Advice – I fell in love with a play partner.

Photo by Ngô Trọng An on

/u/throwaway97651aba on /r/nonmonogamy and on/r/polyamory writes…

“Just little background first….wife and I have been poly for a few years now. Started off dating together, then separately as well. Our communication is great. We share everything with each other and are comfortable discussing any difficult topics as we work through things together.

Fairly recently we started dating another couple. We’ll call them Jack & Jill. They were mostly into just finding play friends before the 4 of us met. Things clicked almost immediately between all 4 of us and we’ve all kind of decided it’s more relationship than not which is totally new for them and something we’re still not super experienced with ourselves. My wife plays with both Jack and Jill, we all play together and sometimes separately, and even Jack and I have begun to play a little.

Obviously different people are going to connect in varying degrees. However the connection between Jill and I is particularly strong. Even in dating others, my wife and I have made some amazing friends and connections but this one feels different. Jill and I are both very unsure what this means in the context of our own relationships. We both love our spouses more than anything which makes this situation all the more confusing. More than anything, we don’t want anyone getting hurt or upset. We only get to see each other when the 4 of us hang out and it’s almost impossible to keep our hands off each other. I can tell that on occasion, this makes my wife feel somewhat left out. She is aware of how Jill and I feel about each other.

I guess to put it simply, all 4 of us love each other, but Jill and I are definitely In Love with each other. How do we navigate these new feelings? I can’t stand the thought of this hurting my wife in any way, but I also can’t imagine not having Jill in my life as a romantic partner at this point. Any advice or experience would be immensely helpful. Thanks in advance!”

Dear throwaway97651aba,

I am really happy to hear that you found this fundamentally strong connection with Jill! The relationship dynamic overall you have with your wife, Jack, and Jill is so phenomenal.

One of the reasons why dyad relationships are difficult is because two very different people come together – each with their own respective life experiences – to form a one relationship. Polyamorous relationships are by degrees more difficult to maintain due to how many more people it requires to be on board with the overall model.

Both you and your wife have had a lot of polyamorous dating experience, in dating together and separately. But this specific situation of intense feelings toward a quad partner is probably something new. It sounds like you’ve done your basic level of communication with your wife to include her on the recent development of your new feelings toward Jill. Her sense of feeling left out might be her emotional labor to handle. I read it in two different ways. One way could be that your wife is feeling FOMO in your newfound connection towards Jill. Or she could be feeling left out in not developing the same romantic connection towards Jill or Jack. You might also benefit from playing the hypothetical games with your wife to map out what this relationship could look like with everyone involved. Talk about how she plans to keep her jealousy toward your previously-just-mutual-play-partner in check. Whatever the case is, keep up the good work and stay connected with your wife by continuing to communicate where your headspace is at.

Photo by Olga Islamkina on

More importantly, Jack and Jill also need to be on the same page about this new development as well. Considering that Jack and Jill were originally introduced as play friends, they might need to reconfigure some expectations to allow for both dating separately and developing intense feelings for other people at the same time. You did say relationship aspect is totally new for them, so they are probably going to have some intense growing pains to experience. Giving them space to process this by themselves and together might be a good idea. Being present in your respective relationships will help a lot, but that is something more for Jack and Jill to figure out.

If all things go well, you should take Jill out on a one-on-one date outside of this group dynamic to see how it feels and if that electric chemistry extends to space outside of your comfort zones as well.

Again. I am really happy for you that you found more capacity love in this wild, crazy world. Keep doing you and don’t forget to appreciate the blueness of your sky at this moment.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

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2 thoughts on “Advice – I fell in love with a play partner.

  1. Iv said this for the last 20 yrs! You cant control SEXUAL ENERGY! And love feeds off of sexual energy so what do you think could potentially happen with a relationship thats very free and open with its sexual energy? Which leads me to my next question how does this person fill bad about falling for a play partner? When they op-ed for a sexually open relationship which means they are non-traditional so whats the issue? Next he stated that hes so into his play partner that his wife fills left out!! How? When this is their lifestyle so she’s been in this situation many times before! This person has to cut the crap and be honest that as a result of having an open relationship, he fell in love with another woman but then that would lift the vail off of polygamy relationship and open relationships and reveal the ugly truth about these types of relationships! You cant control sexual energy! When it takes control nothing is off limits. On top of the heart wants what the heart wants…at those things together and you have this outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you bring up a couple really interesting points. I do agree with you that it is difficult to control your sexual energy. But I do think you can absolutely set up boundaries that are respectful of the relationships you are already in. Plenty of swingers and folks in open relationships can halt a relationship from developing any further if it threatens the primary designated relationship. I also don’t think that this is really a problem for the wife either. Both of them have had a some polyamorous experience of dating together and separately. One of the most important life skills to develop in polyamory is in compartmentalizing your feelings, owning them, and resolving them internally. In addition, just because his wife has been in this situation does not also mean that she is perfectly equipped to handle the next situation where she feels jealousy. Everything is contextual. I appreciate your comment and thank you for sharing your perspective with me.


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