Being the speed bump is a position I wish no one ever had to be in. In poly relationships, it seems that everyone will be the speed bump at some point. There will be something happening that leaves you in the position of stopping everything and saying, "This isn’t working for me." It happened to be me that was the speed bump this week. I didn’t like it at all, but I think we managed to resolve things rather easily.
I’d like to just say that J and I probably broke every rule in the polyamory handbook about when and how to add someone to a relationship. Our relationship was having serious problems and we were both avoiding working on them and subscribing to the "Leave it alone and it’ll pass" theory. T was going through a lot in her own life as well. However, we went for it. We both knew that the time was right, but that it’d be a difficult passage at first. Difficult became nearly impassable with amazing speed.
J and T were caught up in NRE. I made a lot of allowances for this, but in reality, I got cut out. J stopped spending time with me, intimacy ended on all fronts between he and I and we both fell into the trap of blaming one another for the sudden distance between us. T exhibited NRE by basically becoming absorbed in J and not speaking to me either. I was, to be very honest, feeling like I was not wanted, needed, or even considered for a while there. I had offered to leave once, but was talked out of it, but things didn’t seem to change much.
Anyway, things did begin to mellow as the first rush of NRE began to fade. Early this week, J wanted to have a talk with both of us about where the problems had been for us all and how much things had changed, and in short, how good it all was now. J spoke, T spoke, and I sat and played with my fingers. Then they both looked at me and I, being cornered, had to tell them that I was still seriously thinking of, and even planning on, moving out. I didn’t want to end the relationship between me and J, nor did I want to end the friendship with T, but I did think that living with them for now was a very bad idea for me. My idea was, move out, let things simmer down a bit, and then look at all of us having a home together again. I don’t think either one liked hearing why, but they did hear me. I did get upset at the end and fled the room on the verge of tears saying something about how it was obvious that I should move out.
The reality was, neither T or J wanted me to go. Also, neither of them realized, I don’t believe, just how lonely I was feeling. J, the love of my life and a very dear friend for almost two decades, and T, who I love deeply and is also one of my closest friends, and I had neither of them to talk to anymore. I felt like I had lost my best friends, because in effect, I had.
What I didn’t realize though was that I was perpetuating things. My initial unhappiness and pain at being shut out had left me rather depressed, and I rarely smiled or laughed. Both stated that they’d been trying to reach out to me, but I had been unresponsive. T even said to me, "After a while, it gets really hard to be around someone who is depressed all the time." There were a lot of misunderstandings on all counts, and we did get a chance to talk about those things as well.
I have started putting out effort to not look like I’m ready to cry if the wind changes. J has been putting effort into real communication and into working on the issues we’ve had since before this. T admitted she missed our friendship too, and she’s working on moving back towards that with me. The transformations are amazing.
I am still uncertain. I am not yet decided on staying. I have to admit though, having people do things that tell you that you’re wanted, cared for and respected makes a big difference. It sucks to be the speed bump and make everyone slow down, but I’d rather be the speed bump than the roadkill that wasn’t even noticed.