(Re)opening up is hard - and that's okay, right?

I think it's great that you can just deal with Alicia being away with her OSO by thinking of it as her being with friends doing random whatever, and not focus on the sex or romance, thereby getting all jealous or envious or fearful or otherwise anxious. Honestly, when I started practicing poly, I soon got to that mindset: Pixi is off having fun with a friend. I love Pixi. I want her to live a full, satisfying and fun life. So whether she's gone to another state to visit her family and friends from her childhood, or off to work at a sleepaway camp for three months (she's a camp director), or having lunch locally with a friend, or seeing her bf for the weekend in the next town, all those activities get categorized into the same place in my mind.

I have her for X days a week and I stay in the moment and enjoy our days together, and then she enjoys her other activities, and I enjoy mine.

Things will only be even better when you're not ill while she's away, and you are distracted by exercise in the fresh air, fun with friends, doing your hobbies, etc.
I started off just wanting basic sharing, because he's my partner, and for me, intimacy is created with sharing. Only things outside of normal were limited. We would share things like went to dinner and movies, with details about the restaurant, the food, the movie, if we should go to eat there someday, or skip it entirely, just as if we had a conversation when they went out with friends. (We would leave out detailed info about the person we dated.) I wanted to know when the relationship became sexual (mouths on genitals, or genitals on genitals), if condoms were used, and when or if true feelings were developing.

As we got further in, we experimented with little bits to see how we felt. As our comfort levels increased, so did the amount we shared. We are now comfortable sharing anything. We never share intimate details freely, but we do share openly if asked, and if we feel our other partner's privacy isn’t being violated without consent.

Do what feels right for you. There's no right or wrong answer.
Hey. everyone. It's been a while. Thanks for your kind responses.

I feel like I've pretty much normalised the fact that my partner is dating somebody else, and when speaking to friends I refer to Jess as Alicia's girlfriend, which may seem silly, but it feels significant to me.

Re: my last posts about asking about stuff about her trip: I feel it went fine. We spoke about what they'd done that weekend, the boardgame they'd played, the friends they'd hung out with, etc. There was still the question about whether to explicitly ask about whether they had sex or not. I decided to assume they had, as we'd spoken about it previously, and it didn't really bother me that much.

During the following weeks they videocalled a few times. Alicia mentions her in conversation sometimes. It's all chill. In one of my therapy sessions, my shrink put forward the idea of me asking about them having sex, though, not in the sense of asking for details, but because he felt it would be good for me to hear it explicitly, and emotionally process what it meant, and how it made me feel. I thought about it, but it remained something on my mental to-do list and not a priority. (The fact that we didn't have this conversation will become relevant later. 💀 ) Things with Alicia have been going well. We've been having date nights, cuddling lots, etc.

Until she fucked up majorly two nights ago. Which is what I want to vent about tonight (it's around 11 pm here). It's a bit long, so I'm going to try to type it all out in a separate comment. I've only spoken about this with one friend and I'm struggling quite a lot, so I think it will help me to write it down.
Sorry to hear that you have hit a snag; it sounds like things were going really well for a while there.
Sex discussion ahead.

So. She basically crossed one of my boundaries and I'm quite upset about it. It's not a dealbreaker for me. I don't want to break up with her. I don't think it's the end of the world.

(This is quite an achievement, considering my BPD tendencies. lmao A few years ago I'd be having a major breakdown. I'm just having a small one. lol I bought some cigarettes for the first time in months, which I'm not proud of, but it's better than other forms of self-harm I've partaken of in the past.)

But I do consider it a major breach of trust, and I don't know how it can be repaired. I am trying to be compassionate with myself and with her. I believe this is a one-off, a huge and hurtful mistake, but not symptomatic and part of a pattern, since she has always been very respectful of me during the past 7-8 years. But I am feeling angry, hurt, used, ashamed, and also a bit disgusted. I only slept 4 hours last night, so forgive me if I am not too eloquent or ramble a bit.

As I mentioned in another post, I established a boundary: I will not have oral or penetrative sex with Alicia until she gets tested for STIs four months after having sex with Jess for the first time. Jess has other sexual partners, and Alicia told me that although they would use condoms for penetrative sex, they would not for oral sex. It may seem like overkill to some, but I value my sexual health and am a regular blood donor, and STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea can take around four months to show up on screens. And so, before she left to visit her, I communicated this boundary to her, willingly "sacrificing" an important part of our sex life until June because we'd been having sex for years and they've only just started, and I'm not going to die from just doing hand stuff for a while.

