My boyfriend is interested in a friend of his, and wants to try polyamory, but to me it all seems like cheating

My bf and one of his close friends have developed feels for each other. The friend is poly and knows that my bf and I identify as mono but flirted with him anyway. One night while they hung out and drank, they had a close call where they almost kissed. They now both realize that a sexual connection/tension has developed between them. My bf recently brought up trying poly, but I can't help but feel like he's using it as a fail safe and to not be accountable for cheating if it happens. Any advice?

The thing about polyamory is that it is not a “fail safe to not be accountable for cheating” - it’s a different way to think about relationships, feelings, and sex. If you two were polyamorous, and he kissed or had sex with this friend, it would not be cheating. He would still be accountable for his choices and their consequences, but “cheating” would not be the issue. Yes, it sounds like his newfound interest in polyamory is a desire to be with this other person without losing you - but you get to decide whether you are okay with that. Your boyfriend is essentially trying to keep things above board - letting you know that he wants to pursue a relationship with this person, but that he wants to do it with your knowledge and consent.

It sounds like you consider yourself monogamous and are not interested in dating someone who is romantically or sexually involved with someone else, and that you would consider it cheating regardless. In that case, you should not be polyamorous with this person (or anyone else). He can ask, and you can say no. He can then respond to that with his own choices. Polyamory is not a secret loophole where he can trick you into being okay with cheating; it’s a relationship framework that you can choose not to be part of.

If it’s important to your boyfriend to try polyamory, or to try a relationship with this person, he may choose to leave the relationship. You’ll give him information - that you only want a monogamous relationship - and he’ll have to act on that information. And he’ll give you information - that he wants to be in a relationship that allows him to be with other people - and you’ll have to act on that information.

I want to date another boy, but my boyfriend isn't okay with it

I entered this relationship monogamously and I fell deeply in love with him before realizing I was poly. we've talked extensively about this and usually it's always along the lines of staying monogamous unless I meet a girl (lmao straight boys) But the thing is im also in love with this other boy. I've been trying to find a way to bring up opening our relationship because i feel like this is borderline cheating but I know he won't go for it. Any advice?

If you "know" he won't go for it, then there's not much advice I can give you. If you're pretty confident that your partner wouldn't be okay with you dating another boy, then there are no magic words you can say, no perfect way to "bring it up" that will change his mind.

Stop worrying about how to influence his choices - the only thing you can control is you. You can act on the information you have. This guy has made it very clear that he wouldn't be okay in a relationship where you are seeing another boy. That doesn't sound like a reality you can change - only something you can respond to.

Do you want to stay with this person? Then it sounds like you'll need to let go of your plans to date this other boy. It is possible to want something and not get it, and in fact a lot of people in monogamous relationships have to actively choose not to act on certain desires. Do you want the freedom to date polyamorously? Then it sounds like you might need to leave your current relationship, because "convince the guy you're seeing to be okay with it" is, by your own admission, not something that will work out. 

(It is true that there are plenty of good arguments, explanations, etc. about why your boyfriend's perspective is perhaps not the most accurate or healthy. But I'm not going to harp on about "one penis policies" and the like, because if he's made it clear to you how he feels, your role now is to make your choices based on that information, not try to wheedle and cajole and argue him out of it.)

I've been hoping my girlfriend and I will 'graduate' up to monogamy

When I met my girlfriend she was "experimenting with non-monogamy" (her words) I held onto hope that the experiment would end someday. I started as one of her 3 partners, now I'm her boyfriend, and they aren't. We do more than have sex; we've met each other's friends and family. But she still sees them occasionally. They are poly as well, so I know that I am the only 1 truly committed to her. Going from partner to boyfriend is clearly progress in the right direction. Will I ever be enough?

No, no, nope. I am sorry, letter-writer, but you're going about this in a way that's wrong-headed and will ultimately cause you a lot of pain.

