Some now-former friends have decided to jump into polyamory as a solution to a big mess of relationship crazy. I think this is a terrible, terrible idea, for reasons specific to both the couple and polyamory as a whole. But how do I discuss this with them (and others) without sliding down the slippery slope of defining what other types of relationships are "right" or "wrong"?
I live in an area that has an active community of poly people. It's generally seen as no big thing. However, I'm pretty opposed to polyamory in general, mainly because the vast majority of people I know who engage in it are pretentious, selfish, creepy
, using it as an excuse to keep a bad relationship going
, all that. Of course people will do whatever they want, but when they actively drag me into their drama it takes on another tone.
This is not to say that I am 100% convinced it can't work, but considering I know only one couple who does it "right" with honesty and planning (and has problems -- as any relationship unit does), that's up there. I admit that I can be judgmental, but dammit, what if I'm actually right?
So there is a married couple and an unmarried couple. Three months ago, Boyfriend proudly announces to me privately that he has received Batshit Insane Girlfriend's blessing to go after Wife. I am horrified, mainly because Girlfriend is (as mentioned) batshit insane; any possibility of a healthy secondary relationship, let alone their own barely-breathing heap of a relationship, is pretty much nil. I believe that Boyfriend truly valued my advice (which I tried to present as objectively as possible), but in the end they all decided to go through with it.
So my boyfriend and I backed way off as we tried to sort out our feelings and how it would be possible to remain friends with them when they want to make this horrible decision. Because what's to stop any of these people from making other horrible decisions that affect us more directly? We came to the conclusion that it would be really difficult to do so.
In particular, I feel like they've gone about it in a sort of half-secretive way that really took advantage of my trust. Months ago, Wife was up all night in tears complaining that Girlfriend is bombarding her with stalkerish e-mails insinuating that Wife is trying to steal Boyfriend. I try to support Wife, only to find out that... well, she kind of is. (Through her own behavior, not the general act of being poly.) Same with other times when she's outwardly flirting with Boyfriend, and Husband is emotionally shutting down. Without knowing more about their dynamics (i.e. what the hell he finds okay or not okay), we found it impossible to be supportive friends.
But within all this, as I'm trying to explain why this squicks me out, I have this nagging fear that some of the things I'm saying are very similar to objections that other people have raised about other nontraditional relationships -- LGBT, May/December, even interracial ones. You know -- things like "This isn't a healthy, normal way of conducting a relationship" or "I don't care what you do, as long as you don't do it around me." Even saying "I wish I knew more of the details of the relationship so I could respond appropriately" feels dangerously close to insinuating that a gay person should "announce" his or her sexuality in a way that heterosexuals don't have to do.
All four friendships are over, though I retain hope that Boyfriend (a good friend from high school) will come to his senses sometime down the road. I promise not to say "I told you so" because I hated it when people did that to me. But we felt obligated to let Husband and Wife know (via a careful e-mail) why we had suddenly disappeared from their lives, and now I'm getting accused of the kind of discrimination I mentioned above.
[Plus, I'd really like to know how to use this argument in favor of gay marriage when the teabaggers think it will lead to polygamous horse sex or some shit like that.]
What do I do?