Which way out?

Token2

Member
To briefly recap my situation, I've been the hinge on a vee, my longish distance FWB turned boyfriend and I have had a number of obstacles interfere with the flow of our connection.

He's been a touch avoidant, this used to make me anxious but we managed to move to a more secure place.

Most recently a hard closed border because of covid made it tough for us to connect for more than 3 hours at a time and not very often. Both he and my supportive long-term partner would tell me that we just needed to get to when borders reopened.

My long-term partner was saying this in regards to me being really able to understand what my relationship with the boyfriend would be.

Anyway the borders opened recently, I had a lovely night away with both of them. Because the usually very busy boyfriend is on his holiday break-time he's had time to call and engage more.

He's not poly. He's not willing to engage with the concept of being open with anyone besides his close guy friends about us and he's always been open about the fact that 1 day he'll get a 'real' girlfriend. He told me 6 months ago it would be in about 18 months from then.

He called after our getaway and basically put a much closer timeline on it. I guess someone's caught his eye.

I've been helping him balance his family and work by providing the girlfriend experience I guess without ever getting angry at him for putting both of those things first.

I was really looking forward to the next month or so when we both had time off to connect. His time frame for d-day is probably about 3 maybe 4 months away...

It's made me really sad that he couldn't just let me enjoy this time, just the next 4 weeks, where we have freedom of movement and free time.

I'm also just a little slighted that he mentioned he'd finish a key work project, 1 of the kids would have their drivers licence so need him less and he'd probably have more $. So I support him to those goals but am not valued enough to enjoy just a little of the pay-off.

I do love him but I've also wanted more for a while, and I made an agreement with my long-term partner that where possible I would only have 1 more relationship than he has. Not saying I'd need to break off something if he lost a love more I won't consciously start anything new. So simply adding a new lover to my arsenal is not an option right now.

Anyway my long-term partner thinks I should just proactively end the relationship with the boyfriend. Covid makes me feel uncomfortable going out dating strangers though.

I really wanted the opportunity to explore my long distance love to try and understand what we have. It's my 1st time trying poly and it won't be my last.

But I guess the boyfriend is actively saying there's nothing to explore? Or if there is it's about to end.

I can't help but feel every connection with a mono guy is going to end this way. I know if I weren't with my long-term partner the boyfriend would be sticking around. He wants someone in his life who can meet his parents, hang out with the kids and in his mind that is never going to be me.

I tell him all the time the younger generations are more open to poly and it will be normalised within a couple of decades. And that I'm the one who would come out not him but I guess he feels people will judge him or something...

I guess in the future I either avoid mono guys or straight up ask if they would have stigma around being seen by their friends/family to date someone partnered?

I'm sad, not devastated but grieving before we've even officially ended. My heart is sore and hurting but not broken. It's not a great headspace to spend Xmas in.

I want to stay open to poly but to be honest the fun, amazing times have been far outweighed by the struggle to stay connected - but that's been impacted by covid and health issues so I'm open to trying again.

Anyway do I cut and run? He's still not ready timewise for this new mono relationship. That's his problem.

I won't be out dating though and in the moment we're really wonderful (hence why I was looking forward to actually having breathing room to explore).

So do I stay and try and enjoy what we have with a ticking time bomb over my head?

Will this just extend the pain and greaten the eventual sense of loss? If I stay how do l mitigate this?

I used the opportunity to tell him I've wanted more too, romance and dates that last longer - and phrased it in a way that was ambiguous about whether that's what I want from him or elsewhere - so if he wanted to offer to step up he could (unlikely). Via email though and I haven't heard back yet. I told him I was disappointed that he couldn't have given me just a little time to enjoy the borders being open before dropping this.

But I also told him I appreciated his honestly and that I love him in that unconditional way where I just want him to be happy and I'm not going to try to change him or stand in the way of what he wants.

That's all true.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
Staff member
If this was a poll, I'd vote "cut and run" already. I know the timing sucks for you, but he's giving you a lot of hints that it's right for him. But just like he doesn't have the balls to be openly dating someone who is partnered, he also doesn't have said balls to break up before he's locked and loaded the possible new "real girlfriend."

He's clearly got his eye on the traditional nuclear family dream. Wish him well and send him on his way. Grieve and move on. You deserve someone who can be proud of your relationship.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Anyway do I cut and run? He's still not ready timewise for this new mono relationship. That's his problem.

I won't be out dating though and in the moment we're really wonderful (hence why I was looking forward to actually having breathing room to explore).

So do I stay and try and enjoy what we have with a ticking time bomb over my head?

Will this just extend the pain and greaten the eventual sense of loss? If I stay how do l mitigate this?

