Stuck at a crossroads and need help

Confusedlove

New member
Hello, I’m relatively new to the idea of polyamory and myself being polyamorous and could really use some help. It’s a bit of a long story but please bare with me.

To start things off, I’ve been in a relationship for almost 6 years now. I started researching polyamory around November of last year. It started because I had a crush on my SOs best friend (I know big taboo in the polyamory world) that eventually devolved into limerency and had wanted to find a way to make it ok. As I continued researching I learned that I identify as polyamorous. I started talking to my partner about me having feelings for other people (didn’t lead with her best friend) and she wasn’t happy about it. She eventually calmed down and admitted that there are people that interest her too, but she doesn’t feel the need to pursue them. A few months later I admitted to her that I’ve been coping with feelings towards her best friend.
Right now it feels like I’ve torpedoed my relationship. I know I’ll be happy and feel fulfilled in a monogamous relationship with her. At the same time though her primary resistance to polyamory is the thought of me leaving her behind, something I know id never do. This isn’t me asking how to convince her of letting me pursue a polyamorous lifestyle. This is me asking what questions I can discuss with her to make her feel more secure and better explore what’s going through our minds The best friend thing is something I’m working through on my own, and the limerence has made it a lot harder to think clearly about what happens when I’m done discussing polyamory with my partner. But I want to make this relationship work with her. The other thing I could use advice on, I know I’m asking a lot, is how people cope with feelings for someone close to your partner that you know you can’t explore. I’ve acknowledged that before I was limerent there were genuine feelings towards her friend. I feel like when I get through the limerency there will still be feelings there. It’s already starting to take a toll on their friendship, which I can’t help but feel guilty for. Any thoughts would be appreciated, I’m an open book.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle. I hope you feel better for airing some of that out.

I am going to repeat back what I understand in my own words. You tell me if I get it wrong ok? Blue just to visually block it off.

I am willing to participate in a monogamous relationship with her. Mostly I'm happy participating here.
  • To make participating in this relationship better/richer/closer, I would like us to feel safe talking to each other about what is on our minds.
    • I would like greater emotional and mental intimacy with her.
    • I told her some of the things going on in my mind, hoping to start that. But...
      • Soft limit: She's gotten triggered and this is a topic we cannot share thoughts and feelings on. She might be willing to open up more with other topics. So we can share our inner lives.
      • Hard limit: She's not interested in knowing me/my inner life. Or sharing hers. She doesn't want to be closer or share greater emotional/mental intimacy.
      • Something else?
  • I also have another problem.
    • I know my crush on her friend isn't going anywhere and I don't want to pursue it. How do I help me get over it faster?
    • My partner treats her friend different now that partner knows I have a crush on friend. I feel guilty/responsible for my partner's change in behavior toward her friend. How do I get over that when I don't actually control my partner's behavior towards other people?

Is that what you are asking?

Galagirl
 
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Confusedlove

New member
To the first part it’s a soft limit/ other. I’m not always the one bringing it up with her but she also has anxiety problems so us talking can devolve into her sobbing and freaking out. I want to be able to have a proper and in-depth conversation with her to better define what the boundaries of our relationship are, but also better understand why she feels the way she does and what I can do to ease any anxiety she may have. She and I have talked about it I’d say biweekly but I feel like it normally only glances the surface, and if we ever go deeper it’s kinda forgotten as she starts to act panicked.

For the second part you hit it pretty close to the head. I wouldn’t say I KNOW that things with her friend are going nowhere. Limerency makes it hard for me to look at things objectively and I easily dig deeper into my hole when I see things that could suggest there is something there. Her friend is aware of my feelings for her. Right now it feels like there’s something my partner isn’t telling me too. Our most recent conversations about it touched on her pain that I fell for her friend, but also concern that I have love for her (I don’t talk to her at all). She said she doesn’t feel capable of interacting with her as much because it just makes her think of me having feelings for her.

My partner will bounce between distress over me identifying as polyamorous and how it will impact our relationship in the future and talking about the thing with her friend. The topics are kinda intertwined for us at this point.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Do some things have to happen to improve individual or couple health before you get around to talking about your poly thoughts and feelings?
  • Like your partner needs to work on her anxiety management/ emotional flooding?
  • Do either need to work on personal boundaries with people?
  • You both need more practice in how to have important conversations in effective installments and not like marathon sessions that wear both out?
  • Something else to improve communication skills?
  • Are you both too enmeshed or needing to detangle? Too "joined at the hip?"
I wouldn’t say I KNOW that things with her friend are going nowhere.

You don't always control what you feel. You do get to choose how you want to behave.

For me? I do know. Because I decide. I could decide (and have decided when I was crushing on friends)
"Yeah, I have a crush on this friend and I'm going to enjoy it for what it is til it fades out. But actually trying to poly date this friend would would make things weird or messy. So I'm just NOT ever going to pursue it in real life. Not even if the friend wanted to reciprocate."

