Jon and I also had a really good (slightly aided by drinking a bit of alcohol) talk last night. Jon mentioned that Lora had a good interview as an executive assistant, and it looked like she’d be starting her new job on Monday – which is great news for her. I said “that’s great, I’m glad to hear that things are looking up for her” and he said something along the lines of “Is it weird when I talk about her?”
I said no, not weird. But…I told him that I wanted to block Lora on Facebook before we leave for our vacation, which he was surprised about. I said that blocking her would ensure that I can’t Facebook stalk her, and she can’t Facebook stalk me. I need a period of my life with very little Lora in it. I told him that I didn’t want to know minutia or little details about her life at the moment. I DO want to know if there are any major changes in her life (like if she lost her job again, or if she moved back with her mom). And I wanted to know if there were any major changes in the way that he felt about Lora (or if she communicated any major changes to him about how she felt about him, like deciding not to be friends with him anymore).
On that note…I confessed that I had no idea how he felt about Lora at the moment, and asked if he’d be willing to talk about that. Jon said that he had extremely strong and contradictory feelings about Lora. Part of him wants her completely out of his life. Part of him wants to help her continue to get better with her therapy and be a part of her life and see if they would be able to have a future together as partners in some years. He had absolutely no idea yet how those feelings will settle out; part of it is that it’s too new. Part of it is that how things change between Jon and Lora depends on Lora too; how much she changes and takes responsibility for herself. And (or course) if she remains interested in having a relationship with him.
One of the things that Jon told me that meant a lot to him was that there were ways in which Lora attempted to be abusive towards him that did truly, utterly roll off of his back (there were also ways that didn’t, and he is going to therapy to work on those). However, even though they didn’t bother them or hurt him, he would still admit that yes, they were abusive behaviors. They were unacceptable behaviors. He kept telling her, every time they happened, that the way she was acting and the things she was demanding of him were wrong. Sometimes she would express contrition over those things and say she knew they were wrong, but she just got so scared/insecure/angry. Surely he knows she didn’t mean it? But more often, she would insist that the things she was asking for were “just the way relationships were supposed to be”, so they would be at a stalemate with those things.
In the case of some of those things though, he realized that by us living together, having me witness this abusive dynamic, even if it really wasn’t hurting him, helped drive home to him that it really was unacceptable behavior. At the least, it was something that was uncomfortable to be around. At the worst, it was a sort of “abuse by proxy” or could lead the person observing the behaviors to worry that getting close to the person behaving abusively would open them up to also be treated with the same abusive behaviors. That was one of my big fears with Lora – and it turned out to be true. The closer she felt we got, the more comfortable she felt policing my relationship with Jon FOR ME or making assumptions about how I would feel about something to do with Jon, based entirely upon how SHE would feel, instead of basing them upon my previous behaviors that she’d observed.
That may be somewhat confusing, so let me give some “for instances”.
For instance, Jon and Lora had repeated fights over Lora expecting Jon to read her mind. One day Lora came home from the gym and said to Jon “I’m going to grab a shower. Do you need a shower?” Jon said “No, I’m clean, I’m good”. The fight that ensued was over the fact that Lora’s “I’m going to grab a shower. Do you need a shower?” actually meant “I would love it if we showered together now and spent time together”. Love believes that people should pick up on subtexts like those and act accordingly. Jon (and I, for that matter) completely disagree, and believe that people need to say what they mean, and mean what they say.
As Lora got closer with me, she increasingly did not say what she meant or mean what she said, and would ask me questions/make requests that I knew (from having plenty of past history dealing with that kind of behavior) weren’t ACTUALLY exactly what she wanted. We would have really awkward, slightly contentious conversations, because I would say “are you actually asking me X, or are you really asking me Y?” and she would say “Well, I mean, really, I’m asking you Y, and you KNOW that, so I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal out of it”. And I would respond with something like “I’m not always going to infer correctly what you want, so you need to actually ask me for what you want, so that there are no misunderstandings that turn into big problems”. She would roll her eyes and comply in a semi-snarky voice. To me, that behavior is NOT something I want to deal with with a life partner or life metamour.
Another for instance is she started policing my behavior towards Jon, or policing his towards mine. If I said I decided to give up sweets for a week, Lora would yell at Jon for eating a cupcake in front of me, and try to take it away from him. That is beyond not-necessary – it’s also insulting to both me and Jon and human beings who can work thing out for themselves (and I had no problem with Jon eating a cupcake in front of me, when I was abstaining from sweets). Other times, she would caution me not to yell at Jon because he didn’t do something that she expected that I expected him to do. One day, when I came home, he wasn’t in the living room when I got in; I knew he was home, but I didn’t think anything of not seeing him right away. While I was getting a drink in the kitchen, Lora came out to tell me that Jon had a migraine and was resting in the bedroom, and to ask me not get angry at him because he didn’t come out and greet me. I told her that I would NEVER get angry at Jon not coming out to greet me. I don’t need her to police my behavior or make assumptions (based on her behavior, which I had personally witnessed that she WOULD get angry at him for not coming out to greet her when she got home) about my behavior, based on hers.
