What could *possibly* go wrong?
First, can I say you guys run a really useful forum. I've been thoroughly enjoying reading round it.
I'm in kind of a weird situation (well, for me it's weird), and I'd appreciate your take on it. I've been meeting up* with a girl for a couple of months now in a date-like fashion. We enjoy each other's company, but she's been reticent about using the formal girlfriend/boyfriend labels.
She is also bi (which I knew), and last night she sat me down for a serious chat and told me that she is currently in a relationship with a female friend of hers. She has self-defined as poly since some time last year, and she seems interested in continuing our relationship**.
Now personally I'm mono. I'm also - to be brutally honest - not terribly secure (classic geek), and totally out of practice with any kind of relationship. As such, the current situation is confusing on multiple levels, and it all seems like it could go very very wrong.
So. My first question for you is: should I carry on this relationship? Given that her other significant other has precedence, I assume I'd be secondary - have I got that right? Is being secondary bearable for someone who is less inclined towards multiple relationships? What trade-offs am I making here?
Secondly: if I decide to go for it, what pitfalls should I watch out for? The obvious source of catastrophe in a new mono/poly relationship is her other significant other. I don't know what the OSO's feelings are about the situation - if she reacts negatively then will things get very political very fast? What else should I worry about? What questions should I be asking her? For that matter, what questions is it safe to ask her, and which will just cause upset?
Thirdly: if someone is poly, is it assumed that their SOs are themselves free to behave in a polyamorous fashion? I.e. if I someday find another girl I like, what would be the repercussions of dating her? Part of me thinks that it would be a bit dog-in-a-manger for girl #1 to object; another part of me thinks that that's a dangerously wrongheaded attitude.
Fourthly: how do you integrate a poly relationship back into a mono society? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I have to draw network diagrams to explain my love life then I'm probably going to freak some people out. That goes double since I'm moderately uncomfortable with the situation. How does one avoid being dismissed as a cuckold by people with more macho mindsets?
Thanks in advance for your wisdom.
* Terminology check: this is not a euphemism for "hot monkey sex". I'm assuming you folks are mostly the other side of the Big Pond from me, and I'm not sure how much of the lingo transfers over.
** The thought that this was an incredibly elaborate way of dumping me had crossed my mind...