Help! I think my boyfriend's husband is ghosting me!

Hi Andre! I'll try to keep this as short as possible! I've been in open relationships for a while but am new to poly. I am a gay man, have a husband, and two unconnected boyfriends. With one of the boyfriends, it started as me dating both he and his husband, but over time the husband has become less sexually interested in me; when I asked what was going on, his response was that "nothing is wrong." They have another boy that they are both dating, and I'm finding myself becoming resentful. Feeling slightly replaced by the new throuple, but mostly upset that the non-relationship between me and the husband is impacting my relationship with his other half, i.e. if the 4 of us are out together, I sometimes feel excluded and/or awkward having to be completely not-intimate with the husband. I don't know how to move forward and get to a place where I am not jealous or, frankly, how I can interact with his husband without it being forced/awkward. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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I recently connected with one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met in my life. I walked away from our time together thinking how hard I’d fall for her if only my relationship configuration could fit yet another glorious being into it. At the same time, I marveled at my own heart’s capacity. Here I was actively in love with three humans - and maintaining a strong, loving, remote connection with a fourth - and yet I could so easily see myself expanding to include this woman. Chuckling to myself, I wondered aloud, “When does it stop? Where IS my heart’s limit?”

You remind me of me, dear reader. You have a husband and two boyfriends, one of whom’s husbands you're also involved with. You’re swimming in love’s excess, and that isn’t to say you should feel ashamed of yourself by any means. However, before I dive into my advice, I want you to sit with that for a minute. Your life is obviously so full and vibrant, and often when we have as many partnerships as you and I do, we’re running around from person to person and place to place so much that we forget to pause and be grateful. Soak up the gratitude for this family you’ve created. Feels awesome, doesn’t it? Alright, let’s get rolling!

For ease’s sake, I’m going to give my own names to each party: your husband is Bill, the boyfriend in question is Alex, and HIS husband’s name is Charlie.

It sounds as though you’ve been “ghosted” by Charlie, which is its own problem in and of itself. The practice of ghosting - ie the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date - is, frankly, insulting and disrespectful. The only allowances I make for it are if:

  • You’re under the age of 21, and/or
  • The person doing the ghosting is leaving an abusive relationship, and feeling as though the abrupt cessation is the only way they can escape their abuser’s manipulation.

    Assuming neither of those are applicable in your case, it sounds like Charlie is at least ghosting you sexually, if not in a more holistic way. Ghosting sucks the most because it feels as though you're going through a break-up that only one of you signed off on. The silver lining? Even if things don't end up working out with Charlie, this will prove to have been the most difficult transition period. Everything will feel "easier" moving forward.

    Another silver lining? All of this could just be poorly-communicated New Relationship Energy (NRE) that Charlie is experiencing, perhaps for the very first time. A smart and succinct description of NRE can be found here. As the author states, the greatest test of many relationships is the transition OUT of the NRE phase. If you and Charlie can work through this period, it will forge an even stronger and more stable connection between the two of you.

If I were you, I would give Alex a heads-up that you’re having a very challenging time sharing space with Charlie at the moment because of his lack of communication around this issue. Let him know that you’ll be initiating a conversation with Charlie to hash it out, and in the meantime, you’d appreciate it if he - Alex - wouldn’t bring up the new boy that they’re now dating when around you as it’s painful for you to hear about, particularly while there is still a lack of transparency around your and Charlie’s situation. Also, if you haven’t filled your husband in on all of this already, now would be an excellent time to do so.

Then, initiate the conversation with Charlie. Make sure it’s more than a coffee date, and that you reserve a good 2-3 hours in a private setting. Tell him what you told me - how difficult this has been for you, how you were owed a more detailed, honest, and empathetic conversation with him prior to this stage you're now in. Remind him how much you care for him, are sexually attracted to him, and how much you love seeing him happy. Do your research on NRE and introduce the term to him; see if it resonates, then work together to come to an agreement around a few different ways that he can still be over the moon for his new boy while also acknowledging, reassuring and giving attention to YOU. It’d also be a good idea to make a date with your husband and/or your OTHER boyfriend for immediately after the conversation, just in case it goes south and leaves you feeling vulnerable and in need of secure, stable, loving support.

Best of luck to you. And remember: GRATITUDE.