I’m currently dating someone who’s polyamorous and it’s been going really well. However, I’ve noticed that they always comment compliments and such on one of their other partner’s selfies but not mine. I don’t mind them being affectionate with their other partner but I’d like to have the same attention. How do I ask them about it without sounding jealous or disrespectful?
Something interesting that non-monogamy does is make you really aware of the subtle little patterns that you may not have noticed or intentionally started to do. These patterns often just arise organically after specific shared experiences and become baked into a relationship. I have some partners where I constantly use cutesy pet names, and some partners where I really only call them by their names. None of us ever made an explicit decision or request around this, it just became part of one relationship’s energy and never came up in another one. I never intended it to single anyone out or signify a difference in feelings. If my partner said “hey, I noticed you always do cute nicknames with Imeldo, and never with me - what’s up with that?” then we would talk about whether they wanted me to start doing that with them.
My point being, there’s probably some reason that this is happening, but your partner may not be entirely aware of it. (They might be - it’s possible that their other partner explicitly asked them to do that!) But you’re well within your rights to bring it up, gently and cheerfully, and ask if they might be willing to do the same for you. It’s not jealous or disrespectful to ask your partner for something, or to check in about existing relationship dynamics. You can say something like “I really love seeing the sweet compliments you leave on Tarmei’s photos and it would totally make my day if you left the same!”
It is possible that they are closeted on social media, and are nervous about being seen posting lovey-dovey comments on someone who isn’t their Monogamy Culture Approved Partner, in which case, you can talk about how they can show their affection to you in another way that’s works for everyone. Part of polyamory is about realizing that no one is psychic, and trusting your partners to be able to hear you express your wishes, curiosities, and questions without reacting negatively.