Image: Mariah Sharp @MightyMooseArt
She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I think my boyfriend wants a polyamorous relationship.
I met my boyfriend about a year ago, and I was happy with him. Three months ago, his ex-wife came back in town, and after a trial period, they are together again. She lives in his/their old house. All this time I’ve complained, protested, and so on. He says that he loves me, that he'll fix everything, but lately he admitted that he wants both of us. I tried to adjust to this new situation, but it still hurts.
Is this polyamory?
Am I just a fool who does not find the courage to go? I love him, and every day we spend together is a blessing for me. But on the other hand, when he leaves me to go and meet her — or when he visits me and it's obvious he's just had sex — it’s like a punch to my face, to my heart, to my pride. They make me feel not enough, replaceable, and many other words that are not appropriate.
I try to discuss it with him, but he is not very good at communicating what he thinks or feels. She, by the way, behaves like a bitch wanting to get rid of me, so I never talk to her.
Could you please help me? What should I do?
You Might Also Like: Ask Erin: Is It Wrong To Think Of Someone Else During Sex?
Okay, first of all, a polyamorous relationship requires the desire and consent of all parties involved.
Your boyfriend has started having sex. With his ex-wife. Who he lives with.
That is cheating, not polyamory.
I know that you love him, but this situation is not good for you (nor would it be good for most people!). You are being hurt by his behavior. As you said, it’s making you feel like you are “not enough.”
I believe that if you’re going to call someone your boyfriend and attach all the loyalty that accompanies that title, then you DESERVE to be heard and to be treated with respect. There is enough crap going on in the world. Your relationship should be a place you can feel loved and comforted. And safe.
I don’t think there is any “adjusting to this new situation,” because this situation sucks. There’s nothing wrong with polyamory (which this isn’t) if that works for you (which it doesn't).
As hard as it is, in my estimation, your only recourse is to walk away.
It can feel impossible to leave situations we know are bad for us because we have convinced ourselves that this is “the person,” that we love them and can’t live without them.
Why? Because deep down, we all have the same Achille’s heel — if this person doesn’t love us or stops loving us, we will never be loved again.
And that’s simply not true.
Give yourself the opportunity to be with someone who wants to be with you, and only you. Open your heart to the possibility that there are people out there who will love you, for whom you WILL be enough.
And, please, don’t listen to any more of his empty promises.
I can smell his game from the other side of this laptop.
Cut your ties and don’t be wooed back.
Lean on your friends and family. Consider speaking to a therapist. Take the focus off of him, off of them, and put it back on you. Now is the time for self-care — be that a hike, an impromptu trip with friends, meditation, a massage, a new book, or some chocolate cake.
Spend time doing things and being with people who make you feel good about who you are and what you have to offer. You are enough. You deserve love.