I told my girlfriend I wasn't comfortable with her dating other people, but she did anyway

If my polyam girlfriend dates someone else at the same time as me when I've made it clear that I'm not comfortable with it, that it hurts me, isn't that cheating? She acts like I'm not even there, and it hurts so much.

If you have not given your consent, and you consider it cheating, then it's cheating. End of sentence. If your partner is doing something that hurts you and makes you uncomfortable, especially after you made it clear to her that you weren't okay with it, you should probably leave the relationship.

No one is obligated to change their behavior because someone asks them to. I could say to my partner "if you wear a green shirt, it would hurt me, make me uncomfortable, and I would consider you wearing a green shirt after I told you this to be a betrayal." Then, he could decide to wear a green shirt - he still has that right. But then I have enough information to know that we're probably not compatible, since I'm not comfortable dating someone who wears green shirts.

It sounds like polyamory is a dealbreaker for both of you - she needs to be in a relationship where she can date other people, and you need to be in a monogamous relationship. So the deal has effectively been broken. 

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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 identify as poly, and when i got with my current primary partner (we are married) I had just gotten out of a 5yr mono relationship, so we agreed that we would be open to new partners. my first secondary partner she mostly avoided, and the second who she agreed would make an excellent third for a triad and I had come to consider my life partner, she decided that she hated. finally she told me that she doesn’t actually want a poly relationship. what am I supposed to do? i feel so lost.

It sounds like you’re married to someone who is not cut out for being in a polyamorous relationship. That’s really hard, but it sounds like she tried polyamory and ultimately realized it wasn’t healthy or working for her. All you can ask of her is that honesty.

Your choice now is to stay in a monogamous relationship with this person, or leave to pursue polyamory. You could keep pushing for polyamory, but then her choice is to stay in a polyamorous relationship or leave to pursue monogamy. This is a tough situation, but there’s no way for everyone to get everything they want.

I’ve been in a relationship with someone for awhile now. I’ve talked to them about polyamory cause that’s always been something that felt right to me. And while they said they liked polyamory and in any other circumstance they’d be okay with it but “not with me” they like me “too much” which frustrates me. I’m not really sure how to feel. I’m not sure if I’m in the wrong for being angry or if they are for putting me on a pedestal or s/t. I was wondering what your opinion on my situation would be.

It is very possible for two people to have different feelings or thoughts about a situation without one necessarily being “wrong.” It can often be more productive to identify where everyone is coming from, and what their needs are, than trying to figure out whose reaction is more ‘appropriate’ or ‘rational.’

It sounds like your partner has a different understanding of polyamory than you do, and thinks of it more like casual dating. This isn’t a super accurate interpretation of polyamory as it functions for most people, but it’s okay for your partner to feel this way: that their feelings for you prevent them from being okay with a poly arrangement.

The issue here isn’t who’s in the right or wrong, but whether this is something you are willing to compromise on. Your partner has said that polyamory isn’t something they’re comfortable doing, and you can’t argue people out of their feelings, even if you have all powers of logic and the support of an online advice columnist behind you - nor should you try. No matter the reason, your partner isn’t okay opening up the relationship, so you need to decide whether this is a dealbreaker or a sacrifice you can make. 

I am in need of some much needed help. My boyfriend of 27 months is poly. Me not so much and it’s killing me. It’s hurting me so much and he knows this. Within the last two weeks we’ve really talked about it and I gave him the green light to go ahead and look for friends who he could see turning into something serious. Well I’m really struggling with this. I hate the thought, the idea, hate talking about it. I just want to be with him and only him, but he’s naturally poly. I need help with this.

This might be one of those situations I can’t resolve with some quick tips on communication strategies. Some people are, like you wrote, “naturally poly,” and that means some people are, like you, “naturally mono.” Many relationships end over such irreconcilable differences even when both partners otherwise adore each other. This song is a really sweet, heartbreaking example of such a situation. It’s okay if this turns out to be something you can’t resolve. You aren’t obligated to sacrifice and agonize like this just because your partner needs something you can’t provide.

If you’re committed to making this work, the first step is figuring out why you hate this idea so much. What’s the specific fear you have? Indulge yourself in a daydream of a worst-case-scenario, then analyze it. How does it feel, in your mind and in your body, to think about polyamory? It’s always easier to fight a monster you can see, so turn that flashlight on and face forward. But remember, once you see that monster, you’re still not obligated to fight it. Best of luck.