I’m in a polyqueer community, my metamour & partner have been emotionally hurt by my ambigusweetie “L” & especially their partner’s “O’s” bad politics re: trans/nb stuff. I, metamour & my partner see O&L’s relationship as volatile, mutually abusive & codependent. I’m taking a month long break from L now and its hard for both of us, esp since they’re grieving death of a loved one i promised support for. I’m hoping that I can say what i need to about O’s influence, abuse & politics after cooling off. halp?

You have a right to take distance from people you feel are abusive or toxic. If O makes you and people you care able feel unsafe or disrespected, you don’t need to be around this person. If O is using violent, transphobic language, no one needs to be exposed to that, especially if it directly affects them.

You cannot make that call for L, though. If you think they are in an abusive relationship, you can let them know that you’re concerned, but you can’t do much more than that. It can be hard to take distance from someone you care about, but if they insist on bringing negativity, drama, and toxic people into your life, that’s what you need to do.

Do not set ultimatums or make demands: “You have to break up with O if you want to stay close to me.” You can’t use your choices to control other people. Frame it like this instead: “I can’t be around this situation, and since you’re part of this situation right now, I can’t be around you.” L can do what they think is best with that information.

You may know what you want to say to L about O, but recognize that there are no magic words to convince someone else to see things your way. L might not agree that O is abusive, or L might not feel that O’s political beliefs warrant cutting O off. Go into it as a way to get things off your chest, not as a project to change L’s mind. You cannot be, and are not, responsible for L’s perspective or choices.

Focus instead on the people who are healthy and safe for you right now. You, your metamour, and your partner seem to be a united front on this, so invest in those relationships rather than taking on the futile endeavor that is “fixing” O’s politics or L’s perspective on the situation to align with yours.