't believe Adam is a “splitter” intentionally. He really likes all three of us a lot. We get along like a house on fire other then this issue, which is a big one I know. Which he knows nothing about. But yes issues arise when he is around. I tend to think it's a Jill issue but I should make sure that I'm not putting to much on her because I'm annoyed.

So another thing I wanted to point out just as more details is Jill is very supportive of Adam sleeping with other people. Adam is single for the first time in five years and is sleeping with a handful of different people. So it doesn't seem to be a possessiveness about him. It seems like more of an issue with me. She also gets more upset at him then anyone else she is not dating. She doesn't get mad at anyone unless she is in a relationship with them or has been in the past.
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