The poly part of my life has become pretty darn dull. Which is fine. I’m enjoying a little bit of dullness, even if I’m still getting a nip of “let’s go jump in the dating pool!” from my subconscious. I’m hoping to get my posts out about reading More Than Two, as well as The Husband Swap, the companion guide to The Husband Swap, and The Game Changer.
Might as well live vicariously through books while things are mostly quiet for me!
Mostly. Jon and I had another talk about Lora last night. He had texted me at work earlier in the day and said he was going to dinner with Lora in the next week – did I have any plans that would make any particular night better for him to go out with her? (I didn’t) My first gut thought was “Again? You just went out with her last week? Why are you going out with her again?”.
I’m admitting this because, yes, while it is Jon’s life, and he gets to do with it as he sees fit, I’d be lying if I said that a part of me wasn’t really hoping that she totally fades out of the picture.
While I’m feeling confessional, I’ll admit that I also had the sudden desire to really hurt Lora. Not physically. Emotionally. I just had this sudden urge to…contact her and tell her what a horrible person she is.
That is pretty abnormal for me, so I settled in to have a think on that and figure out what was going on in my head. I also wanted to ask Jon about why he was seeing Lora again, but I felt strongly about clearing my own mind of this desire to hurt her first. Or, if I couldn’t get rid of it, at least understand it.
So I put my vulnerable hat on and thought to myself ” Why do I want to hurt Lora?” The easy answer was “to get even for all the times that she hurt Jon”. But that’s a lie, really. Or, if it’s not a lie, it’s about 10% of the truth. After some of the talks that Jon and I had, I do understand that while Lora did truly hurt him, she never deeply damaged him or his sense of self. His feeling of fineness after the break up truly don’t seem to be denial or a downplay of his feelings. He seems to feel more badly for her, and for how miserable her life is going to be, than anything else. Maybe he feels badly that years spent trying to teach her healthy communication in a supportive, loving environment seemed to do very little for her.
But at any rate, in terms of how much she truly hurt him, or damaged him (or me, for that matter), the damage really in minimal.
So why do I want to hurt her?
I realized it’s because of two things, which are kind of linked together. I feel like she suckered me, to an extent. I believed her bullshit “I really understand now. I’m really listening now. It’s really going to get better now” act, those times when she pulled it. Especially the first one. And even the second. I gave her a hell of a lot more of a benefit of the doubt than she deserved ( The third one just straight-up disgusted me and put her right at the top of my shit list).
So I feel angry and like I want to strike out because I feel shystered by her. I feel like she fooled me, and in fooling me, she wasted a lot of my time and energy. Time and energy that I badly needed for myself, with my health issues. Time and energy that I would have loved to put towards building something beautiful, building healthy relationships, something that would greatly benefit both the person I invested the energy in and myself.
I also feel angry because I don’t think she ever really heard me (I also doubt if she’s even capable of hearing me, but that’d be a whole other subject). That last week in particular, before Jon broke up with her, I keep coming back to how she did her absolute level best to shift all responsibility from herself, or to make the situation about helping her, without ever making any honest, heartfelt statements of remorse for hurting Jon or hurting me. Oh yes, she did say the words “I’m sorry”, but most of what she focused on what was SHE needed, how SHE really wasn’t at fault, and yet SHE needed support/help/understanding the most.
I think she refused to hear how hurt I was. I remember how I felt when Jon told me that Lora said (upon hearing that I said that we absolutely needed to talk about what had happened the prior night, before moving forward in our relationship) “Well, we’re going to move out soon anyway, so there’s nothing to talk about”. Utter amazement.
Because there is so much wrong with that statement. I don’t even know where to start.
- Because they were moving out (mainly, because Lora was moving out), it presumably wouldn’t happen again in front of me, so there’s no need to talk about it. Because the problem wasn’t that it happened, it was that it happened in front of me. So *I’m* the problem – not Lora’s behavior.
- Because they were moving out, and it presumably wouldn’t happen again in front of me, then my feelings of upsetness and anger and fear and intense dislike for her as a human being who would do such things, that was no longer relevant to discuss.
- Because they were moving out, THEY didn’t need to talk, because if they moved out…it magically wouldn’t happen again?
