About a year ago I met a man whom I had an immediate connection with (I still to this day cannot explain what made me feel so comfortable with him right off the bat as I am generally a reserved woman around strangers), and we soon after began spending quite a lot of time together. I’ll call him Jack. At the time I was not looking for any sort of relationship and didn’t even think of him as a boyfriend type, but as time went on and we grew closer, I realized that I was beginning to have feelings for him and he was quick to let me know that he had feelings for me as well. (of course, as they say it’s not possible for a man and a woman to be “just friends…”)
I have male friends that I am not romantic with. “They” are often tragically wrong.
To get to the point, I eventually found out that he is polyamorous and has a girlfriend who is also poly; I’ll call her Jill, and she lives about an hour away from Jack and I. I have been monogamous my entire life and honestly did not even think that poly relationships were real. I realize that this is juvenile of me, but I was just never introduced to the idea of having more than one partner. Of course at this point I was already pretty darn attached to Jack and just shrugged it off, telling myself that it wouldn’t matter as I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend anyways.
EVENTUALLY FOUND OUT??? You mean he didn’t tell you off the damn bat? Sweet Baby Jesus, woman, being irritated about that isn’t juvenile. What he did wasn’t ethical!!! Who called you juvenile for not knowing about poly at all? It’s not. Polyamory isn’t some damned evolved sophisticated thing. It’s just a thing – an orientation, taste or even way to be, depending on who you ask. You don’t ever have to listen to anyone who says polyamory is evolved. (Okay, you don’t have to listen to anyone, but you get my point).
Well, of course I didn’t stick with the original plan and I’ll admit that I fell for Jack. We began to have a more serious dating type of relationship, and I spent (and still spend) so much time at his place that I basically live(d) with him. Awhile back, he told me that he loved me and explained that he was in love with both Jill and I. While I still had reservations, I just went along with keeping our relationship the same; it wasn’t too difficult since Jill lives a ways away and he only sees her once or twice a week while he spends most of the remainder of the time with me. Of course, being mono I get extremely jealous and experience that “curl up in a ball and cry when he’s with her” feeling that I read about in another blog post here.
Yeah? And do you remember what that blog post had to say? Kinda important, I think.
I have never actually met Jill, and anytime he mentions her I get defensive and shut down, which bothers him. Of course he wants me to meet her and just be buddy-buddy with her and have everything fall into place, but when I think about seeing her I get knots in my stomach. I know that if I were to sit down and talk to her that I would like her, but I also know that I would just be picturing her with him which would bring back all of my crazy jealousy issues.
I don’t think it would harm you to meet her. In fact, refusing to do so is saying that you want to pretend Jack isn’t in another relationship. He is. Girlfriend, you’ve got to accept that if you have a hope in hell of keeping a relationship with Jack. Though why you’d want to keep someone who’d not been fully forthcoming right off the bat about the FACT HE HAD A GIRLFRIEND when the two of you started dating is beyond me! Would you have gone out with him at all if he’d told you before you two started dating?
Anyways, I’ve been doing okay with all of this until recently when Jack told me that Jill was planning to move in with him next Summer. He and I had previously discussed me moving in, so I was shocked and extremely hurt, feeling (as I often do) that he sure was quick to forget about living with me as soon as the opportunity came along for him to live with her. Of course he assured me that this was not the case; that he felt it would be easier for him to live with Jill and come visit me instead of the other way around since I would not be able to handle having Jill over to our place if we were to live together. (I argued that he could just as easily go visit Jill at her place, but that’s getting off topic…) Now i feel extremely depressed and worthless, to be honest.
First and foremost: Your self-worth is not tied up in how another person treats you. Don’t ever forget that.
Jack has always been up front and as far as I know honest with me about his relationship with Jill, and he has assured me several times that while he wishes that I could get rid of my jealousy and the three of us could live together, he isn’t going to push me and that it’s completely my decision if I want to stay or go. I should be appreciative of this, but it hurts to know that whether or not I choose to leave him, he will still be happy because he has Jill.
I am having a hard time reconciling a couple of things you’re saying here. You mention “eventually” finding out something, being shocked at discussions and feeling blindsided at changes made. This does not sound to me like good communication. Now, possibly you’re keeping your head in the sand when directly told things, or it’s possible Jack isn’t as up front as all that. Do you know which it is? I’ve never met any of you, so all I have to go on is this letter. But I think it’s a crucial point to be resolved before you go any further.
