Savage Love: The Quad Squad
Tell me if you see anything out of line with the advice he gives here. I don't.
As for tone, that's his shtick. You take it or leave it.
My S.O. and I recently started a polyamorous relationship with another couple, who have been our friends for some time. We see each other pretty regularly for non-sex encounters and sometimes we get together to just hang out. For the first time we were hanging out and I just wasn't feeling it. I attempted to text my S.O. to let him know ... that I just really wanted to go home, but his phone was off and things had already gotten started in the cuddling dept.
Do you have any suggestions for putting the brakes on a potential evening? I'm GGG in the sense that I am fine with him having fun without me, but he's not interested in a threesome with the other male partner, and I don't want to be the reason someone gets left out.
– Friendly Orgasms Usually Relaxing
Navigating interests and libidos is complicated enough for two people — half the mail most weeks is from couples who quite can't get their feeling-it/not-feeling-it dynamics into a rough semi-synch. So it would be highly unrealistic for four members of a poly quad to expect that all four will be in perfect sync all of the time.
And just as it’s perfectly acceptable to communicate that you’re not feeling it when you're in a relationship with one person, FOUR, it's perfectly acceptable to communicate that you're not feeling when you're in a relationship with multiple partners. So it frankly concerns me, FOUR, that you felt you had to send a secret smoke signal to your your S.O., your primary partner, in the form of a text — a text he didn't see, which presumably resulted in you playing along because things "had already gotten started." If you're in a relationship with this other couple, FOUR, and not just fucking around with them, you should be able to communicate with them too — using your words, not your smartphone. If you don't feel comfortable communicating with this other couple (about sex!), FOUR, you may have slapped the "polyamorous relationship" label on this foursome prematurely.
...If you always play as a group... then your S.O. should be used to being around the other male partner while he's in action. So if you took off or tapped out, FOUR, and the others wanted to mess around, the guys could take turns while one waited on the other bed or in another room. If you're already having the occasional MFF threesome, FOUR, then both guys should be familiar with getting left out taking a powder while the other three play. There are lots of workarounds here — including your S.O. getting over his fear of MMF threesomes.
The next time you all get together and you’re not feeling it, FOUR, you could text your S.O. an S.O.S. or make up a bullshit excuse — early work meeting, headache, bad clams — or, you could tell the truth. The truth is your best option — and it puts the onus on the others to figure out how to proceed without you but with your blessing.
I would urge you, however, to have a conversation with your S.O. and the other couple as soon as possible about the other night. ... Tell them you want to open up the lines of communication, so that the next time someone isn't feeling it (and it might not be you next time), that person feels free to say so, without fear of being shamed or pressured by the others.
If your S.O. and the other couple aren't assholes, FOUR, they'll be mortified to know that you didn't feel comfortable telling them how you were feeling in the moment.
Here's the original at his home paper (May 31, 2017). Possibly NSFW ads.
Update July 28: Another Savage Love Letter of the Day, in which he takes a very snarkable poly letter and treats it with delicacy, care and respect: Anxiety Attacks at the Trio Rodeo.