You went into the relationship from a place of denial, hoping that your partner wasn't serious when she told you something about herself. You latched onto the word "experiment" and told yourself that it would end. But that's not what she meant, it seems. Sometimes "experiment" means temporary - sometimes it means "checking out a hypothesis." If her hypothesis was "I'll be happy in a non-monogamous relationship," and the experiment showed her hypothesis to be true, then maybe the experimental phase is over, and she's now in "acting on the information gathered during the experiment - living my life as a person who knows she's into non-monogamy." Your first assumption was that the non-monogamy was a temporary phase, and this assumption was wrong - you're acting on an incorrect assumption, and that won't end well. 

You also have this idea that them being polyamorous means that they are not "truly committed to her," and that means that your feelings for her are somehow deeper or different. That is not true, it is not how polyamory works. Your second assumption is that these other relationships she has are lesser, less committed, less threatening, less real. That is also an incorrect assumption that you're working on. You're also assuming that you are "not enough" for your girlfriend, and are interpreting all of her choices through a lens of projected monogamy that is warping how you understand what's going on.

You also have a sense that your relationship is going in "a direction" toward monogamy, which is "the right" direction. That is also not how these things work. You do not grit your teeth through the 9 stages of non-monogamy, then present your stamp-card for Level 10, Monogamous Boyfriend. Your girlfriend probably doesn't see it this way - you two need to have a serious talk about this. Assuming that this is just a natural, inherent progression in your relationship is a dangerously incorrect assumption, and people will get hurt if you continue on this path. 

It sounds like this is not a healthy relationship for you to be in. It's build on assumptions, denial, and expectations that show no indication of being fulfilled. Your first step is to have a serious talk with your girlfriend about her perspective - and to really listen and understand what she's saying, not filter, interpret, argue, or push her into concessions. ("Could you maybe see yourself with just me, someday?" - If she says yes, she might be thinking, I guess I can't predict the future, there's always 'a chance' of whatever but you might be hearing more of a promise.) After that conversation happens, you'll have a better picture of whether this is a relationship you should stay in, or whether your hopes for the future are just not on the table. 

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.

I don't want to be polyamorous, and my partner is guilting me about it

My partner is making me feel bad that I’d like to stay monogamous with them and have our romantic relationship be that one. They talk about having to use daydreaming to cope and read fanfiction as well and will do it with me there when I want to try and do stuff with them like hanging out and relaxing together. It just makes me uncomfortable that they have to do it to cope as they put it and we have discussions but it more and more seems to be a “you have to accept this” situation.

If someone asks you for something, and then won't take "no" for an answer, they weren't really asking in the first place.

It's one thing for a partner to ask for a compromise, like that you be okay with them indulging in polyamorous fantasies and fanfiction. But spacing out, ignoring you, or getting lost in any media while they're hanging out with you isn't cool. Ask them if they could put the phone down or try to be more present to you during your time. If they can't or won't, then that's information you have about what being in a relationship with them is like.

I've said before that I really dislike the phrase "cope with" as it relates to a partner's needs or behaviors. If your partner is treating you like something they have to find ways to "cope with," that's an unfair and unhealthy framing. Performing how miserable they are in the terms of your relationship is manipulative, and no one should be guilt-tripped into polyamory. I'm of the opinion that living in resentment is never good, and if you make a decision, you should make it wholeheartedly, and commit.

One of my partners is terribly allergic to cats, so I can't get a cat. If I did, he wouldn't be able to come over to my house, ever, or even cuddle with me without me showering and changing first. This bums me out, because I like cats - but I've decided that it's worth it to stay with him. So I live with that decision, and don't wallow in the "what-if"s. I don't show him photos of cute kittens and say "see, that's what I could have if it wasn't for your issues." I don't bemoan my cat-less life. If having a cat was that important to me, I could leave the relationship. I decided not to - that was my decision, and I need to own and live in that decision. I can be privately bummed out that the stars didn't align for me to have this relationship AND a kitty, but I made my choice, and it's best to move on and live in the world that exists. 

So, you're within your rights to ask your partner to drop this issue, to stop guilting you and making it seem like your relationship is this terrible psychic burden they must cope with. If they can't or won't, you should probably leave the relationship. It's not fair to either of you to stay in this situation, and you don't deserve to feel like a problem to be dealt with.

