I'm trying to date, but I keep getting ghosted

I've been ghosted more than I've had dates this year, been stood up a lot too. I just joined the local polyamory community recently, though I've been polyamorous for 7 years, and some of those ghosters are in it too. I'm getting therapy to help with my anxiety, but my certainty of getting ghosted or stood up again prevents me from trying to connect to anyone. Do I even qualify as polyamorous if nobody wants to date me? Do you have any advice for my predicament?

First off, of course you are polyamorous even if you're not currently dating anyone polyamorously. Other people's feelings about you do not dictate your identity or your worth.

It's great that you've been getting therapy to help with your anxiety - keep doing that! Be open and honest with your therapist about the social and romantic aspects of your anxiety and how they're affecting your life. If this is impacting you significantly, it's okay to take a break from dating for a while, not because you're "giving up" or you don't think you're worth it, but because being ghosted is a real risk, and if it's not worth taking right now, don't do that to your mental health!

Remember that you are not psychic! People "ghost" for tons of reasons, and usually they have nothing to do with the other person. They get busy, they can't think of what to say, they get distracted, they think you're not interested. It rarely means that they don't like you!

Consider whether you're part of the pattern, too. It can be easy, and tempting, to go for a 'light touch' with these things and figure that "if they like me, they'll reach out" - but they might be thinking the same thing! Try being a bit more forward, invite them on a date earlier in the conversation, send that double text - don't make ghosting you the 'default.' 

Know that tons of people get ghosted all the time; it's just part of dating in 2018. It's awful and obnoxious, but you gotta be willing to get back on that horse. I'd say that when I start chatting with someone, 9 times out of 10, it 'fizzles out' or I get ghosted. I currently have 4 partners - so that means at minimum, I've been 'ghosted' or fizzled out on 36 times! But if I'd given up after the first handful, I wouldn't have the amazing partners I do now. Be patient, and try not to take it personally, though that's much easier said than done, I know!

My wife is trying to date, but people are inconsiderate about polyamory

My wife and I are poly, but it seems like the girls she meets just want to flirt with her because their partners aren't giving them enough attention. The minute she makes them feel sexy enough they drop her like yesterday's trash. I'm so angry for her because this is just crushing her self-esteem. I wish people didn't see poly as just flirty fun and ignore the real person with real feelings involved.

I'm so sorry that you and your wife are having this experience. It is true that people in the dating scene sometimes have misunderstandings of polyamory that lead to real hurt for people trying to date polyamorously.

It might be time for your wife to consider where, and how, she's meeting these women. If she keeps getting hurt, it's okay to withdraw, spend time with people who are healthy and safe for her, and take steps to protect herself from this ongoing pain.

She might have better luck with an online dating profile that is very explicit about her expectations and needs as a married polyamorous person, or checking out polyamorous meetups, websites, and other communities. If it's something she's interested in, the kink/bdsm scene tends to be very poly-adjacent as well. 

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 in a messy situation with two people I've been dating

[Zinnia's note: the original letter writer used an anonymizing system that really confused me, so I've swapped to my own pseudonyms.] I have a 2.5 yrs LDR (Zeus) & a shorter relationship (Hera). Zeus & me decided to try being poly. When I got into a relationship with Hera, Zeus made me break it off. Hera & I still saw each other socially with Zeus's knowledge. Hera broke things off twice because they couldn't handle me being in another relationship. After discussion & research they said they were okay with it. Hera & I put the dating label on it again with Zeus's knowledge. Zeus then gave me a choice: Zeus or Hera. Zeus is okay with an open relationship and a polyamorous relationship later. While Hera says they are okay with all aspects of being poly. Advice?

The person who taught me how to be polyamorous had a motto: "If someone is trying to make you choose, choose the one who isn't." 

It does not sound like Zeus wants to be in a polyamorous relationship. When you started seeing Hera, they "made you" break it off. Then, when you and Hera decided to start dating again, again Zeus made it clear that they didn't want to be in a relationship with you while you're also dating Hera.

