Healing from Polyamory Heartbreak

When Healing Heartbreak Goes Out of Boundaries

I had a lover I was with for three years.

It was the first successful long-distance relationship I had ever decided to stay in. We were both polyamorous, open minded, and full of bliss whenever we got to see each other. We were totally open to all the possibilities that life and love had to offer two people who did not often spend time in the same city and who felt a love connection so strong that we could not let a little thing like distance break our desire to carry on our bond.

But then… I fucked up a bit and didn’t recognize the impact my personal addiction demons had upon the relationship. She was a clean-and-sober type gal, never touched a drink or a drug in her life. She was smarter than the average bear.

I swear upon my own genitalia (!!!) that I did not do a single thing to harm her because of my addiction to being a hip hop superstar, still living under the delusion that smoking weed is a necessary part of my identity in life. And we lasted for three magnificent years together, before one day, she called and said something to the effect of: “I can’t continue this relationship with you. You struggle with your addictions and you don’t fully know whether you want to quit or not, and every time you relapse, it makes me question your integrity and character. Even though you haven’t cheated on me or hurt me, I just don’t know who you are or what you want because you say ‘I want to quit’ one day, and then the next day you’re indulging in your habits again. I can’t be in a relationship like that anymore…”

I felt blindsided, stunned, flabbergasted, and yet… I completely understood.

I didn’t think it was affecting our relationship that much: we were ecstatic when we saw each other, we wrote three page long Facebook messages to each other, we spoke on the phone for hours when we could, we sent naughty pictures to each other on occasion… and we RARELY argued, and NEVER screamed at each other. Our few disagreements would only create a few hours of discord before we patched things up and basked in love’s liquid light again. Truly, there  was only about 3 hours worth of miscommunication in the 3 years we were together… until we broke up.

And then she said: “We shouldn’t talk for a while.” It was her choice, and I agreed. If she thought I was that toxic, she should take some space from me. I had no idea I was causing that kind of irritation in her, and I decided to gracefully bow out of the scenario, for her peace of mind.

Two months pass. Not a word. No emails. No texts. No pictures. No communication or contact.

Then: she called me out of the blue about two weeks ago. I heard tears, I heard sadness, I heard unfinished emotions holding on to her heart. We’ve spoken a few times, and it was evident that she was still struggling with what happened to us. She kept talking about the futility of overanalyzing the past, but at the same time, she kept talking about not understanding how I could be so insensitive and unaware of my affect on her…

It was difficult.

I wanted to help her; I always do and always will want to. But at the same time, I know she didn’t want to repeat the past… yet I am not completely finished detoxing myself. So I was very concerned when she continued communicating about a past she wanted to escape, while continuing a connection she asked to have space from. I wanted to embrace her but not the dichotomy she was creating within us. I love her and she loves me; we both know it. But the bottom line for me was:

Did she violate the boundaries that she created between us?

Part of me felt like “yes”, and part of me felt like “no”.

I was happy to hear from her again. But I was not happy to hear her tear down our relationship, from the outside. Hindsight may be 20/20, but unbalanced emotions will make the heart’s vision blurry, whether looking to the past, present, or future.

So… even though one of my polyamory rules is to ALWAYS MAKE THE EFFORT TO LOVE EACH OTHER, I realized that I needed space from her painful critiques of our delicious, yet bittersweet relationship. I created some very light boundaries for the moment to hopefully bring peace and clarity to us both.

But the question remains: what do you do when the boundaries made to heal a deep, long-term, sacred relationship are broken?

I’ll tell you if I ever figure it out.  And I’m open to all your suggestions. Thank you for reading.

Always in Love,
Addi Stewart

Read: How to Survive a Poly Breakup

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