I told a good friend I've been considering trying polyamory, and they were nasty about it

Ok, so recently I’ve been considering trying polyamory, and told someone who I thought was a good friend but apparently because I’m interested in dating both a guy and a girl, (because I don’t want to ignore/erase anything about my bisexuality) I’m a slut. Don’t know whether to continue this friendship or end things. Help!

First, I have to point out that there are plenty of monogamous bisexuals, and they are not ignoring or erasing anything about their bisexuality by being with one partner. For some people, polyamory is part of their bisexuality or vice versa; and it sounds like that’s your experience - but be careful not to imply that monogamy “cancels out” bisexuality or that bisexuality necessitates non-monogamy. You want to be free to date people of multiple genders, and that’s a completely reasonable reason to be polyamorous, but it’s not an inherent property of bisexuality.

To answer your actual question: only you can decide whether this is a friendship you want to try and preserve. It’s a frustrating fact of life that people we’re close sometimes do and say things that hurt us. Sometimes the healthiest thing for us is to take space from that relationship to honor our own safety. Sometimes the healthiest thing is to try and take a communicative, restorative position and attempt to heal and resolve the issue.

If you want to end the friendship, that’s totally your right; you’re not obligated to stay close to someone who calls you names or shames your identity and choices. If you want to try and talk things out with this friend, let them know that you don’t appreciate being called a slut, and that you’re not asking them to be polyamorous yourself, but to be understanding and accepting of you. You can explain that you shared these thoughts with them because you hoped they would be safe and helpful, and then let them know what they can do, specifically, to be safe and helpful in the future.

You can also make space for their questions, confusion, or discomfort - just saying something ignorant doesn’t make someone an irredeemable bigot, so do your best not to be shaming or accusatory. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t want to be intentionally cruel, and are willing to try and understand if given another opportunity and a gentle nudge in the right direction. Be open and willing to explain how you feel and the truth of your bisexuality and non-monogamy, and be patient, since no one is going to get everything right all the time.

I’m not sure if you’re the right blog to ask, but I don’t know where else to turn to. I know I’m bisexual because I find both men and women romantically and sexually attractive. However, I find any touch from men (even hugging) disgusting unless they’re related to me. It makes me want to rip my skin off. Could this mean I’m not actually bisexual? I’m so confused.

If you “know you’re bisexual,” then that’s your answer.

It could be that you can aesthetically appreciate men, but don’t actually want to engage with them sexually. It could be that previous negative experiences or trauma have created a sense of disgust around men’s touch. This might be the kind of thing best worked out with a mental health professional who specializes in sexuality and identity, if it’s causing you distress.

It could be that your brain’s ‘wiring’ is bisexual, but the realities of your life mean that you aren’t set up to find touch or sexual attention from men enjoyable. It’s okay to let “nature” and “nurture” coexist - despite my previous use of the metaphor, it’s actually an oversimplification-to-the-point-of-myth to think of brains as ‘wired’ a certain way. 

If you enjoy fantasizing about men sexually, if you enjoy looking at attractive men, if you enjoy porn or erotica including men, awesome - do that! If you don’t enjoy actually having sex with men, that’s fine - don’t do that! Live your best, healthiest, happiest life, and don’t worry so much about what exact labels apply. 

Hi, so, this will probably sound incredibly uneducated and lame but that’s why I’m asking-so I can be educated. I saw something about bisexuality being any level of attraction to different people, so you cane be 90% attracted to men and only 10% attracted to women and still be bisexual. I’ve been really confused for a while because I find certain women incredibly attractive but I don’t want to have sex with them and I am certainly more into men. Idk what this is.

“What this is” is you. All I can tell you is that you’re a person, with a sexuality. It’s okay to be in an undefined space - you’re you, and that’s all you need to be. Sexuality is a tricky thing, often described as “fluid,” and differently experienced by every individual on this great planet.

Maybe your sexuality doesn’t line up neatly with definitions and labels that other people have. That’s okay! When you read something, even if it’s strongly worded or stated in universal terms, you don’t need to take it at face value. You have the right to investigate claims, develop your own worldview, and find the identity that is healthy and fulfilling for you to live into.

It is possible to find someone, or something, aesthetically attractive and not have that appreciation translate into sexual desire. I find Natalie Dormer, the color teal, and Van Gogh's Starry Night incredibly attractive, but don’t want to have sex with any of them. If you don’t want to have sex with women and don’t identify as bi, then don’t! It doesn’t matter how another person interprets their 90%/10% attraction. They’re not wrong, you’re not wrong - people are different, and there’s no such thing as Identity Police.

If you do identify as bi but with a preference for men, then go ahead and identify that way. Maybe you will find women you want to have sex with, and identifying as bi can give you the context to recognize that attraction for what it is and deal with it in a healthy way. But you make the choice that you feel best reflects who you are and what you need to have healthy relationships - not what someone else says works for them.