To get back on topic, with us living together, and Jon seeing Lora start to have these behaviors towards me (a person who finds it much more burdensome to have to keep pushing back hard to maintain my boundaries) and seeing it stress me out as I didn’t know at what point Lora would feel “close enough” to me for these things to go from contentious conversations to actual fights, it helped reinforce to him that her behavior really wasn’t acceptable or healthy for her or for the people she was trying to have a relationship with
What I get out of knowing this now is two-fold (and with an added bonus). One thing I get out of it is feeling relieved that he actually noticed such things, and that he cared about them in a way that I didn’t know at the time. That his decision to break-up with Lora was in part because of realizing how toxic her behaviors were towards other people.
The other thing I got was…well, at least all the pain and stress of dealing with that weren’t in vain. They contributed to his understanding. They helped end the abuse, in a roundabout way.
The added bonus, I’m going to save for another post.
This talk that Jon and I had was really wonderful. I feel better and better. He encouraged me to ask how he’s feeling about Lora as I feel the need, because it doesn’t always occur to him to really pause for a moment, take stock of how he’s feeling, and share it with me.
During this talk, we realized also that *I* hadn’t caught *him* up on my relationship developments with Issi and her husband Jared. We’re not going to do threesomes or have a triad-ish relationship for the time-being. My relationship with Jared has transitioned into a friendship that has a little more kissing than the usual friendship, but it solidly a friendship and not a romantic or sexual relationship.
My relationship with Issi is that we’re still girlfriends, and we’re still wanting to go out and make out together and see where things go, once we both have some time (Issi is an artist and also has an amazing, travel-filled adventure of a life, so she’s not often around for serious dating and making a serious, regular time-commitment to, even if *I* were able to make that kind of commitment, which I’m not).
I realized that I hadn’t shared that with Jon, because there was just so much going on, it was hard to remember all the details – so many balls in the air, especially when I add work and my physical health problems to the mix. And also, I realized that I’m much more likely to remember to share/inform on a relationship change that ADDs intimacy or increases how much I see someone, than I am when a relationship change lowers the intimacy level or the amount of time that I spend with a person. That is something that I need to work on in terms of communicating both to Jon.
Lastly, even though this is Jon and Lora’s break-up, and even though I think breaking up was the right thing for them to do, it still has affected me and hurt me and put me in a break-up-ish place. I spent the past year+ trying to figure out ways to make this work together, and buying into us having relationships together, ideally one that was more like a triad – not a sexual triad necessarily, but a triad in terms of emotional commitment, mutual three-way partnership, and desire to be in each other’s lives. I (and Jon too, he agreed) feel like I don’t entirely know myself anymore. All the time and energy that went into managing Lora and trying to get to know Lora and trying to find a way for the three of us to live happily together created certain dynamics and expectations of what we’d be doing with our time and energy that no longer exist.
Jon and I both feel like we need time to figure out who we are, now that we have this change in our lives. I feel like, for me, it might be similar to having a falling out with a good friend that you used to spend time with and do certain things with. These is a sense of loss, and a questioning of how you’ll rebuild those parts of you and where that time and energy will go, now that it’s not going towards that friend. We both feel like we’re not in a place to look for other serious relationships – for me my health problems still preclude that. But even if I was physically all better tomorrow, I feel enough heartbreak over how the situation ended that I’m definitely still not in the right place emotionally to try to add a serious relationship in my life.
Those are where things stand between the two of us now. I think we’re having (and will to continue to have) some great communication as we do therapy and think and learn about ourselves and each other and give one another time to see the people we transition into now, as the break-up recedes further into the past. I’m really glad that we’re going on vacation at this time, as I think that our vacation location is going to be ideal for getting a lot of feelings out and being somewhere where anything goes.
I hadn’t revealed the location of that vacation previously. I think I was feeling shy about it. We’re heading to Burning Man. Now, before anybody bombs with me “OMG, it could tank your relationship, you don’t know what you’re getting into!” messages, let me lay some worries to rest. Jon and I are both long-time burners. We’ve been to Burning Man separately and together. We are good Burners, both in terms of holding up the ten principals, and also in terms of enjoying the playa together and also going off and having separate adventures. Our relationship has thus far survived three Burns (and used to be a haven for me, because it was the one time of the year I didn’t have to worry about Lora trying to call/text constantly control things/demand attention). I have a feeling we’ll both be visiting the Temple this year, not just to offer comfort to those grieving, but to grieve ourselves for what has ended and hurt and been terribly hard. Damn, I tear up just writing that down.
We’re also visiting the Temple at another time to exchange rings. That has been a plan since this February past. We designed rings together and are having a very small ceremony (I think between two and four other people will be in attendance). Neither of us agrees with getting married until polyamorous marriage is possible. But both of us wanted to do something for ourselves, an outward ritual that embodies the depth of our feeling and our desire to be committed towards each other for life.
That about sums up my life right now. I think I’m going to end with the poem that I plan to read to Jon before we exchange rings. It’s always been a favorite of mine, and meeting and falling in love with Jon feels like an embodiment of some of it:
“Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth I can swear your name.
Break off my arms, I’ll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I’ll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.”