My partner and I are long distance, and we both live with other partners - how do we make visits work?

I entered my first poly relationship a while ago. I already had a partner who’s living with me in my apartment, and then I got a gf recently. My gf already has a partner living with her too and also we live 4-5 hours of journey by train away from each other. Neither of us has more than one bedroom. It is very hard to meet up but were dying to meet again. Unless one of our partner leave town, which is rare, were in a tough spot. Have you been in a similar situation or know anyone who has? What do?

Boy have I! It’s frustrating and can take some creativity, but it can be done. When I’ve been in a similar situation, my partners and I have gotten really into those websites that let you get hotel rooms cheap as last-minute bookings, or booking AirBnBs in off-season areas. There are plenty of apps and websites that let you find overnight cuddle-up spots without breaking the bank! If you’re outdoorsy, camping and cabin-camping can be a great option to spend a night together as well.

Getting a bit more creative: if you’re at all into things like sex parties or BDSM dungeons, then finding one in a city near you can be a good way to find space for that kind of time together. If you have the funds, places like spas or hot springs are lovely ways to get some private space together (there’s a spot near me that rents private hot tub and sauna rooms by the hour and is well patronized by people in your situation). And see if either of you have any friends who are willing to let us crash in guest bedrooms, or want you to house-sit while they’re gone for a weekend.

It may also be possible for your partner, or her partner, to give y’all the apartment for an evening. Do they have a friend or a partner they could crash with? Could you and your partner send them and a friend or partner to a spa, or hotel, or concert, or nice dinner, while you two hang out in the apartment? Some people feel really icky about being “kicked out” or “sexiled” from their own home, but when it’s framed as a flexible, creative way for everyone to have a good time, I’ve seen it work well!

It takes some extra planning and sometimes some extra cash, but it can be done! Best of luck!

My partner said she was okay with polyamory when we got together, but is now upset about it

So I’m currently in a long distance relationship with someone who said she was okay with me being polyam from the first date (even before the first date I told her). Now I’m on tour with my band for 6 months and I promised to be monogamous until I got home and we reconnected. I’m 2 months into the tour and she is already freaking out about me wanting to date other people when I get home. I still have a little over 4 months on the road and I'm not really sure how to handle this. 

It sounds like she's not actually okay with you being polyam. If she doesn't want you to see other people while you're on tour, and she is already nervous about you seeing other people when you're not on tour, the issue is that she's threatened by you seeing other people.

Or, it could be that she is feeling insecure because you're gone and she feels like you two didn't talk it out enough before you left, and her wanting to continue the conversation feels to you like "freaking out." 

Either way, I think you're getting distracted by red herrings in your situation. The band tour doesn't really matter; the promise to be monogamous during the tour doesn't matter; her insistence since day one that she's okay with polyamory doesn't matter. What matters is that she is upset and threatened by the idea of you dating other people. That's what needs to be addressed.

You need to identify and clarify your expectations and needs and boundaries with her. "Part of dating me is polyamory. I won't be in a relationship where I can't date other people. If that's not something you're comfortable with, this won't work out." If she insists that she really is okay with you dating other people as long as specific concerns are addressed, ask her to clarify for you what those are and work on a plan to address them.

If she can't - if it seems like she's just trying to argue herself into being able to date you, or that she's assuming that her future self will be okay with something her present self clearly isn't - it's probably best to end things. Don't speak for her, by saying "you say you're okay with this, but you're really not, and I know what's best for you better than you, so I'm going to end a relationship that you want to continue, for your own good." That's never a good way to end things. Instead, frame it as you not being happy in this arrangement, getting the sense that polyamory isn't working between you two, that you aren't able or willing to provide all the emotional baby steps it will take. 

I’ve been in a ldr with my bf for about 8 months now. I was just wondering if it’s wrong of me to feel upset when he tells me about all the things he buys for his other partners but he never offers to buy me gifts or anything? I don’t just want gifts from him 24/7 and if he offered I’d probably tell him no but it’s the offer that counts. I don’t know why exactly it upsets me it just makes me feel less important I guess? What are your thoughts?

First off: feelings aren’t wrong, they’re just feelings. You don’t need permission to feel your feelings, it’s okay!

When it comes to polyamory, and long distance relationships, small things can often take on large emotional significance, and that’s totally okay. Problems happen when something that’s significant to one person isn’t even on the other person’s radar. (This is why, despite the weird conservative-“Christian” connections, I like the concept of Love Languages - I think it’s really helpful for understanding this kind of situation.)

It’s totally valid for you to feel hurt by someone else’s behavior, but that doesn’t make their behavior inherently bad or malicious. It’s not like your partner is in the store going “Hey, I’m totally going to buy something for Pearl and Amethyst, but NOT Garnet, because she’s less important! That’ll show her!” It’s probably an oversight, a mismatch of “love languages” - honestly, as someone who has lots of long distance loves, I’m less likely to buy them things just because it’s a whole extra step and expense to ship them. It sounds like you know that intellectually, but knowing that doesn’t make the emotional sting go away. Which is also totally okay!

The best thing to do in this situation is to gently bring it up with your partner. Something like “hey, it’s not that I want you to buy me things, exactly, it’s that I know you use gifts as a way to show affection for your other partners, and since we’re long distance and that’s harder to include in our relationship, it makes me feel left out.” Then you two can brainstorm a way for him to show you affection in that way as well - maybe he can send you little gifts online, ordered to your address; maybe you can pick out a monthly subscription box (they have those for EVERYTHING now, from candy to dog toys to underwear) for him to sign you up for, maybe you just need to think of another way he can show you that you’re important, like emails or letters. Or maybe you’ll just feel better hearing him say “oh, wow, I never realized that, I’m sorry, I never meant it that way!”

No matter what, having a gentle, non-accusatory chat about it should help you both out! (And if he gets angry or defensive or otherwise responds poorly to a very healthy, reasonable chat about your needs, that does NOT mean that you shouldn’t have brought it up or that your feelings were wrong - it’s a red flag about him.)