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  #41  
Old 05-09-2011, 10:24 PM
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Ivy Ivy is offline
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Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
Too many e-mails and not enough face to face discussions and too many assumptions based on non-communication. A lot of this sounds very familiar to what my husband and I are struggling with and 90% of it is how we communicate or don't communicate with each other and each of us making assumptions based on stuff NOT said.
Very true. I've noticed that when something isn't communicated, I start to get very afraid of the reasons why nothing's been communicated--and, of course, I assume those reasons must be very very bad. If someone is avoiding giving you bad news, you don't want to call them up and ask what the bad news is, because it's just going to hurt like hell.

So, for instance, the lunch thing. When he was fifteen minutes late, I started thinking he was going to stand me up entirely because, naturally, Ella wouldn't want him around me. (Another friend in this circle--one who was occasionally sexually involved with Ella--had stood me up for lunch a couple weeks before, after he found out there was tension between Ella and me, and that still stung).

So, when I realized I had forgotten my wallet, I figured I'd go get it, and if he wasn't there when I got back, I'd text him. The quick trip home and back would give me a moment to think out what I would say, without sounding scared or snarky.

When I got back and it had only been eight minutes, I looked around for him a little, then took a seat. I drafted a text, then decided it sounded bitter, and deleted it. Then I started to think I was overreacting, that he might still show up, so I let myself wait until 12:45, at which point I texted him.

He did say he thought *I* had stood *him* up, but at that point I was hurt that he had only stayed for five minutes before giving up on me, and I was waiting for the inevitable rejection because of the state of things with Ella.

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Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
To me this would be common courtesy.
...And, in light of the effed-up, bizarre psychology that surrounds breakups, metamours, hurt feelings, and unspoken fears, common courtesy pretty much goes out the window.
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  #42  
Old 05-09-2011, 10:32 PM
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Oh, and a disclaimer to all this:

I'm focusing on the worst here, because I'm trying to figure out where it went wrong, and if there's anything I could do differently.

Ella and I had an amazing amount of fun, most of the time. We had an incredible time in Vegas. I think I got her to relax quite a bit (she's typically very type-A), and I know I got her to feel a little more open with compassion and emotion. At one point, after Ben's divorce was finalized (see first entry re: creepy guy with wedding ring), they were both talking (separately) about how much they wanted to get married, but didn't think the other loved them that much, so I gently nudged Ella to propose to Ben, and helped her make the arrangements for it (he said yes; they're getting married in a couple months). And, just being around either or both of them made me very happy. Most of the time. I miss them, but thinking about that too much does make it much, much worse.

Being angry feels better.
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  #43  
Old 05-11-2011, 04:44 AM
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Goddamn freaking bloody hell on toast.

I have this friend who's amazing. The type who dances until dawn, drinks fluffy fruity cocktails with umbrellas, smiles at absolutely everyone all the time, and is just all-around great to be around. She does know about my sexuality, but it really doesn't come up in conversation. She's looking for Mr. Right to settle down and have kiddos, so, in the past, I've mostly just helped her scope out husband material, and we have lots of fun doing it.

So, we've been talking about going out, since we'd almost lost touch and we've both been feeling a little cut off from everyone since graduation. We decided to make plans.

Who does she invite out of effing NOWHERE?

Ella.

Because she knows that Ella and I are good friends, and the more the merrier!!

In the two hours it took me to come up with a response, Ella emailed, apologizing for the awkwardness.

Bugger, FML, etc.
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  #44  
Old 05-11-2011, 10:07 AM
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Hmm, I see amazing potential in here.
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  #45  
Old 05-11-2011, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight
(Well... yes! But using a much more positive definition of "selfishness" that you imply here.)
Is there such a thing as "compassionate selfishness?"

Maybe "self-actualization" or "self-determination" are better words for it. They don't carry the nasty connotation of "selfishness."
I meant "looking out for yourself" (without damaging others). So the 2 terms you mention are valid, but I would add self-caring, self-loving, self-respecting.