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My boyfriend wants me to be comfortable trying polyamory, but I am not

My boyfriend wants to have a poly relationship and I've expressed how uncomfortable it would make me. He says he wants me to be comfortable and trusting enough to do it. I'm afraid that if we end up trying it, that I won't like it and he'll continue and I'll be uncomfortable.

When you say that he wants you to be comfortable enough to do it, I'm not sure if you mean he's said "I want to do this, but only if you're comfortable with it" or "I want you to become comfortable with this."

The first one is fine; he's told you what he wants, but seems to understand that you don't want that. If you're not able or willing to try polyamory, that's totally your right. He can decide to stay in a mono relationship with you, or decide he has to leave the relationship because being able to pursue polyamory is a dealbreaker for him.

The second one is less fine. You don't get to just ask someone to have a feeling; we don't have little knobs inside our brain we can fiddle with and get ourselves to the settings that someone wants us to have. If he is trying to pressure or guilt you into "being comfortable" with something you simply aren't comfortable with, that's not okay. Tell him to drop the issue, and if he won't, leave him.

Your last sentence also concerns me. You're dating someone who, somehow, through his actions or words, has made you worry that he'd continue doing something even if you're uncomfortable with it. It has nothing to do with polyamory - if my boyfriend invited me to try rock climbing with him, but I was worried that if I tried it and didn't like it, he'd continue to pressure me into doing it, not accept my expression that I didn't want to anymore, and try to hold me permanently to my initial willingness to try it out, that would be a major red flag that he just isn't healthy to date.

It's completely fine to try something in good faith, then realize, based on what you learned while trying it, that you don't like it. If someone won't accept that, or bulldozes over your feelings, they are not someone you should be dating. Do not be with someone who makes you worry that they won't listen to or respect how you feel. 

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. 

If I'm polyam, should I date someone who's mono?

hello! if i'm polyamorous, should i get into a relationship with someone who is monogamous?

I wouldn't advise it - read through the archives of my blog to see a lot of examples of this not working out. But then again, the only people who write in to an advice column are people who need help with something. There could be tons of people out there in perfectly happy mono/poly relationships.

It's okay for some things to be dealbreakers - what are yours? Think through what you're willing to give up for that relationship. Don't go in hoping that you can change their mind or work up to opening up the relationship. It's okay to decide that you want to try and make it work. It's okay to decide that it's just not meant to be. Ultimately, that's your call.

Hi…I just can’t get over the guilt of my polyam relationships. I’m a woman with two male partners. I just - they deserve better, they ID as monogamous (initially anyway, probably still by preference) and I feel I’ve forced them into this. Heck, *I* ID as monogamous at heart. I just love both these two men. Nobody else, but…I can’t shake the hideous guilt. None of us looked for this. But it’s my fault. They say they’re ok and it’s just how it is. But…

Sometimes things just fall into place in ways we didn’t expect. It’s okay to let the present be the present, even if it wasn’t what you planned for in the past.

If everyone is happy, if all needs are getting met, if communication lines are open and clear, if the relationships are fulfilling - then there’s really no need for guilt. You’re not doing anything wrong. No one is being hurt. 

You are allowed to ask things of others. They are allowed to give you what you ask. This doesn’t make you evil, or them the victim. 

People are allowed to choose to be with you. Even if that requires some work or even some compromise. You’re worth it. You don’t need to be perfect or ask nothing of your partners for you to be what they ‘deserve.’

The fact that your partners find themselves in a polyamorous arrangement is not your “fault.” If no one is getting hurt, then no one is at “fault.” Let go of this projected, pseudo-psychic assumption that you’re hurting them. If they say you’re not, trust them.

Your partners chose to be with you. You chose to be with your partners. Respect this choice. Honor the agency of everyone involved. You’re not holding them hostage to a crappy relationship. There is freedom and choice here. 

If the feelings of guilt come from something specific that your partners do or say; if they are sending hints that they are being hurt - talk to them about it. If this is coming from external messages, from media or other people, disengage from the sources of that guilt.

