Due to an emergency, my primary partner has to live with their partner (my metamour) for a few months while they get back on their feet. My metamour and I haven't had the best relationship because my introduction to and early experiences with her were traumatic, but I'm trying. Trust me when I say I want to be friends with my metamours. Now, my metamour has barred me access from her home and told our partner I'm not allowed to visit them in her house because she's not "comfortable" with me because I haven't tried hard enough to be friends with her. I think barring me from her home without opportunity for a conversation is unethical. Isn't it? Because the way I see it, regardless of how I feel about any of my metamours, I wouldn't forbid them from seeing our partner in a space that is my partner's and mine unless safety is a concern. I understand it's her home and it's her decision, but I think there's a right thing and a wrong thing to do. Not being able to see my partner, spend time with them, and just be home with them will weaken our relationship and my metamour knows that. I'm afraid this could cause my relationship with my partner to end; things have already been rocky for the past few months because of this specific metamour. Both my partner and I are talking to my metamour (separately) to have her understand that the circumstance she's putting us in is messed up. My partner is trying their hardest to get back on their feet so we won't have to endure this situation for long (but it could still take up to 6 months for them to be able to live away from this metamour again). What advice could you give me? What else can I do here? I'm losing my mind.
Okay, first things first - trauma is very serious. If someone in your life is traumatizing you, that is a crisis. Traumatizing someone - by definition, treating them in such a way that their psychological ability to cope with the pain or stress is overwhelmed - is abuse. If you are being, or have been, traumatized, you need to work with a therapist as soon as possible to start healing, learning to recognize your needs and set boundaries, and working on the patterns of thought and behavior that lead you to continue trying to be friends with people who traumatize you. (And if you feel that I am overreacting or the situation does not call for this response, then you need to not use the word ‘trauma’ - someone being rude, exclusive, unpleasant or nasty is not “traumatizing.”)
Second, you’re asking me to make a call as to whether this person’s behavior and demands are unethical and unreasonable, but it really doesn’t matter. Has this person said “oh, sure, I’ll amend my restrictions if you can get an internet advice blogger to agree with you?” Ultimately, you cannot change her mind or control her behavior. All you can do is decide what is best for you to do in this situation.
You could decide that dating someone who is dating or living with someone who traumatizes you and acts in a way you feel is unethical is not working for you, and leave the relationship. That is a choice you make for your own safety, not something anyone else is forcing you to do.
Or, you could decide that you want to try and make things work with your partner. Perhaps they are happy to spend lots of time where you live, and have sleepovers often. Perhaps they are willing to stand up to their partner/your metamour and say “I am going to have Salmertha over this Saturday to watch movies - you can make other plans to be out of the house if you want, but I’m not going to let you limit my ability to see my other partners.”
But if you ask your partner for that, and they tell you that they’ve chosen to give in 100% to the metamour’s demands, that’s their choice. You can’t control your partner, but you can control how you respond: “I’m sorry, I just can’t be in a relationship with someone who won’t risk any friction in another relationship to try and find a compromise for me.” Let go of trying to change someone else’s mind or see them as a controlling force in your life.
My therapist likes to say, of other people’s behavior and choices, ‘it’s all information.’ Your metamour has given you a lot of information about what being in a polyamorous network with her is like. Your partner has given you a lot of information about what being in a relationship with them is like. Now you get to decide, based on that information, what you want to do.
It’s like if you interview for a job and they tell you “we’ll pay you a bajillion dollars, but to work here you’d have to come to work in five-inch heels every day and you’re not allowed to talk to your coworkers.” They’re not opening a debate with you, they’re stating their terms. You’d run yourself ragged trying to change their policy, even if you think it’s totally bonkers. All you can do is decide whether the bajillion dollars is worth it, or, based on what you know about this workplace, it’s best for you to decline their offer.