Lesbianing With AE: Jealousy and Polyamory

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Dear Lindsey,

I’m a bi poly woman, married to a guy with a girlfriend on the side. I’ve been in this sort of poly arrangement for the last five years and with this current girlfriend for close to a year. Things are really great in my marriage and for me. I love my arrangement and it works for me! My girlfriend recently expressed that she would like more of a commitment from me and that she is dealing with jealousy and feelings of being left out. I don’t know what to do since I was always open with her about the fact that I’m married, committed to my primary partner, and looking for a girlfriend as a secondary only. I don’t want to hurt her feelings but a part of me is annoyed that she wants more from me than I told her I could give. I don’t know if I can give her what she wants without sacrificing my needs and sometimes I think I should call it quits and find a secondary who is less demanding.

– On the Fence

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Dear On the Fence,

Your secondary relationship is working for you, but it’s not working for your partner. As a secondary partner, your girlfriend is entitled to open and honest communication. She has a right to understand the rules you and your primary have established, and she has a right to ask for what she wants and have it considered.

You might want to look at the Secondary Bill of Rights to see the situation from your girlfriend’s perspective. A successful polyamorous relationship should satisfy all parties – it isn’t just about your happiness level or sexual needs getting met.

A successful polyamorous relationship should satisfy all parties – it isn’t just about your happiness level or sexual needs getting met.

You didn’t mention what your girlfriend is asking for other than “more than you can give.” If it’s truly more than you can give then you have your answer: You can’t satisfy her and it may be better for both sides to call it quits.

I have to wonder if ego is getting in your way a little. You have a relationship structure that works really well for you, and you might worry that giving your secondary partner more attention/time/sex/whatever she is asking for will take away from your happiness at home.

I have to wonder if ego is getting in your way a little. You have a relationship structure that works really well for you, and you might worry that giving your secondary partner more attention/time/sex/whatever she is asking for will take away from your happiness at home.

You say you are annoyed at her for asking for more, and that’s a red flag to me. In all relationship structures, partners have the right to ask for their needs to be met. So unless she’s asking in a whiny or controlling way, annoyance is unwarranted here.

Your relationship isn’t a binary where her getting her way means you lose out. You can both be happy — and your husband, too.

If all your girlfriend wants is more of your time and attention, maybe you can check in more by phone or text. Or invite her over once a week for dinner dates where your husband can be present – or not, it’s up to you.

If your relationship’s going to last for a long time, your girlfriend and husband should be on friendly terms. If you keep everything separate so you have the upper hand, your girlfriend might feel better simply by getting to know your husband and feel more included in your life. You don’t need to be besties who brunch every weekend, but you also don’t need to create artificial boundaries to feel more secure.

If what she wants is to move up and become your primary, well that’s not going to happen….and ending it may be the healthiest things for all involved.

Honesty is key to the success of polyamorous relationships and that includes looking at your own behavior and motivations with clear eyes. If you are looking for a secondary girlfriend as a piece of pussy on the side, then this girlfriend isn’t the right person for you and you should seek a woman who wants a casual arrangement. If you love and value her, then you might explore whether your resistance to giving her “more” is logically valid (i.e. you can’t do what she is asking for) or whether you’re putting up internal resistance out of fear.

Good luck!