Since Alicia came back from visiting Jess, we've fooled around (sounds so juvenile, lol), and had sex in ways other than oral or penetrative. As I said, we never actually spoke about whether they'd had sex or not, but I assumed that they did, more so when I saw we were sticking to these forms of sexual contact.

However, two nights ago, we were in bed and things started getting hot and heavy, and long story short, Alicia tried to penetrate me (with no condom, I might add). I was like, "Whoa-- what's happening?" and physically stopped her, asking "Wait-- is this okay?" (by which I meant, "So have you guys not had sex? What's going on?"), to which she replied "It's okay. Jess got tested." And for a minute I was like, "Oh, okay," and actively engaged, but then she stopped because it wasn't working out. (TMI, for all of this, I guess. But basically our genitals were not collaborating.)

While she lay next to me, I suddenly processed everything that had just happened and I was like, "Excuse me, what the fuck just happened?"

As I described out loud what had happened and what I was feeling, she too realised what she'd done: First of all, this was not my boundary. I could care less that Jess got tested, and EVEN if she has, it doesn't even matter, because it hadn't been a full four months since she'd had sex with another person, which isn't even the fucking point, because that was NOT my boundary.

You cannot get to unilaterally change MY fucking boundary just because you're horny and want to stick your dick in me, and only mention it because I ASKED you, alarmed, because this is NOT what we had agreed to. Plus, you literally fucking imply that you fucked someone else (which I already knew, but was trying to process in my own time) as you're attempting to penetrate me.

Man, it's just so disgusting to type out, not because it's disgusting to have sex with other people, or because I find the idea of them having sex morally wrong or repulsive or anything, but because what the fuck? Time and place? I feel angry, sad, disgusted, used, betrayed, disrespected and disappointed.

She apologised profusely. I don't know how to interact with her at the moment. I don't know what I need or want in order for this to be repaired. I don't know how it can be repaired, apart from her apologising and just giving me time.

She's giving me space and time. She's asking me what I need. She's apologised. She said this is the worst thing she's ever done to me, but she's not, like, grovelling in her own guilt and making it about her or anything, although I know she feels terrible. I just don't know what to do, to be quite honest.

Last night (so the following night after this happened) I couldn't sleep. At 3 or 4 am she woke up to go to the bathroom and saw that I was awake. She asked if she could help me, and I was like, "Look, I don't want us to just go over and over this, but I need to know WHY this happened. What was going through your mind? Did you even think about this? Why or when did you decide that my boundaries, my bodily autonomy, and my decisions didn't matter? Did you decide this beforehand, or was it just because you 'forgot,' in a horny haze?"

She said it was a bit of both, that Jess had told her (after the visit) that she'd got tested, and she (Alicia) sort of thought, "Oh well, it's okay, then." (But that she knows it was wrong and that she fucked up.) And I was like, "Okay, so you were just being selfish."

And yeah. I dunno, man. Maybe it's not that big of a deal, or maybe it's a massive deal. I don't really know what to do, other than feel all these things that I'm feeling.

Coincidentally, Jess is here for the weekend. She booked a hotel and Alicia is staying with her for two nights. Honestly, I think it will do me well, because I don't really know how to interact with her at the moment. I've hugged her and we're still sleeping in the same bed and everything, and I'm not interested in stuff like being punitive and making her suffer, or giving her the silent treatment, or shit like that (stuff I would've done in the past, oops.) I'm mostly just angry and disappointed and... idk.

This is mostly a vent, but compassionate advice or feedback is welcome, I guess? This is not necessarily a poly thing, I know. It's her being selfish and disrespectful. But I think it has to do with the fact that she'd never slept with anyone else before, which is not an excuse but... idk.

Eurghh! Thanks for reading thus far, if you have!
I'm sorry that happened. I hear that you're confused and very upset, and you have BPD and emotions flare easily. (One of my adult kids has BPD, so I well know what that's like.)

