Dear So Sad Today,
The guy I’ve been seeing recently told me that he’s polyamorous. I really like him, and I’ve never tried that kind of relationship so maybe it could be OK? But I know me and I know I get jealous and I know I am insecure enough without all of that, so I don’t think it would be a good idea. But I’m already addicted to him and the attention and I don’t want to lose him, but I think this seems like something that can’t really be compromised on? I don’t know.
Ah, yes, red flags can look so beautiful—like skyward balloons, heart emojis, succulent cherries and strawberries—when we are running right past them in a haze of limerence, dopamine, and romantic intoxication. Of course, polyamory itself is not inherently a red flag. But if polyamory isn’t something you’d be comfortable with, it’s a fucking crimson banner.
It seems like you know yourself pretty well. I would take that knowing at face value. If you don’t think you are going to be able to be comfortable with polyamory, at least not with this dude, then you probably aren’t.
Sometimes it really sucks to have to be who we are, in spite of what we wish we were comfortable with or capable of in our hearts. But the heart can’t feign ambivalence for long when it knows its own desire. That shit is going to come out sooner or later.
What I’m saying is speak now, or hold your peace until you’ve done some more suffering. I know you are afraid of pushing him away with your needs; but if he disappears, he was always going to disappear.
Dear So Sad Today,
Two years ago I broke up with an ex who I had been with for four years. By the last year of our relationship we were barely having sex, which was mostly because I no longer felt attracted to her. But we were able to stay friends and we even do some art stuff together.
About six months ago she started dating this other woman who is really adorable, nice and cool. I was surprised to find that I was jealous—especially because I had been over her for a long time before I even got out of the relationship. Sometimes when I’m with the two of them I feel like I may even want her back. I know that it is a bad idea for me to say anything to her about this, because she seems really happy with her new girlfriend. But emotionally I’m having a really strong reaction. Any thoughts on this?
Dear regretting refund,
You remind me of my dog Pickle. I don’t mean this as an insult. Pickle is an extraordinary creature: a princely street rat, genius level soft and beautiful, and scented like a roast chicken. But I’m seeing some similarities here.
Pickle has an enormous collection of toys, so many that most of them reside in a giant bag in the closet. Whenever I try to put some of the hibernating toys into rotation, he ignores them for the sake of his favorite rubber ball. One of the neglected toys is a plush little orange langoustine (it may technically be a shrimp, but in my house it’s a langoustine). For years this langoustine sat in the closet, buried underneath a plastic soft pretzel and myriad chewed tennis balls.
Two weeks ago, Pickle’s best friend from the old neighborhood—a terrier named Scout—came over for a reunion. Scout is not one to resist a squeak toy, no matter what it is, and I pulled out the langoustine for her to play with. Almost immediately, Pickle declaired “MY TOY,” marched over to Scout, and nudged her out of the way. Suddenly, he saw that langoustine through new eyes—and for the remainder of Scout’s two-week long visit it became his favorite toy. Yet upon Scout’s departure, Pickle quickly lost interest in the langoustine. He went back to his rubber ball. The langoustine was abandoned in a dusty corner.
While a human being is not a toy, this langoustine is your ex. When you saw your ex through the eyes of her new girlfriend, she became someone desirable again. What’s more, while you hadn’t wanted to play with her in years, something primal in you said “MY TOY!” I think you already know that if you make any attempt to take the langoustine away from her new girlfriend, you will tire of playing together quickly after the girlfriend is gone. But let me remind you of that, just in case.
It is a natural human desire to doubt what we have surrendered, seek to mark our territory, and want all the love. But I would suggest maybe spending less time with the two of them together and focusing on some other activities, like playing with other companions, sniffing for pizza crusts on the sidewalk, or simply curling up under the covers for a nice nap.
So Sad Today
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