Hello! I am married, and my husband and I are poly. Recently, his girlfriend of about 6 months broke up with him, and he’s is completely wrecked emotionally. He wants to go looking for a play partner or another girlfriend to help him move on, and I would prefer that he work on healing before getting involved with anyone else so he doesn’t end up in a “rebound” relationship. Any advice on how to help support him though this rough time?

Breakups suck - and when you’re poly, it can be hard to know how to care for your partner through a difficult one. It sounds like you two disagree on what the healthiest path for him would be, which is a tough situation, but I think it’s best to let the person who’s hurting decide how best to cope. You may think that “rebound” relationships are unhealthy or impede healing - but if he thinks that’s what’s best for him, you should take him at his word.

Maybe he just needs to remind himself that he is desirable and capable of finding other partners. Maybe he just wants a distraction. Not every sexual partnering needs to turn into something long-term, and it sounds like he’s okay going for something fun and new to help get through this. I think you two should have an open conversation about why he is so upset about this breakup and what he really needs to heal from. There’s so much nuance to things like this, and understanding exactly why he’s sad, what he thinks he’ll get from a new relationship so soon, and how you define healing will be crucial to making sure everyone feels heard and like they can get their needs met. 

Of course, my advice changes if it turns out you’ve seen him go through this pattern before and know that rebound relationships always leave him sadder than he thinks they will. Or if you think he’s going after these new women in a way that’s not fair to them. Or if his new partner-seeking behavior and breakup mourning are affecting you in a negative way. You have every right to let you partner know when you think they’re making a bad decision - but when it comes to issues of “healing,” I generally believe that people know what’s best for them.