Jon and I were finally able to talk the other night. I didn’t give him the letter I wrote, but instead approached him verbally. Someone had recommended that I read The Gift of Fear, which I have been. Fairly early on in the book, it brought up a lot of feelings about Lora, and my feelings towards Jon and Lora’s relationship, and some of my feelings about me and Jon’s relationship, that revolved around my acceptance of Jon and Lora’s relationship. It was some big stuff, and once I realized the magnitude of it, I realized that I needed to speak to Jon sooner rather than later.
First of all – how this ties into The Gift of Fear. A lot of the “going with your gut” that the book advocates caused me to examine what my gut thought of Lora from the beginning, and as time went on. While I did acknowledge, from the beginning, that my gut was uneasy about Lora, I did let Jon’s thoughts sway me on what I attributed that uneasiness to.
Before I met Lora, Jon had explained to me that she has a high level of social anxiety and is an extremely shy and awkward person. She also has a very hard time getting close to people, because of her fear and anxiety about rejection. But once she got comfortable with someone, she was really wonderful, and a great person to know. Except for the last, these are all true statements about Lora.
When I met Lora, I didn’t get a good vibe off of her. My first thought (which I actually remember, because I felt so guilty for thinking it) was “This is really a polyamorous person?”. She barely looked at me, and barely spoke, though she was polite. It looked as though she was very shy, and struggling with that.
However, going with my gut, I wonder if – shy or no – what Lora was really struggling with was that she’s not actually being polyamorous and (because of that) is having a really hard time meeting her partner’s new love interest. Being monogamous, she naturally doesn’t actually want him to have any other love interests.
Later on, I did ask Jon about Lora’s history with poly, and he said she’d had other poly relationships before. I noted previously that – when talking about herself – Lora only mentioned two major relationships she’d had in the past. Nothing she described about either of them sounded poly. Based on the way she acted when Jon and I first started getting serious – deep down inside, I felt like her reactions were that of a person who was new (and potentially unwilling) to polyamory.
So where am I going with this? The place I’m going is that, from the beginning, I did get a less-than-great vibe off of Lora, but I chalked it up to the reasons that Jon gave me: she was extremely shy, socially awkward, had a hard time getting to know people. To this day, I do believe that all of these things about her are true.
I also believe that these true things were used as masks to cover a lot of the real reason for her unhappiness: she’s not really poly.
That part, Jon and I didn’t talk about. Though I am curious to know (if Jon and Lora stay in touch) if the next person Lora dates will be monogamous or poly.
What we did talk about (that relates to The Gift of Fear) were some subconscious feelings that I’d had and was afraid to share. The first was that I was afraid that Jon’s love for me was conditional, based on my acceptance of Lora in his life, no matter what. I was afraid to take a stronger tone about Lora’s troubling, controlling, and abusive behavior in part because she was his pre-existing partner. If I come in and start voicing a lot of concerns about her, am I going to look like a cowgirl who is only out to have Jon all for herself?
Jon assured me that, as he got to know me, he absolutely wouldn’t have thought that my concerns were based out of a desire to have him all to myself. But he understood why that would have been a concern. Lora would have certainly interpreted it as a desire to have him all to myself. And she may have used that as an excuse for why she wanted nothing to do with me/something to try to put a wedge between me and Jon.
I did, for the record, talk about concerns that I had with him over some of Lora’s behavior, even early on. But I trod very carefully, and always outwardly accepted Jon’s explanation that Lora was extremely socially awkward and shy, as well as had really low self-esteem and because of her mental issues, felt hyper-sensitive about negative commentary. In my heart though, I always worried that much of Lora’s bad behavior stems from her actually being monogamous.
The other idea that I broached with Jon about Lora was that I was worried (and am still worried) about the concept of forcing Jon to accept my version of reality. In Jon’s version of reality, Lora is (at heart) a wonderful person. But she does have some significant problems, and if she can get over those, she’ll be free to always be the wonderful person he knows she can be.
In my version of reality, Lora does have some good and interesting points to her personality. However, those positive qualities are completely overshadowed by her negative ones. I think that (in addition to being monogamous) she is deeply insecure, and rather than go to therapy to work on her insecurity and low-self esteem, she would much rather use abuse to control Jon into doing what she wanted to keep herself mentally comfortable than do the work to get herself in a better place mentally (I believe this because of the number of fights they would have that stemmed from Jon not wanting to do something as innocuous as look at something on her phone. The level of control she wanted over Jon’s every day behavior really was shocking. And awful).
These are two rather incompatible versions of reality. In order for Jon and I to coexist harmoniously, I think we each need to acknowledge the other’s version of reality even if we completely disagree. Part of what I talked to him about was my belief that Lora is not a good person. I don’t expect him to believe it himself. I acknowledge that she was much better of a person in his eyes than she is in mine, even if I don’t agree with it.
He was comfortable with acknowledging my feelings. He didn’t actually talk about what his feelings about Lora are at this moment – I think that may be something that he needs to work through in therapy. And he understood my need to want to communicate to him my feelings towards Lora, but only want to do so in a way that made it clear that I was talking ownership of those feelings as mine, and not expecting him to also make them his.
Another thing we talked about was the way that I have been at times terrified of her and at other times completely unaffected by her. I believe that this is because she has absolutely no ability to emotionally harm me, by coming at me/trying to get to me, but she does have the ability to harm me by harming Jon. Any time I’ve felt terrorized by her, it’s directly because of her treatment of Jon.
I did tell him that at times, I have felt terrorized by her. Actually terrorized. That last week after their last fight…it was so horrible. But those feelings were never for myself or for what she could do to me. It was all about what she could do to Jon. Watching him struggle. Watching him get more and more depressed and miserable.
The last thing we discussed was that Jon still wasn’t ready to deal too much with the question of Lora’s things. However, I have carte blanche to put anything and everything of hers into the little bedroom, as well as start packing things up, to make it easier to get her out. I am going to start to do so, a little each night, slowly and carefully. Just getting her things out of the rest of our home is going to make a HUGE difference to me, emotionally.
Jon wants more time – a week or two – before he feels up to pressing Lora to figure out what she’s keeping with her and what goes to her mom’s. He did reiterate again that she is trying to stay in our area, and he wants to make that easier for her, if it happens. Basically, he feels really strongly about giving her July to figure her shit out. I am not thrilled by that, but I do see the reasonableness to it, and as long as I can put all her things in the little bedroom and keep the door shut (we have kept it shut since she left), I can live with that.