I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend for almost a year now but lately I’ve been considering a polyamorous relationship. We’ve been at an all time high together for a while now but I feel like a third person could possibly make it even better. We’re both bisexual so we could find someone we both love and are attracted to. I really want to discuss it seriously with him but I don’t know how to bring it up without seeming pushy or unhappy with how we already are. Any suggestions?

When it comes to communication, the best strategy is to be clear and open. Tell him you’ve been thinking about this lately, and outline what your hopes and desires would be in a best-case-scenario. However, be clear that this is your best case scenario. Keep in mind that just being bisexual doesn’t mean a person necessarily wants a poly or open arrangement, so avoid making assumptions about his needs and wants based on that.

Tell him what you told me: that you’ve been very happy with how the relationship is going, and this doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with him or feeling unfulfilled. It’s just the opposite - because things are so happy and healthy, you think the two of you are in a good position to try something new together.

While you talk, be sure to check in with him frequently. Make space for him to be open and honest with you. Don’t be defensive or dismissive if he voices concern. Make the goal of the first conversation to have both of you share your thoughts about this in a way that is understood by the other person - don’t come at it like the goal is to convince him.

My bf and I have dated as a triad before - other women (I am bi). We’ve never dated solo, but I am totally open to it. He’s OK with me seeing other women solo, but NOT men. I recently met a guy - actively poly - through some friends and HOLY SPARKS. I really want to pursue something but I am unsure how to restart the conversation. The bf has been very anti-men and has shut down previous conversations/attempts to open in this way. Any advice on having this talk?

You said that your boyfriend shuts down conversations about this, which is a red flag - polyamory doesn’t work without open communication. If you want to try again, try asking him to explore his motives and perceptions. Why does he not want you to date other men? Why is he okay that you’re with women? What does he think is the difference?

Let him say what he has to say, but don’t let it drop at sweeping emotional answers like “it makes me uncomfortable” or “I just don’t like it” - healthy poly requires us to get at the root of our feelings and reactions. Once you know what’s behind it all, you can start addressing his needs and concerns from a place that makes sense and isn’t clouded by emotions with unknown roots.

But if he remains closed off about this, and refuses to have this open dialogue with you, he’s showing you something important about who he is in this relationship. You need to decide whether it’s worth it to continue a poly practice with someone who shuts down certain lines of communication.

I’m really upset right now because I’ve been struggling with the realization that I’m bisexual with a preference towards women. My husband and I are trying to work through it together and I’ve been honest with him about the women I’ve been interested in and how far I want to go with them. My husband is dealing with it but he seems uneasy. I confided to my friend about our issues knowing she’s open minded and her response was to tell me that she’d been cheating on her husband with another man like it was the same thing as what I’m going through. I was raised in a very strict setting and dating straight guys was hard enough for me in itself. Coming out as bi and having to blindly feel my way through this with my husband is hard for us both but we are trying. I told her I don’t agree with what she’s doing and I will not enable her and she guilt tripped me for not going along with it and making her feel better about what she’s doing. I’m just so angry.

It sucks when you reach out to someone for support and they make it entirely about themselves. It sounds like you’re going through a lot of self realization and change, and going about it the right way by being open and communicative with your husband. It’s also healthy to reach out for advice from others, but sometimes doing that gets you burned. There are other places to look to for support and advice beyond your one “open minded” friend who turned out to be a jerk - you’re not alone in this journey. 

Your friend is clearly not a good source of advice or support, which is a hard thing to realize about a friend, but this negative experience is a reflection of her issues, not your relationship. Your friend made an insulting assumption and it’s your right to feel insulted. Just because you’re exploring your sexuality doesn’t mean you need to enable or consider choices you consider unhealthy. Your anger with her can be separate from your feelings about these new developments in your relationship and identity.

I am married woman and I love my husband so! But I’m also bisexual and have strong feelings for women. He knows this and wants to please me but I think he is afraid of losing me. I want to be polyamorus but how do I talk to him about it?

It’s never good to make assumptions about your partner’s feelings and needs - you say that you think he’s afraid of losing you, but how do you know? The first step here is giving him space to openly, honestly, and safety share his feelings and needs. If you hear things you think are unfair, irrational, or inaccurate, don’t pass judgment. Just be an active listener and try to understand. Your turn to respond is after he’s made himself totally heard and understood. Then, always address the content of what’s said, not the fact that it was said.

You may find that you were right, or you may not, but either way you’ll end up with a stronger place to start from. If you were right, and the issue is that he’s afraid of losing you, reassure him that a poly practice would actually shield him from just that - that this would allow you to explore your feelings for women without needing to leave him or violate any terms of your relationship. This may be hard for him to imagine or empathize with, so the conversation should remain open for him to ask questions, share concerns, and ask for his needs to be met.