Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this. It may be quite lengthy, so brace yourself! I am definitely in need of some goddess intervention tho…
(Yes, the letter is long. I’ve edited for length here)
I have been in a polyamorous relationship for a year and a half now, and, let me tell you, it has been the most wonderfully terrible situation in my life. When I was younger (I’m 22 now), I never dated much and if I had an interest it was nothing serious. However halfway through college I met the man of my dreams and my soul mate; a 26 year old married man. I know it sounds cheesy, but the first time we locked eyes, I knew I felt something for him, more strongly than I was accustomed to. He has told me many times he had felt the exact same way and that he never felt that way about anyone before.
“Soul mate”… “I’ve never felt this way before…”
Won’t say I’ve never used these phrases before. I have. And the fallout from them was such that I’m inherently suspicious of their use. They’re generally more indicative of hormonal carbonation (which is quite the entertaining emotional roller coaster ride) than they are of anything of substance upon which one can build a serious relationship. When you start thinking down these lines, be afraid. Be very afraid.
A lot of what you have here is inexperience. You’re confusing hormonal carbonation with love. This is understandable. Our whole society is set up that way, from Cinderella to The Princess Bride. Do yourself a favor and don’t take relationship advice from Hollywood or fairy tales.
Sure, hormonal carbonation is fun. It’s meant to be as a species survival thing. This is probably your body tricking you into getting pregnant by a good gene match, not a good relationship match. (Jesus, I hope that isn’t planting an idea seed, cause if you think it’s bad now…)
There was a bit of a miscommunication at the beginning though. He mentioned him being married very soon after I started to get to know him but also said that his wife was gay, they married very young for convenience reasons, and that they wanted to be with a woman. I, being very open minded and having a gay best friend myself who I always thought I would marry, thought this couldn’t have been more perfect for me. I thought it was the same situation. After that, he didn’t mention much of his wife, we continued our blossoming relationship, and I thought things were going great.
Then about a month into our relationship, I finally met his wife. She seemed like a nice person and all, but it hit me that she wasn’t just gay, but bi and actually had a romantic relationship with Boyfriend. Since I was at their place for the first time and felt a little awkward about everything, we didn’t really discuss the relationship at all. We just hung out as friends and I had a nice time. But I realized that they were actually a couple and wanted to both be with me, even though I thought Boyfriend wanted to be with just me due to how it was only me and him everyday since the start for over a month. He even properly asked me to be his girlfriend and, of course, I accepted. If past me would’ve known what future me knows now, I would’ve screamed “RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!”.
Miscommunication? Miscommunication? No! No! No! The dewd lied to you about his relationship, he implied that he was uninvolved enough to devote lots of time to you, mostly, ANNDDD to put a cherry on top of the stupidity sundae, you absolutely ignored what was right in front of you because he had you good and hooked.
So here I am, stuck with a very tough decision. I already am totally smitten with the guy and he to me. And at the beginning I tried. I tried so hard to want what him and his wife wanted. I tried to fit that perfect puzzle piece in their lives. But truth be told, it was a growing process for me. He was my first serious relationship ever. I was like a deer in the headlights trying to accommodate everyone and not hurt anyone’s feelings. I tried to want her, but it was hard because I very rarely saw her. Now about 3 months into the relationship I finally said I couldn’t be with both of them. I really, truly, deep within my heart had no intention of leading them on with hopes of us all being together. I was just finding myself through the relationship unfortunately. I found that I just wasn’t romantically interested in his wife at all and I just loved him.
He lied to you to fuck you.
He lied to you to fuck you.
He lied to you to fuck you.
I hope like hell that doesn’t feel okay. Love him or not, is this a good relationship choice? You can love people that might be bad relationship choices. You can even choose not to have a relationship with someone for whom you have strong feelings because it would be a bad choice and not invalidate those feelings.
This crushed them and started the tears, heartache, drama and downward spiral. They still, to this day, think I’m the bad guy. We have gotten into so many viciously savage arguments. We still do. And I’m getting so tired of this. I love him and I know he loves me too. Very much. But I have severe jealousy of his wife now. So much so that I’m losing my charm, my sanity and the person that Boyfriend fell in love with in the first place. She just has the life I want with him. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about her, because I do. A lot. I’d help her in a flash if she were in trouble. I just….kind of hate her too… Inside me I have so many conflicting emotions that I am starting to feel physically ill and am seriously considering mental help. I just….don’t know what to do. I really do feel that he is my soul mate. We are best friends, art/ceramics partners (our school career choice together), and he admitted that I was his soul mate and wants me to be in his life forever… but he didn’t want to hurt or leave his wife for me. And I don’t want him to leave her either. But that’s what it would take to make me happy with him. He also has a one penis policy so me being with anyone else is out of the question.
