Something I didn’t expect when I entered into a poly relationship is that I might grow to care a lot for my partner’s other partner. I knew that we would become part of each other’s lives, given that we had chosen to engage in a “kitchen-table” relationship. (That means that unlike some poly couples we choose to spend time together as a group and we talk openly with one another.) How I thought that our relationships would be separated by some invisible wall, I have no idea. It only makes sense that we would become connected and therefore wish to be a source of friendship and support for each other. That said there are a few things to keep in mind when offering support to your metamour. The relationship is a little more complicated than a standard friendship and needs to be approached with sensitivity.
Wait for Permission to Engage
Even if your partner comes to you in turmoil over something that’s happening in your metamour’s life, it’s really important not to become involved unless/until your help is requested. It can be tempting to want to jump in and try to help solve things, particularly if your partner is really saddened or stressed by the situation. It’s one thing to listen to your partner and offer support within your own relationship, it’s another to approach your metamour directly for the purpose of offering unsolicited advice.
Respect the Boundaries
These would be the boundaries that were established early on in the relationship(s) about which elements or details of each other’s lives would be shared between everyone. If you each decided, for example, that anything sex-related would remain private, it’s really not a good idea to start talking about it even in the interest of helping out. This can be hard sometimes because the friendship with your metamour can feel just like a normal one in which you would share things like that.
This is especially relevant to issues relating to your partner’s and metamour’s relationship. Although it may sometimes feel that you are all one big unit, there are separate connections happening which need to be treated as such. Never assume that what might be an effective solution for you and your partner would be suited to your partner and your metamour. If the problem is completely unrelated to relationship things, such as a work stress or some other life event, it’s more appropriate for you to jump in and help by doing something kind and thoughtful, like making a nice dinner.
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