I would like to be poly because I feel there are certain things I want out of a relationship I’m not currently getting from my current one but I don’t want to end this relationship to start a new one because I feel I can get things from each one I’m not getting from the other but my partner has told me they would be very upset with me if I started seeing another person. I don’t think it’s very fair since they’re poly and have several partners already. What are your thoughts?

Poly is not exactly permission to see others as “need-meeting machines” - like you go out and pick people off the shelves to fit whatever gaps you have in your life. Everyone you meet is a complete person looking for a dynamic, whole relationship. No one is floating around like “I like dancing and am an empathetic listener, I hope to find someone who has a partner who won’t go dancing with them and is more of a philosophical-debater type!”

But, yes, poly people do often find that it takes pressure off all their relationships to not have to expect one person to provide everything for them. So it’s a delicate balance between seeing everyone as individuals and understanding that we all, with friendships and families and partners, are building a network of relationships to meet our social and emotional needs.

The bigger issue here, though, is that your partner has other partners, but doesn’t want you to have other partners. That is unfair. My advice is to ask them why they feel this way, and see if you can find ways to help them work through those feelings. If they refuse, then you have a choice: stay in this relationship with this person on these (challenging) terms, or leave the relationship.