Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

Kindred Spirits

The last few days have been rather interesting on both my and Ben’s end. On the weekend, we were visited by Amy, who we hadn’t seen for quite some time. Initially, she was planning to come on Saturday night, but we opted to have her over on Sunday morning. We did this for 2 reasons: We weren’t sure what Amy’s relationship situation was at the time and we want to ease Eve into poly, so perhaps having sex with Amy wasn’t the best idea. Also, on Saturday, Eve formally asked Ben to be her partner and we didn’t want to jeopardize that. Amy is involved with a guy in Beijing, but we found out on Sunday that it hasn’t solidified into a relationship yet. Eve also told us that she was fine with us having sex with Amy, so we didn’t feel bad when the threesome started happening. It was quite enjoyable for all of us. As I may have mentioned on this blog, Amy has never been with a woman before. On Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to feel her fingering me and her telling me that she’s feeling more comfortable with me. She even said we should spend a weekend together. Who knows if that will actually happen, but the prospect is nice.

After Amy left, Ben told Eve about what happened and Eve felt upset. We discovered yesterday what the reason was: Ben had thought that Eve was upset because of the sex. In fact, she was upset because Ben had not communicated clearly what would happen. Eve told me that she’s not jealous about the sex because there is no romantic intention between Amy and Ben. I think that both Eve and Ben are feeling more strongly about the relationship now. Ben was so scared of losing her – I have to say, on my end, that’s very attractive. I reassured Eve that Ben is normally a very good communicator, but now he knows that he needs to be clearer in the future.

On Monday, I received a text message from Mily, telling me that she just wants to be friends, though good friends at that. I was upset for a bit, but I’m quite happy to have more friends and Mily’s leaving soon anyway. I don’t like getting into relationships that have an expiry date. However, that may be what I’m getting into now… As I mentioned on the last blog, I met someone else on the day I saw Mily and I could detect that there was mutual interest. He shall be known as Alex. I saw him and the friend who introduced us on Saturday and that was really nice. Ben was with us as well and he described Alex and I as kindred spirits. I invited Alex to have coffee with me on Tuesday and that went very well. It even ended with some oral sex. I do want to move cautiously because he’s 9 years younger than me and fairly inexperienced in relationships and sex. As I’ve written before, I have mixed feelings about being the teacher. That being said, he does pick things up quite quickly. He had said on our date that he’ll try to get me addicted to him. I told him that the best way to do that is regular contact. I am often the one who initiates contact, so I wanted to see if he would initiate contact with me. Up until 24 hours after the date, I hadn’t heard from him. Suddenly, the phone rang last night and it was him, asking me if I wanted to have lunch with him and our mutual friend today; I said yes. I was impressed that he learns so quickly. Perhaps this is the start of something promising… I don’t want to give a lot of personal details, but I will say that he isn’t Chinese. He wants to do a Master’s degree abroad and that could be in the US or Canada. We’ll see what the future will bring.

One issue that I am cognizant of is how public displays of affection are treated in China and the fact that most people here know that I’m with Ben. Most of our colleagues know about our poly relationship, but our students don’t. Alex and I walked around my university campus and I felt a bit self-conscious. I had to pick something up in my office and I saw one of my colleagues, who most likely doesn’t know about us being poly; I didn’t know how to introduce Alex to him. Alex and I also had dinner at a restaurant that Ben and I frequent and I could see the staff giving Alex and I looks. I don’t really want to care about all of this, but I’m nervous about what my students might think. This issue may also come up if Eve visits us. If any readers have advice on this issue, I’d love to hear it.

I recently received a question and I will answer it on this blog within a few days. If you have a question about relationships and non-monogamy, please email me at Thank you for reading!

Sweet Surrender

I had an interesting Saturday night last weekend followed by a very interesting day on Wednesday. Last weekend, I went with some colleagues to a gay bar here in Zhengzhou. My colleague’s friend put on a party there. The music was very good and the atmosphere was also great – people weren’t crazily drunk and there wasn’t a lot of smoking. A few hours into the night, I met a woman who I will call Mily. She looked very excitable and had, what I would describe, a nice light in her face. We danced fairly close together and she told me that I’m the first woman she’s ever been attracted to. I told her that I found her attractive as well. She ended up kissing me on the cheek and I kissed hers. I didn’t want to push anything with her, but I did want to kiss her on the lips. I leaned into do that and she shied away. She left for a bit, but then we continued dancing. I was very surprised when she kissed me on the lips! It was a very pleasant kiss. She gave me her number and said, keep in touch. I called her the following day and we arranged to meet on Wednesday. We had coffee at a very nice cafe and had good conversation. I was nervous about telling her about Ben, but then I found out that she has a unique insight into poly. She told me that she was previously married and her husband also happened to be with another woman in Thailand. She considered sending angry messages to that woman, but in the end, they actually became friends. Mily said to me, they are soulmates; I was pretty impressed with that. I told her about Ben and my past and she was very positive about it all. Unfortunately, Mily may not stay in Zhengzhou past May, but I’m sure we’ll at least have a friendship; I also want to move cautiously since Mily has never been with a woman before. She has invited me over to her house next week for lunch and she is keen to meet Ben, which I think are very good signs.

