Advice – How do I communicate my needs?

“I only have one partner right now. I have a fantastic time with my one partner. He however has a NP and kids and devotes a lot of his time to them. It’s getting increasingly difficult for me as I often feel like my needs aren’t being met. I am lonely and wish I could spend more time with him. It’s really hard trying to find a balance. My friends tell me I should find another partner to add to my mix but my mindset isn’t there. I tried looking online but just felt super odd and even more sad looking at other people. I’m content for right now with Just my one partner. I know I’m not mono as I had a triad for 6 months ago and loved it. Just our work schedules never lined up so we decided to be friends instead. I love my current partner and we established a couple months ago we wanted to be closed poly while we see where this relationship goes and give it proper attention to see it grow. Now I’m all up in my head going crazy and feeling insecure and lonely a lot. When I’m with my partner I’m on top of the world. I can conquer anything but when we are apart it’s pretty lonely. Anyone else a single in a poly relationship whose partner has a NP? How do you find balance ? How do you make sure your needs are met?”

/u/hrkah from /r/polyamory

Dear /u/hrkah,

One of the most difficult skills to master is in finding your own harmony and balance amidst organized chaos that is polyamory. Someone once told me harmony isn’t a destination, but the journey. If so, then you are quickly discovering here that either you are not a good fit to experience closed poly with this particular partner at this moment or you have much more love to give than to this one person.

Now let’s sit with those feelings and discuss what they might actually mean. Feel free to pour yourself some tea.

Photo by Ree on

First thing you need to do with is to determine what are the needs that you have that aren’t being met with your current partner. It could very well be that you want more number of days dedicated to your relationship. Or it could just be that you want more dedicated quality time when he is there with you. Once you have determined what you need, communicate with your partner about those needs. Be frank and honest that you are really struggling with particular aspects of your relationship. Discuss in what ways that particular need can be met. It sounds like your partner does have a lot on his plate in between his marriage and his children. If he’s open to change, then creating an action plan to fulfill those needs is the obvious next step. If not, then you have three options.

Option one: Turn inwards and accept that not all your needs are going to get met. Not everyone is meant to be perfect for you, and this could very well be a fair price of admission to be in this relationship with him. But only you can determine that for yourself.

Option two: End things with your current partner and look for a new partner who can provide the necessary space for your relationship to thrive. I hear a lot on online poly communities the kind of difficulties associated with dating married men. In specific, that they generally struggle to create space and enmeshment in their non-marital relationships. And maybe things just are that incompatible for you and your partner that you need to find a whole different partner who can provide that space for you and give you the level of attention and care that you need.

Option three: Look for an additional partner to add to your current set of partners after opening back up with your partner. Since you’ve already outlined the kind of needs you have that are currently unmet, you’ve already done some basic groundwork for finding a new partner! In my personal opinion, finding balance isn’t about the number of partners you have, but the spaces each of those connections take up. If you are seeing four different partners one day a week each with varying degrees of enmeshment and long-term plans that all fulfill different roles in your life, how is that so much different from seeing one partner that you see four times a week that fulfill those same amount of needs?

You shouldn’t think of it as if you are taking away anything from your current relationship with your partner, in the same way you wouldn’t feel guilty for going to your accountant to do your taxes instead of your car mechanic. Different people love differently. And the best way to get your needs met is by identifying those needs, communicating those needs with all affected parties, and creating your own space to meet those needs in either the current or new relationships.

Good luck!

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