Once upon a time I had a friend who was poly. Let's call her Ethel.
Ethel had a SO, let's call him Fred.
Fred had an OSO, lets call her Maggie.
Fred and Ethel had a poly relationship in that Ethel was also married to another man. Fred however hadn't had another SO (beside Ethel) for a couple of years so from his perspective his relationship with Ethel was essentially monogamous.
Then along comes Maggie. Fred and Maggie hooked up and started having what Fred believed was a casual relationship. Maggie however spoke to Ethel casually and indicated she was interested in being a part of their Big Poly Family. She wanted to establish a close friendship with Ethel. Ethel however didn't care much for Maggie from day one. They just didn't click well.
Now Fred made a few mistakes when he started dating Maggie. Some generalized rules he had about overnights and other things that he and Ethel had followed in their relationship went by the wayside with Maggie.
Understandably this would be a bit confusing and upsetting to Ethel. Why would Fred implement rules with her but not with Maggie? Rather than communication taking place so Ethel could understand what was happening she developed some resentment. Eventually she came to loathe Maggie, but for no definable reason. Maggie had never done anything to her directly to cause Ethel's hatred.
There are more than a few problems I see here:
-It doesn't sound like Fred had the prerequisite talks with Maggie and maybe they weren't on the same page about their relationship.
-Maggie got a bit overzealous and wanted to quickly insert herself into the Big Poly Family.
-Fred may not have done things properly when he started bending rules for Maggie. By properly, I mean he didn't explain to Ethel why he was bending his rules.
-Ethel overreacted and let her initial feelings of dislike grow and fester into absolute hatred for Maggie.
-And possibly the biggest problem, there was a serious lack of communication between all three of them.
But what I want to focus on here is Ethel's dislike for Maggie. In this situation Ethel ended up making some rules for herself about Maggie such as; Maggie isn't welcome in my house, Maggie can't call Fred when she and Fred are together, things like that. Basically a set of rules to keep Maggie at a distance so Ethel wouldn't have to interact with her. I think those rules are possibly unhealthy to a point and personally I don't think I could conceive them. My concept of Poly is much more family or group oriented so disallowing someone just isn't something I think I could do.
The question here is: What do you do when you dislike your SO’s SO? Stay away from them? How do you support your SO when you don’t like their SO? Can you still have compersion? Would you badmouth the person?
And maybe even more important, what do you expect from your SO in that situation? Do you expect them to quit seeing the person? Be okay with you hating them? What if your SO wants a poly family and your dislike prevents that possibility? Do you expect your SO to change what they want?
Personally I would probably make every effort to accept the person, biting my tongue and turning the other cheek as much as possible. I'm sure I would have some conversations with my SO, and maybe even the OSO to try and make things smoother.
So have you ever been in this situation? If so, what did you do? If not, what do you think you would do if you ended up in this situation?
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