Perhaps Zeus is okay with an "open relationship," but it sounds like you two have different levels of comfort and sets of boundaries about what that means. My advice is to identify exactly what Zeus wants in a relationship. Then, identify whether that's something you can provide. If it's not, end the relationship.

Then you need to decide if you want to date Hera. Because the choice isn't a binary between Zeus or Hera; you can decide to date neither! If Hera has needs you can't meet or can't meet your needs - if there's too much baggage hanging around from this mess, if you saw red flags in their choice to continue disrupting your friendship over the fact that you wouldn't date them - don't date them either. If you do, make sure you go in with a clear understanding of the terms of the relationship and ensure that you're both operating with the same definition of "polyamorous relationship."

I don't know how to identify "love" outside of monogamy

Hey! I'm newly in a triad with a couple that's been together for almost 5 years. I don't really know how to tell if I'm in love or just really like them. All the previous definitions of love I've had were very monogamous and idk how to draw the line between just really liking them and being in love.

This is a tough spot to be in - we are taught through media and socialization and all sorts of other sources that you "know" you're "in love" when you "only want to be with them" or "see yourself with just them for the rest of your life." So it's very fair to feel adrift and confused when you're in a romantic situation that you don't have a lot of models or blueprints for.

My advice would be to let go of this question. There is an entire dynamic, complex, highly individualized realm of human emotion that can't really be distilled down into a binary of "in love" vs. "just really like." You feel what you feel right now - find words for it that fit, without worrying about whether a specific word tied to a limited construct fits perfectly.

Do you feel committed? How committed? What kind of sacrifices and compromises do you feel willing to make? Not willing to make? What kinds of songs, images, and symbols capture your relationship well? What do you like to do together? What makes you feel happy, grateful, or fulfilled in this relationship? What positive things about yourself do your partners draw out?

Find ways to describe and understand your relationship that are unique and specific - because your relationship is unique and specific. Everyone's is, whether they're poly or mono. What I feel as "love" for my partner might not be what someone else identifies as "love." What I experience in a healthy relationship is different than what someone else needs. Don't worry about whether what you feel meets the "true" or "real" or "correct" definition of one word.

I like having this guy in my life, but he makes me feel like I'm not special to him in a way that I want to be

So I have 2 partners, one romantic who I'm madly in love, and the other sexual with whom I practice BDSM. So this guy has a lot, and I mean a lot, of other partners, but I'm the only one who gives him the sex he loves (and that I love). We have been on and off for a couple of months and he is the one that always comes back crawling, which makes me think I'm important in his life and not just another girl. At least I thought so, but for the past week we have been fighting a lot, he has been really rough on me, and is speaking about the others. I'm starting to feel just like any other girl, like I'm not special at all. I really don't know what to do. I really like what we have and i know it will always be sex, but I would like to have a special spot. I don't know how to tell him this, I don't want to push him or to make him think I want something more. But I love feeling important for someone.

Letter writer, I am going to be a bit less gentle with you than I usually am, not because you deserve it, but because I myself recently got untangled from a very similar situation - down to some specific details, it's almost creepy - and I now have zero patience for guys like that and the weird lose-lose knots they tangle their partners up in.

You want something this guy cannot and will not give you. He will not prioritize you or give you a special spot in his life. You need to walk away from this and seek something that will be healthier and happier for you in the long run. 

You're caught in a trap of his that I know very well: this feeling that "I'd like to get more of this guy's time/affection/attention, but if I ask for more, I will actually get less - because he will pull away, deny me, or see me as 'clingy.' So my choices are to get some of what I want, or none of what I want. It therefore makes sense to settle for some rather than throwing out the some and taking none because I want more."

That is sound logic if we're talking about, say, cupcakes. If someone hands you a mini cupcake and you say "no! I wanted a bigger cupcake!" and throw it away, then you've just made your problem - not enough cupcake - worse. But this guy isn't a mini cupcake. He's a guy who is treating you in a way that makes you feel bad. You don't deserve that. You deserve more.

