Is it considered bad taste to ask a partner about their other partners? I’m dipping my toe back in the poly pond after a few years off and there’s a guy I’m very interested in. He got out of a LTR about 6 months ago, but otherwise has been dating a lot recently. He knows I have a primary partner, but beyond that we haven’t really discussed it. Is it considered OK to ask about other people the person is seeing without them bringing it up?
Every poly person has their own level of personal comfort when it comes to discussing partners with other partners. Generally, I think a more open policy is better than a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, because the more things are kept secret, the more they look and feel like cheating. There are some practical concerns as well - STI info, marks from rough sex, taking phone calls in presence of other partners - that are easier to deal with healthfully under an open policy.
But there’s no way for me to really say whether there’s a blanket policy in poly etiquette about this - because there isn’t. I think as long as you do it in a healthy way, it should be fine to at least see if he wants to open those lines of communication. If you’re asking about them from a place of insecurity, he’ll be able to tell - but if you’re genuinely interested, because they’re part of his life and he’s part of yours, go for it.
If he seems resistant or put off, it’s worth it to explore that and find out what his level of comfort is about this sort of conversation. If that doesn’t match yours, that’s a conversation that needs to happen. You shouldn’t feel like he’s hiding things from you or that you need to be careful about what you share about your partner. Finding a healthy communication practice is 100% key to a functioning poly relationship.