Boy, he’s got you tied up good, doesn’t he? He’s convinced you that you’re “supposed” to care about someone that in reality you see as competition (which isn’t really conducive to a serious poly relationship), you’ve decided to be a “good girl” and force yourself to be friends with her. And for???
Addiction. This is not mostly about love. Not really. It’s addiction. For whatever reason, this fellow turns your crank. Maybe he smells right, maybe the sex is about the most amazing sex you’ve ever had, maybe his body just feels good to you. But I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that love, if it exists at all, is only minorly associated with what you’ve got going on here.
It’s not that I don’t feel for you. I have as been as dumb as you (and at a far older age!) and I really do understand the pain you’re going through. From the perspective of having been through that, my real advice is to dump his sorry, lying manipulative ass. GET AWAY. Spend a year celibate to get your head on straight, if you need to. Yes, find a good counselor. A poly-friendly one would be ideal, but even one that isn’t would probably do you more good than not at this stage.
A good rule of thumb, I’ve found, is to look at your relationship and ask if the “relationship issues” would drive the plot of a chick flick. If they would, you have a bad relationship. Conflict and pain are what make movies interesting. A good relationship might be shown in a movie, but I assure you that a good relationship won’t drive the plot of that movie. So if the conflict and pain is what makes things interesting, as is certainly the case here, you need to dump his ass.
I haven’t spent a lot of time on his relationship with his wife, and the fact that apparently they’re trying to guilt you into a threesome. What the fuck? Do you really want a relationship with people so emotionally immature that they think this is okay?
There is no good ending to this one. Run away. You’re being treated as a thing, not a person.
*wince* And you might want to take a good look at yourself. I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me that you’re kind of commodifying the boyfriend, too. I don’t see a saint in this little poly opera. You’re contributing by sticking around.
I’m not saying that leaving isn’t going to hurt. It will. I’m not trying to blow that off. But this sort of pain does end. You do heal. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it hurts.
But you will come out the other side one day, shake your head and laugh, “What in hell was I thinking? Why did I do that to myself, and what I can learn?”
Maybe poly will be for you in the future, maybe not. But right now, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that this relationship is no good. It’s not going to get better. You deserve to be treated as a person, not a commodity to fill the unicorn hole.
Run, run, run.
12 thoughts on “One Poly Opera”
I’m sorry to hear the writer’s having such a difficult time of it, and I wholeheartedly agree with Mama Java: they should break up.
I do have a query: the writer mentions that at the time she and her boyfriend got together, she had a ‘gay best friend’ whom she had presumed she would marry at some point; later in the letter, she calls her boyfriend her ‘best friend’. Is she still friends with her ?former best friend? Are they as close as they were? Does she have other friends aside from him, the boyfriend and his wife?
I hope I’m wrong and she does have a close network of friends who will be there to support her when she breaks up with her boyfriend, but in the event that I’m right and she has become a bit isolated from her other friends – she should consider working on those relationships.
Moreover, if that is the case, it’s another danger signal in and of itself, as has been said several times on this blog.
Excellent point about making sure one’s non-romantic network is in order!
Go Mama Java. Yeesh. This girl is in denial, yes, but to be fair, she was royally fucked and blatantly lied to in the midst of the hormone swirl. So she can’t see or admit how badly he treated her. 🙁 Assholes like this guy really give poly a bad name.
All I can think of this guy is what an incredible asshole. Who is he to be going on and on to the letter-writer here about her being his soulmate and blah de blah while I’m quite sure lying to his wife about LW’s level of interest in a threesome possibility, and how dare the both of them try guilt-tripping someone several years and experience below them into a threesome! If someone says “hey, sorry guys, not really interested in both of you” then you don’t cry and whine and argue with them! You say “hey, sorry that didn’t work out, wanna still be friends?” (Have done this LOTS of times!) Or decide you can’t all just be friends and move on with your lives. His continued involvement is not in any way for her benefit, it is clearly killing her, and neither of them seem to care. UGH.