You say you "don't want to make him think you want more," but you do want more. You're tiptoeing around his feelings because he has you convinced that if you ask anything, if you have any needs, if you express desire for anything beyond exactly what he's willing to give, he'll spook. That's a crappy place to be in. Don't let him keep you there. Set your standards higher. You're allowed to ask things of your partners.

Trust me. As great as that sex is, it's not worth it. All the fun that this guy provides, you're telling yourself it's worth the frustration and the disappointment and the fighting and the breaking up and all that. It is not. Make yourself a Fetlife account, spend some time describing what you're into, check out local BDSM scene events, find some local "personal ads" groups on Fetlife, and you'll find someone who can light your fire without burning you out. 

I agreed to a polyamorous relationship, but after trying it, realized it's not what I want

My boyfriend wants to be poly but I don't. I agreed to it to make him happy. I don't know what to do anymore because I don't want to be in this kind of relationship but I gave it a try.

It sounds like you know exactly what to do. That's all life really is - trying things to see if you like them. If you like them, you keep doing them. If you don't, you stop! 

You gave it an honest try. You realized it's not for you. So stop doing it! This relationship isn't something you want anymore. You said it yourself. That's a totally okay thing to realize. Now you have some really clear information to act on.

It's possible that your boyfriend is amenable to ending the polyamorous experiment if you tell him "now that we've tried it, I've learned that this really isn't working for me." So that's your first step. If he feels unable or unwilling to be in a monogamous relationship, that's okay - the type of relationship he wants isn't the type of relationship you want, and so you two are incompatible.

The point of dating someone is to learn whether or not you're compatible in a relationship - that's why we don't get married on the first date! You're doing everything right - trying new things, learning what works and what doesn't, and moving forward based on what you've learned. 

How does one flirt while polyamorous?

So I'm poly and I have no idea how to flirt. A lot of people say "I want to spend my whole life with just you" and stuff like that, but what for poly people?

First off, I'm assuming you mean "flirt" when already in a relationship? I always associate flirting with trying to get someone's attention and subtly telegraph your interest and gauge theirs when you have a crush on them - once you're secure in their affections for you, it stops being flirting (in my mind). For the record, it's never a good idea to say something like "I want to spend my whole life with just you" as a way to try and probe for someone's interest in you or signal yours without being sure how they feel!

There are many, many ways to express affection for someone without implying a monogamous relationship or worldview! One of my partners often says "I'm on your side," which carries a lot of meaning between us. One of my partners calls me "boo" - pet names can be great flirting tools! Saying things like "you're wonderful," "I really like spending time with you," "you make my life better," "I enjoy you," etc. etc. etc. don't require a lifetime commitment to monogamy! Use whatever compliments fit you and your partners and feel genuine.

Sweet gestures are always great too! If the flirt-ee likes matcha green tea, bring them a little green tea candy that you saw in a Japanese store. If they like sloths, message them a picture of a sloth. If they've been stressing about an errand, offer to run it with or for them. Sharing experiences is a powerful way to show affection: listen to a band or read a book that they like so you can talk about it with them. Inside jokes are great too!

Some people flirt with teasing, but be careful not to get into the territory of "negging." Playful, silly banter and getting into good-natured mischief together is great! Trying to put someone in a position of feeling put down or in danger of losing your respect is not good flirting practice. 

You can also flirt with physical affection - one of my partners and I have an elaborate game where we are always trying to blow raspberries on each other. Butt taps, pokes, smacks, and caresses are frequent between me and my partners. If you're not actually physically involved yet, flirting classics like borrowing their hoodie or touching their arm are classics for a reason. Never underestimate the power of eye contact either. 

My partner wants to date someone who I do not want in my life

my partner wants to enter into a second relationship with their ex, who hates me and is part of a group of people who regularly talk about how terrible I am behind my back (confirmed by three separate people so I know for sure it's happening). this makes me wildly uncomfortable. what does it mean for them to enter into the relationship despite knowing I'm not okay with it and never will be okay with it? is that technically cheating or should I be the one to back off on this?

