A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my atrocious behavior around my partner wanting to rekindle a friendship with a former lover. This has been an issue on our relationship plate for several months now. When I wrote that post, I had no idea that J was actually still texting with her and growing a wee friendship with her in the only way he could. I had moved on my merry way thinking she was out of the picture when suddenly two days ago he asked to see her.
My initial response was emotional. I felt immediately upset that he hadn’t shared with me that they’d continued to text over the past two months. I felt anger and jealousy start to rise up inside me. But, I recognized it for what it was, I was able to see that it was irrational for me to be upset about them texting when I’d agreed to that as part of our boundaries around his interactions with her (without him telling me was part of the deal, too, BTW) and I had no right to be upset about the situation. I’m proud of my progress in that I was able to: 1) immediately recognize the emotion and 2) clearly see that my thoughts were not rational around this.
Last night, we had an argument when leaving our place of work after I asked to speak to him about this situation being on my mind all day yesterday. At first, it quickly flared into a little argument since he was very emotionally reactive to me being even the slightest upset about her– again. I was mad. He was mad. We parted with a huff, me going home to mope and he going out to “run errands’. He came home a few hours later, smelling of alcohol. J rarely goes on adventures like this, much preferring to be a homebody, and he never goes to bars. But, after at first trying to tell me the smell was just a “tincture” he’d taken for his sore throat, he told me that he’d been drinking.
We broached the conversation of her again. The issue, he said, was that she didn’t want to deal with the dynamics of me in order to build any kind of relationship with him. This was upsetting him greatly. I was confused by this response from him since he had told me after their last phone contacts two months ago that she was “not the person he thought she was” and that he was choosing not to pursue even a friendship with her because of her and not because of anything I was doing. However, this apparently was not the case and he unloaded on me last night that she was very frustrated and turned off by the boundaries around their interactions we’d agreed to.
I know we could argue on poly sites about boundaries forever. I know that many poly folks feel that none of us has the right to set any restrictions on anyone else’s behavior. Yep, I agree. But, I also know that that’s not a realistic bar for me to set for myself as someone who lived monogamously for all of my life until I was over 40. I’ve only been at this for 4 years. It’s pretty hard to undo the social conditioning of jealousy and possessiveness in just a short time. I can’t magically snap my fingers and make it all go away as much as I wish I could. So, for J and I, we have agreed that boundaries are negotiations that will help me in my journey to poly and that can provide us with a framework for our interactions with others.
There was one particular boundary of the three that we’d set that J was chafing about which was giving me notice to see her. I’d asked for a week since one of my issues with him interacting with other women in the past has been him popping it on me hours (or even minutes) before. Since she has certain days off, we felt like this would work. But, being the free spirit that she is, she doesn’t plan anything. Hence, me asking for this boundary of a week’s notice of them meeting up was causing him to NOT be able to see her at all. Chafe. Chafe. Chafe. So, we renegotiated 24 hours notice or thereabouts. J seemed pleased by this and thanked me for my willingness to allow more flexibility around him seeing her.
So, I guess she’s still here. And, so this gives me an opportunity to continue developing my poly relationship skills.
I want to get to the point where I trust myself and J enough that I need no boundaries. He is already there. I’m working on it.