Anyone can say they’re poly, but how do you know if they’re telling the truth? Polyamory and infidelity can look a lot alike from the outside.
Unless you’re in a kitchen-table relationship where you’ve met your metamour and know for sure that things are on the up and up, there can be some question as to whether or not you’re a sanctioned part of a free-loving community, or a unwitting home wrecker.
Here are some signs that you’re someone’s dirty little secret.
Your Partner Leaves the Room to Talk to Your Metamour on the Phone
If this happens occasionally, don’t panic. They might just be having an emotionally charged conversation that requires privacy. If, on the other hand, your partner rushes off to another room every time this person calls, or gets nervous if you cough or sneeze while they’re on the phone, you could be less a poly lover and more a forbidden dalliance.
Go with your gut on this one. Is your partner generally a private person who doesn’t even like to take a call on the bus, or are they only secretive in relation to you and your supposed metamour?
You Don’t Do Anything Outside the Bedroom
You don’t go out for dinner and a movie, you don’t go for walks around the block, and you don’t even sit and have morning coffee on your front porch. Essentially, your entire relationship takes place between the sheets.
If you live in a small town, or in the same neighborhood as your partner and metamour, this component of your relationship is an even stronger indicator that your loving exists on the sly. Sure, some relationships start out so hot and heavy that you never want to leave the bedroom, but if that new relationship energy has worn off and you still feel chained to the bed, you’re probably a secret.
Your Partner Gets Uncomfortable When You Ask about Your Metamour
Yes, some poly relationships are of the don’t-ask-don’t-tell variety, but that’s usually discussed openly at the start. If your partner has mentioned nothing of the guidelines they’ve established with your metamour and gets all twitchy and evasive when you ask questions, there’s a chance that things are not as ethically nonmonogamous as you thought.
You might never be invited over for brunch because not all poly relationships work that way, but you should at least be able to ask questions about the polycule you’ve entered into.
Dates Can Never be Guaranteed
Most poly relationships revolve around a set schedule that everyone agrees to. Sure, not all poly people are that into planning and consistency, but again, that’s a piece of information that should be shared early on. If your partner keeps saying that they “have to play it by ear,” there’s a distinct possibility that you’re their little something on the side.
If the unpredictability bothers you, ask for a regular date night. Most poly people can talk about stuff like this without it being a big deal. If your partner gets super stressed and starts making a ton of excuses about how they can’t approach your metamour about it, I hate to say it, but the dirty secretive writing is on the wall.