I'm certainly NOT a proponent of "selfless" love or "sacrificing for love".
I heartily (yet again, but on another thread [this makes the 3rd time on polyamory threads]) recommend reading ďThe Princess Who Stood On Her Own Two FeetĒ by Jeanne Desy. But there's a typo in the story, so read my warning about that here.
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If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #46  
Old 05-11-2011, 03:02 PM
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Due to bungling ineptitude, I edited, then saved the edited version separately. See below.
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If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson

Last edited by MrFarFromRight; 05-11-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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  #47  
Old 05-11-2011, 04:45 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Ivy, as I've written to you before, I don't want to hand down a sentence without reading the other parties' point of view, but - judging by what you have written - I'll make certain comments. [I lose this connection in ONE minute, so will save it and edit later.][Back again with explanation: I'm presently using library computers and there's a maximum of 1hr/day on each one. I have a quota of 15hrs/month and can use up several hours in one day, as long as I hop from one computer to another.]

OK, to start with: If Ben and Ella (who both have got close to / loved you) have BOTH said that you have a problem with low self-esteem, then I would certainly recommend that you consider that as a potential major factor in all this.

HOWEVER [Is there any other way that I can highlight that word even further, without using coloured letters - after I've virtually promised other members that I won't do so?]: You're my friend on here, Ivy, you write with intelligence and what seems like a sincere wish to reach an understanding of all this. Unless I'm very much mistaken, you're not lying to us, you're trying to be honest with yourself (and - I assume - with Ben and Ella), and you're [you were] trying to communicate with them.

On the other hand - although I don't want to attribute any malicious intent to deceive to either of them - I can only too well imagine why Ben and Ella (each for their own, different, reason) weren't putting that much energy into being totally open with you. [Remember that this is my imagination at work here, but here goes:] Ella because of past hurt, present hurt pride, fear of future hurt. Ben because of unadmitted [to himself] shame at having been willing to give up his friendship with you in order to keep the peace (and - dare I suggest? - keep the piece) with Ella.

[Coincidentally, there's a story written by a friend of mine which contains the following 4 elements: a character named Ella, a growth away from a lack of self-esteem, a character willing to hide a friendship in order to maintain certain other benefits, an honest attempt to be honest - even when painful: "Ella Of The Cinders" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson. It contains the following quote:
ďI'm not willing to wait around for anybody to notice me. Iím not willing to wait until Iím acceptable. Iíve learned that Iím too important for that. Oh, Iím important to you, Iím important to Maeve; but thatís not what Iím talking about. Maeve helped me find this out, and youíve helped as well. But if I lost the both of you, I'd still have learned my lesson: I'm important to myself. Too important to hide in any corners until the respectable people are out of the way, like Iíve been doing with Ernestine, Gladys, and Primrose. I want to be proud of all my friends. And I want them to be proud of me... I canít offer you an easier choice than your father has. Iím sorry..."
It now occurs to me that there's another point in common with your story: the importance of appearances in making an impression on shallow people.]

As I suggested on your other thread, if you talk to Ben and this turns out to be true... walk away with your held held high. "Friends" like that you do NOT need. If his friendship means enough to you, I would recommend talking openly with him at least one more time before you give his friendship up for lost.

Ariakis uses a signature that includes a wonderful quote from George Bernard Shaw: ďThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.Ē

Further comment from me?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
And she said she didn't think she wanted to see me anymore. She said she needed a couple more weeks to decide for sure.

She explained that she wasn't comfortable seeing someone who didn't approve of her sexual choices. She said I had incredibly low self-esteem, and that I was taking it out on people who care about me. She pointed out that she could find lots of other relationships with people who would have no problem with her sexuality.

I didn't know what to say. I had thought out the worst-case scenarios, of course, but they involved her getting very angry. This was sudden, and she was icy cold about it.
Very often, when we don't want to deal with our own shit, we put the blame for things not working out on others. The "icy cold" is - forgive my stating the obvious - chilling. Let's zoom in here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
She said I had incredibly low self-esteem, and that I was taking it out on people who care about me.
I've been looking for one of the polyamory.com smileys with its eyebrows about 36cm above the top of the head, but they don't offer this option, so I've got to make do with:
!!!
Talk about pots, kettles, and the colour black! (And what the therapists call "projection".)
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #48  
Old 05-12-2011, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
If his friendship means enough to you, I would recommend talking openly with him at least one more time before you give his friendship up for lost.
I've been thinking about this a lot.