You can't control your partner's choices, but you can control your own. You can say "I don't feel comfortable being in a relationship where Berthen is involved, even as my metamour. That is a dealbreaker for me." Then, armed with that information, your partner can decide whether or not to date Berthen. If your partner decides to date Berthen, then you decide to leave the relationship. Your partner has the right to do things you don't want them to do; you have the right to not tolerate that behavior in a relationship you're part of. 

There is no such thing as "technically cheating," because what constitutes cheating is not a scientifically quantifiable thing. There is no secret safe in France where they keep the essence of cheating and measure various things against it. I would consider it a relationship dealbreaker if a partner of mine had unprotected sex with someone else. Not everyone feels this way, but that's one of my rules that, if broken, feels like "cheating" to me. Only you get to decide what boundaries are non-negotiable for you. 

Any advice for a married straight poly man new to non-monogamy my wife has no problems finding dates I on the other hand I can’t even get a conversation to last past the explanation of poly life. I try to get to the subject up front so there are no surprises and also I feel dishonest if I don’t right away. Am I rushing the subject or just not looking in the right direction?

If you take a random slice of the population in most places, the average woman is not going to be super excited about a guy who tries to pick her up by explaining that he’s already married. I haven’t been there to watch you try to find dates, but I’d guess it’s probably a combination of the two.

It’s a delicate balance to ‘come out’ as polyamorous to potential new partners, one you learn through trial-and-error, unfortunately. You gotta build enough chemistry to lay a foundation for that conversation, but you can’t wait too long, or it does feel dishonest. You also need to learn how to bring it up gently and casually, not like you’re unburdening a great secret or laying out all sorts of terms and arrangements right up front. 

And even if you explain polyamory at the exact right time in the best possible way, you’ll have way worse luck with women you meet at bars or coffee shops or whatever. Again, the average woman is not super into dating married men. Try dating avenues that let you select for, and be selected for, people who are already open to non-monogamy. I’ve found that online dating is best for this, as well as polyamorous meetups and real-life groups. Here’s my FAQ page about this.

Know also that it’s just harder for men to get dates with women than for women to get dates with men. It’s a sad reality of the dating economy that patriarchy has handed down to us. So try not to compare your dating successes with your wife. Don’t be in such a rush. Let go of a need for things to be ‘equal’ on this front. Invest in friendships or solo hobbies that mean you have something fun to do instead of dating. And just be patient!

Help! I’m about to give up. I have been going on dates with people who already have a ‘primary’ partner and I am single. I just had my fourth experience where I’ve been told I can no longer see them because of their partner. I’ve communicated I don’t want to be treated as less than, but this keeps happening. What should I be asking these people before getting further involved? They swear there is honest and open communication but it seems like there isn’t…

First off, just keep at it. Dating is full of disappointments. Strings of bad luck just happen when you’re dating, sometimes. I had a friend date three women in a row who all broke things off with him after realizing they were gay. It really didn’t have much to do with him, or anything he was doing wrong, it was just a bummer of a coincidence. If one of your mono friends ended up dating four people in a row who all end things because they “have to focus on their career right now,” what would you tell them?

Second, reconsider where you’re meeting all these people. If you’re meeting them all through a similar channel, maybe the poly scene in that social sphere is unhealthy. Since people learn the practices and expectations of relationships from the world around them, polyamorous scenes can definitely take on their own cultural flavor. If there’s just this assumption in the air that primary partners always have veto power, go find dates somewhere outside of that bubble. 

Third, it’s okay to be clear up-front about your polyamorous practice and philosophy. You can say things like “I don’t believe in hierarchical polyamory,” or “I’ve had bad experiences being abandoned for the sake of a ‘primary’ relationship” in an OKC profile or during an early conversation. It’s okay to ask early on what a person’s polyamorous philosophy is like. In fact, I frequently ask people how they interpret and define their polyamory, which polyamorous books or thinkers or blogs they read, etc. Some people recoil at what they see as ‘interview’ or ‘qualifying’ questions early on in dating, but that’s their problem - I need someone who is okay with openness and clarity of expectations on both sides. 

