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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Jumping into an "open" relationship

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Author Topic: Jumping into an "open" relationship
Wise Janet Weiss
Member # 30392

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I'm kinda sorta technically in an open relationship right now. Really long post ahead.

I've been with my boyfriend for almost eleven months now. We'd never had a fight until last month, and it started when he started hanging out with this girl, we'll call her Jessi. We've had on an off issues with me being jealous - but it was never a big issue, something we would just talk about and it'd be over in five minutes. That kind of jealousy was mainly a byproduct of me not having friends outside of my boyfriend, which we also addressed as a contributing factor.

I'd been very hesitant to hang out with friends of his because I thought it was important to first have my own friends, people I didn't know through family or him. It felt like I'd have more independence that way, if that makes sense - easier to have a healthier life outside of him if all the people I know don't know him (also quite a few of his friends have wanted to have sex with him, and yea it's natural, but not something I want to be around.) But a month ago (a little bit after we broke up for four days and got back together), he started hanging out with Jessi all the time and eventually we were introduced because she wanted to meet me. We hit it off, and practically spent the whole month of April together the three of us.

After we met, we would all spend the night together, cuddling and stuff like that. They called each other brother and sister because of the family they knew that kind of "adopted" them, both in hobby events and real life taking care of the two of them. But then a whole bunch of drama started, as they all commented on how close they were, suggesting something was going on and it didn't help that I was also getting a little uncomfortable with how much time they spent together and how touchy they are together.

This past weekend was one hell of a rollercoaster. We spent Saturday together, having a good time, when she left us early to give us some couple time. We had a long talk, which almost ended with us breaking up, where he admitted to being attracted to her and that he had started distancing himself from me and it got worse when he started hanging out with Jessi. At the end of the talk, though, he clarified that he wanted to be with me, and that while he was attracted to her he wasn't going to act on it.

The next morning she came over to pick him up, and I got a little upset about how they sounded together. Giggling, tickling, the way he said "You're too cute." Sounded familiar. Basically ended up storming out, and he sent Jessi after me and we talked about everything (where she told me that she was attracted to me) and we both went back and talked with him. Well, Jessi and I went over what we had talked about while he just stayed quiet. They spent the day together at an event, which gave us both the afternoon to cool off.

After a mildly tense night (no fighting, just little things here and there kind of upsetting the both of us) with just him and me, the next day Jessi and I went to his workplace to pick him up and she brought up that she was bisexual and it just snowballed from there - as we talked about *maybe experimenting* but since we were in public (and at my bf's workplace), we were going to talk about it later. Only, we had intimated to him that Jessi and I were going to have a big talk later without him around, and he got curious and we ended up telling him.

We all agreed it was a little too soon after all the drama, but the more we talked about it (and the more certain he was that we weren't going to do it), we ended up with a "now or never" kind of mentality and all of three of us had sex that night. Protected, rules being made as we went along. I'm the only that has been making rules, because of my jealousy issues, and so far the only one that has been contested is not letting them kiss.

Overall, I'm not really sure what I'm doing. It was something that definitely should have been discussed before we went through with it, but I can't change that now. We already have established it's not going to happen whenever all three of us spend the night together. Him having sex with another girl didn't really bother me (though I did wonder if we looked how they looked when we had sex, but it's a moot question since there's no way for me to compare), but the intimacy afterward (cuddling, kissing on the back, etc) did.

I have very mixed feelings. On one hand, even though a lot of drama started when she arrived and is still going on, she's been very understanding and has been a good friend to me even though we haven't known each other very long. But on the other hand, after she got here, all this drama started (both between me/bf and him/her/the "family.) It's gotten bad enough that he's talked about "disowning" them, people who have been there for him for over five years, all because of what they've been saying about Jessi and him. Even he admitted himself that all this drama started when she got here, but he's basically going to pick her (a girl he's only known since about the beginning of this year) over them. She has some very big personal issues going on, and we both feel very protective of her, but it feels like he's basing that decision on something more than that.

Then there's a kind of feeling like I've given them both a free pass. Like they just got my permission to go from friends who are attracted to each other to full on intimate partners. Which I basically did, but the way it turned as quickly as it did irks me. It doesn't help I've gotten this feeling that I should back out and just let them be together, as they have a lot more in common than him and I do and just seem like a better fit.

I know we all need to sit down and have a talk, but Jessi is out of town for a few days (which is probably a good thing, giving me some time to think and some space) and quite honestly I don't even know where to begin.

