Dudefile #89 – The Formerly Polyamorous Dude

Dear Dude Whisperer,

I met Don at a mutual friend’s party. He friended me on Facebook , we met up once, and after a couple initial communication hiccups we start seeing each other once a week, including some 12-hour dates and sleepovers. We have laughs, good conversation, amiable companionship and good physical attraction, although I had been celibate for a while and was a little uncomfortable at first. He tells the mutual friend he really digs me, he is being very sweet, and I am happy with all thus far.

Then Don tells me he is polyamorous with one primary and one other woman he is sleeping with. I deal with all this as he simply told the truth about ‘playing the field’ or ‘polyamory’ if you wish. I am not psyched about it, and he described himself as having had monogamous relationships in the past, that his ex-girlfriend proposed polyamory towards the end of their dying relationship, so he kind of fell into it, and would probably be monogamous with the right woman again.

So, I take the position that we will have fun while it lasts, and if I feel I will get hurt too much, then I will need to end the relationship even I feel we have some potential. I tell Don that I can like him, and do like him, and we can date and have safe sex, but that I cannot care for him as long as he is polyamorous.  

I go on vacation for one week, come back and make plans to see him. He tells me he has made a decision he needs to tell me about: that he is going to be monogamous with one of the poly-women he has been with this past year. Now, he told me he was poly-dating, he never told me that he had deep feelings for one of them. He said they had each proposed monogamy but he did not commit before now – no reasons given to me – then she became upset and there was drama and tears and that he has made the decision to be monogamous.

He was weepy telling me, he said he felt awful, he hated breaking off our romance (his words) but that he thinks he made the right decision.

I know there are several unknowns, e.g., did Don tell her about me and that is why she became upset now? Is this monogamy to save a dying polyamorous relationship?

He said that my telling him I like him but cannot care for him helped lead him to this decision. My issue is that I never made it clear to him how much I do like him, and that I thought we had a good thing that may have had the potential to be great. That I only meant to protect my feelings if he was still seeing other people.

If he came to the decision to be with me only, then I would have been happy with that. I mean, he cut me off pretty early on here – I want my fair share!

So, do I reach out to make my feelings known now, just for my own self-expression?

Is it desperate of me to contact him? Do I accept that he made his decision regardless of new feelings he had for me, or I could have for him? That if he wanted to be monogamous, then he committed to a woman he knows and loves already, rather than taking a chance with me? Is she just better in bed? Why did he not tell me he felt so strongly about one woman? Do I put that down to a lot of confusion on his part, that polyamory is just too complicated?

 Any insight you have will be very appreciated.

 Thank you, Dude Whisperer!


Hi NS,

 Thanks for writing!

When the DW and his brother go to the movie store, they often get that rental brainlock where you can’t decide between six movies and you end up standing there staring a hole in the covers of Timecop and Con Air as if there’s really any difference. The solution they use is to have the DW’s brother hold the six movies behind his back, shuffle them, and then pull one out of the pile and say, “This is the movie we’re watching tonight.”

If the DW and his brother both say, “Good!” then that’s the one they go home with. If they both go, “Eh,” then that movie is put aside and the shuffle is done again without it.

Now, this isn’t meant to compare you to shitty, accidentally hilarious action movies, but it is suggesting that the dynamic you caused with your condition of monogamy was the same as the movie shuffle. Namely, you forced a decision point.

All of a sudden Mr. I’m Boning Everybody has to choose- Your Vagina or All The Rest Of The Vaginas In The World. Which probably sparks his other ladyfriends to ask him to make the same choice. Frankly, the DW would have expected Don to choose none of the current ladies in favor of All The Rest Of The Vaginas In The World, but he took a zag instead of a zig and went full-time with one of his other main squeezes.

Here’s the thing about that, though. Probably the best thing for you. Is Don in any way what you really want? Or is the sting you feel just about having him choose someone over you?

Just the way you two approach sex says a lot about your differences, right? You- Always monogamous, recently celibate. Don- Fucking everybody. We don’t have to get into the difficulties and impracticalities of either approach. The point is that they are on such different ends of the spectrum they are bound to be indicative of other ideas you have about life, too. If a yacht rock fan wanted to date a metalhead, you’d think they’d have to sort out a few more natural differences that whether or not to put Christopher Cross or Celtic Frost on an iPod playlist, no? Is it possible they’d be a match? Always. Obvious natural fit? Not so much. Same thing here.

