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Dear Flora: Polyamory and PPD

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  • Tip Bones

Dear Flora,

I've been with my husband for 8 years now, married for 3. If it matters, I'm also a man. We've always had a satisfying sex life, and I'm very happy with him. I feel like we have always communicated our needs well, and during a recent heart-to-heart, my husband communicated a need that I'm not sure how to handle: polyamory. We've had threesomes in the past, but it was always with a Tinder hookup. Now he's talking about opening the relationship on a permanent basis to other partners, and I'm not sure I want to do it. I do want to make him happy, but I'm happier with the way things are now. What do I do? Is it not going to work out?

- Poly Want a Reality Check

Dear PWaRC,

This is a difficult conversation, one that requires no small amount of delicacy. It seems to me as though you already know the answer you want to give to your husband, which is that you're not comfortable with a polyamorous arrangement. I would recommend that you share your honest feelings as soon as possible.

If it helps, write out your reasons for not wanting a change. Consider whether it's a sexual objection, one about intimacy, logistics, something else, or a combination of several. Your feelings may be very complicated or very simple, but one thing is clear: if you don't want to have a poly relationship, you shouldn't.

Hear your husband's poly proposal first, if you haven't already. It's possible that he may be proposing something different than your worst fears, so it's important to listen. Then share your concerns if the arrangement doesn't suit you. Your letter suggests that you already communicate well together, so I wouldn't imminently fear a split up. However, if he becomes forceful or manipulative, remember that your needs matter, too.

Dear Flora,

In the space of 3 months, I lost my husband and gave birth. I had just entered my third trimester when my husband was in a hit and run accident and died on site. I was no longer excited to have the baby when I knew he wouldn't be there to share the experience with me.

I started self harming, and moved in with my parents to get help. I lost my job and pretty much everything else, so now that I have a 6 week old, I'm having trouble bonding. I'm sad all the time. I couldn't breastfeed. I struggle with suicidal thoughts. I even have thoughts of leaving the baby on a doorstep somewhere, or tossing him off a balcony. I don't know what else to do, and my parents keep saying I need help. But I don't know if I want it.

- Everything Went Wrong

Dear EWW,

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I really can't imagine losing that much, so quickly, during what should have been a joyous time. I'm very glad that your parents are helping with the new baby, and I hope things start looking up. I'm also exceedingly happy that you reached out to me, because it suggests to me that you know you need a helping hand right now.

I'm not a trained health professional, but I am a mom who experienced PPD-- post partum depression. I learned from my doctor that it isn't just a chemical imbalance, but in many a response to trauma before childbirth that manifests in you after the big day. I don't think anybody would argue with me when I say that you've experienced a great deal of trauma.

I think I'm with your parents on this one: some professional help might be very beneficial for you. I know right now you say you don't know if you want it, so why is that? Is it because you are exhausted from depression and don't know if you have the energy to make the commitment? That you don't know if it will even help at all? Let me assure you that these are extremely common feelings surrounding therapy.

My advice is that you lean on the support system you have and seek a form of therapy you're comfortable with. Check your insurance provider (or apply for Medicaid, if you haven't) for covered providers. Ask your family for support in transportation and childcare, as well as keeping you and the baby safe, so you can use these services. Something tells me they'd be delighted to do so. I'm so sorry this happened, and I do hope you feel better soon. Know that there's at least one stranger out here in the internet that is rooting for you! ❤