Layers of poly conundra

I’ve considered myself poly for years but have rarely actually dated someone who had (an)other partner(s), so this is new to me.

Today The Bunny’s Other Chick messaged me on FetLife asking if he’s prone to “dropping off the face of the Earth for extended times with minimal contact.”

I figured that if she was asking me this, she must be in full out paranoia mode (like I get into sometimes, although actually I think I’d be too proud ever to contact a metamour like this!). I know that she’s a wee bit of an anxious person, and that she and The Bunny have had issues in the past because she couldn’t use her words to tell him that she wanted more contact with him – it sounds like they have wildly disparate ideas of how often they’d like to “touch base” in their relationship. I also know that, in her paranoia, Other Chick started assuming at one point that if The Bunny is ever unavailable to see her, it’s because he’s got plans with me. He says she doesn’t hate me or anything but she does see me as competition.

Anyway. Other Chick’s anxiety made me feel solidarity with her and want to comfort her – at the very least I didn’t want to make it worse or get The Bunny into some kind of trouble – but what the hell could I say? If I said that The Bunny doesn’t fall out of touch with me for all that long ever, she’d take it personally that he does so with her – also she seems fairly clingy so maybe he actually is contacting us both the same amount but for me it’s enough and for her it’s not.

I couldn’t say “I just saw him today and he seemed totally normal and didn’t mention having any issues with you” – that would open up multiple cans of worms, namely that he was obviously contacting me but not her, and that sometimes he’ll talk to me about issues they’re having (never trash-talking her, just asking advice, but still).

I finally settled on “He might go a day or two without contact sometimes, which feels like an extended period to me compared to how often he would text me when we were first seeing each other. Also his new stupid-early work shift has affected things a bit, I think – he’s in bed earlier nowadays. I’m sure everything’s fine. Deep breaths. :)”

She responded “It’s a bit more than that, I suspect…but thanks anyways.”

And again, I really wanted to say something comforting but there was nothing that wouldn’t open a whole can of worms. So I just let the conversation die.

I mean fuck, maybe The Bunny is souring on her. He may sometimes mention their arguments to me because he’s seeking my input, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of person to tell me when he’s planning on breaking up with someone else if he’s definitely decided to, or even to tell me he’s growing apart from someone.

And then the other angle of this weirdness is that I kinda want to tell The Bunny about this conversation – like just so he knows that she’s feeling insecure and can maybe step up his game – but feel like it would be a betrayal of the girl-code. Also I don’t want to be enabling Other Chick’s passive aggressive tendencies. If she feels like The Bunny’s being weirdly silent lately she needs to say so to him, out loud.

I’m not actually against befriending a metamour and/or talking with them about our shared partner. But this particular chick…I mean I’m guessing if The Bunny likes her then she must have many good points, but she also sounds like she has similar anxiety issues to mine but without the self-awareness or coping mechanisms I’ve developed over the years. So with Other Chick, I am not comfortable having the “so what’s going on with [mutual partner]? I haven’t heard from him in ages” talk. Because I think this is more than just her looking for insights into The Bunny – this is her potentially scoping out how he is with me and bringing out an arsenal of sophisticated measuring devices in order to figure out whether he’s treating both of us exactly equally. And there is no “are we equal?” in poly. There’s only “Am I getting what I need?” And I don’t think she understands this.

Anyway. If she keeps asking me stuff, I’ll probably tell her that I’m not comfortable getting in the middle of their relationship and she needs to address shit with him.


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4 responses to “Layers of poly conundra

  1. play

    Oh yes. I was once in a situation where I could directly ask my metamour whether it would be ok to share things from our conversation with our partner, and she would decide on a case-by-case basis. Our shared partner also encouraged us talking about him, for a plural of reasons (although there were things he told me about their relationship that were excluded from this).

  2. trillian

    absolutely agree. 2 words: stay away…

  3. If it helps, in a general sense there are a couple of things you can almost always say to a metamour without opening a can of worms: “are you okay?” and “do you need to talk?” (and then do more listening than talking.) Sometimes folks just need to process with someone else to keep from going in circles in their own head. You don’t have to be that someone if it makes you uncomfortable, of course. If she’s fishing for advice or insight, “talk to him” answers both. Basically if you do want to engage, going into counselor mode and not putting yourself into a conversation about her does double duty as actual help and making you look super chill.

    However things go, I hope it doesn’t put added stress on you. Good luck!

    • I was hoping you’d offer your input here. But not holding my breath ’cause I know you have a lot on your plate right now. So thank you for taking the time!

      I suspect that anything I said to OtherChick would have led to her asking me a barrage of questions about The Bunny, but your suggested diversionary tactic of being listener/sounding board sounds like it could be useful with lots and lots of things and I shall keep it in my back pocket. 😀

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