Also, forget the potential differences and negatives, what does Don really have to offer in terms of positives? You said a few run of the mill nice things about him, but there’s no tone of holyshitIneedthatfuckingman! in your note that implies he gave you something unique or swoonworthy or penetratingly heartfelt or irreplacibly cute or anything else that makes it worth all your hand wringing over losing him. The world is stuffed impossibly full of dudes like the one you describe, only they aren’t expecting you to be okay with having their dongs in a different mouth every night.

Anyway, look. Don’t contact the guy. The DW is not a huge fan of doing things for “your own self-expression.” There’s all the fucking self-expression a dude can handle in 2011 as it is. And in a more practical sense, you’re not going to change Don’s mind or make yourself look more desirable or whatever positive result you might suppose would come out of it, anyway. You might think it will make you feel better, but the DW has found that going back for more from the person that rejected you tends not to turn out so well. Pretty much ever.

As for the rest of your questions- why did Don choose the other lady? what happened to his polyamory and now he’s all monogomous and shit? is the other woman better in bed?– the DW doesn’t mean to be flip when he says this, but it doesn’t matter and you’re never going to know. It’s like trying to figure out who the fuck bought all those Barbra Streisand records in the 70s or why people thought fashionponchos suddenly looked really awesome six years ago. Some things just Are and you’re better off spending your time moving forward and forgetting about it. Don chose, it’s out of your hands, move on. 

Honestly, the DW thinks you dodged a (likely STD riddled) Don bullet on this one. Sure, it stings to be passed over for another set of boobies, and the DW feels for you in the moment, but there was a neverending stream of drama and nonsense on the horizon with this dude. And now you don’t have to be a part of it.

Here’s to finding yourself another nice Don who’s not already fucking everybody. 


the DW

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8 Responses to Dudefile #89 – The Formerly Polyamorous Dude

  1. marmot says:

    I like yacht rock and metal. Does that mean I have to be polyamorous?

  2. miss_s says:

    You are right; she did dodge a bullet with this guy. First, he doesn’t bother to disclose the poly thing until after they’ve had 12-hour dates and sleepovers. That seems disingenuous. Then, when she says she’s ok to bone him still, but doesn’t want to put her heart into it unless and until he can commit to her alone, he ditches her to be mono with someone else. It don’t make sense, and I’m willing to bet the lady he chose is going to hear his lamenting about the ones he let go every time she pisses him off. F that!

  3. Frank Floyd says:

    I think you’re totally right about everything, but just a small point: ConAir vs Timecop seems like an easy decision to me. Oh, wait…I forgot about Mia Sara. OK, I see now.

    • Mia Sara is highly underrated. She had this flaming hot three years or so and then vanished. Weird how that works in a world where the DW is still assaulted with Gwyneth Paltrow’s “singing” career.

      Anyway, point taken. The DW may find the Muscles from Brussels a little funnier than most, and that would account for putting Timecop up there with supercharged schlock like Nic Cage’s Hair landing a plane full of overactors on the Vegas strip. Wait. Maybe ConAir is way better….

      • Ashley says:

        But NOTHING in Con Air measures up to the line “I’m still kicking. I must be on Broadway!” Just sayin.

  4. TheHumanScone says:

    Whoa! What a tool that guy sounds like. Unless, you know, you heard his side of things, in which case he’s probably a victim. Either way, the thing I don’t get is how she kept all those polys and monos straight. I mean, that alone is reason enough to run. Sweetie, if your dude has a prefix of any sort, dump him.

  5. I’ve known a man like Don before and fell in love with him even though he told me that he had different women in his life that served different functions. If I could have done it differently, I would have kicked his ass to the curb a long time ago! He’s just not into her. It’s as simple as that. Dudes like Don almost always don’t become faithful overnight. My Don would tell me he couldn’t see me again (maybe his main chick found out) but we end up banging like rabbits again days or weeks later. She dodged a bullet.

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