The Hook Up: What to do if your girlfriend’s ex works with her … and you

I am a 17-year-old lesbian that has been out of the closest for a couple of years. I’ve had my fair share of falling for straight girls, but just recently I have gotten into a relationship with a bisexual girl. We get along phenomenally and I love being with her. The issue is, she has a boyfriend and he is aware of what is going on with me and her. He’s unhappy about it, but they’re both too afraid to end the relationship. She is interested in me and I her, I’m just afraid that this situation could be toxic for me to get into, knowing my past.

Anna says: You’re 17 and already have a past polyamorous situation with which to compare this current one? You kids these days! Next thing you know, you’ll be asking me for IRA advice.

The trouble is I’m not sure what “your past” entails. So I don’t know if this situation will be toxic for you. It sounds like everyone is being honest with each other about what’s going on, however, which is a good sign, and again, is incredibly mature for a high school triad, even though it sounds like nobody is exactly thrilled by the situation. If you are the kind of person who would prefer that your girlfriend not also have a boyfriend, then yes, I can foresee this becoming a problem for you down the road, and you might want to scrap it before the Big Feelings grab a hold of you like the letter U grabbed a hold of Smokey Robinson as he sang “U Really Got a Hold on Me” on Sesame Street, which you won’t remember because you weren’t born yet, but trust me, it was HARROWING. If you aren’t that kind of person, however, then have at it, girl.

The real issue, as I see it, is that your lady and her boyfriend are “too afraid” to end their relationship. Like, what? Is one of them a ghost? What is there to fear here? I guess “loneliness” for him, but that doesn’t exactly make sense for her. Being involved with someone who stays with their partner out of fear doesn’t bode well for you in the long run, however, because it’s a pretty big red flag, and what’s to stop her from doing the same to you? Also, the boyfriend’s “just going along with it” attitude concerns me, though that’s not really your problem, but if the end goal is for everyone to feel safe and comfortable, then perhaps you all should focus on getting on the same page, which would require lots of honesty and communication from the three of you, which is something I wouldn’t even remotely want to deal with in high school, but you’re clearly more evolved than I am, so maybe you can.

Trust your gut. If the situation is making you unhappy, you don’t have to accept it or stay in it. If you’re OK with it, however, then keep being as upfront and honest as you can with your lady and you should be relatively fine.

Good luck, Sugar Shoes, and may your future IRA contributions be as plentiful as your love life.

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your The Hook Up questions at 

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