I am also glad, just for clarity's sake, that because of this incident we, your readers, can understand who has what shape of genitals in this situation. I'm non-binary myself (in my head, my body is female), and my transwoman gf has not had bottom surgery. I know it's terrible to ask or assume what's going on downstairs with gender queers! But since we are frankly addressing the use of protection during sex, it's good to understand who has what shape of genitals, and if we're talking about using condoms, or dental dams, or what.

I can understand why Jess was confused, since some of your questions, thoughts and feelings around sex health, protection, labs, and even whether you should ask if oral or genital sex had happened with Alicia have gone unasked. I see you were trying to be delicate and work around not actually knowing who was doing what to whom, by insisting on condoms for you and Jess, if you two were going to have penetrative sex or oral sex of any kind.

However, with all the moving parts, and different partners, and Alicia having been tested, it sounds like Jess made a mistake.

Sometimes people make mistakes, especially when they are new to polyamory. And Jess is just starting to experience having sex with someone other than you. She's not a sex-having expert in general. She slipped up. But you stopped things, made her think twice, the penetration didn't work, and the risk of some disease slipping through, in the midst of all that, is probably close to zero.

I don't think it would be prying, at this point, to find out for sure whether Jess and Alicia have had penetrative or oral sex, and whether they are using condoms for penetrative sex, and/or dental dams for oral sex (if someone, Alicia or her other partners has a vagina... again, it's complicated).

For me, more information is better than less. Just knowing the bare facts of "sex is happening" is nothing like wanting to know where they had sex, for how long, what positions, how often, and all that. And of course, you can reiterate that you're concerned about STI in the throat, and weigh the risks of that.

Personally, in my many years of being poly, and having had sex with a few dozen people (mostly men, and two women), I've only used condoms for PIV. I've never used protection during oral sex, either giving it or receiving it. I weighed the risks and decided they were low, especially when only having had partners who were tested for STIs regularly. My labs have come back negative every single time. I know that's just my anecdote, but I am one lab rat in the study lol
Hi Espoir,

I'm sorry to hear about Alicia's fuck-up. It sounds like she didn't mean to do any harm, and just got caught up in the moment. In the wake of that, I wonder if you would feel any better if you got tested at this point. It might be a way of at least knowing whether Alicia had given you an STI. Something to think about.

Kevin T.
Thank you, Magdlyn and Kevin, for your kind replies.

I actually felt so anxious after posting that. I dunno, I guess it's scary to be vulnerable online. (Although I have been a chronic over-sharer for years, currently in recovery lol.)

I wanted to clarify, just in case, that when I've spoken to Alicia about this, I did not swear as I did when typing out the post. I was venting. But even though I was upset during our conversation, I remained civil, didn't raise my voice, etc. I feel it's important to state this, because I know that many people with BPD do resort to yelling and name-calling (aka verbal abuse) when triggered. But this wasn't the case, and I reassured her throughout that I didn't hate her or think she was an awful person or anything. She struggled with this because she felt guilty and like I shouldn't be reassuring her, but I know that I struggle with understanding that someone can still love me despite being angry, so I did so anyway.

I am feeling a lot better today. Having space from her was good. And I was able to speak about the situation with three different people-- two poly friends, one of whom I used to date (and we're still queer platonic partners, really) and have known for many many years, and who knows Alicia also. (We all lived together for several years while at uni.) And then this morning I spoke with my therapist.

Mags, I am a non-binary person with a vulva, and both Jess (my meta) and Alicia (my partner - I think you got the nicknames mixed up!) are non-op transwomen. When I established this boundary, before they ever had sex, Alicia and I had a conversation where we spoke about barriers and such. Alicia said they would use condoms for penetration, but that they would not use barriers for oral sex. This is why I decided I would not have oral or penetrative sex with Alicia until she got an STI test.

I completely agree with both of you in that it was a mistake, and as Mags said, that Alicia has only just started having sex with other people. (Shit, this is the first time she had sex with someone who isn't me!) Basically, she just got caught up in the moment. I hope to be able to make this clear to Alicia when I see her again.

She came home last night from spending the weekend with Jess, and was feeling horrible, saying she felt like what she'd done was "one step removed from rape," and not accepting when I said it was a miscommunication issue.

