Dealing with a poly breakup

When your metamour leaves, how do you comfort your husband when you yourself feel ambivalent about the loss?

37920142_sMost listener questions that come into the Poly Weekly inbox aren’t unique to polyamory. However, on last week’s podcast, we dealt with an issue that is unique to polyamory: how do you support your husband through the loss of his girlfriend when the girlfriend was kind of unkind to you?

Sarah has been married to David for 5 years, he has a girlfriend Julie for two years. They all lived together. Girlfriend Julie left abruptly, saying that it was because Sarah wouldn’t be in a sexual/intimate relationship with her. Sarah is trying to empathize with David’s loss, but she also feels frustrated and unappreciated because she did offer emotional, financial and professional career support to Julie. Her question: how do I offer support when I feel frustrated and hurt at times by the person whose loss he’s grieving?

This can be a challenging situation. You want to be supportive, but you have your own emotions about the situation that don’t match his. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Own your own shit

Your emotions are yours to own, and his emotions are his to own. You don’t have to feel the way he feels, and he doesn’t have to feel the way you feel. Both of your sets of complex emotions can exist in the same space, and everything that each of you feels is OK. You do not need to come to a consensus or agreement in order to support each other through this time. It’s 100% OK for you to feel ambivalent or resentful or hurt, and it’s 100% OK for him to desperately want her back.

Take care of yourself

If you need a sympathetic ear and your husband can’t provide it, find someone who can. Turn to a friend or a therapist who can listen and provide support. Treat yourself to journaling, a bath, a massage, a mimosa brunch with friends or whatever else will help with your grieving process. Do what you need to do to grieve your loss and cope with your emotions.

Ask for what you want

Tell your husband what you need in terms of support from him and ask him what he needs. If you can’t provide him with what he’s asking for–for example, listening to him figure out how to get Julie back–then provide him support in other ways that you are comfortable with. Make him dinner, give him a ride home from the bar with the guys, get him a new video game. You set your own boundaries for the the support you can provide. If he asks for something you can’t give, it’s OK to say you can’t do that, and it’s up to you to find another way to show you support him.

If you do decide to listen to him during his grieving process, try responding to the subtext of what he’s saying rather than the actual words. If he says, “I have to get her back,” for example, respond to the subtext, which might be something like, “I am hurting because I love and miss her.” To which you can reply, “I’m sorry this is so hard on you. I know how much you still love her.”

Resist dwelling on the given reason

As I’m sure you’ve experience in your life, the reason a party gives for ending a relationship is rarely the full story. It’s entirely possibly that Julie herself may not be aware of the real reasons for the breakup and may not be for another 20 years. So avoid dwelling on the given reason and work to accept that the relationship simply wasn’t a good fit for making the people in it better versions of themselves.

PW 433: Breaking up is hard to do


breakuplolcatHow do you cope with a breakup with a partner/metamour when you and your partner feel differently about the person who left?

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1:00 Host Chat

  • I visited my mom, one year after coming out
  • Decided to be the loving, supportive family member I wanted them to be
  • Gave her credit and lots of positive reinforcement and ignored the rest
  • Set boundaries for the next visit

8:10 Announcements

11:00 Topic: Dealing with a poly breakup

A listener wrote in to ask how to deal with comforting your partner over the loss of his partner/your metamour when the metamour was not so nice to you? Is it OK to feel ambivalent or even angry or resentful when he just wants her back?

  • Own your own shit Everything you feel is OK; everything he feels is OK. You don’t have to reach consensus with your reactions.
  • Take care of yourself If your partner can’t be the one to guide you through the loss, find a friend or therapist who can. But do what you need to do to grieve your loss. And if you can’t be the one he confides in, support him in other ways—make him dinner, drive him home, bring him flowers.
  • Ask for what you want Tell him what you need for support (maybe you take turns). And it’s OK to set your own boundaries if you can’t listen to him as he mourns—again, support him in other ways.

23:45 Poly movie review: Design for Living

Joreth’s review of Design for Living AND a new podcast devoted 100% to poly movie reviews!

29:30 Feedback

  • Vlad called in about marriage arrangements discussed on episode 130. Has anything changed?
  • Three people called in about gender-neutral third person pronouns discussed on episode 394; my updated take is on episode 430 at 1:00
    • Eleanora said Swedish has adopted the new gender-neutral third-person pronoun “hen”
    • Stephan suggested “co”
    • Jacqulyn said she abides by style guides as well!

