How do I support my friend who just came out to me as polyamorous?

Hi! My friend has just told me that she is poly and I was wondering if you had any advice on how to support her? Ive told her I love her and support her 100%, but I was wondering if there is more I can do to help her (she's just realised it) thank you ❤

Best thing you can do is to ask her! Sometimes, people worry that when they come out, they’ll be treated differently, and often even attempts to be supportive can feel like “different treatment” - like suddenly buying someone a bunch of pride flag stuff and sending them links to articles about LGBTQ stories, which could make them fear that you see them differently and only through this new lens. But for other people, that would feel really affirming, and they’d really appreciate a friend making an effort to bring it up, learn about it, and actively support it!

You can also educate yourself about polyamory so she doesn’t have to do 101-level education for you (answering the same questions over and over gets old). That might also equip you to head off some of questions or ignorance from other people in your social circle, but of course, make sure she’s OK with this. Again, some people would love it if the education groundwork was done by someone else; other people would be really disturbed that someone else was discussing their identity and answering questions on their behalf.

Never out someone without their permission - ask her how she wants you to discuss this with people who ask, and honor any of her concerns about how this might impact her family or professional community.

Be open and curious, listen to her, talk things through with her, be a good sounding board - but hold your own boundaries and don’t feel like you need to let every conversation center around her new identity work, or that you need to have all the answers for her. Sometimes, new realizations like this can be pretty all-consuming, so be patient if she wants to talk about it often, but be aware of your own needs and head off frustration or resentment before it boils over.

Just keep being a good friend - a good listener, an honest communicator, a collaborator in fun, and you’ll be fine!

I'm dating two guys, and want to make it serious with both of them, but am not sure how to have that conversation

I've been - openly, but they don't know each other - seeing two different guys, for about the same amount of time but not really seriously on either side. I want them to hopefully turn into actual relationships I'm just not sure how to bring about the conversation of "I want to be serious with you, but also him at the same time" and am scared that will send them both running. Any advice?

The great thing, and the terrifying thing, about relationships is that there is no set of magic words you can say to ensure someone else responds well. You should definitely have that conversation, and then if one or both guys goes running, well, that’s just what happened. You can’t prevent or control that. Hiding your feelings/desires from a partner for fear of scaring them off is miserable, and not something I ever recommend.

You’ve got to just come out and say “hey, we’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and I really like you! I’m interested in talking about how we see this relationship moving forward, how committed we feel, and what we both want! And that should include the fact that I’m also having the same feelings about, and conversations with, Orzaggo.” And then you two can talk about how he feels about non-monogamy, and about dating you, and about feelings, and all those super sticky but worthwhile conversational topics!

And if he runs, well, that’s information you have - that he isn’t someone who wants to date you as all of who you are, which is someone capable and desirous of dating multiple people. You would have found that out eventually; delaying this risky conversation doesn’t reduce the risk, it actually just raises the stakes. Best of luck!

I'm married and polyam, but everyone I try to date gets too "weirded out"

I’m poly and have been for the past 3 years. My husband and I got married before I knew that’s what I wanted but no matter what I do, people I date keep dumping me because they say they’re too weirded out by it and the fact that I’m married is too much. I know there’s nothing I can do to change anyone’s mindsets or views on monogamy/non monogamy but what can I do to protect myself from taking this all to heart? I’m tired of getting dumped and hearing “you’re amazing but this is too weird.”

My two pieces of advice for you are: One, think about whether there’s a way you’re acting or talking that is setting off alarm bells for other people. Do you prioritize your marriage over everything? Stick to rigid “ground rules” that limit how you can connect with other people? Talk about your husband constantly? You may be able to mitigate some of the feeling of “weirdness” by making some adjustments in those areas.

Two, start actively seeking out people who are polyamorous and already understand non monogamy. You’re going to run into a lot of confusion and stigma if you are trying to meet people in the majority-monogamous parts of the population. Check out online dating, local polyam meetups, and my FAQ page on finding polyamorous people to date.

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!