I do think Alicia broke a boundary, but I believe this whole situation wouldn't have blown up like this if I'd just asked whether they'd had sex or not, instead of just assuming they had, and avoiding the conversation. My QPP said this was a learning experience and that now I know I need to communicate and openly talk about stuff that might be bothering me.

Similarly, my therapist suggested that this whole STI test/no-sex-for-four-months boundary, although legitimate, could be a way of me attempting to control an anxiety-inducing reality, that is, that Alicia is having sex with another person, and the emotional implications this has. It's definitely true that, in retrospect, what hurt me the most was the fact that the boundary was crossed, and how this made me feel, and not the content in itself. I'm not worried about having an STI, plus the fact that this reality I'd been avoiding (although, as I insisted to my shrink, "I already knew they'd had sex!") crystallised in the worst context possible, lol, by being confirmed in the middle of us having sex.

I think we can overcome this. I am looking forward to seeing Alicia tomorrow (she's spending the day and night with Jess again today, since she's leaving tomorrow) and spending some time together, reconnecting, and talking about this. My QPP (let's call them River) told me about how they and their partner do R.A.D.A.R. about once a month, and that it could be exhausting at times, but was really worth it, and I think I will suggest it to Alicia. It's a tool I already know existed, since I've been doing poly research for about three years, lol but just sort of forgot about.

On a different topic, but related to poly and our situation, when Alicia came home last night I asked how her weekend had gone and she said generally well, but that on that day she and Jess had had a really intense conversation. Jess had told her that she resented feeling unwelcome in her home. I immediately told her that I'd rather not know this information, and that it's better to compartmentalise and not talk about her relationship with Jess with me because I am not a neutral party. She apologised (it is her first time hingeing!) and said she wouldn't talk about this stuff with me again. I do feel for her though, because she is overwhelmed and struggling. In her own words, she feels as if she is neglecting us both.

Regarding this information that I now have (although I shouldn't, but it's too late), I hope to be able to speak about it with Alicia too, not about Jess or her feelings, but about agreements we can have about the house. We live together and we sleep in the same bed. (My room is the master bedroom, and although Alicia has her own room with a single bed, she mostly uses it as storage and it's a mess atm.) Before we'd even met Jess, in the talking stages about opening up, I stated that didn't want her (or me) to have sex with other people in our house. This doesn't mean people can't come over, and in fact Jess has been in our house before, although I wasn't there at the time. Once we talk about the sex situation and everything, I want to reiterate that Jess can obviously come home, and that in the future I could agree with them being able to have sex in the house (still not in my/our bed, that's a definite no from me), but probably when I'm not there. I want to be realistic and not establish boundaries, rules or agreements that are more liable to be broken because they are difficult, vague and/or unrealistic.

And that's all for now, folks. Thanks for this space!
Just wanted to pop in and say we finally did our first R.A.D.A.R. today and it went really well! Which is not to say it was easy, but we laid out a bunch of stuff we needed to talk about, namely things there'd been miscommunication about (or no communication at all). I'm too tired atm to lay it all out but I'm feeling positive about it all!

Also thinking about making a tinder account again for the first time in years lmao but no rush.
Hey everyone! Quick question - my meta has a conference in our city next month and has a hotel room available (paid for by her job) but asked if she could stay at our place. Now i wouldn't mind a couple of days, and she has stayed here for the weekend a couple of times (after I spoke with Alicia about how Jess was definitely welcome to stay as long as she didn't sleep in my bed) but apparently it would be a whole week, is it unreasonable to say a week's a bit too much?

Even if it was a friend i think a week's quite a lot, I don't mind putting people up for like 3 days (or more if it's an emergency, in the past I've had people move in with me for months rent free when they were homeless etc) but more is exhausting, I'm an #introvert and this isn't even a friend of mine, this is my nesting partner's partner whom I don't know all that well yet and I'm still a bit awkward about.

I will talk this over with my gf obviously but idk, what do you guys reckon?
She's got a paid for hotel room...to me it's a no brainer, she stays there.
Hey everyone! Quick question - my meta has a conference in our city next month and has a hotel room available (paid for by her job) but asked if she could stay at our place. Now i wouldn't mind a couple of days, and she has stayed here for the weekend a couple of times (after I spoke with Alicia about how Jess was definitely welcome to stay as long as she didn't sleep in my bed) but apparently it would be a whole week, is it unreasonable to say a week's a bit too much?

