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.

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!

I’ve been in a happy committed relationship with my boyfriend for over a year now. I love him to death and would do anything for him as he would for me. lately I started wondering about having a poly relationship with him and I don’t know how to bring it up. We have friends who are in poly relationships so we’re both fine with it but when it would come to us I’m not so sure. I don’t know how to tell him I’ve been thinking about us in that way (being in a poly relationship).

The best way to tell someone anything is clearly, gently, honestly, and with your words. When you two are alone and things are calm, and it seems like a good time to have a serious chat, say “Hey, you know how our friends Harry and Ron and Hermione are poly? Have you ever thought about trying something like that out?”

Think beforehand about what your best case scenario is: do you just want him to be open to the idea so you two can start discussing your own needs and hopes? Do you want him to be open enough to the idea to start taking active steps toward practicing polyamory? Do you just want him to be made aware that you’ve been thinking about this? Identify your goals going in, so you can be clear about what you want from the conversation.

However he responds, make space for that. If he’s totally shut off about it - “Yeah, I can see that it works for them, but it’s never something I’d be interested in” - then you have to decide what to do from there. But your current issue is not knowing how to bring it up, and the answer is just to find a comfortable moment and put it out there for discussion. There’s no secret trick to it!

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.

So um, I’ve started thinking that I might be poly but I’m not totally sure. Are there telltale signs or something? I’m sorry if I’m being rude I’m just kind of confused.

@polyamory-place gave you a good answer here already, and you can read my FAQ page about this here!

Short answer - there are no “telltale signs,” just a journey of self discovery and introspection. Do you think you would be happy, healthy, and fulfilled in a polyamorous relationship? Then you’re probably poly. It is okay to be unsure or experimenting for as long as it takes. 

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.