Dear Fannie,

I'm a young gay male and I've found myself in… kind of an awkward dating situation. I started dating Mike first and we really hit it off, only to find out later that he has a boyfriend, Thad. Mike and Thad had an open relationship agreement, where they can date/sleep with other people when either is out of town (which happens frequently, Thad travels a lot for his work). Mike and I have a great connection and I really like him, so we date/fuck whenever Thad is out. Mike is very open about our relationship with Thad and I've actually m
et him a couple of times. He's a decent guy, attractive, and sweet… but not the guy I usually go for (he's attractive for his age, but he's in his late 30s and while not entirely out of my usual age range, is kind of up there for me). Mike has suggested we start a poly relationship and has been trying to get me and Thad into each other.

Fannie, what is a poor gayboy supposed to do? Do I ditch the hottie because he can't be all mine? Or do I stick it out and try this poly relationship? I've always considered myself a monogamist… but maybe monogamy is just for straight people.


Montreal Menage-a-trois

Poly-amorous relationships are always a tricky deal, MM. It sounds like Mike and Thad have a fairly open and stable relationship, seeing how they are comfortable with their partners looking for companionship and sex outside of their relationship. You've expressed that you and Mike have a strong connection, and it says a lot that Mike likes you enough to bring you into the fold of his relationship with Thad rather than just keeping you at the fringe as the man on the side (no reference to our wonderful contributor).

I also agree with you -- many queer people have similar sentiments about monogamy being a throwback to hetero couplings. Monogamy occupies a sacred space in contemporary relationship ideals; a place that countless of therapists and counselors have advocated as the most "healthy" choice. Queerness often questions the idea that a person can and should be completely satisfied with one partner. While paired relationships have been successful for many people, monogamy has also limited the romantic experiences of many.

Poly-amorous relationships sound like a great idea in theory, but in actual execution they can be very difficult to maintain. Just think about all of the jealousies, fights, and ego struggles that come with relationships. Adding a third or fourth (etc.) partner to the mix only increases these challenges. However, it also increases the possibilities for an extended support group when the hard times come around.

Now, in regards to your specific situation: It doesn't sound like you're as nearly as interested in Thad as you are in Mike. The golden rule of three-way or multiple partnered relationships is that they are actually three-way. Often times these three-way relationships involve one partner who has relationships with two partners, with little connection between the two partners. This sounds like what you, Mike and Thad have: there isn't a completely mutual, three-way relationship – it's Mike trying to have his cake and eat it too. If you like Mike as much as you say you do, I'd advise trying to get to know Thad more. But if you don't feel a fire between you and Thad, I'd cut the losses and run. Because if you don't love Thad as much as you love Mike, you won't be gaining two partners, you'll just be getting half of one.


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