My friend knows I have a crush on her, and jokes about dating me, and I'm not sure how serious she is

My friend knows I and other mutual friends have a crush on her. She says she’s polyamorous and makes jokes about having some us as partners. I know she’s only joking and I don’t have anything against her but when she jokes about it, I feel like there’s some desire but I ultimately believe she’s only joking. How should I go about handling this? It’s so confusing, you know?

In my opinion, you know someone has a crush on you and you tease them about it by joking as if you want to date them, but you don’t mean it, that’s very rude and borderline cruel. But it’s possible there’s something else going on. You say you “know” and “ultimately believe” she’s only joking, but then that there might be “some desire” behind her jokes.

Often, people use jokes to test the waters or explore something you’re not ready to fully jump into yet. It sounds like she might actually be interested in dating you, but isn’t sure how to have that conversation or manage those feelings, so she resorts to this kind of push-pull of saying something she isn’t sure whether she really means and hiding it behind layers of irony and humor. That’s pretty common, and it’s understandable, but it can also be really hurtful!

If I were you, I’d bring it up with her, not as an accusation or a confrontation, but as a real, honest, vulnerable conversation where you’re removing the pretense of all the goofing around. “Hey, Antrabella, you often say that you’re polyamorous and talk about dating me or Constancio. I know you act like it’s just jokes, but I do actually like you, and would be interested in trying something out! If there’s feeling behind those jokes, can we talk about what that might mean and look like? And if you really don’t mean it, could you please stop joking about it, because it makes me feel uncomfortable, since I don’t know whether to take you seriously?”

If she responds by acting defensive, insisting that you should “take a joke” and that her behavior is totally fine, or if she denies making that kind of joke, then I think you should take some distance from this friendship. But if she responds by either saying “actually, yeah, I think there is something there, let’s talk about it” or “omg, sorry, I didn’t realize how confusing I was being - I don’t actually feel that way and I’ll stop teasing like I do,” then there’s your answer!

I want to date a friend of mine who is polyam, but am afraid of bringing it up with her

I am very close friends with a poly triad and I want to pursue one of them (though I would happily be with all of them). Is it better to check in with her other partners who I also love and want to make sure they would be comfortable with me pursuing her before I talk to her about it? Or should I talk to her first, or just talk to them as a group? My main fear is ruining our friendship or making them feel weird. The power dynamic scares me b/c their friendship is really important to me.

You should always talk directly to the person who you’re having feelings about, whether it’s attraction, conflict, confusion, boundary issues, whatever. Asking other people sends the message that you think she needs their ‘permission,’ which isn’t a healthy framing of any relationship, and it risks causing extra drama because of all the cross-communication and triangulation. Talk to her! She has the best perspective on what she wants, how her current relationships are framed, etc.

Only you can decide whether it’s worth bringing it up. A lot of people think that expressing romantic feelings might “ruin a friendship,” but if she’s mature and a good friend, she’ll be able to say “thanks for having the courage to bring that up, but I don’t want to be anything more than friends,” and you two can move on as friends. I think the fear of “friendship ruining” by expressing feelings is generally overblown, and a friendship that would be “ruined” by that is probably not on solid ground to begin with. The fact is that you do want something to change about your relationship with her, and the only way to have any chance at getting what you want is to try.

You have just as much agency and control in this situation as she does. You can choose when, how, and whether to express yourself. And you can choose how to respond to whatever she says. I know that this friendship is important to you, but framing it as “she has all the power to give, or withhold, what I want” is dangerous and inaccurate. You two are friends - she cares for you, she sees you as an equal - so trust her, and trust yourself, to be able to talk through this without fearing that she will attempt to manipulate you based on how much you value her friendship. If you think this fear is founded; if she has a history of holding her friendship over people’s heads to control them, then this isn’t a healthy friendship in the first place.

Two people I like told me they also like me, and I don't know what to do

I have 2 crushes which are both female and bi. I identify as pansexual and newly poly (pronouns are she/her). A few days ago they made a group chat and told me that they liked each other but they also like me. They then told me that they might be poly as well. I don't know what to do! Should I tell them I'm poly as well? That I want to be in a relationship?

Oh my goodness this one is so easy! YES! Two people you have crushes on told you that they both like you! This is the opposite of a problem! What reason could there possibly be not to tell them that you also like them, and would also like to try a polyamorous arrangement?

Since you three are all pretty new to identifying as polyamorous, it would be wise to have some serious heart-to-hearts about what you want, how you envision things going, etc. Maybe in the group chat, or maybe face to face, whatever works best for you! Best of luck, and enjoy this new foray into wlw polyamory!

