Comfort with particular people...

FreeSpirit

New member
Hi. I've been with my girlfriend almost a year, living with her, and we're dabbling into polyamory. My views have been back and forth on the mono/poly spectrum for a long time, and believe I've settled into something that works for me (single committed partnership with emotional and sometimes physical freedom to explore closeness with others.)

Onto the issue I'm seeking input on: My girlfriend expressed interest in getting closer to a mutual friend of ours (who I'd known years before she did). The interest wasn't "serious" and seemed more on the physical side. I was uneasy with it, and told her as much, but told her she was free to do what she wanted, not wanting to restrict her freedom.

So the two of them got together, which made me feel even more uncomfortable with the situation. After seeing how much it affected me, she decided to call off the physical aspect of that, just remaining friends, despite me insisting that she shouldn't let my emotions interfere with her bonds with others.

Now, I'm not normally a very jealous person, so it struck me unusual that this incident bothered me as much as it did. After quite a few hours of introspection, considering various things that could have caused me to be so bothered, I settled on my discomfort with him in particular as the primary issue. I didn't find the thought of her being with other friends, or even strangers, nearly as upsetting.

I do have some good reasons for being uncomfortable with this particular friend...he's proven repeatedly irresponsible and dishonest in the past. Though I enjoy his company most of the time, he grates on my nerves a lot, and I just don't feel physically comfortable with him. Beyond that though, I know he's a good person.

Which brings me to my question...what to do about situations which one is uncomfortable with just certain individuals? Is "I'm just not comfortable with him" an acceptable reason to dissuade one's partner from pursuing something with that person? I find myself wondering if I should listen to my instincts and past experiences or just "get over it" and try to cope with the discomfort.

She's assured me that it's not the sort of situation where it's a big deal for her to just not be close to him like that, but I'd still like to get my stance on this sort of thing sorted out in case it comes up in the future.

I'd really appreciate any input that people more experienced with this sort of thing have to share. :)
 

LilacViolin

New member
I think there is a difference between "I feel jealous because this relationship is happening" and "I feel uncomfortable because it is happening with a specific person." If you are uncomfortable with a potential lover of your girlfriend, I think you should voice your concern. It is her decision. But I trust my partner's instincts well enough to consider their knee-jerk reactions about a person.

I think the most basic principal in any relationship is the ability and willingness to communicate with each other. Be kind and clear, tell her why you feel that way, and then see how she responds.

Good luck!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Does "get together with him" mean have a date or have sex in this context? I'm guessing sex? :confused:

I was uneasy with it, and told her as much, but told her she was free to do what she wanted, not wanting to restrict her freedom.

Could it have been more honest/accurate for you to say "That guy? I'm not crazy about it. He's not been honest and he is irresponsible so I would just prefer you date someone else other than him who is more trustworthy. I'd worry about your well being with him."

If so, why not just state your preference from the start? You are partner to your GF. She's responsible to herself, of course. But you are also obligated to help watch out for her emotional health, mental health, physical health, and spiritual health.

You could be giving full clear information about how you feel and information about him that you know -- he's not an honest guy. Be aware, and be careful of your emotional and mental health, GF! -- so she could make her own choices from a place of full information.

And if this person is irresponsible and dishonest, why do you remain friends with him?

Sometimes it's not about "learning to get ok with something" but rather "accepting I am just NOT ok with this and won't ever be!"

Be pickier about who you enter into friendship or polyship with. (You and GF.)

HTH!
Galagirl
 

FreeSpirit

New member
Thank you both for the input!

Yes, by "getting together with" I meant sex. Apologies for the vagueness.

I did communicate my concerns about him pretty thoroughly, and she did decide to not pursue it further, though I think it was more out of concern for my desires than out of my caution about the person himself.

I remain friends with him because he's not a bad person at all, he can just be immature. His irresponsibility and dishonesty in the past mostly came from depression and fear, and I try to be forgiving and understanding about such things. He's a good friend, and I don't give up on my friends easily. I've elected to just be wary about letting him TOO close.

