I’m just so hurt and upset that my family will not accept me for who I really am. They can not get over that I have a husband and my boyfriend who will be moving in with us later this year. I’m trying so hard to get them to see that it would mean a lot to me for them to meet him and be able to have him at family gatherings as well but thru refuse to even give him a chance. I’m at the point of saying I will just not go anymore.

You know how people say “blood is thicker than water”? The actual quote is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” I’m firmly of the belief that you owe more to, and are owed more by, the people who you choose to be in your life and who choose to be in your life. Simply sharing DNA with someone by a happenstance of fate doesn’t mean they’re going to be healthy to have in your life.

I am so sorry that you’re dealing with this. Polyamorous people are not the first, and won’t be the last, minority to face rejection from their families. It’s so painful. But you are doing the right thing by setting boundaries and standing up for your chosen family, by fighting for the relationships that serve you and lift you up. Try to be proud of the strength and courage it takes to stand up to your family’s ignorance and protect what matters most: the love you, your husband, and your boyfriend share.

If the frustration and the alienation gets to be too much, please consider talking to a therapist that specializes in issues like this, or joining a polyamorous group in your area or online. <3

Do you think the idea of “cutting negative people in your life” idea is as a positive and applicable as it present in most situation? I am in a situation and it’s quite heavy.

“Do no harm, but take no shit.” If someone isn’t healthy for you, you don’t owe them your emotional labor.

Do not become a martyr - do not allow yourself to be drained and drained and drained. But do not become a vampire - do not take and take and take and then flounce off as soon as something is asked of you.

Life is all about balance. All the people I love can be “negative” at times. People are messy, and complicated, and often needy. But I try to surround myself with people who can receive my love in a healthy way. I might feel sad, or tired, or even upset, after tending to them during a rough patch, but it’s in a larger context of a relationship that is meaningful and fulfilling. 

Nearly no one is simply a “negative person” or a “positive person.” And there is a lot of grey area between “set zero boundaries” and “cut someone out of your life entirely.” Sit with yourself and figure out what’s bothering you about this person’s negativity, and identify your needs. Is your need really “to have zero contact with this person,” or is it “to not be their emergency go-to for emotional crises 100% of the time” or is it “to not be criticized for every little thing you do,” etc.? 

If you have noticed a pattern in your life of feeling like you “can’t” set healthy boundaries with people who are draining you, or if you have noticed a pattern where you are far too quick to label someone “negative” and “cut them out” of your life as soon as they reveal imperfection, consider talking to a therapist about this.

Is there certain boundaries y’all have set with your primary partner when it comes to them finding a new partner? Whether it be for a relationship or just sex?

There’s only one of me here, so I can only answer for myself: first, I don’t have a “primary partner,” because I don’t practice hierarchical or tiered polyamory. There is no “primary” relationship that I try to protect or prioritize at the sacrifice of other relationships.

With my partners, however, I do have a few boundaries. Most of them are about general safety: they need to wear or use condoms with me and their other partners, and they need to not date anyone who is abusive or toxic. But I don’t have any specific ‘rules’ about how they can and can’t find a new partner or how they can and can’t behave with new partners or other partners.

If there was a specific case where something was an issue - if I had a concern about their behavior while dating or pursuing someone - I’d bring it up and we’d address it. Because we have boundaries and expectations around being honest and willing to work on issues in good faith. I find that it’s easier to have generic agreements about how to address any issue that comes up rather than specific rules or boundaries made in an attempt to prevent or circumvent problems we imagine may arise in the future.

But that’s just me. When it comes to your relationship, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else does. You don’t need someone else’s pattern to follow when practicing polyamory - in fact, trying to fit yourself into a space someone else carved out for themselves will likely end in frustration. Identify your needs and work on methods of meeting those needs!

Here are some more resources about rules and boundaries in poly relationships:

Hi. I think my boyfriend is gonna leave me because I won’t sleep with him. I really love him, but we are in high school. I wanna wait until marriage but he always brings it up. I don’t want him to leave me, I want us to both win. I don’t know what to do. Halp please.

If your boyfriend is pushing or disrespecting your boundaries, that is not healthy and not okay. Trying to use ultimatums or the threat of a breakup to pressure you into doing something you aren’t comfortable doing is not okay.

It’s his right to leave a relationship if the terms - no sex before marriage - are not working for him. It’s your right to leave a relationship if the terms - sex before marriage - are not working for you. It is also your right to leave a relationship if you feel pressured, manipulated, or threatened.

You have your whole life to meet people whose values and desires will sync better with yours, and who will respect your choices about what you want to do with your own body. Don’t compromise for a boy just to keep him. 

This is not about “winning” or “losing,” it’s about learning how to stand up for yourself, demand respect for your boundaries, and identify when situations aren’t healthy for you. It is okay for relationships to end once you figure out that what you want isn’t compatible - that’s the entire point of dating! 

My boyfriend is poly but I’m not and he really wants to bring my best friend into our relationship (who he has had a previous relationship with) and keeps suggesting it to me, I’m trying to make him understand that I can’t force myself to do that. It’s making me so upset and I don’t know what to do

Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. If you’ve been very clear with your boyfriend that you do not want to include this person in your relationship, and he continues to push, you need to lay down that boundary: “I’ve told you that I will not do that, and it makes me very upset when you refuse to take no for an answer.” 

At that point, if he still refuses to “understand,” that’s on him. You may need to reconsider whether you can be in a healthy, happy relationship with someone who cannot accept your boundaries and keeps pushing on something you’ve made clear is non-negotiable.

What do you do when someone tells you they don’t want to be with you but want to keep flirting as if you’re still together?

Tell them clearly: “Since we’re not together, I need you to stop [flirting behaviors].”

If they refuse to respect this boundary, or argue that you’re being irrational, or deny that they’re doing it, stop spending time with this person.

So my boyfriend’s other girlfriend called me at 3am drunk, she’s thinking about breaking up with him for various reasons (mostly they have an age gap and lifestyle differences) and basically I told her to think it all over when she’s sober but now like I’m pretty sure she still wants to break up with him but I don’t know if I should say something to my boyfriend, I’ve encouraged them to talk it out but they won’t? Do I warn him? Do I let her handle it? I love him and don’t want him to get hurt?!

This is a really tough situation to be in, and it sounds like you’re handling it maturely, so kudos on that. I have a policy where I don’t give partners advice on their other partners, because I find situations like this nearly impossible to handle maturely. But it sounds like she stomped over a lot of boundaries there, so I am not at all faulting you for not setting one.

If it were me, I wouldn’t say anything to my boyfriend, because I don’t like being in the middle of situations like that, and I wouldn’t feel like it was my news to share. But that’s not the correct thing to do, it’s just what I would do. You may feel a responsibility not to withhold this information from him, or you may feel that it’s not worth the risk of him finding out you knew and resenting you for withholding it. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong choice.

The person I do think you need to talk to, though, is her. Calling you at 3am, getting so drunk that she makes irresponsible calls in her relationships, putting you in the middle like that - none of that is appropriate, and you have every right to lay down a clear boundary. Tell her that while you support her and want her to be happy and healthy, but you cannot and will not have conversations about her relationship with your boyfriend. And turn your phone on silent when you sleep!