I am a mostly-mono woman in an LDR with a poly woman who classifies herself as the “free-love hippie” type, but more and more it seems like she’s using poly as an excuse not to care about my feelings. We had discussed that casual dates with other people would be okay, but she had translated that into “sexual hook-ups leading into full relationship” with a friend, leaving me the third wheel. It’s too late at this point to put my foot down, and she’s often said when she’s really determined to do something, she’d do it even if I did say no.
Their social-media equivalent of PDAs leave me depressed and regressing back into self-harming behavior on an almost-daily basis. (I’d previously attempted suicide when I found out through a third party she was considering a green card marriage to another friend, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.) I’ve been doing so much research on websites and forums like this to know what the mono partner is supposed to do in mixed relationships, yet it still feels like I’m the only one putting in any effort here for anyone to be happy.
And I just found out, again, through a third party, she’s now added a boyfriend to all of this. I am tired of consistently being left out of her life. I am tired of crying and not being sober and un-scarred. And I am tired of not being appreciated, loved, or even understood.
You need two things. You need to get out of this relationship. You guys are a lousy match and you’re making each other terribly unhappy. It is clear you’re not getting the level of communication you need, and it’s clear she is determined to live the way she is living. Her choice, but it’s not making you happy. Bow out.
But what you need, and an order of magnitude more, is to get into therapy, and get into treatment for substance abuse (AA is free, by the way, if money is an issue). You can find ways to manage these issues, and it does create a beautiful difference in your relationships. One of the serious problems with mental illness is that it really plays hob with our judgment when it is unmanaged. It leaves us open to being treated poorly, and it causes us to treat ourselves poorly. I wish I could say some magic words that would be an epiphany to you and Make It All Better. It doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. But if you’re willing to take the time to get yourself straightened out, you’ll find that your relationship issues will start falling into place better. Not perfect because relationships are people and people aren’t perfect.
Here’s some things to keep in mind:
You can choose how you act.
You can influence your emotions by your choice of actions.
You can make choices of actions that influence you in itty, bitty positive ways. Consistently choosing small things to influence your mood for good will start to snowball, if you’re consistent about it — VERY slowly at first, but it’s like lifting weights. At first you struggle to lift ten pounds. By going and trying a little bit consistently, you get stronger and a year later, you’re tossing around 100 lbs like it was nothing. Then people who haven’t tried it get mad at you and say you’re just “naturally strong” and don’t understand what it’s like to find it hard to lift ten pounds.
I know what it’s like to find it hard to lift those emotional ten pounds. I’ve been suicidal, so I know and understand where you’re coming from. For what it’s worth, it is not EASY and there are days when it feels so glacially slow you wonder if it’s even worth it, but with small baby steps, you CAN learn to manage depression over a period of a few years with dedicated concentration. I mean, yeah, it kind of sucks to make a project out of yourself when you want to do so much MORE with your life, but if you get that straightened out, the other stuff falls into place a lot better. And yeah, chances are good that people, not understanding the need to make a project out of yourself, are wondering why you’re not accomplishing that MORE. Don’t bother trying to argue with ’em and get on with what you need to do. They’re living a different life from you.