I’m a high schooler with a crush on a girl, but she’s already dating my sister. Is this just teenage rebellion or something? I know it’s weird and I’ve heard it’s basically incest, but I don’t feel that way. Is it really incest, and should I leave this whole thing alone?

Crushing on someone who is dating your sister is not incest. On any level. Whoever told you that is wrong.

It is certainly uncomfortable and frustrating and annoying to crush on someone who you can’t pursue, and this probably won’t be the last time you feel like this. Learning self control around inappropriate crushes is a good skill that will serve you well throughout your entire life.

The best thing to do is, yes, to leave it alone. Crushes fade, but if you destroy your relationship with your sister over this, that will be much harder to repair. It is not wrong to have these feelings, but acting on them would likely hurt a lot of people. 

Try to minimize your time spent around this person. If she’s around to hang out with your sister, find somewhere else to be. Resist the urge to flirt. It’s generally impossible to just turn off feelings entirely, but don’t indulge or cultivate them. 

Hi, do you have any advice on how to make this crushing guilt go away? I have feelings for someone in a monogamous relationship, and I am also in a monogamous relationship. I know I can’t help my feelings, but the guilt and shame are eating me alive…

Oh, friend. I feel for you. It is completely normal to be in a happily monogamous relationship and get little crushes on other people. This cultural notion we have that truly loving someone means “only having eyes for them” is garbage. That may be some people’s experience, but it’s not the only way to be.

If you’re not acting on this feeling, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Relationships take work, effort, sacrifice, commitment - sometimes, for monogamous people, part of that work means staying faithful despite temptations. That is an honorable and challenging thing to do. Be proud of the commitment and responsibility you’re demonstrating.

It is, however, not normal to feel this much guilt and shame over your feelings. I can’t speculate about where this is coming from without knowing you more - for some people, this traces back to a strict upbringing; for others, maybe a possessive or abusive partner in their past made them feel guilty and ashamed of their feelings. The best way to sort through this is with a trained professional. Please talk to a therapist about this - you don’t deserve to feel this terrible over normal feelings that you can’t help.

I can have romantic feelings for more than one person at once. When I’m in a relationship and have a crush on someone else, I feel guilty, though I don’t act on it. I feel that polyamory wouldn’t work for me. Am I non-practicing polyamorous or something?

Only you can make that determination for yourself. If you feel that polyamory wouldn’t work for you, then maybe you’re not polyamorous, you’re a monogamous person who gets crushes. That’s quite possible, and quite common. Despite what a lot of our media likes to say, loving someone, even monogamously, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll “only have eyes for them” or never feel attracted to anyone else. Cheating, or just indulging feelings besides your partner, is a temptation many monogamous people have to fight at some point or another. Try to let go of the guilt - feelings are just feelings, and crushing on other people doesn’t make you a bad partner. 

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I have a huge crush on a guy. However he is mono, and I ideally want a triad. So there isnt anyway a relationship would work. Plus hes a really close friend and I dont want to lose that. What do I do?

There really is nothing here to “do,” unfortunately. You know your crush can never be realized, so it’s time to let that go. Do what you need to do to shift your romantic focus: reduce contact with him for a bit, actively seek out other people to date, force yourself to stop fantasizing about being with him.

If you want to maintain the close friendship, you need to accept it for what it is: a platonic friendship, and try to stop any behaviors and thoughts that are letting your crush get in the way of that. Don’t put pressures or expectations onto the friendship that will only leave you let down and frustrated.

so there is this really cute girl in one of my classes but she is a few grade above me! do you have any tips on how to talk to her??

My tip is: just do it. It’s not about saying the exact right thing - it’s about having the guts to just approach someone you’re interested in and start talking.

If you have any shared interests, start with that. Or, if she has an interest you don’t share, be curious about it. You already have one thing in common - being in class together! Ask her opinion on the material you’re doing in class. 

Keep things positive. Don’t try to bond over hating on the teacher or complaining about something. Be bold, but not bothersome - approach her as a peer, but be gracious if she’s not interested in talking to you. 

I have never actually regretted approaching a guy I was interested in with boldness and courage. I have a lot of regrets about times I chickened out, though. The bold approach doesn’t always work - sometimes I slip a cute waiter my number and he never calls, and one time I tried flirting with a longtime crush at a party and he outright told me he wasn’t interested. But I lived to tell the tale! And sometimes when I do go for it, it totally works out, and the anxiety and uncertainty of the approach is more than worth it.

Just go for it! It’s really not that bad, and can be pretty exciting if you frame it right. Right now your position is not having this girl’s interest or attention. If you try and you fail, you haven’t lost anything. And if you succeed, well, awesome!

Good luck!