hello! I’ve been in a mono relationship for two years now with a boy I’m head over heels for. Recently within the last month or so, my boyfriends friend admitted he also had feeling for me for a while. After asking about it with my boyfriend we agreed to try a poly relationship. We’ve had some bumps in the road but it seemed as though things were going well until my boyfriend recently admitted that he feels distant from me and it hurts him to see me with his friend… I don’t know what to do now.

You’ve been trying polyamory for a month, so it hasn’t been much time - that’s a key signal that what you may be facing is something called NRE, or New Relationship Energy.

Because of how our brains work, new partners can often be more exciting or interesting than long-term partners. They’re still novel and we’re learning about them, playing the flirty new-relationship game, which takes a lot of mental and emotional energy. Because we’re not as secure in the relationship, it’s still exciting when we get a text from them. Because we don’t have a long-standing routine of being together a lot, we look forward to the next time we see them.

My recommendation is to read up about NRE and polyamory, and encourage your boyfriend to do the same. It may help him to have the reassurance that this is a known phenomenon in newly-poly arrangements. Then, see if the two of you can work together to mitigate the effect that NRE is having on you two. Go out of your way to plan special little things together or do things for each other to re-ignite the spark of NRE that you had two years ago.

If, after all this, he’s still uncomfortable, it’s his right to decide that this isn’t working out for him. But this might be a much simpler and more solvable problem!