Advice – How do I help my unstable metamour through a breakup?

“Hello, I’m looking for some wisdom on this subject. My wife and her boyfriend are heading towards a breakup. Last night he started threatening to kill himself. Police were called and intervention was done. He seems calmer and no one from the crisis team felt he was under serious threat, but they are involved. It is made worse because she is several states away training for a month and can’t be here in person. I listen to him, and try to prop him up emotionally but there is only so much I can do.

To me, it looked like a break up was long time coming. They are just so different. I don’t get involved in her relationships but this one I’ve been caught up in. The worst part this started over her asking him to paint a chair for my youngest daughter’s birthday. He feels he shouldn’t because my daughters “hates him.” That’s when the arguing and fighting and melt down started.

I’m attempting to be supportive to both of them. So how do you deal with similar situations with metamours and messy breakups?”

– /u/rob_merritt, /r/polyamory.

Dear Rob,

Even in the best of circumstances, it is not advisable to get involved in your partner’s other relationships. This is far from a good situation, and I strongly, strongly advise you to create some distance between your partner’s imploding relationship and your emotionally unstable metamour.

Let’s first think about this from your wife’s perspective. She is several states away and cannot be fully present for this breakup, even if she saw that this breakup was coming long before she committed to this plan. And now her relationship is imploding and the only person who compassionately stepped up for her is her husband. I really feel how difficult this has been for your wife. How have you been supporting her through all of this? How is she taking care of herself while all of this is going on? How is she handling the impending breakup as it is all unfolding?

Then there is you. I am assuming based on what you’ve shared that you have taken on the bulk of the parenting responsibility while your wife is away. That can’t be easy to manage her impending breakup with your meta while being present in your fatherhood. You need to focus more on your own relationships while all of this is going on.

Photo by Nastasya Day on

If your metamour has any friends or family in the area, I strongly suggest you (or your wife) let them know to keep an eye on your soon-to-be-ex metamour and her soon-to-be-ex partner. If he has no other support network, point him to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). They have a suicide hotline that he can call (1-800-273-TALK) in dire situations. This is far, far beyond anything you have to sign up for. In the meantime, continue to distance yourself away by repeating to yourself (and to him if necessary) that you do not want to be involved in the ongoings of their relationship.

You are not responsible for emotionally propping up your metamour even if it comes from a deeply human place. That isn’t your wife’s responsibility either. That responsibility falls on his and only his own shoulders while he works through this either on his own or (hopefully) with a help of a therapist.

I’m really sorry you and your family are going through this.

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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