A polyamorous person has been flirting with me, but I don't really know what that means

So there's this girl that I thought was flirting with me and she asked for my snapchat. She kept mentioning partners so I asked her what she meant by that and she said she was in a poly relationship with a man and woman who she loves with all her heart. I'm totally fine with all this, but I have no real experience with polyamory. If she is already dating (and kind of living with) 2 people, what does that mean for me? I'm not working this very well, but any advice you could give would be great!

I don’t know - but you know who does? Her! She knows what her relationships are like, and what she’s looking for in a new partner. Your best bet is to ask her: I’m interested in you, but what would it mean for me? What do you want, and what don’t you want, from a new partner? If you started dating someone new right now, what would that look like for you, and for them? What boundaries do you have around dating people? What are your current relationships like? How did they start?

It’s possible that both of her “love with all my heart” partners started out as flirting on Snapchat, and she’s interested in dating someone to see if things move toward becoming significant, committed partners. It’s also possible that she feels “at capacity” for that kind of relationship and wants something more permanently casual. It’s possible that she rejects the binary I just set up and has a completely different best-case set of desires! Express your interest and open up that conversation. If there’s one thing we polyam folks love, it’s open communication. Best of luck!

I've looked into polyamory, and I really don't think it's for me

i’ve been talking to a guy who is poly and it’s new to me i’ve done research about healthy poly relationships but i still feel like i would never be satisfied in that sort of arrangement. i know a lot of it stems from my own insecurities, jealousy, and traumas, but even past all of that i don’t think i could be happy knowing my partner has other relationships just as intimate as ours. i want to feel special to him like he’s special to me. am i ignorant for wanting to be monogamous?

Nope, you are not ignorant! If sounds like you've done your research and concluded that non-monogamy just would not be healthy for you. That's totally okay! It's important to know yourself, your needs, your limits, your boundaries, your desires - and then to act on that information! That’s actually the opposite of ignorance.

Not every relationship style suits every person. As long as you recognize that this is just how you are, and not how everyone is - that your perception of non-monogamy making things feel less "special" is just how you feel, and not a fact of the universe - you're fine. Don't let anyone make you feel pressured, ignorant, or less-than because of how you prefer to date.

Be honest with the guy you've been talking to, maybe take distance from that new friendship if you need to, and keep looking for someone who shares your monogamous preferences!

My girlfriend wants to be in a polyamorous relationship with her ex, but I'm not sure

I'm open to a polyamorous relationship and my girlfriend wants to have one with me and her ex. This would be my first polyamorous relationship and I don't really know the guy. Should I be worried about it? Possibly if he steals her away from me instead of it being a group relationship?

If your girlfriend wants you to just start dating a guy you don't really know, that's not very fair or reasonable. You cannot 'assign' or 'agree' people into relationships - it doesn't work that way. Don't date a guy just because your girlfriend wants you to.

It makes more sense for her to start dating him, and you get to know him, and see how the two of you feel about each other. There is nothing wrong with a V-shaped polyamorous relationship. Being friendly metamours is often the best way for people to relate.

If she's adamant that she only wants a closed/triad/group relationship, then she'll need to be patient and wait for you two to meet someone or grow close with someone that you also want to date.

As for your second question - no, I would not advise you to be worried about that. I can't promise you that it won't possibly happen, since no one can predict the future, but polyamory tends to make it less likely that someone will leave you for someone else, not more. Also, it's impossible for him to "steal her away" - if she leaves you to be monogamous with him, or anyone else, it would be because she made that decision herself, and you can't control her decisions. Unless he's saying and doing things that make it seem like he's trying to shift into a monogamous relationship with her and get her to break up with you, I wouldn't worry about this.

Something to be worried about, though, is that he's her ex. Why did they break up? Does that reason still exist? Are there any red flags or concerns you have about him? Getting back together with exes is not typically a great idea; so be sure you understand what his deal is, why she wants to get back together with him, and whether you want to be part of a situation that involves him.

REMINDER: Comments are now open on the main site, www.askpolyamory.com! Check out the commenting rules, and come join us! 

I'm planning to start dating someone who already has a partner, but I have some concerns

I am about to go into a relationship with a woman who already had a boyfriend. Usually I'm very territorial but I'm willing to make it work for her. Her other boyfriend is also quite territorial and the boundaries have been set by him. I am not very committal in relationships and his boundaries have benefited that side of me, however I'm worried his influence may have a negative effect on our relationship. How can I respect his wishes and also make sure I feel fulfilled in my relationship?

To be honest, I have never seen it work well when someone isn't really okay with polyamory but is "willing to make it work" for a specific person. It's like moving into a house with one horrible feature that you know you'll hate. You promise yourself that you'll "suck it up and ignore it" and then "get used to it" and that the low rent and sunny bedroom are worth the stove with only two burners in a micro-kitchen with no counter space. But over time it drives you nuts. It isn't really what you wanted. It will always feel like a frustrating compromise. Think hard about what you are committing your future self to. Be very, very intentional about this.

I cannot write you a specific plan to "make sure" you feel a certain way. I don't know you, I am not you, and even you can't ensure that everything goes smoothly. What I can do, though is strongly recommend that you do a lot of introspection about this. I can ask questions - your answers to those questions are actually the answer to the question you asked me.

This guy sounds like he has a lot of boundaries that you'll need to respect. Whatever you think has been laid out, know that this will create complications that you can't foresee right now. Do you have the patience, flexibility, and security in yourself to manage that?

You say that you're "very territorial" - what self-work have you done to make sure that whatever behaviors and feelings lead you to that conclusion are being managed in a healthy way? Are you working to get to a place where you're more okay with the polyamorous relationship, or just working to ignore the negative effects and territorial feelings? What are the "negative effects" you're worried about? Which ones are dealbreakers? Which ones do you plan to just muddle through? What's your plan for that?

Why are you deciding to do this? What is it about this woman that makes it worth it, to you? Does she seem willing to help you manage the newness and the fears going into this? How much do you expect this woman to take accountability for situations that negatively impact you and be willing to help resolve them? What will you do and feel if she doesn't meet those expectations? Has she been willing to compromise, or is she expecting that you get 100% on board with whatever it takes to keep her current partner happy?

Are you trying to ignore certain things? Hoping some issues will just go away? Is there any denial or willful ignorance going on? Anything you're hoping will change as time goes on? What's your timeline for that? Would you be okay in this relationship a year down the road if nothing has changed?

This is a time to be really honest with yourself and really intentional about the choices you're making. Don't just assume that things will work out because you want them to. 

How do I join the polyamorous community in my area?

I am attempting to join a couple in The Life or meet a woman in it so I can build with. How do I accomplish this in Indianapolis, In?

You can see my FAQ page on finding polyamorous people to date here.

But I'd caution you to re-examine your language and what it might indicate about your expectations. Polyamory isn't some porny sex cult that we initiate people into - it's just a way of having a relationship. If you have a fantasy about what polyamory would look like, or what type of polyamorous person you're looking for, consider doing some research that helps you think through how realistic that fantasy is.

Remember that all people are individuals, whole and dynamic, and no one exists to be your gatekeeper to polyamory. Go out there and be a human dating other humans; treating it like anything else will be an exercise in futility and risks ending up with you being frustrated and other people feeling misunderstood or objectified.