Hi. I'm in a polyamorous relationship situation that I'm not sure how to handle and I was hoping for some insight or advice... I'll start at the beginning.
I went through most of my life with no one I was really close to. I generally make the distinction between friends and "friendly acquaintances," and I can't say that I had any true friends before this year. Just as I was graduating from college, I met two people who I had an instant connection with and adored to pieces. We started hanging out together a lot. For the first time, I felt like I really cared about someone and was cared for in return by someone other than immediate family. We talked about intensely personal things late into the night and were even comfortable enough to talk about sex and to be naked in each other's company. We flirted a lot. I spent the weekends with them and we slept in cuddle-puddles. They were already roommates and they joked that they were so close, they were "practically married." They'd had sex before, but it was weird, they said, because their relationship was more along the lines of "platonic life partners."
Oscar and I would have these long, draw-out conversations filled with flirting and giggly excitement about common interests, which led Alli to say that she "shipped" us. It means she imagined us together in a pseudo-relationship... not really romantic, because Oscar claimed to be aromantic and uninterested/incapable of lovey-dovey feelings... At the same time, Alli would flirt really heavily with me and I thought she was so ******* cute and kind and funny and smart... I was also noticing the intricacies of their relationship and how they seemed to balance each other and provide exactly what the other needed and they were just... like... You know when people talk about their "other half" and all that sappy shit? It was like that-- but not romantic so much as just ******* perfect for each other's mental and emotional stability. I adored them both individually, but I absolutely ******* loved them together. And I didn't stand a ******* chance. I have never cared so much for anyone in this way, the way I care for them.
They wanted to get an apartment with me. But for reasons beyond our control, that fell through.
Alli and I kept ~almost~ having sex several times. I was shy. She was more experienced than me. We didn't really get a chance with enough privacy. We talked about it. Then, a week before the end of school, we did and it was wonderful. I already had an enormous crush on her and I knew she had the same for me. Afterward, I was utterly smitten beyond my ability to process it. I wasn't sure where to go from there... I was hesitant. I knew she would have a real, romantic relationship with me in a second if I only asked, and that frightened me a little. I'd never been in a relationship like that before.
Over the summer, they had to find separate living situations temporarily. I had to go back to my family, who had increasingly hated me for being a failure at everything and even more recently for being queer... but that's a long story and not that relevant. Point is, living with my parents is not comfortable for me. I'm still with them. Alli had a really hard time, too. All three of us have struggled with depression, but for Alli it was at a whole other level. She'd tried to take her own life several times in the recent past (Oscar had stopped her most recent attempt), and so we worried about her. She stayed with people she knew and found a nice job, but while talking to her, I could tell that she was still struggling. I knew she'd do a lot better when she and Oscar could move into their apartment together at the beginning of the new semester.
The three of us communicated daily over Skype and texting. Alli and I got increasingly obvious about our sappy flirting and we talked out our feelings and whatever... And I finally asked her out. <3 Oscar was like, "Yeah yeah, you two are so GROSS." which is his way of saying he thinks we're cute as ****.
Lots of blabby conversations later and squealing over our shared fandoms, Oscar and I decided we are the perfect example of "kismessitude," which is a Homestuck-related relationship construction. A kismesis is someone whom you are sexually attracted to and are drawn to having a relationship with... but is not "romantic" in the usual way, because there is so much friction and personality difference between "partners" that you kind of end up unable to decide if you love them and want to **** or if you hate them and want to rip out their spleen-- or maybe a bit of both! We've had some tough conversations and disagreements and one of the things I love about him is we can "fight" in completely open and honest and self-aware analyses of our thoughts and feelings and it can get brutal. Sometimes the truth HURTS, man. I'm used to hearing hard truths from him and I've even told him that in so may words once. But in the end it's always okay. We know neither of us is going to leave in a huff and it will always work out.
So... Oscar and Alli moved into their new apartment this August. Alli is doing so much better. The two of them are loving their life and have such a good relationship and living arrangement. I've continued to have trouble finding work in the city where they live. It's been really hard on me. I've visited them a couple of times and it was wonderful every time. It's always so hard to come back to this house with my parents and this empty existence... Alli worries about me, I know. We talk all the time about sex and politics and fandoms and stuff, and that keeps me going. I'm worried about draining on her though.