Of course, you could ask all the right questions, and someone could swear to you up, down, left, right, and inside out that they are totally down for non-hierarchical polyamory and will never abandon you to avoid having a hard conversation with another partner and don’t believe in veto powers, and they could still be lying to you, or they could be telling the truth at the time and then change their mind later. There’s no guaranteed way to protect yourself from disappointment in dating brought on by other people’s frustrating choices. Just be your best self and keep on keeping on!

my boyfriend always complains i act like im not interested in spending time with him but whenever i ask to spend time with him he acts like i’m asking too much of him and like he has so many things to do he just can’t and if i act sad about him having to leave or do something he gets annoyed and that’s why i don’t ever ‘act interested’ because whenever i do i get called annoying and clingy and told how he cant spend all this time with me. i feel like no matter what i do im going to be wrong.

It doesn’t sound like this is a healthy relationship. Your boyfriend criticizes you for acting “not interested in spending time with him,” but when you do, he says you’re being “annoying and clingy.”

Making someone feel like “no matter what you do, it’s wrong” is emotionally manipulative and cruel. When with a partner, you should feel welcome and accepted and free to relax into your feelings. Being constantly critiqued, policed, and put down for how you act and how you feel is not healthy at all.

You deserve to be with someone who has the emotional maturity to identify their needs and work with you to meet them, rather than demanding some psychic perfection. Leave this relationship.

What does it mean when someone dumps you constantly and then says ‘let’s be friends’ only to turn around and continue acting like you’re still together? :( I don’t know how to talk to them about it because i know they’re going to get upset or give me some lame excuse of 'i love u i just dont want u to go’ but they’re always the one pushing me away and saying they don’t want to be together and they’re the one who doesn’t want anything real. :(

What does it mean? It means this person is jerking you around for their own benefit. They want to do none of the emotional labor of being in a relationship with you, while getting all the benefits.

If an employer told you they don’t want to have you on the payroll, but really like having you around, would you keep doing work there? I know that it can feel gross to think about romantic or intimate relationships in economic terms, but this person is using you in a similarly exploitative manner.

If you are having sex with this person, stop. If you are doing emotional work for this person, stop. They don’t want to be with you, so don’t be with them. They do not get to have their cake and eat it too. Walk away, and find someone who is willing to actually be with you and not be weirdly cryptic and manipulative about it.  

I’ve met this guy recently and me and him have became really good friends. I’ve started to like him but I don’t think he likes me because I’m 17 and he’s 25. So he looks at as a friend. Any advice on how how I can maybe change his opinion of me and to not think of the age gap?

Nope, I don’t have that advice, because it doesn’t exist. There is nothing anyone can do to change another person’s thoughts or feelings. You can never argue, cajole, prove or convince someone into having feelings for you, or really anything else. This goes for crushes, coworkers, parents, bosses, siblings, exes, elected officials, clergy, teachers…you see where I’m going.

It’s a tough truth to swallow, but if your problem boils down to “I want someone else to think, feel, or act a different way,” there is no real solution. The only thing we can ultimately control is ourselves. Shifting our perspective to “What can I do to keep myself healthy and safe while this other person makes this choice, has these feelings, or behaves this way" is our best bet for happiness.

Also, that is a pretty serious age gap. A 17 year old is in a different place in life than a 25 year old. You two have different emotional landscapes, different lifestyles, different worlds. It’s okay for him not to want to date you - it would be okay for someone your own age to not want to date you, but since this person is so much older than you, it’s also healthy and responsible on his part.

It sucks when you want something, or someone, that you can’t have. I’ve crushed on and pined after my share of people who simply were not appropriate for me to date, and I know that it’s painful and frustrating. But the solution is not to try and change his mind - it’s to respect his lack of interest. This isn’t the last time you’ll wish you could change someone’s opinion of you, so figure out what you can do for yourself to make it through this.