I'm sorry you struggle. Unfortunately, these are things only you can decide.

If it had been me? I wouldn't want to be doing LDR in the first place. I never liked it. Even with having more income now for travel and more tools like video chat that we did not have before? It still doesn't change that I like touch, and being in LDR just makes me long to touch the person. I also don't like the "compressed" nature of every visit. Because the next visit will be so many weeks/months away.

That said, there's a certain pleasure in a relationship of a season, where you know when the season ends, it ends.

I think the bigger thing is this....

He's not poly. He's not willing to engage with the concept of being open with anyone besides his close guy friends about us and he's always been open about the fact that 1 day he'll get a 'real' girlfriend. He told me 6 months ago it would be in about 18 months from then.

Why is he in a polyship then, if he's not poly?

And why are you there being like his "placeholder person" if you don't enjoy doing that?

I guess in the future I either avoid mono guys or straight up ask if they would have stigma around being seen by their friends/family to date someone partnered?

I would. Just to avoid mispaired situations or misunderstandings.

You are sad, but not heartbroken. Which is ok, I guess. But why not just skip the skippable things by vetting better from the start?

Galagirl
 

Token2

Member
Thanks for your perspectives. Good food for thought and the more I look from the outside the easier to process it seems.

I had a bit of a search and found this post I think it could be a good middle ground. I pick the end date, after this period of free time. We stay in the moment and end amicably but without any extra 'place holding' time.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Token,

It seems to me that this will be a losing proposition for you no matter what you decide. If you stay with him for one more month, you will be haunted by the fact that you are dating someone who apparently doesn't value you much. If you break up with him immediately, you will be bummed that you missed out on that one special month with him.

I guess you could take a certain middle road; that is, you could keep dating this boyfriend for two more weeks (instead of a whole month), then break up with him. But then that would kind of be like losing in two ways at the same time. I just don't think there are any good options here for you.

Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 

Token2

Member
I think he values me but he's just not capable of thinking outside the box. He's a simple guy - not stupid or low IQ, but not someone who sits comfortably with complex life stuff.

I've always said I think he looks at 'us' and can't shake all the things we're not despite acknowledging all the good things we are.

We were friends (with benefits) first and I know he credits my and my partner's support for helping him get his life and importantly family on track.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Based on your above post, I would amend my post above that, and suggest that you keep dating your boyfriend for one more month. He is a good person and truly cares about you, so why not enjoy this special time with him when the two of you can get together a lot more often? This is just my perspective based on what I know so far.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
He's not poly. He's not willing to engage with the concept of being open with anyone besides his close guy friends about us and he's always been open about the fact that 1 day he'll get a 'real' girlfriend. He told me 6 months ago it would be in about 18 months from then.

He said clearly from the start what his expectations are. At least as far as you have reported, he was up front about both his expectations and his and his future availability.

He told you that you were a place-holder, and you accepted that position.

From my point of view he has given you the information that was available to him, so that you can make an informed decision.

I was really looking forward to the next month or so when we both had time off to connect. His time frame for d-day is probably about 3 maybe 4 months away...

It's made me really sad that he couldn't just let me enjoy this time, just the next 4 weeks, where we have freedom of movement and free time.

I'm also just a little slighted that he mentioned he'd finish a key work project, 1 of the kids would have their drivers licence so need him less and he'd probably have more $. So I support him to those goals but am not valued enough to enjoy just a little of the pay-off

I really wanted the opportunity to explore my long distance love to try and understand what we have.

I can't help but feel every connection with a mono guy is going to end this way. I know if I weren't with my long-term partner the boyfriend would be sticking around. He wants someone in his life who can meet his parents, hang out with the kids and in his mind that is never going to be me.

All of this suggests that you weren't listening when he told you that he was monogamous and that there was a time limit on your association.

This is a big learning moment for you with regard to setting expectations that line up with reality.

It is completely normal to feel some feelings when a relationship is adjusted in a way that we don't want it to. It sucks, and we're only human so most of the time we're going to feel pangs of hurt when we get that news. However, from a standpoint of being able to grow through an experience, it is important that we don't do retroactive math and try to find ways to blame the person making the change. In this case, the BF made it clear from the start that there was a time limit, and yet you still put expectations on the relationship that simply did not line up with reality.


But I guess the boyfriend is actively saying there's nothing to explore? Or if there is it's about to end.

Correct. He has been explicit from the start, and is now telling you that he hasn't changed his mind.

It is a good idea to take people at their word, and respect the boundaries that they have explicitly set up.

When you respect people's boundaries you express to them that you are an adult who 1. understands what a boundary is and 2. will be fully supportive when they reiterate that they have a boundary in place. When we second guess people's boundaries or we ASK HARDER when they express them, we are eroding their ability to trust us.

