Unclear communication

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When reading through all the stories in managing difficult emotions i was wondering if i could share mine? Mostly because I have a lot of monogamous friends who constantly prove me right when I’m just scared and want to find a way to get over these feelings, maybe even be able to bond with her again. The partner in question is like my best friend, but i find it very hard to see her as anything in my life after this.. even though a side of me wants to. 

It’s also difficult because everyone finds other things more important and I don’t want to be unreasonable. She was surprised that i never wanted to see her anymore after this. And this made me feel like the bad guy…

I have two really good friends that are also into non monogamy. One of them is on my side with this but the other one knows my girlfriend well and makes me [doubt] myself. 

I have been dating someone openly for some time, we started as friends but at one point we noticed there is more. [Luckily] we also agreed on a lot of things, especially not being into monogamy. Unfortunately at one point our communication became almost non existant and later I had the feeling she stopped trusting me too…

We have a mutual friend who knows a lot about me and one day she shared her concerns with my partner. Mostly about my ex and me not being over her. This made my current partner scared and push me back. I joined them the next day and noticed the change, no eye contact no greeting nothing. It made me very upset to the point that i wanted to leave. Luckily we talked it out and at the time I thought it was fine. 

A few weeks later I made a big mistake. We where having fun and I accidentally blurted out the name of my ex instead of hers. This was awful, I can’t imagine how it must have felt for her. I tried to repair what happened but I noticed i couldn’t reach her, she was listening but mostly to let me vent so that i fealt better when I just wanted her to trust and believe me. 

But for her nothing changed, she even said that she already had a conclusion and this just approved it even more When talking to the mutual friend about this she felt bad, her concerns stirred something up that I couldn’t do anything about. In the end we both thought best to give her time. 

During the next few weeks i was starting to feel worse every day. I felt tired a lot, got covid and this made me even more tired. I don’t have much friends in the city i live in (my partner is the only one actually) when i was a student i used to travel a lot but now that i am not it’s expencive. 

One day I met up with my partner, at first it was about me as she wanted to help and she noticed i was pushing her away too. Afterwards we started talking more about her vacation, she was happy that I was going to accompany her. (She is used to do everything herself.) Unfortunately this changed when she started talking about us. We [hadn’t] been intimate in some time. I knew that too, but to me it felt like she didn’t want to. 

We didn’t communicate our needs and assumed a lot about each other… sadly. Then she told me that she had always thought to be replaceable even though I tried to convince her multiple times during those conversations that she wasn’t. She also started about other girls she heard of (from I think the same friend) that i was into. 

In her eyes I was busy with a lot of other people. When that wasn’t true, I would have told her if it was important. (i think the friend exaggerated a lot or she made it bigger than it was…) and I’m sad she assumed so much without coming to me. In the beginning she trusted me so well. Basically she didn’t feel wanted.. and so did I. 

Unfortunately it wasn’t a conversation about how we can change this and grow together it was too late for her. She had met another guy but he was monogamous. She wanted to give him time to see what he wanted because monogamy is not her thing. Because it bothered him that we would be intimate she wanted to stop that with me. At the same time she didn’t want to keep me on hold during that time so she totally expected that we could be friends.

This just broke me down, it came totally out of the blue and i felt rejected, replaced, abandoned, jealous and i just couldn’t understand how she was so sure of it that we where going to be friends. How can you expect that of someone? I still remember the surprise on her face when i told her i didn’t want that. I always thought that we could still work on our problems, we only saw each other once a week during the evening… that’s so little time. 

Later I heard from our friend that she would have chosen me if the guy didn’t want something open. But that doesn’t really matter, she still descided to put someone else’s feelings over mine. 

When we were in the doorway she asked me why does it have to be this way… i don’t have anyone like you in my life. And my only thought was why do you make this so much harder. I already pleaded her that night that we could work on it but it was too late… i never got that chance one talk with a friend and she just decided everything herself. 

Ive been sad, mad, jealous and lonely. I still don’t understand why she wanted to be friends, to me friendship is just not as important as a lover. (I know with her it’s the other way.) I have been looking for people to prove me right when that is just fighting against reality and not really helpful for me in any way. 

I’m [thankful] that she was in my life and I’m [thankful] that we proved how important it is to communicate clearly. Don’t wait and expect things to change but speak up. I will miss her. 

Your problem here isn’t so much about dealing with your emotions. It’s about communication and also deciding to stay in situations that don’t particularly serve you. Initially you describe this person as your girlfriend, but as you tell this story, it doesn’t seem you like are together at all anymore and from what it sounds like, she doesn’t really seem to have a good grasp of what she wants.

She doesn’t communicate with you when she is upset and it seems like you also spent time pushing her away when you were upset. Both of you seem to have issues with not talking to each other and she seems more than willing to talk to a friend about her issues who is not helping matters by deciding to be the referee or messenger in between you. While it is very normal and I think it’s good to talk to your friends about relationships, it doesn’t help if they are the only ones you talk to and those friends act as a messenger. I would, in the future, if you notice a partner is speaking to a friend about your relationship, take the matters up with your partner directly and address the problems at the source.

It’s quite confusing as to why having an interest in your ex would be a big deal if you are non-monogamous. What does it mean to be “over” an ex? There are a lot of people who think about people they’ve dated without actually wanting to date them again. A lot of people fantasise about past relationships without wanting to restart them. If what she means by “over” an ex being that you never ever mention someone you dated again, that is not realistic or fair. And yeah, it’s embarrassing if your partner calls out another name during sexually intimate times, but it happens and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

If you’re dating someone who decides your internal emotional state through a small action you’re apologising for, this illustrates a lack of trust. Where there is no trust, you will always be constantly trying to prove yourself. And if the other person is not willing to work with you to figure out how to rebuild that trust together, you have nowhere to go. It makes sense for her to be hurt by this incident, but this is something that should bring you closer. Going forward, mistakes like this may happen and instead of expecting your partner to act as if it didn’t happen isn’t really realistic either.

Recognising a pattern of when you start pushing someone away also may be very important for you too in the future. It makes sense that once someone has decided you are not “over” an ex and therefore they do not trust you, you decide there is not much of a point in the relationship. It also makes sense that you want to avoid a breakup, but actually breaking up at this point would have made sense. If you cannot trust one another and there is no desire to rebuild the trust, then there is no point in continuing any further.

Likewise, if you feel like there is a lack of intimacy, instead of letting it die in the dead silence, approach it and confront it with your partner instead of assuming what they want. Most people struggle in arguments to not put words or feelings in the other person’s mouth. She may very well feel replaceable to you, and that is valid for her to feel. But at that point the discussion becomes less about whether or not she is replaceable and what she needs to feel less replaceable from you. It may be that what she needs isn’t something you can offer and you are at an impasse and incompatible. But you won’t find that out if you don’t have these discussions and instead avoid them.

At the end of the day, it might we wise to chalk this situation up to you both struggling to communicate with one another, put your best foot forward in the future, and commit to learning what you want within a relationship and how to ask for it explicitly next time and how to identify it when someone you’re with is avoiding communicating with you.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Do you have a question?

If you have a non-monogamous relationships question to ask, please email it to nonmonogamyhelp@gmail.com or leave a voice message. Your question will be posted anonymously.

If you have a non-monogamous relationships question to ask, please email it to nonmonogamyhelp@gmail.com or leave a voice message. Your question will be posted anonymously.

Now published!

If you’re looking to start exploring polyamory or you’ve been non-monogamous for awhile and struggle with anxiety, The Anxious Person’s Guide to Non-Monogamy may be for you. Even if you aren’t exactly struggling with anxiety, it could be a great book for beginners.

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