Sometimes I think I feel too obligated to accept things I dislike and get used to them rather than trying to keep them out of my life.

The conflict that this particular situation caused is resolved I think. I just wonder how people in the community tended to deal with stuff like this. I know I might potentially be bothered by a partner interfering with who I wanted to be close to, and I don't want to be a hypocrite about it.

Thanks again for your thoughts on things. :D
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Personally-I would rather be told if my partners have a 'sinking feeling' about a specific person.
I consider that warning for me to be a lottle extra cautious.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Sometimes I think I feel too obligated to accept things I dislike and get used to them rather than trying to keep them out of my life.

Why?
The conflict that this particular situation caused is resolved I think. I just wonder how people in the community tended to deal with stuff like this. I know I might potentially be bothered by a partner interfering with who I wanted to be close to, and I don't want to be a hypocrite about it.

For me I would want feedback. For me to be able to date, my spouse would have to be on board. Because time is a resource. If I'm spending time elsewhere with someone else, I need to know his needs are met in the relationship tier of (me + Him) -- otherwise I'm spending time with another while neglecting him.

I also would value his feedback if I'm too NRE drunk to see the character flaws of another person I'm dating.

If he's feeling jealous about it -- I want to know. Jealousy is a flag emotion that some need is not met.

Galagirl
 

FreeSpirit

New member
Why?
Galagirl

I suppose over the years I've grown accustomed to being the more adaptable on in my relations with people and finding that it's simpler to adjust myself to the situation rather than try to ask others to adjust to my desires. In this case though, I just felt I had no right to ask my partner to not to do something with another person.

For me I would want feedback. For me to be able to date, my spouse would have to be on board. Because time is a resource. If I'm spending time elsewhere with someone else, I need to know his needs are met in the relationship tier of (me + Him) -- otherwise I'm spending time with another while neglecting him.

I also would value his feedback if I'm too NRE drunk to see the character flaws of another person I'm dating.

If he's feeling jealous about it -- I want to know. Jealousy is a flag emotion that some need is not met.

I don't have a lack of time with her. Nor can I really think of any need of mine that isn't being met properly. If it was a matter of taking something away from our relationship for the sake of that one, I might have been more outspoken, but it wasn't. I think I was just uncomfortable with her being with someone that makes me uneasy.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I just felt I had no right to ask my partner to not to do something with another person.

I was just uncomfortable with her being with someone that makes me uneasy. (implied: I felt I had no right to tell my partner how I feel about things.)

That's two different things there.

Has she or hasn't she given you the right to reasonable and realistic support and nurture in the relationship?

Do you or do you not have the expectation to be able share your feelings with your partner in your relationship with your partner? Even the yucky one?

Galagirl
 

FreeSpirit

New member
Well, I did voice outright that I was uneasy with it, but in such a way that implied that it'd be fine after I got used to the feelings, which I thought was true at the time. After more thought, I realized it wasn't really something I wanted to be comfortable with in regards to this particular person.

If I could have gone back and changed things, I would have asked her to hold off on it until I had more time to figure out my feelings, but doing that went very poorly in a past relationship, so I told her to just go for it and not worry about my current feelings on the matter. If nothing else, the experience has taught me that I shouldn't and needn't be afraid to ask such things of her. :)
 

nycindie

Active member
I did communicate my concerns about him pretty thoroughly, and she did decide to not pursue it further, though I think it was more out of concern for my desires than out of my caution about the person himself.

I remain friends with him because he's not a bad person at all, he can just be immature . . . I've elected to just be wary about letting him TOO close.

Sometimes I think I feel too obligated to accept things I dislike and get used to them rather than trying to keep them out of my life.

The conflict that this particular situation caused is resolved I think. I just wonder how people in the community tended to deal with stuff like this. I know I might potentially be bothered by a partner interfering with who I wanted to be close to, and I don't want to be a hypocrite about it.

Hmm, that's too bad. I wonder if she didn't feel empowered enough to pursue it with him anyway and make her own choice about whether or not he was a good fit for her. Do you think she listened to you and dropped it out of fear of reprisals from you, or of making you unhappy, thereby having forfeited her own agency in the matter?