Posts: 320 | From: South of something. | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 101745

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Here are a few thoughts which might be a helpful starting place as you're pondering this.

First off: what you you most want, here? If you could choose any sort of relationship model given the three of you, what would it look like? How many people would be involved? In your ideal world, would it even be a three-person situation at all?

There are a lot of ways to do open/poly relationships. One is that multiple people are involved mutually with each other; it would look like a connected triangle if you mapped it out on paper. There's also a V-shape, where one person has two partners who aren't romantically/sexually involved with each other. (Of course the shapes can get more elaborate as more partners enter the picture.)

Are you interested in a relationship with Jessi? If your boyfriend wasn't around, would you still be into her? How do you feel about Jessi and your boyfriend having their own relationship with each other? Even when there's a triad situation, each set of two people will have their own separate feelings for and relationship with each other.

Just because you all had sex once doesn't mean you have to be ok with it and move forward with that setup if it isn't something you're comfortable with in the long term. "Permission" as you put it isn't unrevokable. I'm not getting the feeling, based on what you've written here, that you're really excited about the idea of this continuing. Maybe that's just because you're processing it, but if you aren't really excited about adding a third person to your relationship or about your boyfriend having an additional partner, I'd advise you to really listen to that part of you.

If you have boundaries you need to set to feel comfortable with your boyfriend's friendship with Jessi, it's really a good idea to talk about them. It could be that he's not comfortable with them, and is only interested in a triad situation or continuing things with just her - he's free to have his own desires and boundaries about this situation as well. And if things end between you then yes, it would probably be sad. But I think forcing yourself into a relationship situation you're not really comfortable with will be even sadder for you, in the long run.

I know you've mentioned this in your post but I definitely agree that in general, open/poly stuff will work best when it's something that's discussed well in advance of anything actually happening, without an "it's now or never" sort of last-minute decision-making situation. There are so many ways to structure open relationships that I think it's very helpful to talk about how it might best work for you in particular beforehand. I have definitely found this to be the case in my own life and anecdotal evidence from other folks I know supports this too.

[ 05-08-2014, 12:54 AM: Message edited by: Molias ]

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wise Janet Weiss
Member # 30392

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Thank you, Molias.

Since posting I've been thinking in circles because I couldn't really be sure about what I wanted until she got back into town. Until tonight I was thinking I would be okay with a triad relationship, that having another person would take some getting used to but would be well worth exploring because I do like and care about them both.

But tonight we were all supposed to spend the night together and I backed out because of some unrelated anxiety and just wanted some alone time. Then the thought of them sharing little intimacies set me off bawling and I honestly don't know what to do. I don't feel like I can go forward with continuing a relationship with either of them, romantic or platonic. Romantic because obviously it's not my cup of tea/I feel that they're better suited for each other and platonic because I don't think I could handle being around them feeling like I had just been in way during the last month or two. Then I also feel like I can't just cut out the two out of three most important people in my life, two people I care about very much and I know care about me.

I know it's not an either or situation there can be compromise it doesn't have to be as extreme as cutting them both out of my life completely but that's how I'm feeling right now. :(

Posts: 320 | From: South of something. | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 101745

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Oh no, I'm sorry this is such a stressful situation for you right now, even though it's understandable for it to be this way.

One thing to keep in mind, if you do decide that going forward romantically isn't going to work for you, is that when people want to be friends with a former partner, it can take a few months of little to no contact for both parties to feel comfortable rebuilding that friendship again.
So if even the closeness of platonic friendship sounds stressful to you right now, you can say something like "of course I care about you both a lot, but I need to take some space away from you for a while as I sort through my feelings; I'll be in touch when I feel ready" or something similar. It's not cutting them out completely FOREVER, but doing it for a while is a way for you to give yourself the space you need until the pain feels less intense. And I think people who care about you can understand and respect that.

We do have an article about dealing with breakups that you may find some helpful advice in: Getting Through a Breakup Without Actually Breaking It sounds like you might not be 100% sure that's your decision right now, but if it is, we can definitely offer more support in that process if you want it.

One other thought I had - since these two are a big source of support for you right now, maybe it would be helpful to try to make some new friends, or strengthen some friendships that may have fallen by the wayside or just aren't as strong right now. I think breakups or other relationship changes can hurt a lot more when there aren't other friends and supportive people around to offer help and distraction.

I hope you can do some extra-nice things for yourself right now while you sort all this out.

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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