My partner has never dated a woman, or dated polyamorously, before - and she says stuff that makes me feel ashamed

I’m (F) in a polyamorous relationship with my husband and recently started dating a girl. She has never dated a woman before let alone one with a husband and she is very obviously struggling with this. Her friends aren’t supportive, she generally thinks all the wrong things about polyamory and what that means for her and I’m struggling to not feel shameful from her comments and feelings about it. She hasn’t broken it off with me but the shame is building inside me and I don’t know what to do!

Generally, if someone is in a relationship with someone who is acting and speaking in a way that makes them feel shame, my advice is to leave the relationship. It’s not your responsibility to try and educate someone out of ignorance if that ignorance is causing you personal pain.

That said, just because it isn’t your responsibility doesn’t mean you can’t decide to do it, if it sounds like something you’re willing to take on. Be open and clear with her: “Bethilda, when you say things like ‘you’ll never truly be all mine,’ it implies that you’re thinking of relationships in a possessive model, and that bothers me. I worry you feel like Dirkfell ‘owns’ me and you’re trying to ‘have’ some of me by taking me away from him. That’s a common way to think about relationships, but it’s now how I see myself and my relationships, and it’s not the best framing for what you and I, or Dirkfell and I, have together."

Then, follow it up by suggesting a re-framing. Don’t argue with how she feels, just explain your perspective and how that might help with some of the assumptions that are leading her to say and think those things. Try not to sound accusatory - “you’re wrong and you shouldn’t say these things because they make me feel bad” - frame it like you’re on her side and want to help her understand things in a clearer way, which could alleviate some of her confusion or fears. Consider pointing her to some resources - don’t just overwhelm her with links, send her one blog post that you think helps, or buy her one copy of a book and offer to read and discuss it with her.

Ultimately, though, being someone’s first same-sex partner, and/or someone’s first polyamorous partner, can be emotionally exhausting, as you help them untangle a lot of internalized shame, fear, confusion, and misunderstandings. Give yourself space, surround yourself with positivity, and be willing to set boundaries: “I know your friends are saying hurtful things to you, but it’s also painful for me when you repeat that judgmental stuff about our relationship back to me. I’m happy to answer your questions and support you, but I can’t just listen to you vent about someone else’s bigotry, because being exposed to bigotry sucks.”

My partner's friends are telling her that being polyamorous with me sets her up for hurt and abandonment

I’m married to a man and poly with a woman as well. We just started dating and she said she told her best friends about me and my lifestyle and they freaked! They told her she is going to get hurt and that she should find someone else. I don’t know what to do without having support from the closest people in her life and I don’t want to be seen as a flight risk just because they don’t understand commitment and polyamory. I have no idea how to meet these people eventually without feeling hurt.

This is not actually an actionable problem for you right now. Some people you don’t know, but who know someone you’re close to, are being ignorant. There’s nothing you can do, or should try to do, about that.

Be there for your partner - she’s dealing with the pain of being judged and rejected by her friends. If she asks, help provide her with resources about coming out as polyamorous, or ways she can explain to her friends that what she’s doing is healthy and consensual. But if she doesn’t ask, leave the topic alone. Don’t try to argue with her friends through her.

She may be believing these people, and worrying about the security of your relationship with her. Do what you can to reassure her, through words and actions, that you are safe and committed. Answer her questions when they come up. Don’t get defensive or act like it’s her obligation to either change her friends’ minds, or shut out their opinions completely. Be open, reassuring, and loving.

There is a chance that if these people are adamant enough or close enough to her to be convincing, she could get freaked out and wants to take some distance or leave the relationship, that will be frustrating and painful for you, but even though she’s acting on wrong information that other people are telling her, it’s her choice to make.

Don’t worry so much yet about meeting these friends of hers who you know don’t approve of your place in her life. It doesn’t sound like she’s pushing for that, or like you’re all about to go on a cruise together. If you’re at a social gathering with them, be charming and sweet while keeping enough polite distance to protect your own feelings.

I want to date someone else. My boyfriend seems okay with it, but won't say much.