I am a solo, so I'm not entangled with a partner, but to my mind, nobody is required to like or get along with their metamour, nor expect that their partner relate to the person in the same way they do. I would hate to be involved with someone who couldn't stand on their own two feet with their partner and stick up for being with me, if a guy I was going out with had an SO who objected for some reason.

The fact is, even though his personality clashes with yours or some behaviors of his bugged you, you have no idea how enriching, inspiring, or fun a relationship with him could have been for her -- and now she'll never know that either. Perhaps she would have handled issues with him, that you see as problematic, in ways that would have been good for both him and her. You and she are two different people, you know. Can you trust that she can make her own decisions and see things from her own perspective, which is just as valid as yours? Were you, perhaps, being a bit too over-protective of her?
 
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paradigm

New member
Thoughtful words. I'm working tooth and nail to adjust my personality sufficiently for poly, and its working. But I want it! So its is a pleasant labor, difficult, but welcome.

No one thinks or understands the same. You are not obligated to be any more accepting of things than your partner. People have limits, and boundaries, we may strive to change them, but you should have them respected based on where they are right now.

If you are working or want to work on loosening them, you need to let her know it. Make a plan, and stick to it, there will be compromise, you will both need compassion, and restraint. But you mustn't sit idle if you plan to change things. If you don't, then you need to be very clear about your feelings, and limits. It's no affront to anyone for you to want to do things how you like, but relationships always require cooperation. Your sharing each others lives requires an agreement to bend for each other. Or you will surely break.

Expect stubbed toes, try to avoid serious hurt. Talking, lots and truthfully, does that best.
 

FreeSpirit

New member
Hmm, that's too bad. I wonder if she didn't feel empowered enough to pursue it with him anyway and make her own choice about whether or not he was a good fit for her. Do you think she listened to you and dropped it out of fear of reprisals from you, or of making you unhappy, thereby having forfeited her own agency in the matter?

I am a solo, so I'm not entangled with a partner, but to my mind, nobody is required to like or get along with their metamour, nor expect that their partner relate to the person in the same way they do. I would hate to be involved with someone who couldn't stand on their own two feet with their partner and stick up for being with me, if a guy I was going out with had an SO who objected for some reason.

The fact is, even though his personality clashes with yours or some behaviors of his bugged you, you have no idea how enriching, inspiring, or fun a relationship with him could have been for her -- and now she'll never know that either. Perhaps she would have handled issues with him, that you see as problematic, in ways that would have been good for both him and her. You and she are two different people, you know. Can you trust that she can make her own decisions and see things from her own perspective, which is just as valid as yours? Were you, perhaps, being a bit too over-protective of her?

Ha ha, I think you've got the wrong idea of the situation. Perhaps I explained it poorly. He's still a very good mutual friend to both of us, and we hang out with him often. I'm certainly doing nothing to stand in the way of them communicating or being close. And her interest in him was pretty mild, and not even really romantic. She had no intention of pursuing a partnership with him.

I appreciate the input, and agree with you on some parts of what you said, but your advice comes off as a bit accusatory. I believe I mentioned earlier in the thread that I told her to go ahead with it despite my discomfort, saying I didn't want my own feelings rational or not, to interfere with their closeness. She refused since she was on the fence about whether to get closer to him at all, and she didn't want to make me uncomfortable.

You saying "and now she'll never know that" implies that I had somehow cut off their contact with each other, which is not at all the case.

I'm sure you meant well, but I feel as though my description of the situation was sorely misunderstood. Perhaps it was pointless to post details of a specific situation on a forum to begin with. It's very difficult for people to understand what's going on in a situation without being there and only being given a brief summary of certain points.
 

nycindie

Active member
Oh, no, I wasn't being accusatory. Sorry if it sounded that way but I wasn't sure how to voice that viewpoint. Yes, sometimes forums are very difficult medium to express concepts and thoughts on situations. I am just musing on it all, as a way to shed a little light on a different perspective. I know you wrestled with your trepidations about him simultaneously with wanting her to know she had the freedom to make her own decision.