The thing about polyamory? It's not like there's only 1 right one. There are many right ones, but some don't always come at the right time or in the right circumstances. So it's ok to enjoy a crush and not pursue. Just let it go on by.

And then there is this to consider. Are your expectations of your partner realistic?

Like... you WANT to be closer/share more of your inner life with them. Are they willing AND able? Are they even the right person for the job?

Like my mom wants to be close, and I'd welcome that. Both are willing. But over the years I figured out that even though she wants to be? She is not actually ABLE. She just gets weird/anxiety whooshes at me/centers herself and her reactions rather than centering me and LISTENING to what I am trying to share.

I don't like this behavior. She offers me listening, and then I do what? Tend to her anxiety whooshies? So it's just a lot more peaceful and less work NOT to try to be that close with her. Giving up the want to be THAT close means the relationship I DO get to have with her is more enjoyable.

I just don't feel like banging head on wall, and I have other people to be close with.

I know that a mom relationship is not the same as a partner relationship. But I guess you could sit with that question in your soul searching.
  • Can I be ok with a partner who can do X, but not Y? Does it have to be partner that does this job in my life or can I have a poly buddy to talk poly stuff with instead?
  • Or do I REALLY want my partner to be able to do both X and Y... So this specific person can't be my partner? Close, maybe even initially compatible, but no. Not deeply compatible.
Right now it feels like I’ve torpedoed my relationship.

I don't really see this as you torpedoing the relationship. You are just trying to RELATE inside the relationship, and figure out what kind of relationship this is gonna be. 6 years in? You are past the NRE, initial attraction, and initial compatibility stuff. You are moving on to assess DEEP compatibility.

You are being up front and honest, and you can't be a mind reader. I get some of the conversations are hard but... so what? She's your partner of 6 years. Not the mailman.

Mailman, bank teller, grocery bagger... those are like "surface, basic stranger polite" relationships you have, right? Small talk like "have a nice day!" Your expectations of them are different than your expectations of a partner of 6 years.

What ARE your expectations? Do you do a mix of small, medium and big talk?

And how many years do people have to clock in a relationship together before the persons in the relationship are secure with each other?

This is me asking what questions I can discuss with her to make her feel more secure and better explore what’s going through our minds

Well, you can do 100% of this job. Do your fair share not to provoke or kick her anxiety bucket over deliberately.

It's still only part of the work though.

What's she gonna do on her end to not kick her own anxiety bucket over?

Galagirl
 
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Confusedlove

New member
Do some things have to happen to improve individual or couple health before you get around to talking about your poly thoughts and feelings?
We're definitely the joined at the hip type. We've been working on spending time apart, but that's also a cause for anxiety at this point for her. She actually has a trip this summer where she'll be gone for a month where I look at it as time for us to grow into ourselves more but she's worried about what she may have to come home to. We literally share everything, it's gotten to the point that we're moving to a place with 3 bedrooms so that she and I can have our own personal spaces. I would also agree with us needing practice in having productive conversations.
"Yeah, I have a crush on this friend and I'm going to enjoy it for what it is til it fades out. But actually trying to poly date this friend would would make things weird or messy. So I'm just NOT ever going to pursue it in real life. Not even if the friend wanted to reciprocate."
So for some information about me, crushes aren't easy to get over. My current crush started 2-3 years ago, the fact it took so long to crystallize into limerency amazes me still. And yes, I agree, it would make things messy. When I've thought about it, and discussed it with my partner, I came to the conclusion that it's probably better that my feelings aren't reciprocated. As of right now I intend to maintain as much distance as possible from her friend so that I don't relapse in my limerency. But if she reciprocates it changes the conversation too. During my initial thoughts I had hoped for it to eventually develop into a triad (before really researching polyamory) and had completely idealized it. When I ask myself "what if she feels the same way about you?" I know that I would want to try for a V. But it's not something I would want to force on my partner. Say she reciprocates but my partner is not comfortable with it, I honestly don't know where to go from there. I can't imagine my life without my current partner, but the idea of starting a relationship with her friend is intoxicating to me.
Are your expectations of your partner realistic?
I don't know how to answer that because I don't evaluate my expectations of people in general.
What ARE your expectations? Do you do a mix of small, medium and big talk?
We talk about anything and everything. We've had in-depth conversations and related past traumas to each other. She knows me better than anyone else and I'd like to think the same about how well I know her. She and I have a deep emotional bond, but it's just this one conversation that's been almost impossible.
What's she gonna do on her end to not kick her own anxiety bucket over?
That's a good question I wish I had an answer for.

