not a good surprise (or “how the way I’m spending the rest of my life might be quite different from what I imagined”)

Have you ever had a talk with someone where every sentence makes sense in relation to the last sentence, but when you look at the whole of the conversation, you exclaim “holy fucking fuck, how did we get here?”.

That happened last night.

Jon and I were having a sort of meandering talk about the future of our relationship and how we don’t want to get married (something I should post about in the future), but as we do want to spend the rest of our lives together, it would be nice to have some kind of party or ceremony acknowledging that (and that would also probably be a great time to do things like write wills and hire a lawyer to write up legal documents giving each other certain decision-making rights in the even on an emergency. Or maybe it would be a better idea to do that now). When we were talking, Jon said something about how he wanted to treat public declarations like that very carefully, because he didn’t want to hurt Lora’s feelings. That part, I was totally on-board with. That makes total sense.

The next part didn’t really make sense. He said that, as he wanted to spend the rest of his life with both of us, it seemed like celebrations of our desire to spend the rest of our lives together should be carefully arranged, as he’d need to make sure that both of us felt good about the other person’s party.

The last time we talked (which was, admittedly, about a year and a half ago), Jon told me that while he did love Lora, and had no plans to not be in a relationship with Lora, he didn’t consider their relationship to be a “until death do we part” kind of relationship. Also at that time (all of which I’ve detailed in my series of posts called “a tale of holidays past“), Jon continuing his relationship with Lora hinged on Lora continuing to improve in terms of being abusive and controlling towards him.

Jon believes that Lora is improving in terms of being abusive and controlling. I tentatively agree, though I’d say the pace of improvement is glacial – though realistically speaking, actual change does often proceed at a glacial pace. And though that glacial pace is frustrating, it is both better than no progress and also can itself sometimes be viewed as a sign that the changes truly are permanent – or are at least slowly entrenching themselves into a person’s life.

Back to my shock. Jon has decided he wants to spend the rest of his life with both Lora and me. I know this is not a statement he would make lightly. This also explains his extreme fear and worry that the three of us can’t coexist well in the same home together – I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life commuting between two homes either!

Knowing that Jon wants to spend the rest of his life with me and Lora definitely changes how I see our current situation. This has gone from a situation that I expected to live with for some number of years (which, Jon has stressed, must continue to improve over time, in regards to Lora’s controlling and abusive behaviors), to a situation that I’m potentially living with for the rest of my life. This means that Lora will be a part of my life for as long as Jon is a part of my life.

To say this is an underwhelming revelation is something of an understatement.

I did tell Jon that I felt floored because this was wildly different than what Jon had told me the last time we talked. He said that he understood that it was, and that it’s something he’s slowly come to feel over the past year. I’m making a mental note of this declaration as a thing that I want to remember to do with future partners: if you have a partner that you’re planning on spending the rest of your life with, and you realize that you want to also spend the rest of your life with another partner it’s good to tell your original lifetime partner about that as soon as you feel sure.

I know that all of us (Lora included) talk about Lora getting therapy and Lora getting better, and Lora has shown signs of taking more control of her life, her anger, and her fears, but…this is hard, in part because I’m a big believer in the concept that we should take people as they are now, and act accordingly. If Lora and I were dating, I’d have broken up with her a long time ago. I don’t believe in waiting and hoping that someone is going to change for the better*.

But Jon does. At least in this case. And Lora has improved.

I’m not really sure if I actually like Lora for herself. As a person.

My exact feelings on Lora are probably irrevocably clouded by knowing (and seeing/hearing) that she has behaved abusively and shittily towards Jonathan. I’ve thought about it and thought about it, and I cannot seem to do a good mental exercise where I take that out of the equation and judge Lora based on everything else. I can mentally stack up the (many) interests (beyond Jon) that we have in common. I can remember many really interesting and fun conversations that we’ve had. But I also remember a lot of conversations we’ve had where we’ve shocked one another by our stances on things, or simply had enormous disagreements. They weren’t necessarily disagreements that couldn’t be mediated (or lived with), but I honestly don’t know if I want to spend the rest of my life living with her. Beyond the abusive ways she treats Jon, I really don’t know if she’s someone I’d want to live with.

If I ask myself “Self, if Jon died tomorrow, would you and Lora continue to live together?” My answer is “NO NO NO. I would wish her well, yes. I would help her get set up elsewhere, definitely. But seeing how much support she needs from people around her – I am not taking on that commitment myself.”

I’m not sure if that’s an extremely bad sign, or if that’s just a situation that can occur in poly. What does it mean when you don’t like your metamour enough to continue to live with them if something happened to your shared partner? Maybe it depends on the people – I really hoped that if I ended up living with metamours we’d have a more comfortable and enjoyable relationship than the one that Lora and I have now.

This is something that I’m really going to have to think about very carefully and for a long time. If living full-time with Jon means definitely living with Lora full-time for the rest of our lives…I truly don’t know if I want to do that. A lot of it depends on Lora, and the changes that occur in her as she gets therapy. But beyond that, I need to figure out if her personalty is one that I want to live with for the rest of my life. And because I don’t know how much she’s going to change (hopefully for the better) over time, what I envision now is a continued existence of living in a home filled with frequent fighting and stress and friction.

I don’t want to live like that. If we do try to stick this out for a few years, and we’re still in the exact same place we are now during that time, then I’m probably going to have to tell Jon that we can’t live together full-time. The idea of that is incredibly, miserably painful, but it’s still not as painful as the concept of living in a home that often feels like an emotionally violent war-zone.

*Or rather, I believe it’s a really poor strategy in life at least ninety-nine percent of the time. People are entitled to be who they will be. If who they will be is an abusive, controlling person, and you (general you) don’t like that, your main recourse is to stop being around the abusive, controlling person. I’ve heard far more stories from friends and loved ones where s/he realized they were dating an abusive, controlling asshole and eventually broke up with said asshole, because s/he wouldn’t change his/her controlling abusive ways than I’ve heard stories about an abusive, controlling asshole getting better and making a permanent change to not be controlling or abusive. So I am much more on the side of walking away early rather than sticking around for months or years and investing more and more time and energy (which makes it even harder to walk away), before realizing that said asshole person really isn’t ever going to get better and THEN walking away. But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.

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lizeden

polyamorist, cat-lover, hopeless optimist when I'm not being a firm realist.

4 thoughts on “not a good surprise (or “how the way I’m spending the rest of my life might be quite different from what I imagined”)”

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