How do I know I’ve made the right decision for myself?

I have stopped communicating recently with someone I was seeing and I feel awful about it and struggle with the decision and get upset everyday. We stopped seeing each other physically in June, then only talking on the phone and texting, then I reached out to say I need to stop communicating entirely. I am trying to move on but feel crushed after a year of connecting during COVID. I ended things because of incompatibility with polyamory - something I feel I just can’t do and something they feel like they have to try/explore. I feel the pain that comes with betrayal but without this person being the one of betrayed me - because they were transparent during the whole year of COVID that eventually when it’s safe to be around other people, she is going to want to have that freedom to potentially be with other people. I was not prepared for how strongly I ultimately was not able to handle that.
Asked by JE
Answered
11/29/2021

Hi, and thank you for reaching out.  We often find ourselves second-guessing our decisions when we feel very strongly about something or someone, and it sounds as though you have some very strong feelings for this person.  

Polyamorous relationships can be very difficult, especially if one person really does not feel comfortable with this type of relationship.   Many people are exploring these types of relationships in today's society; they work for some, but not others.  

You did not mention why you decided to cut off all communications, but I suspect it was to try to distance yourself so you could heal from the relationship and be able to move on.  One of the most important things to consider is whether or not you are comfortable in that type of relationship, and apparently, it was not for you.  I often ask individuals to make three lists when they enter into a relationship:  the first list is your expectations of the relationship; the second list is that of behaviors you really don't like but can tolerate in the relationship, and the third list is that of deal-breakers, meaning if such-and-such occurs, under no circumstances will I stay in that relationship.   I ask each individual to make those three lists by themselves and then sit down and share them with their partner or potential partner.  This discussion makes things very clear in a relationship, so there are no surprises and no one can say, "well, you never told me that before we got together."

Above all, one must be comfortable in the decisions in the relationship; if you are uncomfortable, you will never feel fulfilled in the relationship and there will be a strain.  If you feel very strongly about polyamorous relationships, then they are not for you and you deserve a relationship where you can be happy.

Sometimes we can continue "friendship" with our "ex-partner", but other times, we cannot.  If you decide to continue a friendship with that ex-partner, then you can decide what the parameters are of that relationship and set boundaries.

Sometimes we need a "clean break" with no contact for several months to be able to heal from the relationship, and then we can go back and become just friends.  One thing to consider is what you do value about this person and is it worth staying friends, or maybe taking a break and coming back later to revisit the idea of just friendship.   Another thing to consider is what your needs are in a relationship; your needs are very important, as is your partner's.  

So, I hope this helps to give you some ideas of where to start to decide if you made the right decision.  Remember, you are grieving and we all grieve at different paces; it takes time to grieve and heal.  I wish you the very best.

 

(LMHC, ACHT, CTS)