Advice – I am getting mixed signals.


/u/uglysonics write on /r/polyamory…

“So I’ve been speaking to this guy who has a partner, and his partner has a partner (though I suspect all three of them may be involved, doesn’t really matter) and he said he wanted to expand, he didn’t want someone to just sleep with outside of his relationship, he wanted something more and that suited me as well. Plus, we found each other attractive so we started to speak. This was a few months ago and as the time has gone on, I’ve just been seeing him post activity after activity with his partner(s), traveling and going to concerts, while he continuously tells me he’s too busy to meet up right now. But it’s clear to me that he’s still making time for his partner(s) since they’ve literally traveled out of the country for a rave twice since I started speaking to him. Is this guy just messing with me? If he even really does want an additional partner, it seems he doesn’t have time for one (isn’t willing to make the time for one and continues to spend all his free time with, for lack of better word, his primary.)

Should I keep waiting for that time to free up (I enjoyed talking before he became so ‘busy’ and I find him really attractive, it really did seem promising) or should I cut my losses and focus my energy on other things instead?”

Dear Ugly Sonics,

One of the necessary skills to develop in one’s poly journey is in properly establishing and maintaining space for relationships. Some of that space can fluctuate based on life’s other priorities or preexisting plans to go fly out of country for a rave, but the structure should hold.

There does seem to be a “crossing of the wires” here, but not the kind you’re thinking of. The disconnect isn’t between his words and his actions; it is in between your and his frames of mind when it comes to your relationship with him. I’m not sure if you have already had a direct conversation with him about this specific disconnect. If you haven’t, then this is the perfect time to have the “What does this something more as your partner mean for us?” talk. That talk should define what it means to be a partner for both of you, cover some of your primary concerns about how much time he is allotting to his current partners, and help you figure out the kind of space he has created & maintained for you in his life.

I am also inclined to advise that you should also listen to what he is doing / saying, and really listen this time. Consider that his actions do not directly contract his original statement of intention (“I don’t want someone to just sleep with; I am looking for a partner.”). Instead of waiting for his time to free up, assess how much you are currently receiving from this partnership. This really could be the space that he has allotted for you. Things might change, they might not. Then decide if the minimum bandwidth allocated to match his level of emotional involvement is a worthwhile investment for you. How much emotional bandwidth are you reserving for this particular potential to pan out? Does it take you a lot of time to upkeep and maintain this space you’ve created for him? Then figure out if you want to fold in new relationships/hobbies/interests to fill the remainder of your life. Pete Holmes once said to live a life worth commenting on. Are you currently living a life worth commenting on?

Instead of hindering your sense of self on the potential of what it could be, learn to accept how it is, adjust, then move forward.

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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