Even if it was a friend i think a week's quite a lot, I don't mind putting people up for like 3 days (or more if it's an emergency, in the past I've had people move in with me for months rent free when they were homeless etc) but more is exhausting, I'm an #introvert and this isn't even a friend of mine, this is my nesting partner's partner whom I don't know all that well yet and I'm still a bit awkward about.

I will talk this over with my gf obviously but idk, what do you guys reckon?
If you think a week is too much then you can absolutely say that.

"I'd love to host her for x nights"

Do what feels comfortable to you. She has a hotel paid for anyway so it's not like she will be out money or on the streets.
Hey everyone! Quick question - my meta has a conference in our city next month and has a hotel room available (paid for by her job) but asked if she could stay at our place. Now i wouldn't mind a couple of days, and she has stayed here for the weekend a couple of times (after I spoke with Alicia about how Jess was definitely welcome to stay as long as she didn't sleep in my bed) but apparently it would be a whole week, is it unreasonable to say a week's a bit too much?

Even if it was a friend i think a week's quite a lot, I don't mind putting people up for like 3 days (or more if it's an emergency, in the past I've had people move in with me for months rent free when they were homeless etc) but more is exhausting, I'm an #introvert and this isn't even a friend of mine, this is my nesting partner's partner whom I don't know all that well yet and I'm still a bit awkward about.

I will talk this over with my gf obviously but idk, what do you guys reckon?
I'd say she's got some nerve just inviting herself to stay in your house for a whole week. I have never ever invited myself to stay in someone's house. Not for a day, not for a weekend, certainly not for longer. I wait to be invited.

And she's got a hotel room! Why on earth would she impose on you, her metamour, in that way?
Thanks, everyone, for your perspectives. Apologies in advance for my post just now. It's 3.30 am here and I just got home from having drinks with friends and trying to distract myself, but I'm feeling like shit and really anxious and worried. I feel like crying, but tears won't come out. I'm mostly in shock, I think.

Basically, Alicia talked to Jess about her staying only a few days at home, as opposed to a week, and she's breaking up with her (as in, my meta Jess is breaking up with my partner Alicia).

When Alicia and I spoke about Jess coming over for a week, and I proposed a few days instead of a week, we had two convos about it. In the first one, I was normal, and said I thought it was a bit too much, plus I was worried about stuff like Alicia going off to work in the morning and Jess and me being home alone, having to hang out awkwardly. In our second convo about it, Alicia had spoken to Jess about it and Jess had told her that she'd be out working most of the day (from 9 am til 7pm) so it's not like she'd be at home all day.

I have to say, I wasn't the easiest person to speak with at that moment, because basically I'd got home from work, and they were having a videocall, and I didn't know, so there was a weird moment when I walked into Alicia's room and they were on videochat and I was like, "Oh sorry."

Then I was a bit spaced out and dissociated because I was annoyed. (I'd been texting Alicia throughout the day, asking her about a plan for next weekend. She didn't want to confirm. I was like "Should I sign us up?" to a shibari workshop thing, and she said, "Wait until this evening," but wouldn't tell me why. I had to wait for her to say yes or no, and it was because she needed to talk to Jess about whether she was going to go visit her or not. But she didn't tell me).

Anyway. They finished their videochat and Alicia told me about Jess working throughout the day and I (dissociated and not making eye contact, until eventually I did) told her that I still thought a week was too much, that she could stay three nights or whatever, but that a week was too much for me because it disrupted my routine at home, etc. I said that I was worried that I was being unfair and unreasonable and Alicia said she didn't think so. I said I felt like she was insisting by asking again, but she said that she just wanted to check if the fact that Jess would be out during the day would change anything, but that she understood that it didn't, and that she'd tell Jess and that she was sure Jess would understand.

This was two days ago. They spoke today, and it turns out Jess did not understand. She feels hurt, second-best. She's in pain and she can't deal with a relationship like that and she wants to break up. I feel like utter shit, because this is not what I wanted at all. I want Alicia to be happy and I'm like "Fuck, if it's such a dealbreaker, she can stay the week then!!!" But Alicia was like, "It's too late." She thinks I've been selfish and micromanaged her and Jess's relationship. And yeah, I dunno.

