I am in a stable, long-term non-monogamous relationship with a man I deeply love. We do not cohabit (I have a deep need for my own space) but we live close to each other and we are in and out of each other’s houses with no forewarning or announcements needed.

Lately my man has taken up with a Very Young Thing. She is awkward, silent, non-communicative, and unwilling to acknowledge my existence as his paramour, even as she readily accepts my friendship and craves interaction with me as an equal. I am just dumbfounded about how to deal with this.

When you say she is ‘unwilling to acknowledge your existence as his paramour’ (which I am assuming is the same as a metamour), I don’t know what you actually mean by that. She isn’t unfriendly with you and I’m not sure what you mean by craving interacting with you as an equal, but what is striking me the most about your question is… why is it you that has to deal with this at all?

Your relationship with your partner is its own individual thing. It doesn’t require you befriend or know his metamours. It might be something you prefer to do, but it is not at all a requirement of having a stable or long-term non-monogamous relationship. She might seek to interact with you, but that isn’t something you have to do. It might be that she is sometimes staying with him or maybe she is going to live with him in the future, which is why I’m assuming you mention the co-habitation. If that’s the case, you can be civil with her, but you don’t need to facilitate or manage a relationship with her.

If she is doing things which upset you or bother you, it’s really down to your partner to actually step in and work things out. I feel like in many situations where women ask me about their metamours, they always seem to be taking on the responsibility of managing a positive relationship even when it’s not necessary or when there are ways their partner actually should be stepping in.

Technically, the relationship between your partner and this woman isn’t even really your business. If there’s a need for some facilitation around times you visit and if you don’t really want to be around her, that’s fine, but you need to work that out with your partner and he needs to lead on managing his time appropriately.

Ultimately, you’re allowed to say, “You know what, we don’t really have a lot in common and we don’t get on so I’d appreciate it if we could interact less frequently” or “I sense you have some expectations or wants about the type of friendship you hope to have with me and while I understand that you desire a close friendship with me, I don’t really feel like we mesh well. Aside from us dating the same person, we don’t really have much in common and I would prefer if we could just remain acquaintances, rather than forcing a friendship. I feel like forcing a friendship makes me feel uncomfortable.”

All you have to do is put your boundaries up, make them clear to her, and then if she continues to cross them, make your partner aware of that and also make it clear what the consequences for someone violating your boundaries will be. Maybe you choose to never go to his place when you know she will be there? It’s hard for me to say what your consequences will be without really knowing what’s going on.

At any rate, don’t put pressure on yourself to be friends with someone you don’t want to be friends with. You don’t have to be friends with her. As long as your partner isn’t hiding her from you and lying to you and as long as your safer sex rules are being respected, there’s not really much else you need to know or deal with when it comes to her.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Note: I wrote this column in 2017 and it’s possible that my perspectives may have shifted or changed in that time. Feel free to send in a similar question if you have it.

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