Hi, I think I’m questioning if I’m poly? I’m bi, and really into this girl who is poly and married. A friend of mine pointed out that I’d be dating both *she thinks* not just the girl, and I’m not against the idea? I’m just wondering if you have any ideas for advice or help? This is the first time I’ve thought about it before.

It sounds like you’ve got a lot of questions that are mainly based on assumptions - a friend of yours thinks that this polyamorous couple dates as a couple instead of dating individually; but you haven’t actually talked to the woman you like about what dating her would mean. So be careful of falling into thought spirals that you maybe don’t need to go down!

It’s okay to think about whether you’d be interested in dating polyamorously, and if so, what specific flavors of polyamory appeal to you. Maybe you’d be okay dating someone who is already dating other people! Maybe you’d be okay dating a couple! Maybe you’d be okay with either! Maybe neither! Your best bet is to sit and think about that. What’s your best case scenario? Worst case? How do you think about relationships? What are your fears? Your needs?

Then, talk with this person you’re interested in. Ask her genuine questions: if someone likes you and you are into them, what are the first steps you take? Do you clear it with your partner? Do you expect that someone you date is also involved with your partner? You can have these conversations in the general case without confessing your own interest in her; or you can bring it up in that context if it makes more sense. 

Finally, here’s my FAQ page about this!

You could say I’m questioning about being poly, but I also have a lot of anxiety. What are ways for me to be more accepting and less worried that potential partners will find someone better than me if I do get into a poly relationship or open relationship?

The first step is to get help for your anxiety! You know that your anxiety is preventing you from living your best life, and knowing is half the battle. (Well, at least the first step in the battle.) If you aren’t already, try talking to a therapist about the anxiety. If that’s not a step you’re ready to take, consider ordering some books or workbooks on anxiety-management techniques like DBT and CBT. There are also lots of apps, wearable tech gizmos, and websites to help you manage and reduce anxiety. You can find a bunch of resources on my page here.

As for anxiety specifically about polyamorous partners finding someone “better than you” - here I go again with the cliches - knowledge is power. Learning about polyamory, how it works, how other people manage those fears, and how to mitigate those, can really help. Do some research on polyamory - you can start with the books and websites listed here! There is some great advice already out there that might help you find your footing.

Also, and I know that it’s nearly impossible to reason someone out of an anxiety, but here’s my perspective on this anyway: in my experience, dating polyamorously actually reduces rather than increases the risk of your partners leaving you for “someone better.” With monogamy, if your partner meets someone they want to date, someone they find interesting, someone who offers the potential of an experience they haven’t had with you - they need to leave you, or cheat on you, in order to find that. With polyamory, your relationship with each partner is secure from that specific threat. They don’t need to torpedo your relationship to pursue someone else they’re interested in.

That’s not to say that poly people don’t get left, or broken up with, and it does happen that someone dating polyamorously decides to “go mono” with one of their partners and leaves their other partners - but polyamory does not mean that people are dating you while dating around in pursuit of someone “better.” It’s not about finding someone “better” than you. All people are different! You offer unique things emotionally, intellectually, sexually, etc. and so does everyone else! Coming back around to my first point, working on self esteem and security within yourself will be key to addressing this issue.

I rarely ever get interested in dating people, but I’ve always thought I’d be down to be with multiple, if I could ever find more than one with mutual interest. I’m interested in a poly person. Do you have to know you’re poly to date a poly person?

Not at all! If you had to know you were poly in order to date polyamorously, and you had to date polyamorously to know you were poly, we’d all be trapped in the paradox of singlehood, and that would be a bummer.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are interested in a poly relationship with someone, go for it! Be honest with them about your lack of experience, but don’t see yourself as an inferior partner or probationary poly person.

In the meantime, it’s worth doing some self work so that whatever type of relationship you or don’t end up trying, you have communication skills and methods of managing jealousy that help you be your best, healthiest self!

What does bipoly mean? I saw it on the list of between poly and mono?

It’s a made up word that originated on my blog. (Fun fact: all words were at some point made up!) It means someone who identifies as poly and mono, or could see themselves in a poly or a mono relationship. 

Can I be poly (idk if I am) but still be committed to one person? I’m just in love with some people, each individually, but if things would get serious with one of them I could be in a monogamous relationship. Is that still polyamory?

I’m not the end-all, be-all determiner of who’s “truly” or “officially” polyamorous. That’s a journey everyone needs to take on their own - I can only offer advice and input. You don’t need my permission, or anyone else’s, to claim an identity. You may be polyflexible, poly/mono, or just a person who’s open to different relationship configurations.

Remember that polyamory isn’t a “stepping stone” to monogamy - it’s okay to date around until you find someone you feel “serious” enough about to be in a monogamous relationship, but that isn’t polyamory. But if you mean you could just see yourself in a mono relationship as easily as a poly one, especially if your partner wanted you to be mono, that’s very normal within poly circles. 

Don’t fret about what “counts” as what, and focus more on having relationships that are healthy and fulfilling for everyone involved.