And if this “hideous guilt” is keeping you from living and enjoying your life, or if it’s cropping up in other areas of your life as well, please consider talking to a poly-friendly therapist about this.

Some resources:

I’m poly and my bf is mono. I recently caught feelings for a coworker and my bf is not happy about it. We’ve been together for 6 years and I don’t want to ruin that. Can I change to be mono? Maybe therapy? It’s killing me and I don’t know what to do.

There is no poly-to-mono conversion therapy, nor should there be. If you have an inherent ability and desire to love multiple people at once, well, that’s who you are.

You can’t really change your feelings, but what you can focus on is how you choose to act on those feelings. A lot of relationships - heck, a lot of adult life - requires you to not pursue every single fun, good-feeling thing.

While this isn’t exactly a core aspect of my identity, I frequently have feelings that make me want to skip work and lounge in the pool instead. But I choose not to act on those desires, because even though I want something, it doesn’t mean I want it badly enough to risk something very important to me, like my job and my ability to provide for myself and my family.

Sometimes I encounter a Very Rude Person and want to tell them to fuck right off, but if they are a guest of a friend of mine, I choose instead to be politely avoidant. My point is, it’s possible to have impulses and not act on them, or desires and not pursue them. In my experience, that’s a lot easier than simply trying to shut down the impulses and desires at the root.

I’m afraid it’s not going to end well if you just try to thinkify or therapize yourself out of being polyamorous - but you can manage and work the those feelings for your coworker in a way that prevents them from impacting this relationship that you cherish. You could choose to spend less time talking to said coworker, or try to ‘close the door’ to the part of your mind that sees him as a potential sexual/romantic option. It is okay to let yourself think “I want this, but not bad enough to pay what it costs.”

(Of course, if this becomes impossible and untenable, and not being able to express or live into your polyamorous self leads to misery and resentment, then you need to think about whether suppressing those desires long-term is healthy for you and your relationship or whether you need to make a different set of choices. But that’s not really what you asked.)

Ok,b been married 23 years. Husband got into a little fantasy play, now has decided that he wants more than one wife. I’m totally against this. It was ok I’m fantasy land, but not for reals. Our once wonderful sex life is all but gone, I mean I get a pity session every now and then but nothing like before. I love him, & don’t want to give up on him, but everything is about how much he wants to fuck someone else. I can’t just walk away from 23 years, kids, grandkids ETC. Help???

Have you told him that you don’t appreciate the “pity sessions” and would like to get back to having a sex life together that isn’t about him withholding himself from you to try and coerce permission to sleep with someone else? Is he willing to try and find a compromise there? Have you two tried to bring the ‘spark’ back without making the step into non-monogamy? Something like watching porn together that fulfills that fantasy, writing erotica back and forth about that fantasy, trying something new in the bedroom that is a fantasy you both share but isn’t related to this specific thing, etc.?

Have you talked with him about what his fantasy is actually about? There may be a way for him to scratch this itch in a less extreme way. There is also a big difference between “wanting more than one wife” and “wanting to fuck someone else.” What is your hard limit? Do you simply not want him to sleep with anyone else, or are you turned off by the intensity of the fantasy? Would you be okay with him having a discreet, don’t-ask-don’t-tell affair, but not with a full blown “other wife,” or is it the sexual infidelity that’s the dealbreaker for you? Would you be willing to try a threesome with him? 

Ultimately, though, your husband refuses to be present to your sexual and relational needs unless you let him sleep with someone else, and you refuse to let him sleep with someone else, you may be at an impasse. “I won’t stay with him if he’s going to act like this” and “I won’t leave him” are not positions you can hold simultaneously - at some point, you’ll need to decide what the best choice is for you, since you can’t change his behavior, but you can control yours.