I am at a loss here, because I will never understand how Jack and Jill are completely “un-jealous” of each others’ other partners. Jack has told me that Jill is always happy for him when he talks to her about me, and that she would love to meet me and have the three of us be good friends as well. Jack has also encouraged me several times to date other people, but I’m not interested. I just don’t get it.
Then you’re probably not poly. That’s okay. Not everyone is. There are plenty of people I know and love who find the polyamory point of view utterly baffling!
Not only is he my boyfriend, he’s my best friend. I know that your first advice would probably be to leave him no matter how much it hurts, but I can’t do that, at least not for now. Please, if you have any advice on dealing with these feelings and this situation, I would greatly appreciate it. If you’re still reading this, thank you so much for taking the time to do so and I’ll look forward to hearing your response. I’m assuming that you get many letters such as this one looking for advice, but the impersonal google searches just aren’t cutting it for me and I thought it couldn’t hurt to ask. Thanks again.
You know if you had gangrene and the doc recommended you cut off the diseased limb, you’d also feel terrified and not ready to give up the limb.
If you’re asking for a magic way to make it okay? I can’t.
Do I think you should work on learning how to cope with jealousy, poly or monogamous? Damn right I do!
Do I think you need to value yourself a lot more and treat yourself better? Holy shit, yes.
Do I think that working on becoming a secure person would be helpful to you no matter what you do? You bet!
“If a relationship is a constant source of pain and trauma, something is wrong. A good relationship lifts the people in it up and fills them with joy, not pain. When we become determined to hang onto a relationship at any cost, no matter how painful it becomes, it can get very easy to lose sight of that.” Letting Relationships Go, by Franklin Veaux
5 thoughts on “Jack and Jill”
All else aside, I worry about relationships in which people say they “just can’t” break up with a partner.
Beyond that, I agree with you (Goddess of Java, not the LW) that the communication here stinks. Yes, Jack is entitled to decide that he’d be happier living with Jill than with LW, but he should have told her he was having second thoughts as soon as he realized it, not waited until he and Jill had agreed to move in together. (This feels as though he might have been thinking of LW as a backup, in case Jill said no to living together, and didn’t want to tell LW he had second thoughts, because she might change her mind about living with him.
Certainly if one makes a decision based on withheld facts, one has a serious argument for coercion as a motive!
I think there is some “jumping to conclusions” going on here. Yes, Jack didn’t tell LW that he was poly “right off the bat” but they weren’t dating “right off the bat” either (at least by my reading of her letter). Note that she explicitly says she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend! Then they admit they have feelings for each other but we still don’t know when they start dating. As LW says, she eventually finds out Jack is poly but she also says that he’s been up-front with her the entire time.
In short, I don’t think it is fair to jump all over Jack for “withholding info” when we both don’t know the timeline and have some evidence that he did no such thing.
How many (non-single) friends do you have who have never mentioned their partner, even in passing? I don’t mean that they always introduce themselves as “Hello, I’m Bob and I have a girlfriend”, but that it at least comes up during general conversation. The answer to a question about plans for the weekend might contain a mention of seeing his girlfriend, a chat about pets might bring a mention of how much her cat sheds on the furniture, a discussion about the latest release at the cinema might touch on her preference for seeing/avoiding that particular genre… you get the idea.
I don’t see how you could get to the “spending quite a lot of time together” stage without having at least an inkling of the other’s relationship status—by which I mean single/not, rather than mono/poly— unless someone is deliberately hiding it.
I don’t see a good outcome here.
It’s possible that DDA is right about timing and communication.
And there is something to be said for assuming one’s partners have good intention.
What’s throwing me is another contradictory aspect of this.
LW feels that she and Jack are practically living together already.
Yet she also mentions plans to move in together.
Also, LW has had a number of opportunities to meet Jill – who has through Jack expressed positivity and a desire to be friendly.
She’s rejected those.
I’m seeing this a bit differently.
LW appears to have emotionally invested in her desire for a monogamous relationship with Jack to the point of refusing to see what she finds uncomfortable until it’s no longer possible to ignore.
Jack expressed an intent to move in with Jill.
That can’t be ignored.
If LW can’t meet Jill, can’t accept Jack’s poly, and can’t think of ending this relationship then she’s cutting off all of her options and asking for a miracle.
I have little trouble believing the issue isn’t actually a lack of transparency on Jack’s part.
At this point?
Don’t break up with Jack.
But don’t see him for a while.
Until you’re willing to meet Jill.
It’s one way of finding out which is the greater fear – losing Jack or losing your illusions.