SO HERE'S WHERE THE TROUBLE IS: 1. I see their relationship and I still feel the same love and "compersion" it's been called... I love them both so much individually, but they are so ******* amazing together-- I can't even explain! But I also... feel really jealous that I'm not there with them and it's ******* killing me that I feel this way because I know they need each other. We've talked about me living with them when their lease expires and I have a job... I thought for a long time that it would become a possibility. I want to be with them. But whereas they love me and want me around, they are hesitant to compromise their current living dynamic by adding another person in their space permanently. Oscar is also concerned-- and so am I to be honest-- that his and my relationship, with all of its alternating between friction and cuddles--******* and then giggling and then fighting-- will make us introverts crave more space and separateness than a shared apartment can give us. He and I have both thought independently that a solution might be for me to get an apartment in the same complex as them... But. Even though I know that would probably be best in the long run, I still really WANT to just LIVE with them... like family, you know? And Alli and he have both said that Alli will definitely always live with Oscar no matter what. She claims she doesn't rank partners. She has five partners including him and me. I know Alli's and Oscar's living together is because they stabilize each other and she still needs someone she can depend on and who knows her completely and knows exactly how to talk her out of harming herself if it becomes necessary... and I've never been that great in a crisis... I know it's best and I never want to get between them. I just had hoped all this time that I could just BE with them and have the same intimate knowledge of each of them that they do of each other. It hurts a bit.
2. Oscar has talked about bringing his girlfriend, Kat --the only person he's ever had romantic feelings for-- to live with Alli and him. He and told me only recently. He said he knows it seems unfair to me, but he has a different dynamic with Kat and he thinks it would work out better. But it ******* hurts so much.
Of course, he's also said that he and Alli are worried again about upsetting their situation, so he suggested Kat live with me. I'd actually be okay with that! Kat and I haven't met, but Oscar has told us each about each other and Kat even named a wild rabbit after me! She seems like a really cool person. I'm also worried about finding a roommate that I could get along with and who is safe for trans, queer people like Alli, Oscar, and me. Kat, I know at least, would be a safe person to live with. And, honestly, I don't know what I would do if she lived with Alli and Oscar and I didn't...
3. I'm someone who is very concerned with balance of power and equality in relationships. And I don't know how to feel that-- even though Alli's and Oscar's relationship is platonic-- theirs takes precedent over Alli's and mine... They both have kind of said so and to be honest, it is QUITE OBVIOUS. I mean. I'm okay with it in theory, but the emotions there are really conflicting and confusing. I don't know what to do. And I have mentioned this concern to Oscar... but not Alli. And that makes me feel a little guilty. Oscar and I process things at each other a lot, so things just come out like this. I've given Oscar permission to share what I told him with her, but I feel like I should bring it up myself....
I think I'd be more comfortable about it if I had another relationship-- and especially if I had with another person what they have with each other: a platonic life partner. I've told Alli before that I'd be more comfortable if I had another partner as well.... I know I'm a person who can smother someone with selfish need if I don't have a purpose to my life or somewhere/someone else to devote attention and care to... And being underemployed is not helping.
4. I want to be the kind of person who can be there and do things for the people I care about. I want to know their minds and feelings and see things from their perspective and anticipate their needs... I am so incredibly lucky like I can't even express how ******* lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life who love me in different ways and consider me family and have offered to help me in any way they can and who want to see me succeed and whom I love so much and want to do whatever I can for them and whom I want to see happy in whatever way if best for them-- even if it ultimately doesn't involve me.
I am terrified of being left behind and forgotten. I would be heartbroken, but I would leave if that's what they needed of me.
I don't know how to handle these ******* feelings. I really don't. Am I doing something wrong? Is there something I'm not seeing?
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 2012
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Hey kael. Obviously -- boy howdy, obviously -- this is very complicated and has an awful lot of layers.
So many that I think trying to tackle the whole thing at once is probably not going to be helpful.
So, what I'm thinking is that it might be best for us to tackle one issue at a time here: how does that sound to you?
