I’m in a long distance relationship, and so is she. She has always been very open about being poly, and me and my partner are too. I would like to maybe start a relationship with her, and my partner supports this, but I have had very little communication with her ldr partner. Is it best to communicate more with her partner and try to figure out more about their rules and boundaries before expressing any romantic interest in here? or can we work on that after I express interest?

Well, for starters, it would take one incredibly smooth operator to be able to start asking someone, or their partners, about their poly rules and boundaries without making it clear that you’re interested in the person. (If you figure out how to do that, please write a guest column teaching me how!)

It sounds like you’re going about this all the right way, so kudos to you. But I don’t think you need to go straight to her partner to learn about their rules and boundaries. For one, it’s a bit impractical. For another, this makes some people uncomfortable. Her partner may not be interested in meeting everyone interested in her, and she may feel like you’re asking someone else for information she has the agency to provide for herself.

I personally don’t like when potential partners think they need “permission” from my boyfriend(s) - I decide who I date, no one owns me. But other people would appreciate you wanting to check in with the other partner first. So you don’t know which she prefers without open communication.

I would recommend having a conversation with the person in your life about what her arrangement is with her partner. Ask what their rules and boundaries are, and get a feel for how compatible you two are. Then, bring up the topic of her other partner. Ask if she would like you two to have a talk. If she says it’s not necessary, I wouldn’t push the issue. If you really wouldn’t be comfortable with it unless you talked to the partner, let her know about this, and find a way to chat with them that’s low-pressure for all parties.