Hey, so I’m poly, and I really want to have a poly relationship, but my partner is not comfortable with it. (Well she says she is and then flip flops and we get into huge arguments about it and she accuses me of just wanting to whore around.) I was “closeted” for months because I didn’t want to upset my partner by asking about it but now it’s out in the open and I feel like she doesn’t trust me– and she doesn’t want a poly relationship. What should I do? She doesn’t respect that I’m poly…

You have three basic options:

1.) Stay in this relationship with the understanding that monogamy is a requirement in this relationship, and be willing to make that sacrifice or compromise to stay with your partner. Many relationships do include such sacrifices or compromises, with one partner setting aside a desire that is incompatible with the relationship. 

2.) Leave the relationship, because the required terms of the relationship - monogamy - are not a sacrifice or compromise you can make. Many relationships end when one partner realizes that they simply cannot make the sacrifice or compromise the other one needs, whether that’s a move to a new city, having or not having children, etc.

3.) Continue to stay in the relationship and continue attempting to convince your partner to be open to a polyamorous relationship. I don’t recommend this, nor do I believe it will be effective or enjoyable, but it is a choice that you have. If someone has made it clear that they are not comfortable with something, there is not much you can do to change their mind, but if you are okay tolerating the conflict that this continued conversation creates, you can keep pushing for it. Your partner’s response to this may be to shut down, to escalate the conflict, or to leave the relationship.

You can read my FAQ about this here.

Hi! My boyfriend just asked me if we could be in a polyamorous relationship, but it seems a bit off. He just wants to have a different sexual partner once in awhile; no romantic ties to anyone but me. Is this a legitimate thing? How do I go about this? I’ve only ever been monogamous and this scares me.

That is a “legitimate” thing, sure! It sounds like perhaps he has the sexual desire and energy for other partners, but not the romantic and emotional energy. Some people aren’t up to raising a puppy and all the challenges of dog ownership themselves, but really like playing with a friend’s dog or volunteering at a shelter! 

If you’re not okay with this, that’s okay - but if you just feel like it shouldn’t be the arrangement, think about why, and where those conclusions are coming from. Is it because you’ve never seen this kind of relationship portrayed in a healthy way? is it because you suspect that he actually does want to be romantic with other people and is using ‘just sex’ as a way to ease into that? Is it out of concern that he’s dissatisfied with your sex life and you want to see if you can resolve that another way? Identify where your fear and discomfort come from, and then discuss those specifics with your partner. 

I’m in a relationship with a polyamorous man and I’m monogamous. Both of us know that we were meant to be together and that we’re definitely 100% soulmates. Recently he just started dating another person and things are starting to go downhill. He knows it hurts me and I know it hurts him. He says that seeing me unhappy kills him and vice versa. We couldn’t break up with each other, that would just kill us both, but either way one of us is going to be unhappy and we don’t know what to do.

There is no magical solution here. If your friend told you “It just kills me to not be able to see penguins outside my window every morning - I can’t be happy without that! But it also kills me to live in Antartica - I simply can’t be happy in the cold!” - what advice would you give your friend?

I’d caution you to take a step back from the drama of it all: it will not actually kill you to be sad. You will not die from not getting what you want. The stakes here are actually much lower than that. Feeling bad is survivable. Also, you have really backed yourself into an emotional corner with the “meant to be together and definitely 100% soulmates” claim. Think honestly with yourself about whether you are mistaking an intense feeling for an empirical reality.

You two can figure this out. You need to either find a compromise that lets you two grow in this relationship together, or you need to make the painful decision to end a relationship. It is okay for two people to really like each other, but be unable to make a romantic relationship work. It happens. There is no immutable force of nature or law of physics that dictates that you two must be together, or cannot be happy without each other. 

I would like to be poly because I feel there are certain things I want out of a relationship I’m not currently getting from my current one but I don’t want to end this relationship to start a new one because I feel I can get things from each one I’m not getting from the other but my partner has told me they would be very upset with me if I started seeing another person. I don’t think it’s very fair since they’re poly and have several partners already. What are your thoughts?

Poly is not exactly permission to see others as “need-meeting machines” - like you go out and pick people off the shelves to fit whatever gaps you have in your life. Everyone you meet is a complete person looking for a dynamic, whole relationship. No one is floating around like “I like dancing and am an empathetic listener, I hope to find someone who has a partner who won’t go dancing with them and is more of a philosophical-debater type!”

