I’ve found myself in a really damn sticky situation. I’m polyamorous. I just recently told my partner, we’ve been together for 18 months this June, we’re engaged, and we have a kid together. (For anonymity, I’ll be referring to my partner as Darin and our son as Ash.) I love Darin, and I love our son, before they came along, I didn’t know that kind of love was possible. I want to grow old with them. But I’ve recently figured out I’m polyamorous, and I told Darin, and he had said, ‘If you wanna go out with other people you do realise that we’d break up, right?’ And obviously, that’s the last thing that I want. But I feel really strongly that if I don’t explore my polyamoury, I’m doing myself a disservice. I feel like some part of me is saying, ‘You have to do this, if you don’t, you’re killing yourself.’ And there’s this guy, who I’ll refer to as Fireball, who I like and who likes me, and I did our natal chart for compatibility and we’re basically made for each other, unlike me and Darin’s which was 3/4 negativity and challenge.
My question is really, I feel like I need to do something about my polyamoury, like if I don’t, I feel like my Soul is dying, but my partner isn’t cool with it, and I have no idea what to do.
–I Don’t Want to be a B*tch to My Fiancé
Only you can decide what you want to do, but maybe we can help you with a framework for how to make the decision. There are lots of books about polyamory (Opening Up, More Than Two, and The Ethical Slut are recommended here quite a bit) where you can read the wisdom of other people who have been through the same dilemmas and tough conversations.
Darin has already told you he’s not about it. So you know how he feels, and you know what he would want to do if you did want to pursue other relationships (Break up). Whatever polyamory is going to look like for you, it will not be Darin + You + Fireball/other people. It will be more like You + Fireball and/or other folks as you meet them. I think once you start thinking of it that way, it might clarify a way to make decisions and imagine your future.
You will always have some sort of relationship with Darin because you have a child together. So, think about how that relationship would change if you stopped being his long-term romantic partner, and make a plan for that. For example:
- If you and Darin did split up romantically, how could you be great co-parents to your son?
- How would money work? What would your living situation be like? How would you divide up the time and work of raising Ash?
- What’s the kindest way to end the romantic part of your relationship & call off the wedding?
- What’s the right timeline?
Getting involved with Fireball in secret in hopes of holding onto Darin is not ethical and you know it. So if you want to explore dating or sex with Fireball, you need to call off marrying Darin. You need to let Darin know what you intend, you need to make sure you always practice safer sex and protect Darin’s health, and you need to give him space to possibly exercise his option to end the relationship rather than open it up. And while you’re still deciding all of that, it’s definitely time to stop flirting with Fireball. Don’t put yourself in a gross “it just happened!” situation.
It’s okay to ultimately decide that a monogamous relationship with Darin long-term isn’t what you want. You’ve only been together 18 months, during which there have been a ton of big changes in your lives. Maybe Darin wasn’t the right guy to settle down with, maybe it wasn’t the best time to have a baby, but Ash is here and babies don’t give a single shit about timing or regrets or lust. Deciding to leave probably does mean playing some parts of your life on Hard Mode, but if it’s worth it and necessary to you, then you get to make your choices knowing that lots of families think they will be together forever and end up making other plans.
But can we agree that this Fireball dude is bullshit? You won’t actually die if you don’t explore your polyamory right this second, with him. When you talk about star charts, what I hear is “I have found an excuse that will let me have what I want and pretend that it’s fate.” There’s a lot of language in your letter (“I’ve found myself in a really a sticky situation”) that feels like an attempt to remove agency from you, like this is something that’s happening to you and not something you are making decisions about. I mean, like the stars I also forsee a lot of conflict and strife with Darin as you figure all of this out, but there will be other hot, interesting dudes after you’ve spent a little more time thinking about both how to get the romantic life you want and how to ethically and lovingly co-parent your kid with the person who didn’t sign up for this. You don’t owe Darin the rest of your life if that’s not right for you, but you do owe him and Ash some very careful thought. You owe honesty, and kindness, and doing your homework. You owe yourself and everybody else language like “I’m choosing to do this because I think it’s right for me.”
Movie recommendation: Take This Waltz, by Sarah Polley. Synopsis: Happily coupled woman gets hit by the Lust Lightning Bolt and makes some decisions about that. I don’t know if it will give you answers, but it might make you feel less alone.