I know it's not my relationship, but I feel so bad, and I'm scared that if they do break up, Alicia will resent me forever.

Thanks for reading.
Also, normally we both sleep in my bed, but she's taken her duvet and her pillow and she's sleeping in her room. Which like, fair enough, because she's angry and upset and needs space. But I'm so scared.
Jess is a fucking drama queen who clearly isn't ready to be in a poly relationship. She overstepped. She could have just as easily invited Alicia to spend the week with her in the PAID FOR hotel, but no. Your place or nothing. Ugh.

You weren't micromanaging their relationship, you were really goddamn generous with three nights at your place while you were also going to be home maintaining your daily routine.

This was just an excuse, Jess was spoiling for a fight so she manufactured one. Let it go because it's not your problem.
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I feel like I'm going a little bit insane over here.

Alicia and I spoke this morning, and she feels that I've been super inflexible with all this, that I've only focused on my well-being, that telling her that I didn't want to have Jess at home for a week because it would "break my routine" (one of the reasons I gave her) is an excuse to control her relationship. I told her that I actually feel like it's the other way around, that at least in the last few months I have made efforts and been flexible... and that after talking to other people last night and thinking about it more, it still doesn't seem out of line or excessive to say that Jess could be home for 3-4 days instead of a week. And that's more or less when she told me that she felt I had antagonised Jess through her and that she didn't want to talk anymore.

A while later, she came over to tell me that they'd spoken and that they're not breaking up in the end, which I was glad to hear. And that Jess would text me. I asked if she knew what Jess was going to talk to me about and she said no.

Now I'm just trying to give Alicia some space, since she's feeling very angry, hurt and resentful, and I don't think it's the right moment to talk until things calm down a bit. I've spent the day anxious in bed sleeping on and off because I was having a bit of a breakdown, but I spoke to my shrink on the phone and I'm feeling better. He said I hadn't been unreasonable, but that Alicia is obviously struggling with trying to balance everything and keeping everyone happy, and that it's a huge strain on her, and that I just have to wait out her anger and hurt until we can talk properly.

Now the part where I've actually gone from feeling anxious, scared and upset into actually angry in disbelief lmao - I got said texts from Jess and I'm like ????? actually feeling some BPD rage growing in my stomach and getting pissed off both at her and specially Alicia for being a shit hinge. This is it:


I definitely agree with the bit about how it would be nice to get to know each other better, blah blah, but generally I'm like, excuse me, what the fuck? How is it MY responsibility to tell Jess about my boundaries when I'm not in a relationship with her? Again, I mostly believe this is a hinge problem and not a meta problem, but I'm genuinely baffled at how Jess would think this is a normal thing to say, when in theory she's the one who has been practicing poly for years, whereas Alicia and I are newbies.

I can understand that Jess wants KTP. But I don't, as I have clearly stated since the beginning: I am not interested in parallel or DADT, but garden variety, or whatever you call it, is fine by me, unless a meta and I would organically become actual friends. But I do not think this can or should be forced.

Am I being crazy here?? With a BPD diagnosis and knowing that so often in the past and still nowadays I do have irrational and/or disproportional emotions/reactions to things, it's really hard for me to figure out when I'm being reasonable or not.

I'm not going to answer her before I A) Calm the fuck down B) Have another talk with Alicia. But honestly, I just think it's pretty wild.

Thanks so much again.
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"So we're not putting all the pressure on Alicia"

I call foul on this. Alicia is choosing to maintain two intimate relationships with two different people at the same time. Aren't they? So all that pressure? That's the job she chose. It's her job now. That job is what polyamorous folks call being a "hinge". Sure, a hinge can ask their partners for some help and support, but the partners aren't obliged to make themselves uncomfortable just so the hinge can have both relationships.

To use an imperfect analogy: If you take a second job to make some extra cash? I'm afraid your first job is not obliged to accommodate you if you're just not around on Mondays anymore. You can ask them, sure. But they are fully within their rights to say, "No. We need you to uphold the agreement we made." You made a choice to undertake more labour—now you have to do the labour.

That's my perspective, anyway. It's intensely unfair to you to expect or demand that you have any sort of relationship with someone for any reason other than you enthusiastically want to have a relationship with them.