I've never been in a polyam relationship before, but I'd really like to open my relationship to a new person. My BF seems pretty open to polyam but I've never talked to him about it seriously. I met someone though that I'd like to introduce him to. I care about this guy and my boyfriend and I'd really like it if they shared feelings for each other as well (although I know that's unlikely). Is it possible to have a relationship like this, and if not is it possible to foster friendship there?
This is really tricky. It’s impossible to dictate another person’s feelings - think about whether you’d be able to develop feelings for someone just because someone else wanted you to. We can’t even dictate our own feelings! People often find themselves wishing they could just conjure romantic or sexual feelings for someone, or delete an existing crush, but it’s next to impossible. So even if you could convince your boyfriend to want to have feelings for this person, there’s no guarantee that fickle cupid would cooperate. So I’d advise that you let go of that as a goal, because if anything, that kind of pressure, even subtle, can actually make it less likely for people to ‘catch feelings’ for each other.
But you absolutely can do some things to foster a healthy friendship between them. Again, there’s no guarantee - sometimes people just don’t “click,” and you have to be ready to accept that. But I’ve learned over the years that there are some things that make metamours more or less likely to get along well.
One is to never badmouth one to the other. Even if it feels like a “minor” thing. If Merejy sees you set down your phone with rolled eyes and a sigh because Jaxlyn didn’t answer your text, he will remember that. If you show up late to something with Jaxlyn and exasperatedly explain that Merejy took your car and never puts the keys back, things like that add up. It’s totally healthy and normal to need to vent a bit about your partners, but never do it to your other partners.
Another is to avoid comparisons or anything that could make one feel threatened by another. This is just healthy polyamory, but even more important in this type of situation. Be very aware of how NRE may be impacting your behavior. Be careful of drawing comparisons between the two. Try to avoid bringing up inside jokes or shared experiences with one that will exclude the other. Speak positively about them to each other, but not so gushingly that they feel threatened.
Another is to introduce them to each other without much pressure. Meeting in a group setting is good, especially during a hike or over board games, so there’s something else to do. Pay attention to how they are together, and be willing to step in to smooth things over if things get awkward or just rocky. Bring up topics that you know they’re both interested in, etc. It might detract from your ability to focus on other stuff at whatever event or chill-out you’re at, but it’s worth the extra bit of effort.
If you know one of them has a specific pet peeve, a subject that is touchy to them, or can accidentally come off as abrasive or judgmental or otherwise less-than-friendly because of a specific conversational or behavioral quirk, it can be good to tip the other one off, so things don’t accidentally start off on a bad foot. But it’s a tricky balance - you don’t want to come off as pushy, or meddling, which can turn people off. Essentially, your best bet is to be as chill and “organic” as possible, while also being a bit more intentional and proactive than you’d be otherwise.
Then, you just gotta be patient and flexible and let the chips fall where they do. Maybe they end up being besties who get together without you around! Maybe they end up getting along just fine, but are not really people who would hang out without you to bring them together. Maybe they prefer to be polite metamours who are both in the same orbit. Maybe they do end up falling for each other. You have to be prepared to handle any situation with grace, since this definitely falls into the category of “serenity to accept the things I can’t change” territory.
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