Learn to say "you expressed that from the start, thank you for taking care of yourself, and of course I absolutely respect that boundary you clearly set". Approaching boundaries this way will help build trust as opposed to tear it down.

I guess in the future I either avoid mono guys or straight up ask if they would have stigma around being seen by their friends/family to date someone partnered?

Yes. When building relationships with people when we have expectations about how the relationship should play out, we need to express clearly what our expectations are, and what their expectations are.

Honest expression of expectations is critical in any association. This way we can all adjust our expectations accordingly.

Additionally, it's important to remember that most people aren't really aware of what they actually want. It's important to stay agile in what other people's reality is because their reality will likely change over time. Periodic check ins, and being excellent receivers of bad news will get you a long way in this regard. If we make people feel safe to express that their life has changed, a timeline has changed, or their viewpoint has changed, then we increase the odds that they will be up-front about it and not get side swiped or ghosted.

So do I stay and try and enjoy what we have with a ticking time bomb over my head?

It isn't a ticking time bomb, it is a clearly expressed limitation. I get that you were being humorous here but I suggest you keep an eye on how you are framing this so that you don't overdramatize it or re-frame it in a way where you are painting anyone as the bad guy. There is no bad guy here.

As far as sticking it out or ending it, that is, of course, a decision you will need to make. I have been a placeholder for a mono person before and I had the same struggle. In the end I decided to just end the romantic/sexual aspect of our relationships and be buds. We were distant friends originally, and we are distant friends now. No one was to blame, there was no drama, and we're as close as we ever were.

For me the answer to your question isn't centered around how you are going to get to enjoy your time left, it should be centered around how you want the exit from this relationship to set up your ongoing relationship with this person.

If you stick around and let it play out there is a higher chance that there will be a lingering romantic association that will carry over into his monogamous life. You two may have an ongoing "will they or won't they" while he is delving deeper into his mono world. To me, this is a bad idea because it sets up a ongoing drama instead of making a clean and healthy decision.

I used the opportunity to tell him I've wanted more too, romance and dates that last longer - and phrased it in a way that was ambiguous about whether that's what I want from him or elsewhere - so if he wanted to offer to step up he could (unlikely). Via email though and I haven't heard back yet. I told him I was disappointed that he couldn't have given me just a little time to enjoy the borders being open before dropping this.

This all stinks of emotional game playing. You were ambiguous on purpose? That's a terrible idea. You emotionally shamed him for being up front and honest with you? That's a terrible idea.

Don't allow yourself to go down this path. Don't play this like it's a game and you're trying to see what you can get out of it. Instead approach it like an adult, be clear, be patient, and be graceful when you don't get your way. Don't do this emotional gaming and drama.

But I also told him I appreciated his honestly and that I love him in that unconditional way where I just want him to be happy and I'm not going to try to change him or stand in the way of what he wants.

Good for you. However, saying this to him is less important than showing it to him.

What you have done is demonstrate that you have unrealistic expectations and that you are perfectly willing to game and emotionally blackmail him. What you've told him is that you are an adult and you are above all of that.

What I suggest is that you line up what you are telling him, with what you are demonstrating to him.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I had a bit of a search and found this post I think it could be a good middle ground. I pick the end date, after this period of free time. We stay in the moment and end amicably but without any extra 'place holding' time.

If you are able to do that? So is he? Then yes. Define the "season's end" more clearly with an actual date. And then enjoy the time left and have a good parting.

If you are not able to do that? Or he isn't? It just leads to angsty feelings or ugh? More like dragging out a break up? Less like accepting the season is coming to a close and enjoying the last moments? Skip it and just end it now.

I think it's better to linger in the healing place and not the dragging out place.

Galagirl
 

Token2

Member
Thanks @Marcus - This is meant as a compliment - I find your input often blunt and your experience at the far end of how could love, a real practical thinker... and it really helped me to put his stance through the lens of boundaries because coming from the world of swinging I'm really good at accepting boundaries and working with not against them.

I don't think I was trying to manipulate him by being ambiguous - more not labelling him as not being able to give that to me if he wanted to. I wasn't asking him to step up or implying that was a role I expected him to fill.

Turns out he hadn't spotted my email, it's not how we usually communicate, but we're hanging a little tomorrow so I guess I'll get more insight then as I told him I wrote to him to help me process the situation (which I often do generally in life but not always hitting send) and not to feel like I'm expecting a reply - because we'll be in person tomorrow...

Rereading emails I never sent before I'm reminded it's been a rocky ride ever since we upgraded from FWB and that makes me feel a little more at peace with where we're at.
 
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