I went on a date with a guy and we hit it off and we’ve been talking since. I asked him what we are (bc I’m not sure what to tell people), and he said he wasn’t sure but thought it’s “casual.” What does this mean?

I have no idea what this individual person meant, because I am not him, and I am not psychic! The best way to find out what he means by “casual” is to ask him! You can text him or ask him in person something like “Hey, you said that whatever we have together right now is “casual,” and I just want to check in to make sure we both have the same idea of what that means.”

Then, ask a specific question about whatever you’re wondering about: “Does that mean you’re seeing other people and don’t mind if I do the same?” or “Do you expect things to stay “casual” between us, or do you see this getting more serious if we continue to hit it off?” or whatever else is especially unclear to you.

And, if this guy freaks out or balks or is evasive when you ask him a very simple question that boils down to: “What do you expect from me, and what can/can’t I expect from you?” then stop seeing him, because he does not have the basic communication skills and self-knowledge to be healthy to date.

My ex boyfriend left me because I’m poly and I was trying to figure that out. he took me being poly as him not mattering to me, and it has me terrified that I won’t ever be able to date because every poly relationship I have been in has been unhealthy, and I simply can’t force myself to be mono. I just don’t know what to do anymore and I can’t stand being lonely.

Almost anyone who’s been through a few breakups knows there are situations when we feel that our partner’s reason for leaving is unfair, or inaccurate, or simply not the whole story. That is one of the biggest heartbreaks of a relationship ending, in my experience. Not all breakups are mutual. Which sucks. But it was your partner’s right to walk away from a situation he didn’t want to be part of - let yourself mourn the loss of that relationship without assuming it predicts anything about the future.

As for the fact that every poly relationship you’ve ever been in has been unhealthy: that does not mean poly is unhealthy, or even that poly is necessarily an unhealthy choice for you. What it does mean is that there is a pattern in your past that you want to break. Do some honest introspection about what made these relationships unhealthy: is there something in how you conduct your relationships that needs attention and healing? Is there something about the type of person or relationship you’re drawn to that needs some reigning in from your more responsible side? Or have you just had a few instances of bad luck, and the solution is to just get back on that horse?

Do some self-work - that might be therapy, journaling, reading up on healthy communication and healthy polyamory - and be intentional and responsible in your pursuit of future relationships. Know what your dealbreakers and red flags are, and do not compromise on them. Go out of your way to date people who have a history of healthy polyamory - try poly meetups, ask on first dates if they’ve read your poly manual of choice, try online dating and chat about poly philosophy before meeting up. 

Finally, there is a big difference between being lonely and not being in a relationship. Do not let your sense that you “can’t stand” being without a relationship rush you into something - that might be part of the pattern of you ending up in unhealthy situations. Cultivate community and friendships outside of your romantic life. If sexuality and touch loneliness are a sticking point for you, hop on Tinder and have some one-night-stands, invest in an awesome sex toy, or see if your area has erotic parties that sound fun. Go out for happy hour with coworkers, join some online forums - get out there and make connections without worrying so much about dating!

i was with this guy who’s married but him and his wife dont live together and she doesn’t approve of him being poly but he has been for several years and way before i met him and we were together for half a year and she messaged me telling me not to talk to him anymore and now he won’t talk to me and i saw that he was with her again and idk what to do? i loved him so much but now i just feel stupid for thinking he cared?

To be honest with you, it sounds like what you were involved in was not a healthy poly situation, but an unhealthy marriage. It sounds like this person you dated was misrepresenting his emotional availability and generally making irresponsible choices. The best thing you can do for yourself is treat this like a learning experience and work on healing and moving forward.

It really hurts when you care about someone and it doesn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean you were stupid or wrong to believe someone who said they cared about you. Investing in people does put us at risk of getting hurt, but the alternative is to be closed off in an unhealthy way. Sometimes when we date, it ends poorly, and we get hurt. That doesn’t make us stupid. You made what you felt were the right choices at the time - the turned out not to be for the best, but don’t beat yourself up or indulge feelings of shame and regret.

