So first off I’m really new to the poly world i feel as though it is something that’s right for me but I don’t really know that much about it. I’m in a relationship with a married woman who’s a mom of two kids, to the kids I’m their aunt, and I love that part. But what I do need advice on is how to act around her husband and boyfriend (we’re all friends we hang out at her place as a group pretty often but I’m not into men so I’m not ok with like making it a group thing and they all get that) but I’m always kinda nervous when she kisses me around them or anything like that. I know they don’t mind, every time they see us cuddling they just say we are super cute and make awing noises so i don’t understand the nerves...any advice?
First off, congrats for finding a healthy, sweet, fun polyamorous relationship! The issue here comes down to one of trust. Even though your partner’s husband and boyfriend say that they’re totally fine with your relationship, and even seeing physical affection between you and your partner, it sounds like you don’t entirely trust that they’re being honest here.
And that’s perfectly understandable - lots of us have been in situations where someone says they are “fine” with something, but they really aren’t, and we’re expected to psychically figure that out and address it, and are often emotionally or socially punished for not doing so. If this is a dynamic that has been present in your family, or in previous relationships or friendships, you may be feeling like this is all a trap and eventually the false okay-ness will give way to anger, alienation, and accusations.
But, it’s not! It won’t! It sounds like these people have their act together, and it’s okay to let your guard down and trust them. If they are welcoming, let yourself be welcomed. If they are comfortable, let yourself relax. It’s okay to ask for a little extra validation - check in with your partner and say “hey, since this is all new to me, sometimes I worry that your other partners aren’t okay with me being around.” If she reassures you that everything is fine, trust her! It is okay to trust her.
If there is something that they do or say that makes you feel like their “aww”s and their friendship is less-than-sincere, bring that up. If you feel comfortable, you can also just pull one aside and have an upbeat check-in: “hey, since I’m pretty new at this, I just wanted to check in and make sure everything is going well - you seem like you’re all okay with our dynamic, but sometimes I need to just hear it straight and clear. We good?” And, again, if they reassure you that it’s all good, let yourself believe them.
This is the kind of thing that gets easier with practice - the longer you’re around, the more opportunities they’ll have to prove to you that you are welcome, that you’re not under some kind of emotional microscope, and that you won’t be punished for letting your guard down and taking them at their word. If this is the kind of thing you have an especially hard time with because of previous unhealthy experiences, it’s also worth considering therapy to work out some of that internalized sense that you’re always responsible for other people’s feelings even if they aren’t being clear about what that means.