37:30 Happy Poly Moment

Ellie Mac shares a happy poly story of challenges resulting in everyone becoming better versions of themselves and of a poly commitment proposal!

41:30 Thank you!

Thanks to Badger, Roy and Christel for their donations this week!

42:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 370: Keeping one bad relationship from affecting others

How do you keep one deteriorating or unhealthy relationship from affecting others?

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1:00 Host chat

Beyond the Love 2013

Beyond the Love 2013

  • Check out the awesome new Beyond the Love conference, November 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio. Educational sessions, social events like poly speed dating and poly prom and the attendee-directed poly summit! Use code polyweekly at checkout to save 10%!
  • I’m presenting at CatalystCon on how to be a part-time sex educator Sept 27-29

5:05 Topic: How to keep one bad relationship from affecting others

bad influence lolcatMinx and LustyGuy give advice to listener S who wrote in to ask how you keep one dead or deteriorating relationship from affecting your other relationships?

  • First, your relationships are part of who you are, so there is no way to 100% avoid one affecting others. However, you can minimize the effect.
  • Good general rule: never complain about one partner to another. It’s unfair to both your partner (who can’t speak up for herself) and her metamour (your new partner), who is only getting one side of the story. Your new partner isn’t your therapist.
  • Get a therapist. :-) Ending your first poly relationship is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it involves continued cohabitation and transitioning to friendship without a break.
  • Be wary of transferring “anchorship.”

15:45 Happy Poly Moment

  • A shares a lovely story about a teachable poly moment!
  • Johnny Zavant shares a story about a good first poly experience

18:35 Feedback

  • Erica gives props to her own excellent communication skills
  • Julia shares a tale of being brave (which often looks a lot like being silly)

23:25 Thanks

Thanks to L for the $58.47 donation!

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 364: I’m in love and got vetoed!

What to do when your relationship is vetoed AFTER you fell in love

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1:00 Host chat

Showtime poly series starts a new season

Now we’re “stuck” with non traditional marriage

10:30 Topic: I’m in love but just got vetoed!

L writes in for advice. What do you do when you trust that the couple really is poly and end up falling in love with the guy, only to have his wife veto you a bit later when she breaks up with her own boyfriend?

  • This sucks and is unfair and unkind.
  • Lying about the nature of your relationship isn’t healthy.
  • Expecting him to leave her isn’t terribly healthy, either.
  • Accept and grieve the loss. Value yourself and the experience.
  • Next time, vet the couple to be sure each person is stable, fully embraces polyamory and is personally secure.

22:35 Happy Poly Moment

  • B in Seattle shares a Happy Poly Moment. British comedies FTW!
  • Cate shares a beautiful story of a metamour leaving a footprint of food and love. Want to win a metamour of the year award? Be a Hot Dish Elf!

26:00 Feedback

32:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 342: Getting over your Dom

How do you get over the loss of an intense relationship, like a D/s one?

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1:00 Announcements and host chat

  • Minx and LustyGuy got back from vacation… sick as dogs.
  • PW friend J.R. Blackwell, an amazing photographer, is looking to photograph a poly wedding! See Blackwell's work here and get HALF OFF to the first poly group that engages her!

4:35 Topic: Getting over your Dom

How do you get over your Dom after an intense relationship and a rough breakup? Some advice:

  • This just sucks, kinky or not. Allow yourself to grieve the loss.
  • You'll get through this. And you'll be better for it.
  • Seek out a poly/kinky support network for this and other issues. Being isolated makes a breakup even harder.
  • Find a poly/kinky-friendly therapist in your area to have someone professional to talk to. I did this, and it helped make the year after a difficult breakup much better.

16:30 Feedback

Lee asks for advice on losing a poly relationship and going from a poly family of three to just a couple of two.

19:00 Happy Poly Moment

Herbalwise shares a happy poly moment.

22:00 Wrapup

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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Poly Weekly #207: The death of the two-parent family

This week’s Poly Weekly #207: The death of the two-parent American family (and we care because… ?).

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0:00 Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to www.scarleteen.com; friend me on Twitter and answer questions about what you want on the show, call 206-202-POLY with comments or discuss your own topics at the forums at http://forum.polyweekly.com.

Topic:The death of the two-parent American family
The Time article
Psychology Today’s corrections

Miss Poly Manners: who gets the friends after a breakup?

Wrap-up
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email cunningminx@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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