In my last (email) conversations with Ella, we agreed that maybe we could be friends. Eventually. Depending on how we felt. My interpretation of that was either (1) she was trying to be polite and not burn bridges, especially since we work in the same industry in the same city, or (2) she actually might want to be friends eventually, but isn't really ready to go down that road yet. I'm definitely at (2), so that agreement is fine with me. Maybe eventually we will be friends...but not yet. And if not, I'm okay with that too.

(On that note, I backed out of going out with my crazy-happy-husband-hunting friend. I didn't want to put her in the middle of an awkward situation like that--she doesn't know that Ella and I were involved.)

With Ben, though, I've been feeling lately like it's a lost cause. I feel really awful admitting this, but I felt more of a "bond" with him, when we were on good terms anyway--probably because we had more in common, but also because we started as nothing more than friends, and then feelings developed later. With Ella, it was attraction and amazing sex, and then feelings developed from that. So letting go of my friendship with Ben hurts more, and there's much more regret--if only I had suppressed my attraction to him early on, we might still be good friends.

But I also know that's not realistic. It still would have hurt to try not to feel something that strong. Ella still would have been jealous of him spending time with me, even if we had never been attracted to each other at all. If she found herself in the same situation, she would have become sexually involved, as she does with most of her male friends. So she would have attributed that background motive to even the most innocuous friendship between Ben and me.

And now, Ella and I have a messy, painful history. Being friends with me would mean facing Ella's potentially intense jealousy on two levels. If I've realized anything about Ben, it's that he's very loyal to Ella, and willing to sacrifice a lot to make her happy.

I may be building a worst-case scenario here (I tend to do that), but if I sought a friendship with him, I think he'd be vague and dodgy about it. He wouldn't want to hurt me, but he also wouldn't want to upset Ella, so he wouldn't do either.

The last email he sent me, he commented that your friends care about you, even when they take a few steps back. I think he intended for me to understand that as an explanation of his feelings. It hurts--people who take a few steps back seldom return--but it might be time to accept it.
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  #49  
Old 05-14-2011, 02:46 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
I've been thinking about this a lot.
Yeah, you do think a lot, don't you? That isn't a criticism! Better you should think than act stupidly. But - as the Spanish say - "No te comas el coco." [Don't eat your own head.]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
I may be building a worst-case scenario here (I tend to do that), but if I sought a friendship with him, I think he'd be vague and dodgy about it. He wouldn't want to hurt me, but he also wouldn't want to upset Ella, so he wouldn't do either.

The last email he sent me, he commented that your friends care about you, even when they take a few steps back. I think he intended for me to understand that as an explanation of his feelings. It hurts--people who take a few steps back seldom return--but it might be time to accept it.
At least the present situation means that YOU don't have to decide to maintain distance from Ben in order to maintain your relationship with Ella. This should feel alleviating (but I bet it doesn't, does it?) If Ella insinuates that your closeness to Ben is going to make it unlikely that there'll be a resumption of her friendship towards you, then that's the definitive proof. People who use emotional blackmail of that kind are NOT worth having as friends!

My advice (worth about one butter bean, but I'll let you have it completely free of charge):
1) Read both stories linked in my last comments.
2) Send the links to Ben and ask him to read the stories, too.
3) Use the stories and the conversation at the end of the 2nd one as a springboard in a talk to Ben about what true friendship is all about. Tell him that his friendship means a lot to you... but not enough to swallow a pile of SHIT.
4) Find some [other] friends who treat you and your friendship as the treasures that you are.
5) Don't allow others' emotional inadequacies undermine your sense of worth!
6) Keep looking in that mirror... and SMILE at yourself, goddammit!
7) If all else fails, plan a visit to Spain.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #50  
Old 05-15-2011, 12:35 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Ivy, I am amazed that you put so much effort in trying to make something work with those two. To me, it seems, neither one ever really made the same effort nor had much consideration for you. I also question whether it was ever really love you felt for Ella, or was it just a love of solving problems? Or a need to be wanted? Or... I'm not sure.

I think it is time you move on and be open to wonderfulness with other people who don't play games and then try to convince you there's something wrong with you. You deserve to be treated well and respected.
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