Not everything that hurts hurts because you deserve it, or because you made the wrong choice, or because you could have prevented it but didn’t. There’s a time and a place to take responsibility and own your part in a situation, but there’s also a time to just let yourself feel bad about things not working out, without blaming yourself.

My ‘partner’ has recently decided he needs to work things out with his wife after several months of us being together and him telling me they were divorcing. Now, I don’t see how our relationship will work because we both worked up this image of how it would end up and it’s not happening that way at all. I feel I want a very different outcome than he’s able to give me and I’m not sure what to do. I really love him and don’t want to lose him but I don’t know how to make it work?

It sounds like there is not much you can do here to “make it work.” If you want something that he can’t give you, there isn’t necessarily a solution for that. Sometimes in life we don’t get what we want. Sometimes our expectations are not met. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned. It’s not always solvable, but it is always survivable.

This might be a situation where you need the “serenity to accept the things you cannot change.” When relationships don’t work out, it sucks and it hurts, but it isn’t always something we can fix. Let yourself grieve the loss of the future you planned. Eat ice cream. Reactivate your tinder. Take a day off work to watch Netflix. You’ll get through this.

P.S. Since this is a poly blog, I’m assuming your partner’s wife was aware of and okay with you dating him, and he’s now decided to close off the open relationship. But given the use of scare quotes around ‘partner’ and your point that him not divorcing spells the end of your relationship, that may not be the case. My advice to you in the future is: do not have affairs with married men who promise you they will divorce their wife so you can be together. There’s a reason this situation is a trope, and it’s because it rarely ends well. 

A girl and i have become pretty close, enough that people think we’re in a relationship but recently i found out she likes my friend and my friend also likes her. Idk what to do. Should i leave it and move on or pursue it?

If she likes your friend and he likes her back, it sounds like they should take a shot at dating each other. There is very little to “pursue” if she isn’t interested in you. Don’t pressure her change the terms of your relationship if you have no reason to believe she wants that.

I’m a Senior in High School and feel secure in being Pan and Poly. Problem is, I haven’t dated since elementary school, which doesn’t really count in my opinion, and I don’t really know anything about dating in general, never mind as a young, queer woman. I’d like to explore that before I graduate, but I’m not sure exactly how to start.

Honestly, you can’t really set a deadline on dating. It might not happen before you graduate - you can’t force it no matter how badly you want it. And you may find that moving on from high school, whether it’s to college, a job, travel, the military, etc. without trying to maintain a high school relationship is easier in many ways.

There is no rule that you have to have your first dating relationship before you graduate high school. Many people don’t, and you won’t be at a disadvantage or get left behind in knowledge or experience. It can easy to feel rushed or pressured, especially when it seems like everyone else is dating or if you think there is something you need to be learning that you’re not. But trust me, everyone’s dating life moves at its own pace.

But it’s totally understandable to want to start dating now that you feel ready and while you’re still in high school. The best thing to do, in my experience, is to be yourself, be patient, and be open to experiences as they come. Join clubs or activities where you can meet people who share your interests. Cultivate the boldness and courage it takes to ask someone out if you’re interested! Learn to let go of the fear and desperation that can come with rejection - because everyone actively seeking to date will experience that.

And there’s plenty you can learn about dating without having to be actively practicing yourself. Read up about healthy relationships, safe and consensual sex, setting boundaries, self-love and self-esteem. Learn about yourself and what you need in relationships. Masturbate, read erotics, and/or do other things to help you explore what your sexual fantasies and interests are. Think critically about the subtle lessons you’ve been taught about relationships. Tend to your non-dating relationships, because close friendships are just as important as romance. Read narratives by other queer women. Try to let go of any hard deadline to start dating and enjoy the journey you’re on. You’ll get where you want to be. I promise.

Here are some resources:

Good luck!