When I'm with one partner, I can't stop thinking about the other partner.

I can't stop thinking about my secondary partner while I'm with my primary partner. What should I do? I want to give him the quality time he deserves but I'm so unfocused.

This is pretty common! Our brains are primed to act like this, as frustrating as this is. When you’re with your primary partner, your brain has determined that he is ‘secure,’ that you can trust that you have his attention and affection. But you’re not getting those same immediate cues about your secondary partner, so your brain starts fussing about what feels more scarce or less secure. You may also be in the throes of NRE, or “new relationship energy.” It’s often the case that the relationship that is newer or less established tends to be more distracting.

So, sometimes just naming the thoughts and feelings can be useful. Knowing “oh, this is just a Thing my brain is doing” can help you separate yourself from the thoughts and gently let go of them or set the to the side, rather than feeling stuck in them or worrying about their presence. Try picturing a box in your mind that you can put that focus in, promising yourself that you can open it later. Remind yourself that your secondary partner will still be there after your date time with your primary, and you don’t always need to be mentally tending to that relationship.

You might also want to check out some techniques from mindfulness or CBT. You can use simple grounding techniques to refocus your brain, like calling your attention to the partner you’re currently with - what does he look like, feel like, smell like? If it’s texts from your secondary that are distracting you, try turning off your phone or setting it aside while you’re with your other partner. If there’s something about your time with your primary partner that is turning your attention away, try putting more effort into re-igniting the ‘spark’ there and attending to some serious quality time together.