I didn’t know he was polyamorous

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Hi Meredith!

I recently moved to NYC right after graduating from college. Prior to this move, my dating life was non-existent and I have never been in a relationship. After moving and getting settled, I started to take it more seriously and started actually going out on dates. About two months or so ago, I matched with this guy who seemed like my type. We went on a date, hit it off, and started to go out more. We've been seeing each other every week and I've spent the night over at his place a couple of times. From the beginning we were very clear about what we were looking for; I wanted to start dating casually and he had just gotten out of a long-term relationship, so he was into something casual as well.

Recently I wanted to see how this was going – as in, was it still casual or had it become something else. I personally am very bad at picking up social cues so I asked him directly how he felt about us continuing to see each other in the future (I really like him so I was hoping for a yes). That's when he let me know very politely that he is polyamorous. This whole time I assumed he was monogamous since it had never come up, and I felt kind of embarrassed for assuming. He explained that he has it in his dating app profile, but when we compared them, his profile on my phone does not show the category, so thanks technology!

We talked about it for a bit and he explained that he's currently seeing two other people. I have zero knowledge about poly relationships and also feel like this is a very blurry thin line because we are not officially dating and I've also been seeing other people. I guess I'm writing this to sort of clear my brain out and figure out what to do next. I am really into him and want to keep seeing him but I've sort of reached a wall. I have very little experience with dating and zero experience/knowledge on poly relationships. I know technically I don't have to be poly, and I'm OK with him being so, but I want to be able to understand to see if it could work out or what things to ask if we keep seeing each other more often. Any advice on how to proceed, if I should at all?

– Too Into Him

People live polyamorous lives in all sorts of ways. If you read up on what it means to be in an ethically non-monogamous relationship (and I'm sure you've done some googling, at the very least), you'll learn that the word "consent" comes up a lot (as it should). A big part of it is about everyone understanding and accepting the terms. That kind of sharing of information hasn't happened here, but two months in, with bigger feelings on the line, it needs to.

It sounds like in this case, this man is happy to date you as long as he can be with others. But is he also seeking a primary partner? If so, is it you? You need to ask more questions about what he wants from the relationship and what role you play in his life.

Then you have to be honest with yourself about what you want from him. You don't have to be OK with this arrangement. If you're seeking monogamy/exclusivity with someone – or you want it for your future – you don't have to compromise.

I’m not saying you shouldn't pursue this; you might enjoy this kind of relationship, and you seem very open to the potential for intimacy and happiness here. But the communication has to get better for this to work. Make a list of everything you want to know and keep talking.

– Meredith

Readers? What questions would you have?