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I’m an avid listener of Love Letters (the podcast) and wanted to reach out for your advice on my complex romantic situation. I had been involved with a non-monogamous man for a few months, who already has a partner of more than eight years. Our relationship started off as a fling because I was moving. But more feelings creeped in, and he told his partner that, and she was fine with it. I had decided that once I left the city we all lived in, it would be over, as i didn’t see non-monogamy as a viable long-term option for me. He, on the other hand, was convinced it could work and we’d eventually get to a non-hierarchical triad. He eventually convinced me and we decided to keep seeing each other after I left.
The following months were honestly terrible: he came to the city I moved to for other reasons, always said he did not have the time to see me while I was in deep need of emotional support, having moved to a new place and all. We barely talked on the phone. I aired my grievances, and specifically said the power dynamics and the hierarchy are making me uncomfortable and insecure, and the lack of communication is not helping. He tried to be better at communication, but it was clear to me that he did not have the emotional space for two relationships (including a long-distance one) even though he kept on saying this was just a transition phase. Whenever I tried to break us up, he would manipulate me into getting back together.
I hit a wall when he announced he was coming to my city in a couple of weeks, never consulting me for the dates, and clearly deciding to stay with his other partner. I ended up sending a pretty petty message saying that I wanted to focus on someone else I was seeing, and that this is not working anyway, and blocked him. I did not set out to ghost this person, but it felt like the only way out of this toxic relationship was to cut ties. But now I regret the way I did it and wonder if it were unnecessarily mean. Thoughts?
– Cut Ties
Mean? I don't know. I think it was the right tone to ensure an ending. My guess is that he’s not sitting around wondering if he could have handled this better. (If he is, good. He should be.)
Also, you gave him an explanation before you blocked him. You said, “this is not working.” The “I'm with someone else now" was an add-on, but you didn't ghost this man. You declined his offer for a visit and said you weren’t interested in the relationship anymore. Let’s not confuse a quick “I'm out” with a real ghosting. Had you never responded to the news about the visit and let him wonder if you had moved on, or gave him cause to worry, that might be different.
Try to replace the self-doubt and blame with appreciation for what you did for yourself here. You tried a relationship and went all in, openminded. You recognized when it wasn’t feeling right, and that you needed to trust your gut. When you reached a certain point with the misery, you bailed. I read that all of that and thought, “Excellent. Great. Now for something better.”
(By the way, this reminds me of that podcast episode where a guest – someone who was in a relationship with two people – says that polyamorous arrangements are best for people who are very good with a Google calendar. It doesn’t seem like this man had figured out how work your needs into his relationship life.)
Get to know your new city without these ties. Do not rethink the communication. If he reaches out in some other way with apologies – and he might – you can explain you’re not interested.
Readers? Anything to feel bad about here?