I came out as polyamorous in 2017, but I had known I'm polyam for awhile without knowing the term for it. My partner of 3 yrs now wants to see if they're polyam even though they've never felt like they are, and they only said this after they conveyed to me that they had a problem with me seeing someone else. What I'm saying is that it doesn't seem genuine to me and seems more like a way to get back at me. I'm really uncomfortable with them trying to figure out if they're polyam, & idk what to do.
If your relationship is in a state that you believe your partner would be dishonest with you in order to “get back at you,” you should leave the relationship. Seriously. That is just not a healthy dynamic. At all. If I took a partner out to eat, and he hated the food, and then next week he insisted on going to a restaurant he knew I’d dislike, I would leave that person. Not over the restaurant, but over the pettiness and the manipulation.
But it’s possible that your partner isn’t the type who does underhanded things to “get back at you.” It’s possible that you’ve misread the situation entirely, and the way it “seems” to you is a reflection of your own fears and confusion, and not an observation of the reality. Most people don’t undertake entire explorations of identity and potentially new relationships as an underhanded way - it’s actually a lot of work to make your behaviors all about other people and to live with such ulterior motives.
It’s a lot more likely that your partner has been introduced to the concept of polyamory and is growing more curious. It’s not clear whether you’re actively practicing polyamory, or just ‘came out’ with the polyamorous identification; but it is clear that your partner said at the time that they didn’t want you dating someone else. Either way, your partner may think that exploring polyamory themselves is a way to strengthen or protect the relationship. They may be trying it out, seeing how okay they’d feel, testing it out. This may be their way of supporting you, of trying to help themselves feel less threatened by your polyamory by demonstrating to themselves that they can be polyamorous too and still like you and want to be with you.
Best thing you can do is ask them. Mention that they seemed not-okay with polyamory as a concept when you brought it up 2 years ago, and ask them what changed. You may be surprised! A lot has changed since 2017. Your partner may have been doing internal self-work to get to a new place. Or, your partner may feel that the relationship is threatened and that they needed to reassure you of their okay-ness with polyamory. There’s probably something going on for them that goes beyond ‘getting back at you.’ Give them a chance to talk that out, and to let go of the assumptions you’re making from a place of hurt.
And ask yourself where that hurt and discomfort is coming from. Why are you uncomfortable with them exploring polyamory? Didn’t you do exactly that? Wouldn’t their explorations make it more likely that you two can have a polyamorous relationship? What’s the downside? Is it that you don’t want them to date someone else? Why not? Is it that you were the one with the ‘special’ identity, and now they’re exploring polyamory too, and you’re no longer the sole voice on that topic? Part of being polyamorous is examining our own internal assumptions and confusions. You’ve jumped to a lot of conclusions about your partner’s motives because of something going on with you, not them.
And if, after all this, it really does seem like your partner is acting out of spite or vengeance or something, leave them immediately. But I’d bet half this blog’s ad revenue* that there’s something else going on.
*which is nothing, by the way. But I do have a Patreon.