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Ask Anna: Tips for when your poly partner dates someone you don't like

Anna Pulley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Dear Anna,

I’m a bisexual woman currently in my first significant relationship with another bisexual woman. Throughout my life, I’ve always identified as bi, but my past romantic involvements were primarily with straight men. I've been married twice and have three daughters. Despite my attraction to women, I’ve never dated one until now.

The woman I am with is also in a relationship with a straight man, whom I personally find unsuitable. To put it frankly, he’s a loser. I struggle with this aspect of our relationship because it seems challenging for her to meet both our needs equally. Although we live together, she spends more time with him, leaving me feeling left out.

I deeply care for her and want a committed relationship, but I find it difficult to accept her other relationship. I don't want to lose her, but I do want her to lose him. — Not Into This Threesome

Dear NITT,

As someone who hasn’t always liked my metamours — that’s a fancy, poly way of saying your partner’s other partners — I feel your predicament. Sometimes it’s not easy to accept your partner’s romantic choices, especially when those choices feel like an affront to your sensibilities. It's clear that you're grappling with some sticky emotions, caught between your love for your partner and discomfort over her other relationship.

 

Loser or not, it’s not ultimately your decision who your partner dates. It’s hers. But there are aspects of this situation that you can control and negotiate. Let’s dig in.

First, take a little time for some self-reflection. What are your emotional needs within this relationship? What aspects of the current situation make you feel most uncomfortable or neglected? Identify the core issues — whether it's the amount of time spent together, the level of commitment shown or how your relationship is prioritized compared to her other relationship.

Then, get really clear on what you’d like to change. When you say you want a “committed relationship,” what does that mean to you? You do live together already, which is not a small thing, so it’s good to think about what other aspects of commitment you feel like you’re not getting.

Then, set up a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner. When you talk, it’s important that she understands the impact her actions are having on you. This isn't just about expressing your discomfort but also about clarifying expectations and needs. Tell her how you feel left out and express your need for a more connected and prioritized relationship, rather than ragging on her other partner, tempting as it may be. This isn’t actually about him, but about you and her.

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