Me and my boyfriend have been together for about 6 years, we've talked about having another person in our relationship (always with a she pronoun). Today I brought up a guy that wanted to take me on a date, and asked him if he was okay with it, all I got was a "well if you want to". I do want to see this new guy but don't want to upset my partner either. What do you think I should do?

It sounds like it’s just you who would be dating this new guy. That means that the third person is not “in your relationship.” There is a new relationship that would form. This is generally called V-shaped or “Vee” polyamory. It’s important to have the right language for what you’re feeling and doing, because that can help you frame it in an accurate way, approach it without assumptions or misunderstandings, and point you to helpful resources.

Polyamory requires open and honest communication. “Well, if you want to” does not qualify. You need to talk to your boyfriend about his best-case and worst-case scenario, as well as yours. What do you want out of this? How do you feel? How does he feel? What might change between you two? What are dealbreakers for each of you? What questions do both of you have?

If he’s not willing or able to have this kind of conversation, then he’s probably not someone able to be in a healthy polyamorous or open relationship.

I'm in a monogamous relationship, but there's someone else in my life I have strong feelings for

I'm in a committed relationship with someone and I know he has plans to marry me. There's another guy I've been friends with for a while and he split my last relationship up (not intentionally - I realized I had really strong feelings for him and we ended up having a little bit of a thing going on, which my ex found out about.) I still love him and always have the urge to kiss him. How do I tell my now partner. Am I poly?

I can't tell you whether you're poly; that's up to you to figure out! I have an FAQ page about that here.

Some people in monogamous relationships do have feelings/urges for other people, and consider it part of their commitment to their partner that they choose not to act on those feelings. Only you can decide for yourself whether having feelings for another person means you should try to change the terms of your existing relationship, or whether you need to take some space from that other person and accept that monogamy often requires work and sacrifice, just like polyamory.

Or, you can decide that these feelings are not something you can, or are willing to, ignore. In that case, it's worth bringing up with your partner. However, be prepared for the possibility that your partner is unwilling to be in a non-monogamous relationship with you. In that case, you'll need to decide how to act on that information from him. If it's a dealbreaker, you'll need to leave the relationship - it'll suck, but at least you learned about this incompatibility issue before you got married.

If you want to say "okay, now I know where you stand, I'm glad I checked," and continue with monogamy, be prepared for your partner to wrestle with some insecurity or jealousy, since this is being brought on by your strong feelings for someone that you've already shown a willingness to cheat with, or leave another partner for. This is a pretty fraught situation, and you'll need to really clarify for yourself whether this is about you realizing that you have the ability to love more than one person and want to be able to pursue that; or you realizing that you just really, really want to be with this one specific person.

It's entirely possible that your friend wouldn't want to be your second partner; or if you leave your current partner for him, that things wouldn't work out with him anyway. Try to maintain clear lines between "I want to try non-monogamy" and "I really want to date this particular guy" and know what you are, and are not, willing to sacrifice to pursue one or the other.

My partner and I started seeing someone else, and they're worried they'll break us up

My partner and i just added a third. Our third is afraid of splitting my partner and I up. Is there anyway we can prove to our third that we both want it to be the three of us for the long haul?

Short answer, no: there is very little you can do to change how someone else thinks or feels, and there is nothing you can do in the present to provide 'proof' of something in the future.

However, you can try and talk things out and help everyone understand where everyone else is coming from. Ask your new partner: where are these feelings coming from? Is there something we're saying or doing that's sparking this anxiety? What could we do to help you feel more secure?

You can be reassuring, and let them know that you're both happy with the way things are now, and that you will let them know if concerns come up or something starts to change. Stick to your word on that - be open, honest, and vulnerable. People often find it easier to trust you after you've demonstrated that you're willing to say awkward, uncomfortable truths and share difficult feelings, even if it's a smaller-stakes issue.

Let them know that this isn't their problem to worry about, that you two are committed to making the triad work, and that if something comes up in the future, you'll handle it then. Talk about what you like about this new triad and your best-case-scenarios for the future.

