I felt compelled to write about my relationships with Jessica and Rachel in order to write about some recent developments. When talking to Rob recently, Jon learned that Rachel, Rob, Jessica, and George are still planning on going through with buying a home together and spending the rest of their lives together. While I knew, intellectually, that that was still the plan for them, it had very much been put on hold when George got sick, and I, well, I was relieved.
I didn’t want them planning to buy a home and have this wonderful life without me.
How shitty is that?
I didn’t realize how I felt until Jon told me the most recent news, that they’re talking to real estate lawyers and actually looking. Planning on buying next fall. George is doing much better now, so everything is moving forward again.
I now know that I have some feelings about this that I hadn’t dealt with. In a way, I think it’s good that there was a good, long break in there. I had a chance to let things sit in the back of my mind and percolate. For me, that’s a really healthy thing. I’m not comfortable making snap judgements. This break gave me the time I needed to process.
Meanwhile, Jessica and George are going to be away for Thanksgiving. Rachel asked if Jon and I would like to do a joint Thanksgiving with her and Rob. Actually (and it took me a few days to realize this) what she said was “Jessica and George are going to be out of town, would you like to do Thanksgiving together?”.
Initially, when I said “yes”, I just focused on the “Would you like to do Thanksgiving together?” part of that. But after a few days, I suddenly had this moment of…wait a minute…this wouldn’t be happening at all if Jessica and George were around, would it?
This is where my feelings get in a muddle. On one hand, no, of course not. I wouldn’t want to spend Thanksgiving with Jessica, so I wouldn’t do it.
On the other hand, I feel really hurt that Jon and I seem to be…a back up plan?
But then, if Rachel and Rob are buying a home with Jessica and George, then it makes sense that they come first, doesn’t it?
But on the other hand, buying a home together was my idea. Becoming polyamorous was my idea. Prioritizing my relationship with Rachel, making it just as important as a romantic relationship, finding a way for us to stay together…that was my idea.
(Aha. And now I’ve finally found part of what I’m hurting about so much.)
And now it’s all going forward without me.
Despite Rachel and Jessica being soul mates, despite many of our friends being poly, despite the fact that there will never be another person for either of them who will be more important than the other, I’m the person who changed things. I’m the one who said to Rachel “If we love each other this much, we should try to figure out a way to make it work together”.
And she took that wonderful idea, and spread it around, multiplying the love, but in the end, leaving me behind.
Except that it’s not really like that. I know that. I got to know Rachel even more as time when on, and I got to know Jessica, and I realized that the poly family that we were making wasn’t safe for me. It wasn’t a nurturing, open place for me. It wasn’t a healthy place for me – I don’t think it’s a healthy place for anybody if Jessica has any latitude to control things, but I can only do things for myself. And take care of myself.
Thinking about this, I realized that I have had a painful schism in my heart for the past months. On one hand, I walked away from my polycule, because it wasn’t healthy or safe for me. But on the other hand, I’ve treated it as though Rachel rejected me, and though she may have, in a way (by deciding to continue to buy and spend her life with Jessica), I was the one who walked away first. Who said “I can’t do this”.
Did I think that if I said I couldn’t have a relationship with Jessica because of her abusive ways, Rachel would take it as a wake up call to either start holding Jessica accountable for her controlling behavior or possibly walk away from Jessica? I honestly don’t know. Probably at least a little bit.
Besides that though, there’s a bigger problem. Even though I keep avoiding looking at it, I know, I have to be honest to myself and acknowledge that there were things that Rachel herself did that were awful. When she shut down and shut Jessica out when Jessica needed her the most, that was all on Rachel. I saw Rachel handle Jessica’s manipulative behaviors in ways that made me feel really uncomfortable, in ways that aren’t what I would have done.
I think between this, and between what happened with Jon and Lora, it’s pretty clear what I do, isn’t it? If I’m worried about my mental health, if I feel like I’m sacrificing myself for someone else, then I walk away. Not the whole way away, if possible. With Jon and Lora, I wanted us to go back to living in separate homes. I wanted nothing to do with Lora. I wanted to see how it felt, how things went, if Jon was living part time with both of us. I absolutely didn’t want to give Jon up, so I was willing to step back and see if there was a place where I felt safe again, and still with Jon, and have Jon still be with Lora.
I think I tried to do the same thing with Rachel and Jessica. But with Rachel…am I less forgiving of her than Jon? I don’t know. In both cases, they had another partner who could be a manipulative, controlling person. I feel like both of them accommodated some seriously shitty behavior that shouldn’t have been accommodated. With both of them, as I got closer to that other partner, I realized that I couldn’t be close to her, not without putting myself in an unhealthy and miserable situation.
