I’m married, and I have a friend w/benefits (husband knows, consents and approves). And I’m getting a bit of a crush on this guy. Husband is okay with that. But like… How do poly relationships work in the long term around family? Family dinners? Meeting parents?

Same way any other relationship works! There is no law of physics that dictates that the Thanksgiving turkey will cook unevenly if someone brings two partners to dinner. It could be as simple as “Mom, Dad, I’m bringing my husband and my boyfriend - they are both deeply important part of my lives, and I think you’ll really like my boyfriend!” and then Dad gets to talk double the ears off about his fishing trip, and Mom has to dig out another chair from the garage. 

Your family could, of course, decide to freak out and make it into a huge drama. But that’s their problem. You could decide between your partners that for the sake of family peace, you’ll just take your husband; or go alone; and celebrate with your chosen family at another time. You could decide to set the boundary with your parents that they love and accept you and the people you love, and if they can’t be polite and welcoming, your family will find somewhere else to be.

But there’s no rule that it has to be complicated, or unusual, or difficult. Be upbeat but firm about your boundaries, communicate that this is about love and partnership and shared lives; not some “weird sex thing that you’re shoving in their faces,” and live your best, healthiest lives. You know your parents best; perhaps they’d respond best if you introduced them to your boyfriend one-on-one; or maybe it would be better to have your husband there so they can see that everything is above board. Maybe they have a whole “under my roof” sense of propriety, so the first family dinner should take place at your house.

Do what you gotta do, live your life, and don’t worry too much! Being a poly person in a relationship is basically like being a person in a relationship. No secret behind-the-scenes shenanigans that you have to learn how to navigate.