Sometimes, things like this fade with time. Newness and change are scary, and our brains sometimes funnel that nebulous anxiety into specific fears, whether or not they're grounded. Stay in the present, knowing that the three of you can cross future bridges when you come to them, trusting your future selves to handle what comes up, and doing your best not to 'borrow trouble' if things are working out right now.

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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.

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I'm 18, and a 26 and 29 year old couple with kids want to date me

I'm 18 and I've never actually dated someone, and this 26/29yo couple wanna date me. I knew the 26yo's kids for a year and a half when they lived right by me, but never knew their dad. Met him and after an hour of talking I said how I hope to have kids like that one day, and found out he's their dad. Turns out he's got a boyfriend, and they both wanna date me. I'm wanting to, but I have 0 dating in real life experience. The kids are 4-10. He pulled strings at work and got me $110 of perfume. We have our expectations for the future line up just right. I already love him, but how would I get to know 7 people? They're where I'm hoping to be in 10 years, not 2, but they're great people, just older. What are good things to talk about when getting to know someone? What should I ask about their relationship? What should I ask regarding the age difference?

Do not date these people. They are much older than you, and in a completely different stage in their lives. They also have a strongly established couple, which adds to the power dynamic. "Pulling strings" to get you expensive stuff is a red flag for grooming behavior. You do not "already love" this person; love grows out of a long period of commitment and intimacy, which you haven't had yet. Especially with kids involved, it will be way too easy for you to get quickly sucked into a situation that won't be healthy for you.

You're 18 - date people your own age. Let your future grow organically and make choices based on what you want without hitching your life to people with very different priorities.

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My partner and I have an open arrangement, but I feel like he did something that violated the terms we agreed on.

My partner and I have agreed that we’re allowed to have sexual encounters with other people from the start of our six month relationship, but have never been intimate with anyone else without the other being present. While I was out of town, he slept with a woman we were entertaining playing with together. He didn’t tell me about it until yesterday, almost a week from the event. He said that he didn’t want to ruin my holiday and last night was the first opportunity when he felt we had a chance to talk. We didn’t discuss when we would disclose encounters to each other, although I did state that I preferred he told me beforehand. That’s alright, that was a learning moment. However, what’s really bothering me is that he said that he wouldn’t sleep with her by himself and that the three of us would play together first. Additionally, I feel hurt that we were intimate before he finally told me that he has slept with her. I’m simply hurt/confused... This is my first foray into open relationships, and my boyfriend’s first intimate encounter outside the relationship. Am I overreacting because I’m jealous or so I have a valid bone to pick?

You've got a false dichotomy in your question there. When a couple is in conflict, remember that it's you two vs. the problem, not you vs. each other. Your feelings are totally valid, but that doesn't necessarily mean he did anything wrong.

Stuff like this happens all the time - you set up rules and expectations to protect yourself, but life has a funny way of getting around those. Events unfold, energy between two people sparks along its course, and things play out differently than how the ideal would be. Your partner was probably very startled and frustrated by the whole thing, and anxious about telling you. 

You're right that this is a learning moment. You two are learning to be more clear with yourselves and each other about what, exactly, you need and want out of this arrangement. You're also learning that the real world might not play nicely with your clearly defined boundaries, and that you'll need to find areas of flexibility and compromise. Figure out what's a need vs. a desire, what might not be realistic, and where you can give each other and the world some 'wiggle room.' Remember that the more rigid and specific your rules are, the easier they are to break, which feels like a betrayal. But, if they're too wishy-washy, then you might accidentally hurt the other person without realizing that they were more serious about something than you thought.

Keep talking this out! Remember that feeling hurt is totally okay, but it does not mean that the other person is in the wrong. This is a sticky, feeling-laden thing you're doing, so feelings are going to happen. Work through them and with each other.

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. 

Is there a term for the specific type of relationship we're looking for?

My partner and I have been together 17 years and we are wanting to bring another male in to our relationship (MMF). What would the correct name be for this relationship? Both males are straight.

