This letter is an edited highlights version – just for clarity’s sake:
I am attracted to the idea of polyamory for the spiritual implications, perhaps even more so than the physical ones. I feel it can help us to grow more as people, and can elevate and expand our love and oneness to new heights.
All that being said… I am confused and I need help!!
So, first thing is… I have tried to break up with my boyfriend, we’ll call him “Steve”, a few times throughout the course of our relationship, mostly from feeling smothered, wanting independence space and freedom– not for any lack of love towards him. (More clues to my natural poly tendency…) Most recently, about… 3 weeks ago, I was feeling stunted, claustrophobic, and like I needed to regain my wholeness. Basically, I kicked him out of my place. He was paying a little more than a quarter of the rent, and I felt I had a right to, since I was the original renter and paying the greater portion of the rent. This threw him for quite a loop, understandably. I may have acted a little rashly… When the move was over, and I had finally collected myself– I came out with what I really wanted: openness. It was a very natural discussion, and he very naturally agreed that it would be a fun and interesting thing to try out. Great! Exciting! Only thing is… he was still pretty pissed at me for kicking him out.
Next matter is… I’m really into his best friend, we’ll call him “Bob”. Bob and I actually dated for a little while before I even met Steve. I know he likes me, but I think he is unsure of whether “going there” with me would create a lot of drama. Bob HATES drama!
As far as I know, in my circle of friends I am the first to state that I am “open”. What if I scare everyone away?
I would greatly appreciate your help and support for a young, budding polyamorist! Thank you!
*gently lays the Stick of Grandmotherly Kindness slightly out of impulsive reach*
Cupcake, you need to sit down and get your head on straight before you have a hope in the world of any relationship working out. You’re zipping around making impulsive decisions that affect people around you in really basic and profound ways.
Knowing what you really want is great. You want openness and can ask for it. That’s all cool. Thing is, now you’ve got a problem with Steve, and it’s huge. See, in kicking him out of his home, you’ve hit him at a deep and basic level – a need for physical security. He’s naturally going to find trusting you hard at this point. If you want a relationship with him you’re going to need to rebuild trust. This is going to take more than holding hands in a circle and getting your Kum-ba-ya-yas out.
As far as being interested in his friend, I’ve seen this go a few ways. When I was (probably) younger than you are, I did get involved with a close friend of my then fiancé (now husband). We were romantically involved for a few years, and know what? Twenty years on , we’re still friends and deeply value each other. But I sure as hell didn’t start that relationship before I’d established a pretty decent and strong relationship with my other partner. I mean, we were gettin’ married and all. You ain’t there yet, m’dear. Steve’s still reeling from being tossed out on his ear. Being poly and involved with a couple of close friends needs a major amount of trust building, and as far as the emotional bank account is concerned, you’re in the hole.
Is rebuilding trust possible? Yes. Thankfully. But it takes time, patience and a hearty whack of humility and self-examination.
As far as not scaring people away for being poly? You won’t. If you’re scaring people away, it’ll be about being crazy, not about being poly. Sane, stable people are remarkably chill about sane, stable polys. If you and your friends aren’t sane and stable, ya’ll need to be working on that first, anyway.
As far as the spiritual aspects? I’m afraid you have probably come knocking on the wrong door with that one. I don’t think polyamory makes you more loving. I’ve seen about the same percentage of selfish, insensitive jerks and the same percentage of kindly, tender loving people in the poly community as the monogamous community. I expect people just act like people, and that’s really what it boils down to.
I hope this isn’t too much of a downer or anything, but as a takeaway, trust can be built by being consistently trustworthy, Poly relationships can and do work best if the people in them know themselves and are honest with themselves and their partners, and it really can be awesome if you can be the best person you can be.
 This is not to imply that I have not pulled any Stupid Relationship Tricks. I have. Sweet Baby Jesus, have I ever!