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.

My friend says they're polyamorous, but is not doing it right

I’m gonna sound hateful or like an anti but please hear me out. My friend has vented to me before that they have issues with commitment and are scared of being in a relationship because it means they’re "trapped", now they’re apparently poly but I feel like they actually aren’t and are just making things worse for themself by dating a bunch of people and keeping it secret from all of them (so each partner thinks they’re the only one) What do I do

You could do nothing, because this isn't your circus or your monkeys. Your friend being wrong and making bad choices is not your problem or responsibility. Maybe they're polyamorous, maybe they're not; it's not your call to make, and being skeptical of someone else's self-stated identity is rarely a good look. 

The bigger issue is their behavior, which is decidedly not polyamorous, but is cheating. Seeing multiple partners who all think they're the only one is immoral and cruel. But, again, there is nothing you're obligated to "do" about this - you did not make this choice and you cannot do anything to change or mitigate it.

You could tell your friend that what they are doing is wrong, and try to convince them to stop. You could take a step back from this friendship, not because you disagree with what they say about themselves, but because their behavior makes you question whether you want to be friends with someone of that character. 

You could get more involved and tell their partners what is going on. Some people feel a moral imperative to tell victims of cheating about the situation. Some people feel strongly that it is not their place or business. Some people just have to decide on a case-by-case basis how much they want to get involved.

You have to figure out whether you want to take a huge step back from this whole mess, or get more deeply entwined by reaching out to the people your friend is cheating on. That would likely torpedo your friendship and establish you as an active participant, emotional baggage handler, mediator, etc. for all the people whose hurt you'll be bringing to the surface. That's your call.

My Fiancé of 6 years and I have an amazing personal relationship. We live together and he is great with my kid too! Everything is wonderful except for the severely lopsided sex life. Originally I tried to push it, but he couldn’t handle it. Because of not wanting to pressure him, our arrangement for the past 5 years has been that if he is feeling amorous he just needs to make the first move. About 2 years ago I found myself spiralling into darkness in search of some unhealthy things to help fill the void where my sexual nymph is to help control her. Luckily, I found a person who was kind and gentle yet offered me the safe place to be myself entirely no judgement, and its been amazing to feel whole and wanted. I continued to see both men.

My fiancé had an ex who said she wanted to be poly but it was unhealthy, so I definitely didn’t want to bring up that again. But I have made hints and references to “imaginary”/real life situations to try and breach this with him. In all his responses he’d prefer to be ignorant. He has always joked about me continuing to have multiple bf’s (I was in an open physical group before him) even though I was completely monogamous until I met my Dom. I tried to keep that part of myself separate and contained and it worked, for a while. Since meeting my Dom and gauging how my fiancé would prefer to be aware I only spend time with my Dom when my F is at work and I’m off. I only talk sparingly w my Dom when my F is off so as to be present and engaged in both of their lives.

Hurting either of them is anathema to me and I know if we could all cohabitate I could make them both happy simultaneously. He knows my Dom as we’ve had him over for dinner, but he wasn’t overly fond of him (mainly BC my F sensed my Dom wanted me) I know I’ve made a mess of things but I know they both love me and I them!! Yet I cannot seem to bring myself to lay out the truth of the matter to my F and risk hurting both of them.

This is not polyamory, it is cheating. You are cheating on your fiance. By carrying on a relationship that he doesn’t know about, you rob him of the chance to consent. You don’t get to decide for him what he would want to know - you say you “gauged how he would prefer to be aware,” but you are not psychic and you cannot make decisions for him. You don’t get to decide that because he makes jokes about polyamory, he somehow acknowledges and consents to your affair deep down. You speak for your fiance a lot here - you “know” you could make them both happy if you lived together; you say he would “prefer to be ignorant.” You need to rely less on assumptions here and recognize that others are not obligated to share your reality. Open, direct, honest conversation is what’s needed here. 

I think you need to take a bit more accountability for the situation you’re in and the choices you made to get there. You refer to your sexual desires in the third person, as if you have to do certain things to “control her.” But you are responsible for your behavior, you are not at the mercy of some sexual force within you that demands you do certain things. You say you cannot seem to bring yourself to tell your fiance the truth, but what’s standing in your way is yourself. It’s not an issue of “I physically cannot do this thing,” but “I am unwilling to do this thing because the consequences will be so unpleasant.”

You say hurting either one is “anathema” to you, but that ship already sailed. It isn’t telling your fiance about the cheating that will hurt him, it’s the cheating. And you’ve already done that. It’s no longer about the “risk” of hurting him. That’s pretty much a given. You can’t undo what has already happened. You can’t spin this situation so that you come out getting everything you want - you are going to have to face the consequences of the choices you’ve made and take steps to move forward in a healthy way. You don’t want to have a conversation with your fiance where you confess to cheating, you don’t want to have to face the hurt your decision caused - but you still have to do it. Not wanting something doesn’t mean you can avoid it. 

From what I have seen, it is nearly impossible to transition from cheating to healthy polyamory. Saying “Hey, I’ve been seeing this guy behind your back, but it’s totally working out, so now that I’ve confessed to this betrayal, I’m asking you to be cool with it!” does not work. If your fiance is not meeting your needs - if you need someone else to make you feel “safe” and “whole” - then maybe you need to leave that relationship. It sounds like you found an arrangement that works for you - you get some of your needs met by your fiance, and others met by the man you’re seeing on the side - but just because it works for you doesn’t mean it’s right or works for anyone else.

I think you need to come clean to your fiance and let the chips fall where they may, then take accountability and be mature when you go to clean them up. He will almost definitely be angry and hurt - you can’t prevent that, and you need to do your part to accept and honor his response. If he is able to take the higher road and open up your relationship, he is a saint and you should work that much harder to support him emotionally. But that is, honestly, an unlikely scenario. Do not try to argue him into it, don’t act like he has no right to be upset because he ‘joked’ about polyamory or because your affair hasn’t prevented you from being present to him (in your opinion). Do the right thing now and handle the consequences with grace and accountability.

My best friend is poly but has committed themselves to a mono relationship. Or tried to. They asked their mono partner to open the relationship recently, and when the partner refused they started seeing someone else anyways behind their back anyways. I understand not wanting to hurt the mono partner by breaking up, but in the long term this will hurt the both of them even more. They just keep saying they’re not ready to break up with the mono partner because they live together.

Your friend is cheating on their partner. That is wrong, and has nothing to do with polyamory.

You can’t control someone else’s behavior, but you can choose how to respond. If you feel like you need to tell your friend’s partner that they’re being cheated on, you have that right, though it will likely destroy your friendship. If you feel like it’s best to keep out of things, that’s also your right. You may find the friendship drifting apart anyway if you feel uncomfortable keeping this secret or even tacitly endorsing your friend’s behavior.

You can try to advise your friend that if they’re unhappy in a relationship, they need to leave it, not put the other person at risk by cheating. But they may not listen. All you can do is decide how involved you’re willing to be in a situation that you know is unhealthy for all parties.

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