Well, for one, I can't quite parse exactly what kind of 'relationship' you're trying to name. If both males are straight, then they probably won't want to be in a sexual or romantic relationship with each other, so the new person probably won't be "brought into" your existing relationship - they'd primarily be with the female partner, right? Dating one person in a relationship is different than "joining" or "being brought into" a two-person relationship. You'd be well served to think a bit more about the specific dynamic you're hoping for, so you can better explain it to yourselves and future partners.

Are you planning for this to be primarily sexual, like someone to have threesomes with? The word for that is really just "threesome" - or "group sex," "multiple partners," that sort of thing. There are specific sexual concepts common in MMF sexuality, like "cuckolding." Are you looking for someone for the female partner to date? That is just called "polyamory," "V-shaped polyamory," or an "open relationship." One person sought after by an existing couple to date that couple as a unit is called a "unicorn." 

There are not, to my knowledge, specific terms for relationship configurations based on the specific number and genders of people involved. I'm not sure we need those, frankly. If you are looking for linguistic validation that what you want is "a real thing," that also doesn't exist, and you don't need it. If you are looking for a very particular term that you think will perfectly describe what you want so that you don't have to do other work of explaining, defining, and communicating, that doesn't exist. You need to continue to do the work of identifying and defining your needs and boundaries.

Since opening our relationship, I worry that I'm not attractive anymore

My partner and I just opened our relationship and she's been with a few people since. At first our sex life with each other was pretty exciting but things have seemed to fizzle out recently. I'm naturally anxious that she doesn't find me so attractive anymore now that she's been with others but I also know that probably isn't a valid feeling. Any advice on navigating these feelings? It's not the lack of sex that's getting to me so much as the idea that I might not be attractive to her anymore.

You've done a good job identifying that these feelings are coming from your anxious tendencies, not empirical observations. Keep working on them from that perspective. Remind yourself that you are not psychic, and assumptions about the inner state of your partner's sexual attraction may not be accurate. 

Identify what your partner does, or can do, to make you feel reassured that she is still attracted to you. Let her know that you might need some extra security around this issue and be clear about what she can do to help you feel better. 

Read up about NRE in polyamorous relationships - this is a pretty common phenomenon. An established partnership's sex and romantic life often 'fizzles' into a dip when a new partner enters the picture. This is common, but can still be painful and disruptive. Being able to name and identify it often helps, though. 

Sometimes, it takes a bit more intentionality and focus to re-ignite what has 'fizzled out' during NRE. Consider planning some date time for just the two of you or trying something new and sexy together (shop for new sex toys together, look into local sexy events, book a sexy photoshoot together, read erotica or watch porn together, take mojo upgrade together, etc.)

That anxious little voice in your head may try to convince you that it "doesn't count" if you have to ask, or if it's not totally spontaneous - but that's bogus. Long-term sexual and romantic relationships require cultivation and attention, and that's just part of opening your relationship in a healthy way.

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. 

My boyfriend doesn't want to see me after I have sex with someone else

I’m with my boyfriend and this is the first open relationship for the both of us. He doesn’t want to see me after I go to a sex party or go out with someone else. Should I be concerned that this isn’t working for him? I don’t have a similar rule; I’d prefer to see him the next day after he does out with someone so I can hear about or just cause I miss him when we’re apart. He says it’s cause of STIs even though I always ask my partners about testing and use a condom with men and we both already have HSV-1 and HPV. Not sure how to react to his absence after I go out and it makes me feel bad.

It's pretty common for humans to be 'squicked out' by things that aren't entirely rational, but are strong enough that we can't reason ourselves out of it. The disgust response is one of our deepest survival instincts. I got a similar letter about a similar problem last year. So it's very possible that this is just a quirk of your partner's feelings about the world, and not evidence that he's judging you for the way you conduct yourself in this open relationship.

Sometimes, two partners can be in an open relationship and just have different levels on enthusiasm for things like sex parties and active partner-seeking. It could also be the case that he's uncomfortable with something and is channeling that discomfort into a boundary around seeing each other after sex. Your best bet is to ask him!