I was asking sincerely, "Do you think she listened to you and dropped it out of fear of reprisals from you, or of making you unhappy, thereby having forfeited her own agency in the matter?" I wasn't necessarily assuming that was the case, but posing it as a possibility. I suppose one could say she did indeed make her own choice, but I was just wondering if it was more for you than for herself, after she heard your misgivings about him.

"And now she'll never know" was not meant to imply that you demanded anything, but rather that she decided to back away from it (knowing it would probably please you), rather than take a chance (which might displease you) and see if there was any potential there before nixing him. I wonder what she would have done if you had remained silent about your concerns. And that is what she will never know. Not an accusation.

I'm curious - which parts of my previous post did you agree with or think had some validity? Is it where I asked if you might be a bit overprotective of her?
 
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FreeSpirit

New member
No worries, sorry for taking it the wrong way.

I'm not sure how I could have handled it differently. Remaining silent about my discomfort would be dishonest in my eyes, and not something I'd be comfortable with. I prefer to voice my feelings, but not let them make me nag.

No, I don't think I'm overprotective. I trust her to take care of herself and make her own decisions, though I offer input where I think it'd help. I think I'm the right amount of protective. :p
It wasn't about being afraid of her getting hurt as much as my own discomfort with the situation and person in this case.

I agreed with the part about not being required to get along with your partner's partner. That's her choice, not mine. Doesn't mean I won't voice concerns and displeasure though.
 

nycindie

Active member
I just think this is interesting. You said:
After seeing how much it affected me, she decided to call off the physical aspect of that, just remaining friends, despite me insisting that she shouldn't let my emotions interfere with her bonds with others.

Now, I'm not normally a very jealous person, so it struck me unusual that this incident bothered me as much as it did. After quite a few hours of introspection, considering various things that could have caused me to be so bothered, I settled on my discomfort with him in particular as the primary issue. I didn't find the thought of her being with other friends, or even strangers, nearly as upsetting.

I do have some good reasons for being uncomfortable with this particular friend...he's proven repeatedly irresponsible and dishonest in the past. Though I enjoy his company most of the time, he grates on my nerves a lot, and I just don't feel physically comfortable with him. Beyond that though, I know he's a good person.
So, you did not like the idea of your gf being involved with this man who is a friend of yours, pondered why it made you uncomfortable, and concluded it was because in the past he was "proven" irresponsible and dishonest, and he gets on your nerves. You let her know and made it clear it was her decision, but she saw how icky it was for you, ended the sex with him, and you feel relieved.

My question (not just for you in this situation but for anyone) is: are these reasons enough to voice concerns and possibly put the kabosh on your partner's potential relationship? Sure, you knew him longer and better than she does, but were you assuming he had not changed his "irresponsible" and "dishonest" ways? Did you think she couldn't handle that? Did you discuss your concerns with him as well? Why is your discomfort a factor in who she should be with? I am not asking these questions as a judgment of you, but to further the discussion because, as a solo who may possibly run into situations where a SO might not approve of me, I do find the issue compelling. This is a murky area where it isn't really a veto but is pretty darn close to being a veto. How much sway should a primary partner have when their SO wants to date or fuck someone else, I wonder?
 

FreeSpirit

New member
Not sure if your questions are hypothetical, but I'll answer them as if they weren't.

These things are all subjective, and depend on the individual relationship and the people involved. It's going to be murky and situational even within the parameters of an individual relationship oftentimes.

When it comes down to it, we all have absolute freedom in our relationships. The question is, how far outside our partner's comfort zones are we willing to tread, and how much are they willing to tolerate? I don't think it's unreasonable to ask a partner to make some small sacrifices for the sake of the other partner's comfort or happiness, but asking or doing too much that bothers the other will strain a relationship. If such a strain becomes too extreme, the relationship may break simply because it's a more negative force than a positive one in a person's life.

That's why compatibility is so important. So both partners can stay in or close to each other's comfort zones most of the time rather than having to choose between denying their own freedom or making each other uncomfortable or miserable constantly.
 
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