I shall state this simply and clearly for those in the back:
Your emotional burdens are not my responsibility.
…nor are my, or anyone else’s, burdens your responsibility. Call me cruel, heartless, unfeeling, but at least I feel I am fair.
Of course, it’s your choice to live this way. I had a friend try to work through the pain and chaos that often accompanies changing a relationship from one style to another– and it worked for her and her partner. I have had others try this same path, and it only caused massive heartbreak for the many involved. I don’t care what you do for yourself, but I’ve seen enough to know that I will not take on another’s emotional burden.
I’ve said before, I will not break up with you for your sake.
In principle, I think most would say you should handle your own problems (with help, if desired, from their support network). Yet in practice we forget. When it comes to non monogamy, in particular, it feels we too often encourage people to handle other people’s problems. We tell people they should break up with their partners “for their sake.”
Something I am glad I often see from experienced poly folk towards people new to poly is “It’s not a metamour problem. It’s a partner problem.” In other words, they encourage the person to not try to fix a supposed problem between their partner and their partner’s partner. But rather to focus on the actual problem between themselves and their partner.
No, I won’t break up with you “for your own good.” I won’t take your autonomy away from you, if I think you’re worth trying to make our relationship work. Maybe I’ll decide to part ways, for myself. But if we share dependents, I will always, always work with you– for their sake. (No, that doesn’t mean I’ll sleep with you, you weirdo, what kind of sick freak associates their kids with that part of their life?)
But what if the only thing standing in the way of our happiness is a simple misconception or miscommunication?
Is it worth it for me to help you through a tough time? Absolutely. If I love you, I will give it an effort. Because you never know what might happen if you try. And, personally, I know I’ll live with doubt and guilt if I don’t try. So, yes, I’ll do it.
I’ll share a dirty little secret with you. I think you are amazing, beautiful, smart, and giving, and I want you to be happy. I’ll try my best to find a way to faciliate that happiness.
Though I won’t create that happiness for you. You’ve got to make your own happiness. But I’ll join you in your journey– if you let me.