Advice – Should I bounce?

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/u/SufficientJury8 writes on /r/polyamory…

“I’ve been with my partner for a year. We hit it off quickly, and are both very in love. The partner and my meta are going through a very rough patch. Both have talked about divorce recently. Meta and I get along great. Above and beyond what I typically see meta relationships as.

The meta has recently taken to telling me they love me, and how much they appreciate me being there for them. Found out today though, that meta wants to talk with partner about their involvement in nonmonogamy.

There’s tons of nuance I’m skimming over, but one of the biggest issues is that meta’s partner just ended their relationship, citing my partner as the cause. There’s a lot of hostility between my partner and my meta revolving around my meta’s partner.

Am I a terrible person for wanting to continue the relationship with my partner? I’m pretty sure that given an ultimatum, my partner would choose to stay with my meta. But the thought of forcing my partner to have to tell me that, it makes me feel all kinds of horrible. I know nothing lasts forever, but I’m just not ready for it to end.”

Dear Sufficient Jury 8,

I don’t think you should bounce. But I do think that you need some distance.

Polyamorous relationships add an extra wrinkle, in that you have to be cognizant of the nuances of your partner’s other relationships. It can be very fickle and difficult to balance what is a “need to know information” and what is “too much sharing”. At some point, it becomes the most compassionate thing to compartmentalize poly drama in order to limit the inevitable overflow.

What is happening in your metamour’s other relationship is quite honestly none of your business. Breakups are rarely the most clairvoyant moments. And even if it was true that your partner’s meta and your meta broke up because of your partner, it still doesn’t necessarily reflect on your personal relationship with your partner. You’ve been with him for a year. And you might have had other partners of your own that you were able to personally experience what your partner was like as a metamour.

What is happening in your metamour’s relationship with your partner is sorta relevant, but not important. Whether or not they’ve been discussing potential divorce directly affects the kind of emotional bandwidth your partner will have available in his relationship with you. But it is his responsibility to sequester or manage his own relationships, not yours.

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I also want to discuss your connection to your metamour. It sounds like you have a very close connection with your metamour. But her thoughts about doubting non-monogamy (which sounds like in essence vetoing your relationship with your shared partner) and her deep appreciation for you as her metamour seem like incongruent, incompatible realities.

I think what might be more important to think about are these two questions.

  • Are you satisfied in your relationship with your partner (regardless of the ongoings in his other relationships)?
  • Do you trust that your partner will reject your metamour’s possible ultimatum?

And we’ve come full circle.

I don’t think you should bounce. But I do think that you need some distance. And not for the reasons you think.

I don’t think you should bounce because if your relationship with your partner is still functional, there is no point of you leaving regardless of whatever is happening in his other relationships. I do think that you should create some distance by acknowledging that he is dedicating a lot of emotional resources to resolve the (clear) problems in his marriage. Distancing yourself from the fallout will also allow you to retain your connection with your metamour should things fall apart. Distancing yourself has another added benefit of adding some buffer material should their marriage fall apart. I don’t think you should worry too much about potentials that which you have no control over (i.e. what if metamour drops an ultimatum, closing their marriage). And instead do your best to protect yourself and shield yourself from potential harm.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

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