On Wednesday, before I had coffee with Mily, I had lunch with a friend and met a friend of hers, who’s interested in being poly. I think there is some mutual interest and he lives nearby, which is always a bonus. That evening, I talked to Ben about one reason why I like being with guys. I’m a pretty focused and driven person; when I put my mind to something, I can usually achieve it. When I’m with a guy, I feel all of that melt away. As per the title of this post, I can surrender myself to someone else. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing and it’s a very traditional way of looking at relationships. I think it can be traced back to my relationship with my father when I was younger. He was a pretty angry person back then and I never wanted to upset him, so I usually went along with what he wanted. I also lived with a stubborn sister and sometimes stubborn mother, so I’m used to being the one who’s more flexible and does what others want. Now, I often feel like I need to change my relationships with men, and perhaps with women as well. I’ve often been the one who takes initiative in a relationship and I want the people I’m with to take initiative as well. I also feel like I need to be more collaborative – if I have an idea, I want to discuss it more with the other person or people before doing something about it.  I’d also like to have a partner who comes up with the ideas and I can figure out the details, as I’m very detail oriented. I think there’ll be more of that once Ben and I return to Canada, when we’re on more equal footing, and I look forward to it.

Thank you as always for reading! If you have a relationship query, email me at


Learning Compersion

This post will be about 2 things: learning and compersion. Ben commented to me the other day that once you learn about poly, it’s difficult to go back to monogamy. You cannot unlearn the fact that you are aware that polyamory and non-monogamy exist. You might try it out and find out it’s not for you, but if you get into it and like it, I think it’s quite difficult to go back. I’m always reminded of someone I interviewed for a little research project who said to me, I feel like I passed a signpost that said, you will be poly from here on out. For myself, I feel the same way. There are many different ways to be poly and those may change, but for those of us who like all genders, we will always have the desire to be with more than one gender. For people who are straight and poly, the desire to have different relationships will be there as well. As many of my readers know, I got into poly because of a certain American person. Once I met him and I was aware that I could have feelings for more than 1 person, there was no turning back.

Ben, Eve, and I continue to have regular contact. She will definitely be coming here at the end of April. As Eve and I get to know each other better, we like each other more and more. She even said that she would be friends with me with or without Ben and I feel the same way. We think very similarly and our interests are also similar. Both of us have had few meaningful relationships in the past with women because we are very different from most women, so it’s always nice to meet a woman who is like us. Eve has never been attracted to a woman before and of course, it’s hard to know at this point if we’ll be attracted to each other because we haven’t met yet. I also don’t want to get my hopes up because Eve might end up living very far away from us. She’s applying to do her Master’s in Europe and we’ll be on the west coast of North America. There is a chance that she could do her Master’s in Canada, but the particular program she wants to apply to is in Guelph, which isn’t all that close to where we’ll be. I’m planning to apply for my PhD in Washington, Michigan, and California and that would start next year.

By getting to know Eve better, I find that compersion is so much easier. I’m happy for Eve and Ben because I want them both to be happy. As a reminder, compersion is often described as the opposite of jealousy; when you are happy for your partner to be involved, in whatever way, with others. I don’t think that experiencing compersion is necessarily a requirement of poly, but I think it definitely helps get over whatever jealousy existed. I think it also helps us let go of the possessive side of love. Don’t get me wrong – there are times where I want Ben all to myself. For the time that we’ve been involved, we haven’t really had other serious relationships, so this does take some getting used to. In the end though, Ben and I want to create a team of love. This could mean several of us living together and supporting each other in whatever ways are needed. It’s not for everyone, but I think that having that kind of bond would be amazing. A true poly family.

Thank you as always for reading! If you have a question, email me at


Relationship Logistics

I am now back in Zhengzhou with Ben and we are very glad to be together after such a long absence. We realized that we could have planned our trips better and perhaps could have had more time together, but we were happy that we got to be independent for those 6 weeks. On the tail end of my trip, I got to spend 1 day in Hong Kong and had some delicious dim sum. I have had dim sum many a time in Toronto, my hometown, and really wanted to try it in its native place – it was indeed delicious. I also got to spend a bit of time with a charming French man who was travelling around the world and we had a few meals together and watched the Imitation Game, which I highly recommend. Now, Ben and I are adjusting to being back in this city that we don’t really like, but happy to be living together again.

The other night, Ben, Eve, and I all had an online call together. We talked about many things, including all of our futures. Eve is planning to visit us here in China, most likely next month. We are all excited about it, but also nervous because it is difficult to know where the relationship might go at this point. Eve is applying to do her Master’s in Austria while Ben and I are planning to live on the west coast of North America. We are returning to Canada in July and will be in BC for about 1 year, after which I may go to Seattle, Ann Arbor, or southern California for a PhD. Ben is not sure exactly what his future holds – when we return, he is planning to search for gold in BC and may or may not be successful. Thus, we may all end up being in different places.

One of the biggest challenges of polyamory is logistics. Whether you are living in the same place or having long distance relationships, everyone only has so much time to spend together. Money can also be an issue if you have to travel far distances to see different people. When Ben and I were living apart, we missed each other horribly. We were, thankfully, able to come to Asia and be together. Despite the challenges of being in this part of the world, we relish the time we spend together. Depending on Eve’s acceptance into the program in Austria and what sort of funding she’ll receive, she may go there or stay in Vietnam. Either way, all of us want to see what it’s like to be together.

One last thing I want to mention: while Eve, Ben and I were talking, Eve asked us what our definition of a relationship is. Despite writing about relationships, this is something I hardly ever think about. With regard to a romantic relationship, it can include so many different things: spending time together, sharing secrets and intimacy, sex or at times no sex, communication, and as Ben pointed out, some sort of commitment. I think most people enter into a relationship thinking that it could last forever. It’s easy to say that from the outset, but one has to put in the work to make sure it lasts. Dear readers, how do you define a relationship? Write to me at

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