But, yes, poly people do often find that it takes pressure off all their relationships to not have to expect one person to provide everything for them. So it’s a delicate balance between seeing everyone as individuals and understanding that we all, with friendships and families and partners, are building a network of relationships to meet our social and emotional needs.

The bigger issue here, though, is that your partner has other partners, but doesn’t want you to have other partners. That is unfair. My advice is to ask them why they feel this way, and see if you can find ways to help them work through those feelings. If they refuse, then you have a choice: stay in this relationship with this person on these (challenging) terms, or leave the relationship.

I think I might be poly and I’ve mentioned it to my boyfriend before and he’s really against me being with anyone else cause he gets really upset and I just don’t know what to do because I think I would be happier if we had an open relationship but I really don’t want to hurt him

There are no magical words to say to someone who is “really against” polyamory to suddenly change their mind, unfortunately. Your boyfriend has every right to refuse to be in an open or polyamorous relationship. That means you have a choice to make: stay with your boyfriend and be monogamous, or leave your boyfriend to pursue a polyamorous relationship. Both require a sacrifice.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we can’t get 100% of what we want. You don’t want to hurt him, but you also don’t want to stay in a monogamous relationship. Only you can make the call between those two - but it doesn’t sound like there’s a way to get out of making that call. 

My husband and I opened to poly 3 months ago and he quickly fell into a couple relationships. I have just found someone that I’m exploring with. Hubby just blew up both of his relationships with drama and says he’s “done with poly” and wants me to drop my new love interest under threat of divorce. I, of course, feel this is unfair to me and my boyfriend. I don’t know how to handle this and I’m looking for advice.

My general advice to people in situations like this is: if someone is making you choose between two people, choose the person who isn’t making you choose.

The first thing to do is talk this out with your husband and see if a compromise can be reached. It sounds like your husband is operating under the assumption that your marriage is the 'sun’ relationship in this solar system, central to everything and not up for negotiation. Are these the terms you “opened up” under, or was this an assumption on his part? Was it framed as an ‘experiment’ when you started, with the implication that you’d quit as soon as it didn’t seem to be working out? Did you agree to each hold unilateral ‘veto power’ to cut it off? Leveling out all those expectations can go a long way toward figuring out where you two are and where to go from here.

But if his position doesn’t change, you have a choice to make. If you prioritize your marriage over all else, then the answer is to break off this new relationship and revisit the question of polyamory between the two of you. But if you don’t - if you would rather be a bunch of stars making up a constellation rather than a tiered system with moons orbiting planets orbiting a star - then staying with your husband is less conducive to this.

Just because you’re married to your husband, because you’ve been with him longer, does not obligate you to always choose him, or to give him veto power over your relationships. Some people may see it as absurd to even consider leaving an established marriage for a new love interest of less than 3 months, but the choice isn’t between two people: it’s between two lives; between monogamy and polyamory. 

I want to be in a polyamory relationship with my best friend and my current boyfriend who I love, but he is so against it he won’t even allow me to explain the different types of poly relationships there are… I really want to be with the both of them and I just don’t know how to deal with this. I haven’t engaged in anything with my best friend but I have talked to her about my issues and she even told me she wants it too, what should I do?

If your boyfriend is so against the idea of polyamory that he doesn’t even want to learn about it in the abstract, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll come around to the idea of being in a poly relationship himself. There is no magic set of words or actions that you can take to change another person’s way of thinking or feeling.

If you really want an opportunity to date polyamorously and/or to date your best friend, it sounds like you may need to leave your current boyfriend. If you want to stay with your current boyfriend, you may need to let go of the poly dream, at least for now.

Note: Every time I give this kind of advice, I get a flood of comments, reblogs, and messages telling me not to be so fatalistic - that people can change, that I shouldn’t tell people to give up, etc. - but I think that can dangerously deny the agency of the other party and is unfair to both the letter writer and the s/o in question.

