Opening a relationship- how long is too long?

LilithHp

New member
First I'll start by saying I know its unrealistic to have an exact date or timeline for these things as every situation is unique. I won't give the whole long backstory on my situation, but to summarize I am the long-distance girlfriend to somebody who is in a barely-functioning (unrelated to my existence) monogamous relationship which they are now trying to open. She is aware of me and has agreed to try this, although she has back-tracked at times. As a result of the strain he & I's relationship is causing while he tries to fix foundational issues in theirs, he has asked to not see me because he feels their relationship isn't yet strong enough to withstand this. As somebody who has been in the position of trying to help an existing partner through the process of opening a relationship, I understand that it's often a messy, 2 steps forward 1 step back process and that her back-tracking isn't necessarily a sign that she isn't actually suited for it. He fully believes that with time, she will get there. He's also said both that he is not interested in returning back to a monogamous relationship with her and that if it becomes obvious she's not able to get to the place she needs to be to be in a polyamorous relationship, he would end the relationship with her. She has shown signs of progress (gone on a date of her own, etc) but to date she has not reached the point where he feels like he wouldn't be "doing this TO her, instead of with her" (his words). This has been going on for 5 months and as a result, I haven't seen him in that long either.

I guess my main issue is that I feel like my own needs have been going unaddressed, and while I expected and can tolerate some of this temporarily I find myself questioning whether I am delusional to believe that sometimes these situations do work out. I don't have an extensive poly network or even much poly experience myself besides opening my previous relationship and I didn't have somebody "waiting in the wings" at that time. I go back and forth between wanting to be a support for him while he struggles with a dysfunctional relationship and the added strain of making such a big change, and feeling resentful that I've had to shelf my own needs. There's also a small part of me that feels like the support and comfort he gets from our relationship (things that are missing in his other relationship) might be enabling him to suffer in his current relationship and I struggle again with the issue of not knowing whether I should be offering the support somebody who has to end a relationship needs or if I'm only helping it to limp forward for longer. I also do believe that at lease some of their incompatibilities could be fixed by allowing each other to have differing needs met by others (for example, she is bisexual) and I do believe he earnestly believes that she will get there but I also don't know that I agree and I'm just not sure how long something like this can go on. My gut is telling me to push through this with love and compassion, but my anxiety and self-doubt creeps in and makes me wonder if it would be best to abandon hope. I've tried reading different books on the subject (I've actually just sent her a book on it as well, hoping that helps move things along) and while I've read and am aware that both outcomes are possible, I guess it might be helpful to hear from actual people who have experienced it. Any personal stories, insights, good signs to look for, red flags, perspectives from people who have either been the couple trying to open their relationship or the person waiting in the wings, anything, would be appreciated.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello LilithHp,

If your gut is telling you to push through this with love and compassion, then that's probably what you should do. With one caveat. Take some time to think about worst-case scenarios. How long would you really be willing to wait for this couple to get their act together? a year? ten years? fifty years? Figure out now what's your limit, and mark the date on the calendar showing when that limit is up. Make it so you know where the light is at the end of the tunnel, so you don't have to feel like you are just stuck with this forever. Personally I think a year would be long enough, but you have to decide what works best for you.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am sorry you struggle.

I am the long-distance girlfriend to somebody who is in a barely-functioning (unrelated to my existence) monogamous relationship which they are now trying to open.

I would not shop at this store. Why put me in weird?

Maybe you didn't know going in, but now that you know? In your shoes I'd get out. Doesn't sound like they are ready for healthy poly. They are not healthy in themselves.

As a result of the strain he & I's relationship is causing while he tries to fix foundational issues in theirs, he has asked to not see me because he feels their relationship isn't yet strong enough to withstand this

That sounds like a soft break up to me. I think you could call it more firmly and bow out firmly. Rather than drag it out and let things "limp along" on this side too. Be more firm of purpose. They don't sound prepared for open relationship. It's a pitfall to start kinda dating without really being ready.


Sometimes the other people they date end up collateral damage. I could be wrong but to me it sounds like participating like this with these folks is hurting you.

Sounds like you are tired of waiting around anyway. And you are tired of your side of V getting the short stick while he attends to the other side of the V. And you've been wondering if being with you enables him to drag out or put off making decisions on that side. Helping that side to limp along.

It's been almost 5 mos of struggle and you aren't really seeing him in that time? I'd move on. Take yourself out of the equation.

Tell him you wish him well, you appreciate his efforts and (if you want to) that he can look you up in future. when

a) he is actually free to poly date because they finished working it out

or

b) he is actually free to poly date because they broke up.

Stop putting your own needs on the shelf. Then you can stop feeling resentful.

My gut is telling me to push through this with love and compassion, but my anxiety and self-doubt creeps in and makes me wonder if it would be best to abandon hope.

I mean this kindly, ok?

You could demonstrate love and compassion for your own self first. And get out of a "not really going anywhere" thing that is hurting and causing you anxiety and stress.

You could wish him well in however it is it unfolds for him. That's love and compassion enough for him. You are not obligated to have a front row seat in that show.

You don't have to abandon all hope around poly dating just because the first one you date after opening up your own other relationship isn't a runner.

That's what dating is FOR. To find out who the compatible ones are. Some will be. Some won't.

I know it's a bummer though. Nobody loves breaking up. :(

I hope you feel better over time.

Galagirl
 
Last edited:
Top