Advice Friend: My Partner Is Sharing Posts from a Polyamory Page, Should I Be Concerned I’m Being Cheated On?

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Hi Page,

The person I’ve been dating for 3-1/2 years has recently been reposting your stuff from Facebook.

Should I bring it up and directly ask if he is polyamorous? And if I didn’t know this about him, would that be considered cheating since it wasn’t “knowledge or consent of BOTH parties,” but just him and whoever else.

I feel like I could be overreacting, but at the same time I’m definitely questioning it and concerned for the future of our romantic/intimate relationship.

I also feel like if we were polyamorous, that I missed out on a lot of other partners in the duration of us dating.

If it does turn out he has multiple partners, I will probably end the relationship because all I would have needed was transparency and honesty from the get go.

Is polyamory different from an open relationship? If so, how so? Doing a lot of reflection.

Sharing Posts from a Polyamory Page Doesn’t Make a Person Polyamorous

First thing I want you to do is take several deep breaths.

Just because your partner has been sharing Poly.Land’s posts doesn’t mean that he’s polyamorous. In fact, only about a third of our readership is polyamorous. Another third actually identifies as squarely monogamous. And the final third of our readership is made up of people who are either ambiamorous (meaning that they consider themselves happily able to have either polyamorous or monogamous relationships) or curious about polyamory or something in between.

So yeah. If you want to know if your partner is polyamorous, you should probably ask him. Because I sure don’t know. And at this point, neither do you.

Even If They Are Polyamorous, It Doesn’t Mean They’ve Necessarily Had Other (Secret) Relationships

Now, let’s say he considers himself polyamorous (or ambiamorous, polycurious, etc.). That doesn’t mean he’s had any other relationships you didn’t know about. He could very well have been functionally monogamous with you the whole time.

Now, there’s still the matter that he didn’t tell you he was polyamorous in spirit, and I could see that as being unsettling. And definitely surprising. But no, I wouldn’t consider that to constitute cheating. Not disclosing that attitude or curiosity. Especially because it’s possible that his views have evolved over those three and a half years. He might not have even known that about himself.

And even if he did know it about himself, if he didn’t plan on acting upon it and he thought that his being polyamorous in spirit (while again not doing so in behavior) might be extremely upsetting to you, he might have not said anything.

If They Did Have Other Relationships Without Telling You Though, Yup, That’s Cheating

Now, if he is in fact polyamorous and he acted on it and had partners without disclosing any of it to you — holy crap would that be cheating. And yeah, I would break up him, too.

But there are two ifs you have to get past on the way there:

  1. If he’s actually polyamorous, even in spirit
  2. If he’s acted on any attractions and had nonmonogamous relationships you didn’t know about

There’s only one way to get to the bottom of this: Talk to him. Ask him about it.

What’s the Difference Between Polyamory and Open Relationships?

Regarding your question “is polyamory different from an open relationship?,” I wrote a post a little while ago that explains the differences and similarities between polyamory and open relationships. Here’s an excerpt:

When you talk about “open relationships,” there are a couple of ways of looking at it. In one view, “open” is a modifier of relationship, explaining whether the people involved are allowed to have additional partners. So in a certain sense, all relationships are either open or closed.

Polyamory (except for polyfidelity, a form of non-monogamy where people have more than one partner but can’t seek new ones) is a form of relationship that is open.

So polyamory is a form of open relationship.

However, “open relationship” is also used as a phrase colloquially by some people to describe relationships that are sexually open but not emotionally open.

I think that’s where the difference comes from. Just in how the labels are conceived of and used. Polyamorous relationships are open so can credibly be called “open” relationships (aside from ones where there is polyfidelity, as I mentioned before).

But not all people who are saying that they’re in “open relationships” are polyamorous. Which might make it so polyamorous people could find it less helpful to identify themselves as being in an open relationship (although in a technical sense they are, since their relationships aren’t closed).

For even more information, you can find the full article here.

Hope that helps!

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Have a question about a post? Maybe need some advice about a relationship or situation? Write me. I love getting messages from you.

Your letter and my answer might be featured in Advice Friend. I regularly change identifying details and/or completely rewrite letters to preserve anonymity.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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