With Jon, I knew – I know – that he feels the way I do about relationships. He wasn’t interested in ranking Lora and me. He wanted to love us both, be loved by both of us, and see what kind of life we could build together. With Jon, I know that we will both strive to make the best situation possible for everybody involved. As upset I was that Jon kept trying to make a relationship work with someone who wanted to control him, I watched him push back against that control again and again and again. I also watched him stay respectful, stay strong, not lash out passive-aggressively. When Lora acted pouty and tried to put Jon in a position of him having to make something up to her, she met with a brick wall of NO in him. He never went along with that behavior.
Not so with Rachel. I watched her buckle. I watched her make excuses. I watched her pander to controlling behaviors of Jessica’s that really upset me. I watched her let a lot of things slide.
I felt really stupid for falling in love with someone who I obviously didn’t know nearly as well as I thought I did. Who didn’t value me the way I thought she did. Who didn’t have the same set of values that I do, and that I thought she did. Or maybe she does, but she’s willing to set aside those value’s just for Jessica.
Enough of this. That’s what I realized recently. Since I told Rachel that I didn’t think I could live with Jessica, I think we’ve all been living a weird kind of half-life. Rachel and I keep trying, occasionally. Then falling short. I keep wanting her more in my life, and then being angry and disgusted that she’s going to keep Jessica in her life too, keep Jessica always the highest priority, build a live with Jessica. I want Rachel to be an important part of my life and then I don’t. I reject her as she is, and then I’m hurt that she has rejected me.
So I’m done. I honestly don’t think I can have her in my life at all. At least, not now. Not like this. Not when she’s planning on spending the rest of her life with someone as unethical and manipulative and controlling as Jessica. If Jessica were merely someone who I had a personality clash with, or I didn’t care for, that would be one thing. But I’ve personally experienced her manipulations. I’ve dealt with her attempts to control me. I’ve listened to her make snarky, nasty comments about my friends. And having a relationship with Rachel…I think what we surround ourselves with rubs off. I keep waiting for Rachel to start displaying the same behaviors. Its breaks my heart.
So we’re going to have Thanksgiving together. I thought it could be a beautiful good-bye, but now I kind of wish I hadn’t said yes. A part of me is still…if not glad, at least…I don’t know…at peace with the idea of us having one more dinner together. One last time to look at each other. One last…I don’t know how to say it, once last change to take a good look at her and see that I really don’t think I can have her in my life anymore.
After that, I plan to fade out totally. A part of me feels like I should talk to her, should tell her that I don’t want to have a relationship with her anymore. Make a clean, straight-forward break. That was actually my original idea.
Well, my originally idea was more along the lines of trying to talk to her one more time about what a controlling person Jessica is. Give it one last try, not because I necessarily wanted us to stay together, but out of genuine concern that Rachel is going to realize in some years that she’s in a really bad situation, when it’s much harder to get out.
Then I decided that was pointless. I wasn’t going to tell Rachel anything about Jessica that she didn’t already know. If she still wants to be with Jessica now, me bringing up all the controlling, manipulative things that Jessica has done to me and to Rachel very likely isn’t going to change that. Trying to talk to Rachel might come across as a case of sour grapes on my part, or a move inspired entirely by jealousy. And – this is part of what’s really key – I realized that I really don’t want to be in a relationship with Rachel anymore. No more than distant acquaintances, really. If I feel that way, then I’m not sure if it’s my place to insert myself into Rachel’s current relationships.
So, no last ditch attempt to get Rachel to see Jessica the way that I do. Which, if I’m totally honest, is basically what I’d been trying to do. I’m sure that Rachel and Jessica have years of positive experiences and being there for each other and being happy with each other. I (obviously) didn’t have the same experience with Jessica, and I feel extremely negatively about her. But Rachel, maybe the things that bother me about Jessica don’t really bother Rachel. Or maybe they’re worth putting up with, for her to be with her soul mate. Who knows?
One last dinner together, one last good night, and then…I don’t know. Maybe, if I’m not going to have an actual talk with her about my feelings, it might be worthwhile to say to her that it’s pretty clear that we’re moving in different directions now, so…let’s just do that. We can keep our memories of each other. If we see each other, let’s be friendly, absolutely. But let’s drop the pretense and just go our separate ways. Cleanly. Mindfully. Respectfully.
I don’t know. I still don’t know how it’s going to end. I don’t know if I should say something or just fade out.
So I’ll focus on Thanksgiving instead. Making a great dinner one last time. Being thankful for the memories that I have, for the lessons I learned. Hope I taught a few lessons in return, gave a few good memories. Wish that whatever happens for Rachel, she does find happiness and security and fulfillment. Keep wishing the same for myself.
And then we’ll see.