After a miserable Sunday, I woke up Monday to a startling text from Lora.
She apologized, and she told me that if there was only one thing she could ever say to me, it would be that she was sorry. She thanked me for letting Jon show her my email. She told me that even with everything I’ve been saying for the past months, she’s really been terrified that it’s all just a show to lure her in and get her comfortable and trusting, so that I could get Jon away from her. She told me that between reading my email, and talking to Jon, she finally truly realized that we had no ulterior motive to run off into the sunset together, mocking her for her stupidity on our way out. She told me that she knew she had been acting selfish and horrible and that she realized that she needed to start living the life that she said she was living (of being poly and comfortable with Jon having another equal partner in his life that he devoted time and energy to). And if Jon left her for me…she realized that she can’t control that, and that Jon could leave her because Jon thought the relationship didn’t work anymore. Acting the way she was acting now was only hurting everybody and was not going to keep her relationship with Jon safe. If anything, it was driving him away from her, and she needed to own that.
She ended it by saying that Jon would be coming to spend Monday night with me, that she was again incredibly sorry that it had to get so bad for things to turn around, and that she truly did look forward to seeing me on Christmas Eve. She asked me to please look beyond the past few days and meet her halfway. She said that she did want to get to know me, and come the new year, we would make plans to spend time together and get to know each other. Lastly, she was sorry.
I won’t lie. My first thought was that I was hallucinating. Or that it was some sophisticated Machiavellian trap. My second thought was that I was too damn tired and gob-smacked to care if this was some new convoluted ruse. My third thought was that it didn’t really fucking matter, because if she extended a hand in peace and friendship, the right thing to do for all of us was take it. And try with an open heart – or as open a heart as I could manage. Even if it didn’t work out, at least I’d know that it didn’t fail because I didn’t put my whole heart into it.
If it turned out that this was some new crazy ploy, that would surely come out in time too. So in the end, nothing lost (but a lot gained) by trying.
I wish I could end this by saying that Jon and I had the evening together that I’d dreamed about, and we all lived happily every after. While that’s not how that chapter of things ended, it also didn’t end terribly.
When Jon came over that night, tired as we both were, I felt like I needed to have a conversation with him about some of the things that I’d heard Lora say. I told him that I was willing to try again, but that I was also concerned because she’d said some pretty horrible things to him. Unhealthy things. Emotionally abusive things. And though I didn’t want to butt in, as a person who loves him, I needed to at least ask him if he was willing to talk about it, and also tell him that I was concerned.
Jon told me that he was worried too. He also told me that, other than the past few months, in the time he’s known Lora (first as a friend, then as someone he became intimate with), she has gotten vastly better at controlling herself when she’s afraid and angry and wants to lash out (as a side note, he’s often said this recently too. I think it’s meant to be comforting, but in actuality, my brain goes to “sweet holy crap, how much worse was it before?!”). He felt that the epic emotional clusterfuck that we just got through truly was a turning point for her. He didn’t expect her to stop saying hurtful things when they had really bad fights (he acknowledged that she had said abusive things when I used the word, but did not use that word himself) , but he really did expect things to get better, and he believed her when she said she would make an effort now to get to know me, and meet me halfway.
The last thing he said was that he wanted me to know that one of the reasons why they were still together was because she did continue to learn to deal with her emotions in healthier ways. He also said that when she isn’t terrified and insecure, she’s an amazing person. But he wanted me to know that he did believe in taking care of himself, and if things with her ever became too harmful for him, he would decide for himself if and when he needed to end it, if he was being hurt too badly.
We left things there.
The rest of the story is relatively simple. We slept. We went to my friend’s open house. We went back to Jon’s. Lora and I hugged and had some small, painful, apologetic words about the last few days and started to get to know each other. I saw the glimpses of the amazing person that Jon sees. I also saw shadows of the angry, vicious woman that Lora can be a few times.
Come the new year, we did start making time to hang out together. Not nearly as much as we should have (especially before moving in together!), but sickness and school and work schedules truly did get in the way a lot. I think that we did the best we could. And whether or not what we did before was enough, when leases came up, we all moved in together.
And that concludes an abbreviated retelling of the biggest conflicts and fights that we had before we started living together.