One of the biggies I'm seeing right now is that it sounds like, in a lot of ways, your self-esteem is a bit in the crapper at the moment with everything going on in your life separate from Alli and Oscar, and also like it's sounding like separate from them, you either are or are feeling pretty isolated. And being in that kind of space, of course, is going to make trying to sort all of this out with them, even just your feelings, more difficult than it would be otherwise.
So, I'm wondering how much time and energy you're putting into all of the stuff BESIDES this stuff with them, and how you might feel about tabling everything with them for a little bit while you put more energy into getting your work and living stuff sorted? And that maybe the living situation, for now, should be totally separate from them or any other partners of theirs?
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 66614 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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What do you mean by "tabling?" Just in this conversation right now, or saying, "Hey, Alli, Oscar, I need to not talk to you for a while?" I'm not sure I can do the latter. I have been trying to not be so emotionally dependent on them...
As for what I'm doing: I have a part-time job. I'm spending a bunch of time looking for full-time employment. My cousin has offered me a room for rent in his and his wife's condo when I get a job in Austin and until I can afford to get an apartment. It's just been hard. There were a couple of job offers for just barely livable wage back when school had just ended. Mom told me not to take them. Since then, I've applied to I don't even know how many positions a day and hear nothing back from anyone. I revise my resume and cover letters and it makes no difference at all. I applied multiple times a nonprofit I really want to work for, but they don't seem to want me either.
I should have been a science or computer science major. I have no skills, but I pretend to be a capable human being on the resume and it doesn't fool them. Mom tries to "help" but she has no idea what to do any more than I do. She gives me conflicting directions, tells me to "just go" to Austin and find a job--or two, but then turns around and tells me part-time jobs won't let me support myself and she won't help me if I get into financial trouble and she needs me to stay with the dogs for two weeks--unable to go to interviews if I get any-- while she and my father go to France. She blames me for not being able to ask my father for advice. We have never gotten along at all, he and I. Ever since I got back from school, he's been ignoring my existence entirely. At least it's an improvement from living in fear every day that he's going to explode at me over something. He's been known to get drunk and then come at me with accusations that I ruined his life and I suck the joy out of everything and I'm a stupid failure and ungrateful leech who will never amount to anything.
I have been crafting more lately, and reading. I'm learning to do more complicated ways to crochet and knit. I fantasize about selling things I make. I draw and I sculpt things out of polymer clay. It's hard to find the energy to do things I enjoy, so have found that if I make things as a gift I'm more likely to finish. So I make Alli and Oscar gifts. I baked them brownies and learned to make them a delicious meal from a new recipe while I was up there.
I've told Mom that it's increasingly harder to do anything. I've asked for depression medication or something--anything. My parents have never believed depression is a thing. They think it's just laziness and that all therapists and psychologists and whatever are useless in their eyes. It's not like I can afford anything without their insurance and even if I could, it would eat into the money that I'm making to get me out of here.
I am really isolated. I have no other friends, but there are two people I communicate with via email, though infrequently. I talk to people on tumblr occasionally. I've been looking for forums to talk to people on... Facebook has always made me far too anxious, so I stopped updating it. FetLife is the same way.
Posts: 5 | Registered: Mar 2012
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It sounds like you've got a lot of things on the go, and a lot of pressure being placed on you.
With regards to exploring treatment for depression, most communities have free or low-cost counselling services. You could start by going to your doctor just to talk about things and see what they suggest in terms of local counselling resources (your parents can't stop you from going for a consultation with your doctor) or you could look for counselling services yourself. It sounds like you could, at the very least, use some support with making life decisions and dealing with the high level of criticism you get and have gotten from your parents.
Since I'm not a mind-reader, I can't tell you what Heather meant by "tabling" but I think she meant, and I certainly would suggest, taking a break from the intensity of the relationships and from the complications of figuring out how to all live together. You have a lot on your plate already, and I'm concerned that while it feels rewarding in many ways, the complexity of the relationship is adding more stress than anything. That's just how I see it based on what you've written here.
How do you think it would be dialing back the intensity of the relationship? Do you think you could be friends with them, spend time with them, cook for them, etc, without it being as intense and charged as it's been?
-------------------- Robin Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011
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