I understand that the biggest demographic in your blog are people that have entangled their lives with the cheater’s: married, have kids together, property, shared finances… So as a lesbian in my early 20s, I don’t quite fit that. Still, I believe that the amount of bullshit I’ve had to endure and I’m still enduring can be seen as a cautionary tale and how LGBT people also experience this, though I’m aware it’s not unique because cheaters are not original.
Bit of context: lesbians, early 20s. Friends for 4 years, partners for 5 months. Open and polyamorous relationship arrangements tend to be a tad more common among LGBT people, so after a bit of experience you learn to clear it before anything happens. And while I knew she had been in polyamorous relationships before, we settled on monogamy. (I probably should’ve prodded a bit more).
A month and a half ago, I found out my partner was messaging other women. I already had the suspicion something was going on because I was very jealous and insecure, which is weird for me, but she kept reassuring me that everything was okay, so I just assumed something was wrong with me.
All of these women are her friends, so it’s not like they’re faceless people online, and were her FWBs prior to our relationship starting, but she didn’t break it off with any of them when we got together. She said she understood our arrangement as basically an open relationship, and that she hadn’t even considered this would be a problem, so it isn’t cheating and she didn’t lie.
On D-Day, we talked on the phone and I eventually lost my temper, and ended up being quite cruel and I made her cry. Because of that, she became unreachable for the next few days and I confronted these women (rookie mistake, I know, I still hadn’t found your blog), and while they all claimed to not know how the relationship between us worked, I was effectively gaslit into thinking all of this was my fault for not being clear enough.
The past month and a half since then has been awful for me, since we stayed in touch. I’ve had nightmares, constant nausea and panic attacks. But two days ago, she offered a “solution”: a genuine open relationship (though I understand it’s the veiled threat of “give me cake or else it’s over”), in which she promises that this time, she will listen to me, she will communicate, and she will (get ready to be absolutely blown away by her selflessness) say “good morning”, “good night” and ask how I’m doing. Though she says she doesn’t trust me, and that she needs me to wait a few months, and maybe she’ll say something for Thanksgiving or Christmas (it reminds me of the “This hurts me too, more really!” thing).
I guess all I really need is a reality check. I know I messed up too, but it’s a huge stretch to make it seem like losing my temper on the phone is the same as lying for an entire relationship, right? It’s a really bad idea to take her up on that offer, isn’t it? And if she had valued our relationship before, isn’t communicating and things as simple as talking to me something that should’ve already been happening?
Here’s a solution to your communication problem — don’t.
This is a bad fit. You want different things. You want a partner, she wants a chump. Oh, you thought I was going to say “You want monogamy, she wants polyamory.”
If that were the case, she would’ve been explicit with you. “Hey, it’s Tuesday night. That’s my knitting and fucking Wendy evening.” She would’ve negotiated the terms of the relationship up front. She would’ve introduced her friends-with-benefits to you as friends-still-currently-in-rotation.
Here’s the thing with polyamory — it has rules. Just like monogamy! Only different ones, like: Who’s an acceptable partner? How much time does this take from the primary relationship? How do we manage STD risks? Etc.
Cheating is just unilaterally violating the rules of an agreed upon relationship. So polyamorists can be cheated on too. You can’t escape the ethics.
Apparently, she wants you to believe that polyamory is just the accepted norm among lesbians, and you failed to get the memo. (Turn in your lesbian card at once!) Yeah, that’s bullshit. But even if it were true (it’s not true), she would’ve talked to you about the open relationship ground rules. She would’ve mentioned the knitting circle because she had nothing to hide.
That’s not what happened. She concealed her other relationships from you. And then manufactured this mindfuckery after discovery. It’s just standard stupid cheater shit. False equivalencies. I Fail to Understand Your Hostility. Deny, attack, reverse victim offender.
Which means you cannot enter into ANY sort of relationship with this person, exclusive or not. She’s not an honest broker.
And even if you just wanted a friends-with-benefits relationship (join the chorus), she’s not your friend. Friends don’t treat friends like this. You could do a LOT better. Why gift yourself to such a person?
The past month and a half since then has been awful for me, since we stayed in touch. I’ve had nightmares, constant nausea and panic attacks.
Don’t be in touch. No contact = no new pain. Stop touching the stove.
But two days ago, she offered a “solution”: a genuine open relationship (though I understand it’s the veiled threat of “give me cake or else it’s over”), in which she promises that this time, she will listen to me, she will communicate, and she will (get ready to be absolutely blown away by her selflessness) say “good morning”, “good night” and ask how I’m doing.
Wow. Do you get entire sentences for your birthday if you’re a good girl?
Vix, you bright, young, beautiful thing, it’s been five months. Five lousy months. I’m not saying your pain doesn’t matter because you don’t have deep sunk costs with a loser. I’m saying it doesn’t get better with these people! Every story you read here started with loving some sparkly manipulator.
Learn from this! Get out! Hold out for a better quality person, someone who would be honored to be your partner.
She doesn’t deserve the honor.