Yes, LW, if you think back on when you met this person and your thoughts turn to “RUN AWAY!!” rather than “wasn’t that nice when we met?” then follow those instincts now – RUN AWAY. Tell him “this relationship is really not working for me, I need a new ceramics partner and I need you to not contact me for awhile” see if there is a school counseling person available (I can’t imagine they don’t have enough experience with “I thought he was the one but he is married and older and this won’t work out” even without poly people in mind) to help get your mind back on life away from this relationship. Because it looks like your inclinations are right, he is never going to replace his wife with you, and being this second competition woman is never going to be okay for you.
“A good rule of thumb, I’ve found, is to look at your relationship and ask if the ‘relationship issues’ would drive the plot of a chick flick. If they would, you have a bad relationship.”
YES. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. This is good advice for everyone.
it would help her and Y out. (Again, note lack of emotional words.)Cyn: It isn’t that I don’t like S, ectlaxy. She’s just a tar baby. And I defintely hadn’t thought of her like that before. She seems to have a lot of . . . blow-ups in her life. Like, big explosions and drama every week. Sam: She is very dramatic. Cyn: I don’t do drama. Sam: You won’t have to. There will be very definite boundaries. Cyn: This just feels . . . . I don’t want to be the next person on her hit-list. I’m sorry. Sam: That’s fine. I’ll tell her I just don’t have time right now. Cyn: Thank you, honey.
Yes, yes, yes, what the G of J and commenters have said! It sounds like (and I speak from experience here) the epic love feelings, “soul mate” proclamations, and even the negative shared drama have inflated, gilded, and weighed down this relationship so that it seems like so much precious treasure that will be cast away if you turn on your heel and walk away from it. Take a step back, and realize that is not treasure, but a few nuggets of pleasant memory floating in poison, wrapped in smoke, and balanced on a foundation of lies. Walk away quickly and with determination. This relationship is toxic and nothing will make it benign.
As time goes by, look back cautiously, and start to really understand what was there, how you fell for it, and what those yellow and red flags that are so obvious in hindsight (and to others) looked like along the way. Mine this experience for its lessons.
Consider this a message from “a few years down the road” you, a little embarrassed by it all, but smarter, healthier, and happier in her relationships.
Oh dear. My. My my my …
I hope the letter writer hasn’t moved in. But yes, letter writer needs to run from this relationship. He lied to you to fuck you puts it very well. He lied about his relationship with his wife. He lied about his and his wife’s expectations. Maybe he claims it was a misunderstanding, but if so, hello — if partners cannot communicate facts like “my marriage is one of convenience” or not, then communication is not working and that is a HUGE HUGE problem in the relationship.
What you and the wise commenters above said.
I really feel for the LW, but she needs to (a) get the fuck away from these people, and (b) figure out why she ignored all these giant warning signs and got into this mess in the first place.
Also, (c) in my opinion, I think it’s unwise to get seriously involved with a seriously partnered person (particularly a married one) without having a little sit-down with their partner/spouse first, just to make sure everyone is on the same page, BEFORE all the “soul mate” drama starts.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. If your potential partner offers to let her speak with her/his other partner(s), then take that offer! If your potential partner does not offer, then ask for the chance, and be insistent upon it. And do it sooner than later, before those niggling doubts turn into complicated and heartbreaking realities.
The closest thing Master and I have to a veto is an old saeowfrd that basically means we take a step back from the relationship and be just boyfriend and girlfriend for a second. Since we started out as close friends before our relationship started, we needed time to adjust, so we used it a lot early on. Since then, we’ve decided to take that word away from me only Master can use it. I’ve requested it (twice, in four months) but he can choose whether or not it would be good for me. The amount of time we spend that way also depends completely on him. Since none of the control rests with me, I guess it doesn’t come close to being a veto.The only way I think veto power would be okay is if the slave got ONE veto per month (or, say 12 per year, to be used whenever) so they’d save them for something they REALLY didn’t want to do. Even then, I think in a healthy relationship, no veto power should be required at all if a slave feels that strongly about something, it should be a limit, and if it’s not, a good Master will assess the slave’s emotional state correctly. It really is about trust, and the whole idea of a veto kind of screams I trust you, but only most of the time! -Liz
What really stands out to me is how the couple in this mess seems to have their own insular reality in which polyamory is the umbrella that shields them from their own BS. Predators like this *do* give poly a bad name. They use the label as a means of doing exactly as they please with no regard for anyone else. I have great sympathy for the LW. I hope she takes the Goddess’s advice.