Make room for him to be honest: ask him whether it bothers him that you're having sex with other people, whether he feels threatened or unsafe by anything, and what he needs from you to feel okay. Let him know that if he really is okay with the way you two are conducting the relationship, he just prefers to leave a time barrier between things, you want to hear that in the affirmative - and if he isn't okay with the way things are, you want to hear about that!

If it comes out that he really is bothered by something else, figure out what to do there. If he genuinely just wants a time buffer around sex parties, figure out how to manage that. You two may have different comfort levels around sharing details and seeing each other after sex with other partners. Your job is to figure out whether there is a compromise you're willing to make - plan to go without his company for a day or so if you want to attend a sex party - or whether this is a dealbreaker for you that needs to be addressed another way. 

I want two girlfriends.

I am seeking 2 gf for a poly relationship. Where are good places to look for that. New obviously lol

First: my FAQ page about this. (Friends! Check the FAQ and use the blog's search function before writing me!) And I answered a very similar question here.

Second: to be fair, I only have two and a half sentences from you, but I'm pretty sure you're going about this the wrong way. It sounds like you want "a polyamorous arrangement with two women" - that the polyamorous nature of the relationship, and the fact that there are two girlfriends involved, is the object of your desire. That's not a relationship, it's a sexual fantasy. Which is fine to have, just don't mistake it for a relationship.

Polyamorous relationships involve real people. You don't go out looking for "a relationship." You go out looking for a person you want to be in a relationship with. You may identify as polyamorous, which means you're open to dating more than one person. But that's all there is to it - meeting people and dating them, not the idea of them, not what they represent, not the relationship as a fetishized entity unto itself.

I want to date a guy, but my fiancé and I have only talked about opening the relationship to women

My fiancé (27) & I (22) have been together for ~7 years. We had a threesome over a year ago with a woman that he worked with. It was enjoyable in the moment for all of us, but it was awkward & we didn’t handle it very smoothly. He actually had sex with her before the three of us did anything (or before I really talked to her about much of anything) which he told me about and I didn’t hold against him because it was a result of unclear communication between the two of us. In the end, we learned a lot & it made me want an open relationship even more. The issue is that my partner is only interested in women for us, together or separate. I identify as bi & have a huge crush on 1 of our mutual friends who is a guy. My fiancé knows about the crush but still feels weird about opening up to me having relationship with another man. He says he just has a harder time trusting men, but I’m worried it could be stemming from jealousy or lack of self confidence or something. I don’t want to do anything that would hurt my current partner, I love him deeply, but I also reallyyyyyy like this other guy and want to talk to him about how I feel, but again, don’t want to overstep any boundaries or hurt feelings or miscommunicate. Were also definitely NOT out about being polyam-curious (I think that’s the right term to use here).

Your first step is to talk to your fiancé about this. It's pretty common for men to feel this way about female partners - that they're okay with their partners dating women, but not other men. Within the polyamorous community, this is often referred to as the "One Dick Rule" or "One Penis Policy."* The One Dick Rule, though common, is garbage, and you are correct that it usually comes from hangups that deserve to be interrogated.

Talk to your partner about this conviction he has that men are "less trustworthy." What, specifically, is he concerned about? This isn't about him convincing you that his rule is valid and should be followed; it's about figuring out how to help him let go of these hangups. Let him know that as far as you're concerned, as a bisexual woman, being allowed to date other people does include men, and you want to figure out how to work that out.

Say that you've been thinking seriously about having an open relationship ever since the threesome, and you want to talk about whether that could work between you, and if so, what it would look like. Be clear and honest about what you want. Only after you two figure out what your relationship arrangement will look like is the right time to come out in your social circles as polyam-curious and willing to date and/or sleep with other people.

I also want to add a note of caution. Keep in mind that you've been dating this man since you were fifteen and he was twenty. This creates some vulnerabilities that you should be aware of. With that kind of age gap, the older partner often gets to determine the other partner's sense of what is normal, so you need to be very careful about that. Don't take his word for it that something he did was unilaterally okay, or that something you did makes his behavior consequence-free, or that his preferences are objective reflections of reality.