P.S. thank you for taking the time out of your day to talk me through this. I really appreciate it.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Confusedlove,

It seems to me that you need to have some conversations with your partner, where you just talk about what makes her feel anxious and insecure, and where you do not talk about poly or her friend. Also, if you can, the two of you should set up some sessions with a couple's therapist. Raise the topic of poly and your partner's friend with the therapist, so that the therapist knows what's going on and can properly help you. A third idea might be to have your partner join in the discussion we are having here on this forum -- if your partner would be willing to try that, and if it would not mess up the privacy you may want in posting here.

You have a difficult situation on your hands; I don't envy you.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Is your partner being treated for her anxiety? Talk therapy, meds, etc.? It's hard to have any kind of a romantic relationship, mono or poly, if conversations about hard subjects immediately devolve into panic attacks. Trying to restructure your relationship from romantic to poly sounds impossible until she becomes more stable.

As for crushing on a partner's friend, I did that back when I was in a long-term mono relationship. (Long term= 30+ years in total.) It was more than a crush. GG seems to think crushes are always passing things to be "enjoyed" while they last, while not acting on them. This is fallacious to me for 2 reasons.

1. "Enjoyment" can mean infinite hours of fantasy and masturbation, dreaming of the crush. It can mean locking your eyes on the crush when in public social situations, almost uncontrollably.
2. A crush can be real love, real respect, esteem, shared interests and style, etc. I started crushing on my husband's male friend (who was also my friend, we all met at the same time), about 20 years ago, and while I have split from my husband and gone poly and loved many, and he is now long married, mono, with kids, I still have a great deal of interest in and love for this so-called crush, despite never having acted overtly upon it. I still love to see his posts on Facebook.

That said, falling in love with someone who is close to your spouse, while you are all ostensibly mono, is an incredibly messy painful thing. So I applaud you stepping back from said friend, as painful as I'm sure it is.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
2. A crush can be real love, real respect, esteem, shared interests and style, etc. I started crushing on my husband's male friend (who was also my friend, we all met at the same time), about 20 years ago, and while I have split from my husband and gone poly and loved many, and he is now long married, mono, with kids, I still have a great deal of interest in and love for this so-called crush, despite never having acted overtly upon it. I still love to see his posts on Facebook.

Magdyln, to me that is sometimes part of the enjoyment of the crush, I know "crush" is kind of a loaded word, but I can't think of any others. To me? We don't have enough words for describing types of love in English. Even the greek words don't seem to be enough to me.

To me "crush love" is real and it may or may not be reciprocated. The one you gave as example? It's still going on for you. I'm happy you have this long lasting one and enjoy it still. I have some of those also. And you chose not to pursue.

Same as me on some of mine - I chose not to.

That's my main point here. I'm not being dismissive of the crush love being real. I am lifting up that whatever is going on with that? There IS a behavior choice one can make.

We cannot help how we feel. Some crushes will fade and go away. Some won't, and we have to figure out how manage them so they can be enjoyed or be neutral rather than them causing us chronic pain. That part might take some time to figure out because... well, feelings. And then individuals handle things differently.

But we DO get to choose how we behave and whether or not we pursue the person.

Right now? Like this? I think it would be messy for Confusedlove to get pursue the friend of their partner at this time.

Galagirl
 
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Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Magdyln, to me that is sometimes part of the enjoyment of the crush, I know "crush" is kind of a loaded word, but I can't think of any others. To me? We don't have enough words for describing types of love in English. Even the greek words don't seem to be enough to me.

To me "crush love" is real and it may or may not be reciprocated. The one you gave as example? It's still going on for you. I'm happy you have this long lasting one and enjoy it still. I have some of those also. And you chose not to pursue.

Same as me on some of mine - I chose not to.

That's my main point here. I'm not being dismissive of the crush love being real. I am lifting up that whatever is going on with that? There IS a behavior choice one can make.

We cannot help how we feel. Some crushes will fade and go away. Some won't, and we have to figure out how manage them so they can be enjoyed or be neutral rather than them causing us chronic pain. That part might take some time to figure out because... well, feelings. And then individuals handle things differently.

But we DO get to choose how we behave and whether or not we pursue the person.

Right now? Like this? I think it would be messy for Confusedlove to get pursue the friend of their partner at this time.

Galagirl
Well, I don't mean to say I "enjoyed" the crush. It was intoxicating, but not being able to act on it was actually extremely painful. That's one reason I chose to become poly, so I could actually act on and enjoy multiple loves simultaneously, if the right people came along. However, I do concur that there are people on a messy list, and I am so fulfilled now that I can easily avoid deep crushes. I think I'd only get those inappropriate crushes or fantasies because I was in a mono marriage with a guy who didn't love me the right way (too suspicious, jealous, territorial, etc.).
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I think I'd only get those inappropriate crushes or fantasies because I was in a mono marriage with a guy who didn't love me the right way (too suspicious, jealous, territorial, etc.).

I can understand that. I remember your other stories about him. You were in a tough marriage spot.

GG
 
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