PQ 12.4 — Do I trust my partner to consider my needs and well-being in his decisions about whether to stay in a relationship that is hurting me? Why or why not? If not, what can I do to improve that trust?

a black cat sitting on a fence lined with plants
Image by Bill Harrison / CC BY

PQ 12.4 — Do I trust my partner to consider my needs and well-being in his decisions about whether to stay in a relationship that is hurting me? Why or why not? If not, what can I do to improve that trust?

*

“Page,” he says. “I hate to ask this from you. I know it’s something you don’t like to do, but is there any way you could talk to my girlfriend and explain something to her?”

I’m instantly on edge. “Well,” I say carefully. “That really depends on what this is about and what exactly I’d be explaining.”

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me to talk to their partner because they want to be polyamorous and their partner doesn’t. Asking me to explain to their partner why they should allow them to see other people. And every time there’s disappointment when I tell them that there are no magic words that will make the other person want polyamory. Just like there’s no black magic incantation that will make someone instantly fall in love with you. And even if there were, I don’t think it’d be ethical for me to cast that spell.

But in this case at least, I know that their relationship is already open, so it’s not going to be that conversation.

When Pain Doesn’t Mean Stop

“I want her to understand that even if something she’s doing hurts me that I don’t want her to stop doing it,” he says.

Not what I expected him to say. “You sound like me,” I say.

He laughs. “I’ve heard you say it so many times. That sometimes growth involves pain. Hurt doesn’t automatically mean ‘stop.’ It all depends.”

“So what you want in this instance isn’t an arm-twisting but backup?” I ask.

“Basically,” he says.

“That I can do,” I say.

He smiles.

“You know what the nice thing is about that attitude?” I say.

“What’s that?”

“When you do ask someone to stop, they tend to listen. Because they know that your stop is based on additional concerns or pain beyond the pale and not just mild personal discomfort,” I say.

“Ideally anyway,” he says.

I nod. “That’s one of the thing that I love most about Skyspook. He gets it.”

He smiles.

“I hope she gets it, too,” I add.

“We’ll see, won’t we?” he says.

*

This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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1 Comment

  1. Making the commitment to polyamory after being indoctrinated with monogamy takes courage and a willingness to do the work. Allowing another person the freedom to make their own choices also frees them to ultimately choose what is best for them. Letting someone experience their own consequences in another relationship may cause me some discomfort but I know if I allow my partner to choose freely that also means I am allowing them to choose me of their own free will without coercion.

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