If someone messaged me saying “my girlfriend is VERY against anal sex, and doesn’t even want to talk about it or read erotica depicting it, but I think she’d enjoy it if she just tried it, and I really want to,” I don’t think it would be fair to that person’s girlfriend to dismiss her opinion as something that can be changed with enough gentle communication and information. I would not advise that letter writer to just keep bringing it up or make the false promise that they should hold out for their girlfriend to eventually come around. She doesn’t want to. She doesn’t have to. It doesn’t matter whether someone else thinks her reasons for not wanting to are flimsy, or that she’d love it if she gave it a chance.

We cannot assume or expect that every monogamous person is secretly a repressed polyamorous person who could and would be happy being polyamorous if they were just exposed enough to it, if they were communicated with in just the right ways. Even if you believe polyamory is a choice anyone can make, not everyone is obligated to make that choice, and not everyone is going to. 

My partner and I got into a semi heated discussion about being able to love other people equally to your original partner. I’ve also had multiple issues with her being inappropriate in some way with other people. I really don’t want a poly relationship, especially when her extras are hidden. I’d be open to us choosing to find someone together, but I can’t help but feel this is wrong to deal with.

There is a separate issue in just about every sentence here, so I’ll try to break this down.

When you say you had a heated discussion about “being able to love other people equally to your original partner,” what made that discussion heated? Do you believe being able to love multiple people in the same way is impossible while she believes it is? Why did this difference create so much tension - is it possible that both of you may experience love differently? Is the argument about whether such a thing is ever, objectively, possible, or whether it’s possible for you? Remember there’s a difference between “I can’t do that” and “that is not possible.”

When you say she has been “inappropriate” with other people, what does that mean? Is it behavior you consider cheating or borderline cheating? When you got upset with that, how did she react? Is she trying to stay within the boundaries of your relationship, or insisting that what she did wasn’t inappropriate and you need to get over it? Do both of you agree on what you two have a right to ask and expect from each other?

You say you don’t want a poly relationship - that’s fine! If your partner does want one, that might be a problem. One of you will need to make a compromise, or you may need to decide not to continue this relationship if she wants to be poly and you do not. When you say you especially don’t want a relationship if her “extras are hidden,” does that mean she is currently seeing other people without your consent and hiding it from you? That is cheating, not polyamory. Or does it mean that what she’s proposing is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of open relationship, and you’re not okay with it? If you’re not okay with something, you don’t have to do it.

I’d caution against “finding someone together” - that is called “unicorn hunting,” and while it can work well for many people, it doesn’t go well if all people aren’t on the same team. If you’re only agreeing to this because it’s something you can hold your nose and stomach, and you still don’t want her to care for anyone “equally” compared to you, that creates a bad situation for the person you try and date together. If you’re not feeling like she respects your needs in a relationship and you don’t want to be with someone who sees other people, and she insists on doing this with (poly) or without (cheating) your consent, this may be a relationship dealbreaker.

I’ve always been in mono relationships and I’m currently in a relationship with someone who is poly. They originally were really good at dividing their time evenly and gave me full attention when we talked but now they seem to always be busy with other partners even when we try to talk. I still love them and I still want to be with them but I’ve been wondering if maybe I want to take on another partner to give me the attention I’m lacking? Would this be okay? If so how do I tell my partner?

Do not take on another partner just to make up for the attention you’re lacking from your current partner - people are not need-meeting machines, and adding new partners doesn’t ever solve problems with your current partners.

First, talk to your partner! Be open and honest about how you feel. Try to give specific examples - is it that they’re on their phone with other partners when they’re with you? Is it that they over schedule their time so when they’re with you, they’re always checking the time and running off to their next thing?

The first line of defense is to see about solving this with your partner. Maybe they don’t realize they’ve been paying you less attention; maybe another one of their partners is going through a temporary rough patch that demands more attention - this might be solvable just through communication!

If they deny that they’re paying you less attention or they refuse to make any compromises or effort, then start thinking about whether you need to fundamentally alter the terms of the relationship. But give them a chance to solve the issue first.