Episode 37: Don’t Want to Share

When you and your partner are dating the same person and you’re tired of sharing.

That’s what’s on this week’s episode of Non-Monogamy Help.

Discussion Topic: List 5 things that are important to you in this life. How much time do you give each of them?

Listen below. You can also find the podcast on Spotify, Apple, and other providers.


Thank you to Chris Albery-Jones at albery-jones.com for the theme music and a big thanks for the podcast art to Dom Duong at domduong.com.

Podcast transcript


Long story short I don’t want to practice poly[am] anymore. And it's upsetting to my primary (and really only) partner. But i think he understands. But the main issue is the other person we've been talking to. I don’t want to hurt her.

What I’m really confused on though is how I don’t want to be poly anymore. I feel like when were with this girl.. I'm pretending, like its just a show.

Or maybe the real reason is I’m being selfish and don’t want to "share" my boyfriend so to speak.

I know this is vague and very short but I would very much appreciate any advice or thoughts you have.


Okay, the first thing that I'm noticing here is that you seem to be dating as a couple, or I'm not really sure what's going on here, because it's a person that you've been talking to. And some people, you know… if a person genuinely wants to find and date a couple, fine, I don't think that that is the vast majority of people out there. And I think that a lot of people who are opening up their relationship and it doesn't tell me— you don't tell me if you've just opened your relationship or how long you've been, quote unquote, practicing polyamory, but I do think a lot of people who open up their relationships think that it's safer to operate as a couple and so they operate as a couple.

And I don't think that works for a lot of reasons, because it's quite difficult and not necessarily predictable to have one person fall in love with one other person. And I think it's even twice as difficult to have an expectation that two people will be able to fall in love with one person in the exact same way at the exact same rate. And it's not always fun to like be part of this situation where you go on a date and there's two people there just… some people really like that and that's absolutely fine. If that's what folks want to do.

I just think that it's probably better for people to try and date individually first, precisely because of what it seems like you're experiencing here. You know, you don't want to hurt this girl, or this woman that you're seeing or that both of you are seeing but you're clearly pretending. Like you aren't interested in her and you know, you feel under pressure to, for whatever reason, perform your attraction to her, maybe because your boyfriend was right there.

Like if your boyfriend just wants to date this person, then let your boyfriend date that person. And you need to have a foundation of trust in between the two of you, so that you trust him to not violate your boundaries or to stick around with you. I don't think it's necessarily selfish to be in this kind of situation, and not really want to have another person there. I don't think that that's necessarily selfish. You don't really talk about whether or not you have a problem with your boyfriend dating other people when you're not there.

But I think that if it's something that you want to do in terms of you want to date other people then you kind of have to sit with the discomfort and learn how to process it. And it will get better over time as soon as you establish that trust with your boyfriend. And know that you can you know, through example, that if he goes off and you know goes on a date with somebody else, he's still gonna go on dates with you as well.

So I think that's the first thing is that you all… you need to date as individuals. And don't be in a relationship, or be on a date that you don't want to be on. Break up with anyone or break up any relationship that is fake. That you're not really actually wanting to be and because it's also not fair for the other person, like, you know, you don't want to hurt this person that you're considering dating but you, by pretending that you are attracted to her, are going to end up hurting her.

So it's better just to be honest about it. And you and your partner don't have to be attracted to the same person. You don't have to date the same person. And it's very, very unrealistic if that's your ideal situation. I mean, it would be great. If you and your boyfriend like the same person. If you know you could form some type of triad that worked for you all. That would be a really great situation, but that's not realistic. That's not likely to happen because if you think about, you know, a single person.

If you were single, like would you want to date two people at the exact same time? Who expected you to love them the exact same way? And especially if like what ends up happening when couples do this is that inevitably they come across problems in the relationship and their first reaction to that problem is just to chuck the third person that they brought in which really isn't cool for them. So I just think that you need to date individually

In terms of whether or not you want to be polyamorous I think that what might help is you thinking hard about what the reasons you have for being polyamorous are do you have good reasons? Are you just being polyamorous because your boyfriend wanted to date other people? And you decided to go along with it? What do you as an individual get out of it other than staying with your boyfriend? Think about those reasons.

Because I do think sometimes when you are in situations Where you have a lot of emotions, where things seem really tough? It can feel like “Well, why the hell am I doing this anyway?” It can, it can get really frustrating. So what brings you back is just realizing, oh, I do actually have a reason for why I want to do this. And this is the reason. And sometimes that can help out a huge amount with, you know, figuring out what it is that you want and why it is that you want it.

I would also think about what it means to quote unquote, share your boyfriend. What does that mean? And why do you not want to do that? What do you think is going to happen as a result of that? Are you— do you have fears that you're kind of indulging? And what what does it mean to share? And what are the specific things that you are quote unquote, sharing?

Those are things to really consider. And also like you're welcome to like, not practice polyamory in air quotes. As much as you want. You don't have to always be dating someone else in order to be polyamorous. Sometimes, there isn't anyone around to date. Polyamory communities can be really small and maybe you've dated around a lot, and you just kind of ugh. Dating is also really exhausting. Not everyone wants to date all the time. It can be really, really tiresome. And not everyone you know is thrilled to do it. So just because you aren't dating someone else right away doesn't mean that you aren't polyamorous.

So, you know, if you want to put a pause on dating, that doesn't mean you're not polyamorous. It just means that you are not interested in dating for a while. And there's nothing wrong with that. And maybe you can put a pause on dating for a little bit. But I think that the first thing that kind of needs to be worked out in this because it's not really clear from your letters, whether or not it's advisable for you and your partner to date the same person at the same time.

You know, it seems like— you're talking about how when we are with this girl, I'm pretending like it's just a show. Well, you don't both have to be with her at the same time. You don't both have to date or at the same time. You can be interested in the same person at the same time. Like that's totally fine. And I'm sure plenty of people have had that situation where they're interested in the same person at the same time. That's very different from dating the same person as a couple. Like dating individually and it just so happens that you’re together is fine. And that can be a totally non-predatory thing.

But if you are dating as a couple and expecting things as a couple, that is where the problems really arise. And I do think you really need to look at that before you can really iron out any of the other problems here. But yeah, overall, to kind of sum up, I think that yeah, again, you need to date individually. I think you need to think hard about why it is that you want to be polyamorous or did want to be polyamorous at some point. What are the benefits that you get out of it? And really bring yourself back to that when you start getting in these kind of not so great, happy moments.

I think that you need to think about what it means to quote unquote share your boyfriend, and what it is about that that scares you. And when what it is about that, that you have fears around and maybe kind of work out, You know, is there a way that your boyfriend can reassure you about his commitment to you in a way that will make sharing him feeling less scary? And then last but not least, like just because you're not actively dating doesn't mean you're not quote unquote, practicing polyamory.

You can not be dating anyone. And that just might be how you feel at the moment because dating isn't that fun for a lot of people. So if you don't want to date for a while, or if you want to just put a pause on that, that's absolutely fine. You don't have to,

you know, date all the time just to be polyamorous.

And that really goes back to the first question because if you and your partner are insisting on dating at the same time and insisting on dating the same people, that's this is exactly the reason why people advise people not to do that. Because inevitably it ends up feeling forced for one person if they don't feel fully into it. And that's just not a fun situation to be in.

So yeah, I hope this helps and good luck.

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