On a post a while back, I put up a link to a Liz Greene article about relationship triangles. Some of it is a bit esoteric and hard to follow, but one thing she says is definitely the truth: Nobody handles them well.
In my previous post I acknowledged the fact that this triangle is likely over, and no matter what the horoscopes say, I would be crazy to believe I will see this guy again in the next three weeks.
However, there is something anyone in a triangle or considering entering one can benefit from considering: What if I DID?
What if I did see this guy ever again?
Two years ago, the answer to that question would have seemed simple and over-the-moon happy: If he came back, it would mean I WON. That I was the better woman, that Chi finally realized that, and that he would now leave mean old Rory to be with me, and we would of course live happily ever after.
Now, after poking around and doing an awful lot of research, not only in the astrology books, but also reading psychology and books about relationships and childhood wounding, AND having just about all of our relationship on my hard drive to reread, I can see one thing very clearly: two years ago I would have been WRONG.
The fascinating thing about astrology, I have found, taken together with all I know about psychology, relationships, and what Chi has already told me about himself and Rory, is that the three sources are all disparate pieces of a mosaic. And, fit together, they form a whole picture. I’ve found that, looking back over the course of my life, this is the case no matter what aspect of it I’m looking at. What Chi has told me provides specifics of their personal histories and those of their relationship—at least, some salient points, which it would not have had I not read enough psychology beforehand to know what to ask him. Astrology contributes some why and when, but is heavier on the when. Psychology provides a glimpse of when, but is heavy on the why. Put together, the three show you a complete picture of three lives, what’s happening in them, why it’s happening, and the purpose of it all. (Why are we even here?) There's the earthly purpose: This happened because we had bad childhoods; and the metaphysical purpose: Why were we put here to have bad childhoods in the first place? It's all there.
Seeing all that, I can see that some of my attitudes from two years ago were very, very dangerous. It is absolutely true that, in love triangles, there is a lot of jealousy, a lot of demands that one’s own needs be satisfied, a lot of self-aggrandizement, a lot of unrealistic dreaming, and a lot of possessiveness. It stands to reason just from that that of course, no one handles them well.
But I can see now that, if this ever did happen to me again, the fact is that I’d have three sick people on my hands, and that jealousy, demanding my own way, self-aggrandizement, unrealistic dreaming, and possessiveness could really, really hurt all three people. I don’t need to be doing that. I need to be handling this well.
If this ever happened again, I REFUSE to handle this poorly.
I intend to win a gold medal.
WTF does handling your attraction to someone else WELL, when you are already in a relationship, or attracted to someone already in a relationship, look like? How do you know if you are doing a good job or a poor job?
Basically, the fact that there is mutual attraction outside the existing relationship shows that something within the relationship isn’t being handled well. And we all know that you never meet the guilty party in a divorce. So, understanding EVERYTHING that’s going on becomes crucial.
For instance, me, Chi, and Rory. What I saw in the beginning stages of that relationship told me without a doubt that part of the problem was a desperately ill adult child of an alcoholic, with inhumanly low self-esteem. And something was wrong with Rory, I wasn’t sure what. There’s two pieces of the mosaic. Then part of my piece came into focus: Raised in the twin toxins of critically low confidence in my ability to handle life’s responsibilities, and the idea that if I just love someone hard enough and in the right way, I can be God and make them heal, I was stepping in thinking that I could “save” someone else, and that doing so made me a good enough person to earn what I thought I couldn’t do for myself.
My problems I can fix. I now know that I don’t need help taking care of myself. These past two years, I have been able to afford all of my needs and some pretty expensive wants, with money left over. I’ve been able to do a lot of things I believed I couldn’t do. And I have seen that no person can step over the line into someone else’s head and mature their childhood problems for them. No person can own progress he himself didn’t make. Chi can either progress enough to be himself in relationships or he can’t, and if he can’t, he’s radioactive. No relationship can work when one person refuses to show up the way he really is, and this fault in a person is the worst one you can have. All other difficulties rear their ugly heads where they can be SEEN. With Chi, everything looks fine for DECADES…until you find out that he’s been quietly falling apart inside the entire time, told you nothing, and now nothing about your life together is real and he’s having an affair.
Pernicious, pernicious, pernicious, pernicious.
The one wild card was Rory. And now I think I know enough about her, too. Keeping in mind that I COULD be wrong about some of it, she has four major problems, and possibly a fifth, that are making her toxic to be around, and she needs to fix all of them. If she doesn’t, she is simply going to murder Chi, and it really will be like slaughtering a lamb, because he thinks so poorly of himself he never even questions what she does. “I’m a jerk…it’s all me.” I know what the problems are, and how she got to be the way she is.
Now that I am in receipt of that information, I can see the right way to win a gold medal. (Your situation may be different.)
1.) Hating Rory is out of court. It may have made sense when I believed she was just using him, but now I see Rory has problems of her own. Sad to say, the only thing she’s really done is the same goddamned thing Chi and I did: Be born to the wrong parents. It’s in everyone’s best interest (except possibly for mine) that she solve her problems. I need to feel compassion for her, and if she demonstrates ability to solve those problems, the only place for me is spelled, GONE. No matter how much I miss Chi or how sad I am.
2.) Chi needs to recognize he is only half of their problems, and her half is especially pernicious and destructive. He needs to recognize that he does NOT deserve her half, and he does not cause her ugly behavior (no matter what she says). If she does not demonstrate ability to resolve or at least substantially improve ALL of her half, there is only one place for him: GONE. And that instance is the one and only instance in which I have any business here at all.
3.) I need to recognize that the faults I have uncovered in myself are only half of Chi’s and my problems, and I CANNOT SOLVE CHI’S HALF. His half is especially pernicious and destructive to me. If he does not demonstrate ability to resolve ALL of his half, there is only one place for me: GONE. No matter how much I miss Chi or how sad I am.
4.) Not being able to get oneself out of a marriage in which one is being treated very, very poorly is a basic symptom that Chi isn’t resolving his problems. If I grab one arm and pull him out of there anyway, I will be inheriting serious unresolved problems and helping them remain unresolved. And I will get just what I deserve: those symptoms, acted out on myself instead of Rory.
5.) Tolerating any poor behavior towards me, any dishonesty with me or any therapist, or any apparent mishandling of the situation by any therapist, and saying nothing, is not allowed.
The only way to win a gold medal, therefore, is, if I see him again, first to check to see that what I’ve surmised here is correct. If it isn’t, sharing any of this could do more harm than good. If, in my judgement, Rory is acting much better and Chi is still showing me problems, stealing her husband from her is not gold medal behavior, even if I find that I can. If she isn’t doing better and Chi is back because she’s slowly tearing him apart (again), then it’s time to share this, and gently put Chi back into therapy and back into the marriage, unless and until he can muster the self-esteem to get himself out. If he can get himself out (and I mean divorced, not just moved out of the home), I may resume my relationship with him, with the understanding of what codependency symptoms are, and that I need to run for my life if I’m still seeing them, he won’t work on them, or they aren’t improving.
This is how to win a gold medal in my situation. How could you win a gold medal in yours?