After all that talking and agreement, you might be wondering if I think it’s really going to get better and work.
I don’t think that anger problems like Lora’s goes away overnight, or even after years of therapy. I don’t think that me intervening is going to suddenly make her realize how bad her behavior is, or give her the strength to stop doing it. I don’t even expect that past the next fight or two, me walking in and telling them to separate and cool off is going to do anything other than possibly have someone try to get me involved in the fight too. I hate involving myself even that much, because…this should really be none of my business. I don’t even know if it’s the right thing to do. I just know that I’m going to start screaming if I have to turn up the TV one more time to drown out Lora screaming at Jon that he’s fucked up and fucked her over and she’s sick of it.
So why am I doing this?
A couple of reasons. I’ve been where Jon is now. I think we’re alike in that we want to pull out all the stops, try all the options, do all of the things before we give up on a relationship with someone that we really love and have bonded with. Which isn’t to say that I think he’s going to end his relationship with Lora. Or rather, if he does, I don’t think he’s going to end it while we’re all still living together. I’m expecting that we’ll have to go back into living in separate homes sometime in the next few months to year.
Moving into separate homes again is exactly that. Jon will live with me part time, and he will live with Lora part time. It doesn’t mean an end to any relationship, including mine and Lora’s.
Even though she is being abusive, and hence, an abuser, I took care to not call her that. The main reason was that I really didn’t think it would help, and it could possibly hurt. There is time to be that unblinkingly frank with her in the future. I do have doubts about if it would ever be helpful, because there is no reason to expect her to consider that a wake-up call, if nothing else has been and I think it’s best for all of our sakes if she doesn’t make a mental switch to thinking that I’m an enemy instead of a friend.
I would like to be Lora’s friend. I would like her to get better. I would like all of us to live together in a home that has some fights and arguments, but ultimately our love and respect for each other win out and we push ourselves to do the right things for each other. A home where we all keep track of things like time, not because we’re determined to wring out every last second for ourselves, but because we want to make sure that everybody is getting a goodly amount of time together.
I really don’t see that happening with Lora. But I hope it does.
I’ve asked myself a lot of questions about how this will affect Jon. How do I feel about moving out of living with him, so that he lives part time with his abuser? I think it fucking sucks. But I know that Jon is an adult who has to make his own decisions on if his relationship with Lora is worth the abuse, and when to walk away. I can offer him a loving heart, and a listening ear, but I can’t force him to walk away. I do hope that he realizes he’s about to hit a breaking point before he does actually break. I hope he walks away then. I’m terrified that he won’t.
In the meantime, we’re all going to live together and see what happens. I am going to try to encourage Lora’s good traits and call her on her shit, when I’m around to see or hear her shit. But a lot of things that I seem to need to call her on…they’re not black and white things. If Jon and I are spending private time together, Lora should be able to say hi, or interrupt us with a question, or ask for Jon’s help with something. How many times is too many? Two? Three? Eight? Likewise, if she is really upset with something that’s stressing her out, she should be able to wake Jon up to talk about it. But how often? Once a week? Once a month? How do you monitor or make a boundary on that? How do you figure out what;s reasonable?
When Jon and I first started dating, I had some serious (private) concerns about whether Lora was actually poly. Our first few dates (which were “Jon and Liz go out together. Jon and Liz go home to separate places”) went fine, but when Jon started spending the night with me regularly, Lora would text him constantly, then start calling if he wasn’t responding to all her texts promptly. She’d accuse him of ignoring her, or trying to replace her. I remember one night when Jon and I stopped having sex, because Jon wasn’t answering Lora’s texts (which were coming at a rate of one every minute), so she called him over ten times in a row until he picked up the phone (and it wasn’t about an emergency. she just hadn’t heard from him in ten minutes, so she got angry, because he was ignoring her).
How that got sorted out was a whole saga – which I might someday get into. To make a long story short, after repeatedly getting yelled at by Lora, Jon went and told her that they had to renegotiate some boundaries, or they couldn’t stay in a relationship. One of those boundaries was that when Jon and I were together, Lora couldn’t constantly text and call him and expect to get an immediate answer. Jon made it clear to her that he would put his foot down, and if she kept calling and texting, he’d switch his phone to airplane mode and then they’d need to have a serious discussion about boundaries when he got home. The new plan didn’t work 100% of the time, but it did work most of the time, and it made it easier for Jon and I to spend time together. To me, that meant it was mostly sorted out.
But did it really ever get sorted out? Or were we just in a place, when we were living apart, that it appeared to get better, because the distance between our homes was far enough to make it harder for Lora to cross boundaries?
Have we been fooling ourselves all along that this has gotten any better?
When I look at it like this, all neatly laid out in writing, I can see that we’re dealing with the same thing over and over. We’re dealing with Lora’s insecurities getting the better of all of us over and over and over. Most of Jon and Lora’s fights revolve around Lora being convinced that Jon gives me more; more time, more love, more attention, and that she doesn’t have enough. Enough time, enough attention, enough love.
Given that I’m gone five days a week at work, from eight in the morning until seven or eight at night, and that Lora hasn’t been working since mid-December and Jon has worked an average of once every other week since mid-December, so they’re together at home, alone, five days a week without me there for nearly half the day, that sounds a little bit insane.
As long as Lora’s insecurities rule her behavior, there really is no way to make this situation better. And I really don’t think that anything that just happened is going to cause Lora to do enough soul-searching to inspire her to figure out how to live without her insecurities demanding precedence over everything else.