These are the new boundaries that I laid down with Jon, effective immediately. As I said in my last post, he agreed to them. I think that I can live with these boundaries, in terms of how I want to interact with Lora, and how much time I want to spend around her – they definitely hope with both of those things.
1) Even when I seem totally happy and content, it does not, for a moment, mean that I believe that anything has gotten better. What it means is that I’m doing my best to exist in the good moments and enjoy them. Jon should not take me looking happy and comfortable to mean that this has all blown over. It has not, and it will not, until Lora starts making concrete progress towards being less abusive, dependent, and controlling.
If he wants to know if I’m feeling better, he needs to ask me, point blank. No more assuming it’s all fine because I don’t look miserable.
2) I will be calling Lora on certain bad behavior from now on. Like when she says something is unfair.
For example, the other week: she said it was unfair that I got to see Sherri (a friend visiting from the other side of the country) and she didn’t.
I didn’t “get” to see Sherri. I contacted Sherri to make plans with her. Lora needs to understand that if she feels something is unfair to her, she needs to take steps HERSELF to fix it. Not expect me (or Jon) to invite her along, or make things happen for her. If she wants things to happen different, she needs to be proactive and do something about it. I will no longer be enabling her by doing things for her. It doesn’t matter to me if she feels “too shy” or “too stressed” or whatever. Helping her out at times with social planning seems to have morphed into doing everything FOR her. Not doing it any more.
As a side note, when she does say “It’s not fair that Liz gets to do/see/have X and I don’t”, it sounds less like she ACTUALLY cares about the thing/person/event itself, and more about the fact that I’m doing/seeing someone/whatever that she isn’t. That is a very gross feeling to me; it appears that it’s less about us each doing our own thing and being happy and more about making sure that I never get something that she doesn’t get. That is not OK in poly. Or anywhere in life, really.
I will do my best not to call her out meanly. I will not call out every little thing. I will call out the things that my gut says “extremely not cool. don’t say around me. don’t want to hear it”.
FTR, pretty much anything that starts out as “it isn’t fair!” falls into that “extremely not cool. don’t say around me. don’t want to hear it”category and will be called out. Life isn’t fair. Whining doesn’t make it more fair. It does annoy the shit out of me. And also, it’s a sign of poor self-help abilities that could use a nudge (or a kick) in the right direction.
3) I’m definitely going to spend less time at home. I might start doing some sleepovers at bunch of friend’s places, especially on the nights that Jon is working late and/or not sleeping with me. I think that’ll help keep me more balanced and help me to reconnect with other people I love.
(On the downside, seeing my awesome, mentally healthy friends will probably pound home how deeply unwell Lora is and may inadvertently put more pressure on me to get out of this situation, because of how unhealthy it is. If that starts to be the case, then I’m going to have to talk to Jon some more and sooner rather than later. Because even if I said I’d be patient, if spending time with the other people I love causes me to say “holy shit, my homelife with Lora is fucked“, then that should be addressed and not shoved away from my consciousness.)
4) I will do my utmost to respect that Jon feels like everything that could possibly be done to make it work hasn’t been tried. I can see, rationally, why he feel that is so (emotionally, I disagree, for many of the reasons that I’ve already outlined, like the recent emails between Lora and me). On a rational level, I don’t disagree with Jon. Therefore, I need to do my best to step back and see how that goes.
5) If it gets to the point where I can no longer rationally see that everything hasn’t been tried, I will communicate that to Jon. Because when my rational side is no longer able to agree with that, I know that it will get exponentially harder for me to continue to try to keep going.
Those are the boundaries that we laid down. Barring any significant events happening in either direction (Lora getting much better or much worse), I think September will be my reality check to see how I feel about everything, and how Jon feels about everything. Possibly how Lora feels about everything, though I don’t know if I trust her to be truthful or report accurately on her mental state, so that one is kind of iffy and anything she says I’d take under advisement, but probably not put too much stock into.
I guess we’ll see how those rules go. In the meantime, I’ve been debating getting back into online dating. Not yet sure if that’s a good idea; I feel pretty certain that I wouldn’t use a new person to hide from my current problems, but I do have concerns that if things got really bad, I wouldn’t have the energy to deal with a bad situation and a new love well. For now, I’ll keep mulling that and seeing how things go at home.
As of this weekend, there was some improvements in my mental state. Lora and I were having a conversation and when she tried to interrupt me to spout some crazy (once again, a completely over-the-top and totally inappropriate response to an issue I was having at work) I said “Wait. I’m not done talking yet”. Then I finished talking. Then she told me her insane idea. And I said “That is definitely not why I would do things at all.” She asked me why, and I explained why: It would burn bridges, my boss would be upset, it would cause a lot of disharmony, and (most importantly) wouldn’t fix the problem anyway. Her response was to say “Oh” and then walk away. I’m not sure if she was hurt that I completely disagreed with her and spoke up, or just didn’t want to continue a conversation where she wasn’t validated that her answer was right or if she just felt like getting back to her own thing. I don’t particularly care which one it was either; it just felt good to speak my mind.
It’ll probably take at least a week or two to see if Lora notices (or comments on) any changes. I’m feeling pretty fatalistic about it. I’ve gotten to the point where I know that I can’t keep acting the way I did before, and anyways, if something bad is going to happen from me being myself, let it happen. Walking on eggshells is only postponing the inevitable.