I recently tracked down a guy who was an almost boyfriend in college. I had already met my future husband, even though we weren’t dating yet, and that held me back. Even though we never got together, this guy and I really clicked as friends & he even came to our wedding.

I’ve thought about him on and off over the years. This desire started getting more intense recently, so I really put effort into the search & found him (he has almost zero internet presence.) So once we got in touch, I was already infatuated. Total giddy NRE. We haven’t hung out yet, but we’ve been texting & emailing a fair amount and I really do get the feeling that there could be something there. We picked up right where we left off. I know that I was idealizing and fantasizing and still am a bit, but it also doesn’t seem that I’m wrong about who I thought he would be 20 years later.

But he doesn’t know that my husband and I are polyamorous. As far as I know, he thinks I’m his long and happily married old friend, which I am. But I’m feeling flirty vibes from him. I didn’t want to tell him we’re non-monogamous for a while because I didn’t want to scare him, but now I’m wondering if I should so that he doesn’t feel shitty about himself if he does feel something and doesn’t think that I’m cheating.

I really want this. I don’t want to come off as predatory or like I’m giving him the bait & switch: he thought he was having a good time with an old friend, but I want to jump him. But I really do think there’s something there.

When it comes to these types of situations, I think that the best policy is honesty immediately. If someone isn’t interested in polyamory or doesn’t want to consider it, I don’t think that there is a way to introduce it that would make it more likely that someone is going to be interested in it. People can have experiences of polyamory that turn them off of the suggestion for a while, but ultimately they are going to be interested in it or not.

I would have probably advised you to be honest from the beginning just because there isn’t anything inherently predatory about being polyamorous and being interested in someone else and not being sure if they are polyamorous or not. Polyamory may be intimidating to him, but it’s not something you can necessarily change by introducing the topic to him. It might be that you were enjoying the attention and the opportunity that this brought with it and you didn’t want that to end.

The thing that concerns me is that there’s somewhat of a flirty energy going on and he doesn’t know you’re polyamorous. Most of what you’re focusing on is your perspective and not scaring him off, but it might be worth considering it from this guy’s perspective. He definitely for sure knows that you’re married or doesn’t have any reason to believe you’ve gotten divorced. Without seeing exactly what your texts to each other say, it’s hard to say if it’s crossing a line and he’s okay with allowing that to be nebulous. That… doesn’t make for the best recipe. If part of the draw for him is the forbidden aspect of it, then it might end abruptly.

At this point, it’s just best to have a straightforward conversation about everything. Let him know that you’re interested but you are fine remaining friends and that you’re polyamorous. It might end some of the fun experiences that you’re having, but at least it would be clear to both of you, especially if you are feeling like you want something more from this experience than just flirting and you want things to be honest and in the open.

That’s the best way to go about it if what you want from the situation is to have an honest open partnership with him. You could prepare some information for him to read if he wants to learn more about it. Give him some time to have a think about it and respect the fact that he may have wished you had been honest before, though if he never came forward to make things clearer, it is hard to know when exactly to introduce the subject. It might not be something he’s interested in, but at least you’ll know for sure.

I hope this helps and good luck!