I am in a poly relationship. My boyfriend identifies as poly, I identify as… well, I don’t really identify in any specific way. I am just as comfortable inside of monogamous relationships as I am inside of poly ones. I meet each relationship with each person as its own thing, whether there are other people involved or not.
The majority of my relationships have been monogamous, and I have a history of telling people not to assume I’ll sleep with them because I’m bi, so most people see me as a monogamous person.
My boyfriend is also dating one of my friends, who has a primary boyfriend. When he and I started dating, it cause a lot of… awkwardness. I didn’t think it would, but my friend started getting all extra concerned, and kinda patronizing about anything poly towards me. She sees me as monogamous, and is concerned that I’m not getting my needs met in a poly relationship. When I once suggested writing a response to an article writer who was having difficulties understanding poly relationships, she told me it wasn’t my place, because I wasn’t poly. She has also expressed concerns over my son… one time asking me if I had thought about how my poly relationship would affect him.
It’s very frustrating to me. I don’t like people assuming they know what’s best for me, or what’s going on with me, or needing constant reassurance that I’m alright, or that I’m taking care of myself. It’s one thing to check in every once in a while, but completely another to not believe the responses give.
I don’t know how to talk to her about this. She gets so tied up in her identity as poly that I’m afraid anything I say to her will put her on the defensive. Any advice?
A spray bottle filled with water, so you can shoot every time she does that? Works wonders on my cat…
The reality is that this is pretty patronizing. But you can handle it without too much of a confrontation.
I am not entirely sure why she would feel the need to police your contact with another writer. That’s easy. Do as you please. You don’t actually have to filter your outside communication through her. You’re an adult.
The constant checking in and then not believing the responses? That’s a tough one, and boy can it be irritating. Concern can be concern, but it can also be concern-trolling and gaslighting. The way to handle it is not to worry about defensiveness, but simply to express yourself.
“Yes, I’ve considered the whole poly and kid thing, and I’ve made my decisions based on what I think is best for myself and son. Please don’t ask me about this again.”
“You asked me how I felt. I expressed what I was feeling. However, in terms of whether or not I am taking care of myself, I am an adult and my personal care is my responsibility. I appreciate you checking in, but let’s try something. If I have an issue, I will do my best to bring it up in a timely manner, so that we can discuss it, and we can just leave off the whole maintenance thing and enjoy being friends.”
Then you get to find out the real motivation is concern or control. If it’s about control, it’ll go from zero to freakout in one second flat.