Tips & Advice

How to Handle a Challenging Metamour

Three Friends in Serious Discussion

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of times I hear complaints about metamours, the one complaining is the one with the problem.

Maybe this is also true when we complain about our lovers! Whenever my girlfriends are dishing on the dastardly deeds of their boyfriends or husbands, I take it with a grain of salt.

That’s not to say there aren’t real problems with couples, throuples, metamours, and moresomes. It’s just that we are all humans and we all have annoying behaviors and habits and weaknesses. It seems we are often eager to work on everyone else’s imperfections and not our own.

The other thing about disliking metamours is that it’s often a knee-jerk, natural, hetero-monogama-normative (I may have just made up this word, but you get me) and has no place in polyamorous living.

It is easy to dislike the guy your wife is banging, or to feel butthurt when your favorite dish has other plans this weekend. Polyamorous people have committed to overcoming these tendencies, so even though we acknowledge how easily we feel jealousy, we strive to move past them and prioritize compersion.

Read: 4 Ways to Practice Compersion

Sometimes we are so blinded by the green-eyed monster that we forget our commitment to compersion. A little mindfulness and a look in the mirror is often all it takes to cure the disliked personality of our metamours!

That said, compersion doesn’t always come easily, and compassion for our full range of human emotions and needs can give us the insight we need to overcome our worst ways.

Here are some important points to remember, to help you live with a metamour you can’t stand.

How to Deal with Difficult Metamours

You don’t have to like everyone.

We don’t like everyone. We don’t like all of our lovers’ friends, co-workers, family members, or classmates. Why would we like all of our lovers’ lovers?

It’s okay not to like someone. You don’t have to analyze it too much. You don’t like the new guy. So what?

Not liking someone, of course, doesn’t give you any reason or right to impose your opinion, act moody around your lover, badmouth the metamour, challenge your lover, or control or restrict her in any way.

And sometimes a metamour is not a distant out-of-the-picture date that you grin and bear, but someone you see at breakfast or double date with, and if that’s the case, if only to make life easier for yourself and your wife or girlfriend, you might want to learn to like them.

Read: How to Handle Conflicts in Your Polycule

Understand that the metamour may feel insecure, competitive, or uncertain.

If you think the metamour is acting weird, maybe he is.

When you’re the metamour, do you sometimes feel awkward and sketchy?

Especially if he’s new to the polyamory thing, he may not be practiced in the nuance of how to act and behave. Or maybe he’s a perfect gentleman in every way, but his vibes are a mixed bag of tricks. He’s doing his best, but he can’t hide his nervousness. He’s navigating a new world.

Maybe he’s mistaking the heady first days of frolic with your mutual love interest for more than it is. We all do that—feel the rush and whirlwind of our new affair, and we are irrational until things settle down.

Read: New Relationship Energy (NRE) Jealousy

Maybe it absolutely is a love connection and they are both going to go through that crazy in love stage that is unbearable for everyone else, but part of life.

The best way for surviving a metamour is to try to empathize with and understand where they are at and where they are coming from.

Even if your metamour is a jerk, it’s none of your business.

I know, I know, you care about your girlfriend. You know what’s best for her, and it isn’t that.

But that’s just too dang bad. Unless someone is violent or dangerous, it is not our place to intervene in the relationship choices of others. You can give your two cents if she asks for your honest opinion. Otherwise, you have to let others make their own mistakes and take their own journey.

Your lover may not be as delusional as you think. She may be well aware that Mr. Now is a jerk, but she’s willing to enjoy the ride.

Set your own relationship boundaries with metamours.

If you generally prefer not to get chummy with the other lovers in her life, say so and don’t get involved. If you enjoy threesomes with her girlfriends but don’t want to hop into bed for an MMF threesome—or if you DO—speak up about what your preferences and expectations are.

There are lots of ways to live polyamorously. Some polycules do everything together, with equal responsibilities for childcare, car payments, and tilling the vegetable garden. They all have sex and then relax together in the hot tub with champagne. Others have a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. I have a poly lover who is a lot older than me and I have never met his wife. I never will. He has no idea what neighbors and friends have slept with her over the years and doesn’t want to know.

Read: What Is Parallel Polyamory?

You do you. Talk with your lover openly about what you want, hear out what she wants, and find the way forward that works together. You don’t have to tolerate and entertain her lovers, but on the other hand, you don’t have to be the jerk, either!

Do your best to reasonably accommodate your metamour, on behalf of your lover.

If your metamour really is the lowlife you think he is, you can calmly communicate the facts to your lover and ask to stay out of the picture.

But if he’s just someone who gets on your nerves, or whose personality isn’t your cup of tea, be the bigger man by offering your wife reasonable accommodation. In other words, be civil, mature, and friendly. You don’t have to become besties with the guy, but if your wife is on this journey and it’s important to her, and your paths cross time to time, peace is always better than conflict.

Have a hair-raising metamour story for us? Tell us in the comments below!

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