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 348: How to deal with a partner’s jealousy

What do you do when a partner’s jealousy destroys a relationship you have with someone else?

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1:00 Announcements and host chat

9:10 Topic: How to deal with a partner’s jealousy

L asks for advice on breaking up with someone who isn’t your primary, but Minx sees that her partner’s jealousy is the real issue and gives advice based on Franklin Veaux‘s How to Be a Secure Person:

  • Letting jealousy destroy a relationship is a bad precedent. Deal with this jealousy now so you can go forth and date from a place of generosity, kindness and confidence.
  • Look beneath the surface to determine what is driving your jealousy and insecurities
  • Fill in these blanks: “If my lover [kisses another person in front of me], then the bad thing that will happen is ______.” “If this keeps happening, then it means ________.” “If my lover really loves this other person, then ______.”
  • Practice, practice, practice! Practice being secure and coping with jealousy. It takes 21 days to create a habit, so don’t expect to dispel jealousy the first time out.
  • And please, don’t date until you and your partner are both secure. It’s not fair to your new lover, who is making an emotional, psychological and maybe even sexual investment in you to be dumped due to someone else’s jealousy.

22:05 Happy Poly Moment

Brandon shares a moment of his wife and girlfriend getting along great!

23:15 Feedback: Episode 345 Poly for the Holidays

Vir writes in to remark on Sierra Black’s Huffington Post piece on making a decision about honoring her mother’s holiday wishes.

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Poly Weekly 226: How to choose a partner

Poly Weekly #226: How to choose a poly partner direct download

Introduction and host chat

Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to; 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.

Co hosts



Jade Gate Studio in Portland, OR is hosting a Year of the White Tiger erotic art show and after party, 6:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 13th, FetLife event announcement

Topic: How do you choose a poly partner?

Joreth, Pepper, Franklin and Minx discuss the two aspects of this question: how do you find, meet and get to know partners, and how do you vet them? Joe, Brendan, Polina and Jessica commented via Facebook that they simply run into people in everyday life, often when they are not looking, and get to know people that they like and who treat them well.

Jeff asks for feedback via Facebook on a situation in which he made first physical contact (holding hands) with a new partner in his current partner’s presence, which led to a fight.


Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions.”

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