But beyond that, there was that whole week where I made it clear to her that I needed to air my grievances with her. She alternated stories between “This is way too stressful and hard for me to deal with, so I can’t talk about it with you now, because I’m already in a really bad place and this would push me over the edge” and “Well, it’s in the past now, and it’s not going to happen again, and I really need to move on, so we should all just move on and stop talking about it”
- Because it was too stressful for HER
- Because it was too much for HER
- Because SHE wanted to move past it
- Because SHE didn’t want to face up to it
- Because SHE doesn’t EVER want to own up to her bad behavior*
Because it was all about HER and what SHE wanted and what SHE needed and she had ZERO interest in hearing about what anybody else wants or needs if it caused any negative or uncomfortable consequence to herself.
And that makes me want to beat her (emotionally speaking) with my pain. It makes me want to shove it in her face, where she can’t get away from it, and say to her “This was YOU. YOU did this. THIS is why I want nothing to do with YOU. Because YOU cause pain in other people, and then you don’t even have the common decency to bear witness and act accountable for the pain you caused. All YOU want to do is move on, because you’ve gotten what YOU wanted, and you want to continue to only focus on what YOU want, which means downplaying and steamrolling over what anybody else wants, lest it interfere with your need to make sure that YOUR desires and ONLY YOUR desires are always #1.”
What this all caused me to realize is that I probably feel sore at myself for never writing Lora an email after the break-up, like I originally wanted to. I don’t feel like she ever really heard me. And to be clear, her “hearing” me isn’t about her, it’s about me. Because (like I said above), I don’t know that she ever WOULD hear me. But I never sent her an email specifically telling her that I want nothing to do with her for the time being, as a direct result of her behavior. I never told her that, though her abusive behavior was bad enough, her constant avoidance of responsibility and the way that she perpetually shifted the conversation back to her needs and her desires made the abuse far worse. To me, those behaviors were clear indicators that she wasn’t going to get better, because until she actually began to take responsibility for her behavior and act accordingly, I did not want to have any form of relationship with her.
In retrospect, I needed to do those things for me.
But since I didn’t, where do I go from here? It seems like a…not-helpful idea to send her an email about all of this now, three months after the break up. I speculate on whether or not writing her a letter that I don’t send, but instead burn would give me the feeling of closure and speaking out that I think I might need. I’m not sure. It’s something that I’m going to talk to my therapist about at my next session.
All that said, I could at least talk to Jon about what was going on between him and Lora with a clearer sense of where I was in regards to Lora.
So Jon and I talked. He said that, three months out, things are still very up in the air, which he’s unhappy about. It seems that Lora’s behavior has actually improved somewhat. She is still sometimes starting to push him, or blame things on him that aren’t his fault. But when he pushes back, she’s dropping it. She’s disengaging. She’s not apologizing, but she is visibly reining herself in, which is making staying in communication (and seeing her) easier are more palatable.
That said, Jon said that he’s still not entirely sure if he wants a relationship with her at all, even a friendship. That’s part of what he’s trying to figure out right now. He’s also waiting to see if it becomes clear that Lora actually wants to be his friend, or is only staying his friend now because she thinks they’ll get back together after a certain amount of good behavior on her part. She has assured him that that’s not the case, but his trust in her is so little that he just can’t believe it yet.
I continue to wonder what it as that they ever had that makes it worth to Jon to figure out if it’s worth trying to still have any kind of relationship. But then I remember a particular shitty ex of mine, who I really really really wanted to salvage a relationship with. Like Jon and Lora, this guy was someone who I was friends with before we dated. And I thought “If we friends before we started dating, surely we could get back there”. And he was funny and interesting and we had a lot in common. I’d come to care for him a lot. But I also eventually realized that I was invested in the concept that we could definitely be friends, if we just gave each other a little time, and space.
In the end, I was wrong. To my ex, being “friends” meant that he should be able to bring up the break-up any time he wanted, to rehash over and over again what a horrible person I was to break up with him. To continue to blame the current problems in his life on our break-up and by extension, blame them on me. There weren’t enough “I’m sorry”s in the world to get him off that track.
Eventually, I totally cut him out of my life. But it did take me a really long time. It was a painful lesson to learn.
I hope it’s easier on Jon, however it ends.
*and maybe part of why she’s afraid to own up to bad behavior is because if you own up to it, and someone says “this is too much for me, I’m not dealing with it anymore”, then she’s just handed them a reason to walk away from her, which she tries to avoid admitting to at all.