It's a red flag for me that he slept with someone essentially without your permission or without working it out with you first, but you're not allowed to be upset about that because it was a "miscommunication." Now you're worried about another "misunderstanding" with regards to these new steps toward opening the relationship. It's not okay that these "miscommunications" seem to fall on you - it's your responsibility to avoid and prevent them, but if they do happen, they absolve him of responsibility.

You need to figure out how to keep yourself safe from this sort of framing. Both of you are responsible for managing your communication. Neither of you are immune from consequences even if you genuinely had a miscommunication. Both of you are entitled to your feelings about things, even if the other person insists that your feelings are the result of a miscommunication. You two need to figure out how to prevent these miscommunications, and if they do happen, how to navigate and heal from the fallout of that miscommunication, rather than brushing it off. That's the first step - clear, open, honest, and safe communication.

*Side note: the last time I used the phrase One Dick Rule/One Penis Policy, I got a message saying that it was transphobic to equate being a man with having a dick. In general, it is true that this isn't a great assumption to make. In this case, however, I do feel that - to get a bit Freudian here - it is in large part the 'threat' of the 'phallus' that creates the anxiety. One wonders how many men who have an ODR in place would 'allow' their partner to date or sleep with a man without a penis, and what that says about their conception of maleness and sexuality. Also, I didn't invent the term, and want to best equip my readers to get more information, and One Dick Rule/One Penis Policy will be more searchable than One Male Person Rule. 

What should my partner and I make sure to discuss before opening our relationship?

What are some good questions to ask at the beginning of changing a monogamous relationship into a polyamorous one? My husband and I recently decided to make this change, we've talked about it for a while and this is something we've agreed on. However, I want to make sure we cover all our bases on everything that might need to be discussed.

First off - and I know this isn't the answer you were looking for - let go of the idea that you can actually get all your bases covered. There is no foolproof way to ensure that no one gets hurt or that nothing unexpected comes up. You can't prepare for everything. This isn't just true of opening up a relationship - it's true of everything. I just listened to a podcast about the killing of Osama bin Laden - they had everything lined up perfectly, all their "bases covered," and then a helicopter crashed. Some things you just can't protect yourself from, even if you prepare thoroughly.

But, you are correct that there are things you can do to lay a strong foundation for your relationship. My recommendations - and this is not an exhaustive list - are to at least discuss:

What are your best-case-scenarios? Indulge in daydreams and outline exactly what you'd get in a perfect world. Do both of your fantasy futures line up perfectly? (If so, one of you probably isn't being totally honest.) Where there are gaps, dig in and discuss. Consider reading accounts of polyamory (check my resources page) and discussing what you do and don't like, what you do and don't want, etc.

What are your worst-case-scenarios? What are you most afraid of? What would be a complete dealbreaker for you? Relatedly, what are some "rough spots" you anticipate not enjoying, but wouldn't consider absolute dealbreakers? Again, wherever you two aren't totally aligned, dig in and discuss.

How do you two plan to present this new relationship to friends, family, and potential new partners? Do either of you have personal or professional concerns? How will you present a united front? Does someone want to be more open or more private about this than the other person? How will you navigate that?

How are you defining everything? For words you two have been using (monogamous, polyamorous, relationship, partner, sex, etc.) make sure you two have the same definition. It's easy to assume you both mean the same thing when you say "relationship," but that's actually a pretty nebulous word!

How will you manage "couples privilege"? This probably will come up in your best-case/worst-case discussion and your definitions talk, but should be placed on the table explicitly. Are you going into this as a solid couple unit who will make decisions together about new partners, whether to re-close the relationship, etc. or are you two polyamorous individuals free to explore dating externally? If being polyamorous together doesn't work out, is your intention to re-close the relationship or break up?

Those are some conversation starters - you will probably find many more things to talk about as you begin this journey. Note that I didn't talk about "rules" like "veto power," or "sexual limits," etc. In my experience, setting up rules like "no sex on the first date" or "no saying 'I love you' to other partners" have the opposite of their intended effect. Rather than add more coverage for your bases, they just create new bases that can then become points of conflict or require more coverage. Best of luck!