Mono/poly relationship... can it work?

Hello everyone,

I am in search of advice. I am dating a man who is polyamorous. I am very monogamous. It is still a new relationship, but I am trying to decide whether it has a chance of working before I risk his heart (and mine) too much.

He has a secondary partner (forgive me if I mess up terms) and a couple more casual relationships. I'm apparently the primary?. He says that means he wants to build a life with me (live together, kids).

I struggle with it, but am open to trying to make it work. I've heard of writing up a contract, and I like the idea of defined boundries. But I want to be reasonable - well I have to be. If you have suggestions for things to think about I would be grateful.

How do you have a discussion about rules when you don't know what will happen in the future? What if he meets someone and likes them more or wants to spend more time with them? How can I ensure both of our needs are met? How do I feel secure? I worry he won't have enough time for me.

Also, information sharing. He tells his secondary partner a lot of information and it makes me feel very uncomfortable. I would prefer she knows nothing about me or our relationship but that may not be reasonable. He would really like us to be friends or at least on ok terms. I really struggle with that part. What in your opinion is reasonable? Any tips for how to make that work?

He is very open about it and really wants me to feel secure. I know it will take compromise on both sides.

Any advice?
 

TinCup

Member
I would be worried that he considers you primary in a still new relationship. It seems too early for that.
He shouldn't be sharing anything you don't consent to.
It kind of sounds like his NRE has him in "bad hinge" land. He needs to work on that.
 
I would be worried that he considers you primary in a still new relationship. It seems too early for that.
He shouldn't be sharing anything you don't consent to.
It kind of sounds like his NRE has him in "bad hinge" land. He needs to work on that.
Pardon my ignorance but what is "bad hinge" land?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Monofeelinlovepoly,

A bad (or sloppy) hinge is when a hinge (the man you are dating) doesn't handle his two relationships (you and his secondary partner) discreetly. An example of that would be that he shares stuff about one partner (you) with the other partner (his secondary) that you don't feel comfortable with him sharing, and his secondary may not like hearing what he is sharing with her about you. Bad/sloppy hinge (also termed bad hinging).

It seems to me that he wants Kitchen Table Poly with you, whereas you would rather have Parallel Poly. There is nothing wrong with you wanting that; he should be willing to respect that. Just because he wants KTP doesn't mean you should want the same thing, you are an individual, you have a right to want what you want, and it is not cool to share your private information with someone else.

I do think it is reasonable (and this is where you could compromise for him) for his secondary to know of your existence. Otherwise she can't consent to him having you as a primary partner because she doesn't know you exist. So he should tell her that much, maybe a little basic information about who you are, and what role you play in his life. But you should not have to be friends with her, it is enough if you can be polite with her if there's an emergency.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Kevin gave great advice. I am curious how long you and bf (he needs a nickname) have been together. It's not wise to make long term plans (or move in together) until you've really gotten to know each other through dating for at least a year. That is when your NRE starts to wear off and you begin to see each other clearly. Of course, this applies to mono relationships too.
 
Myself being a mono husband and my wife desiring to be poly, the question I keep asking myself is this:

'How would her being polyamorous deepen... strengthen... empower... or otherwise just generally improve our marital relationship?'

So far as I can tell, it doesn't. Yes, it might help her but it doesn't seem to help us. Unless you're aromantic and/or asexual so someone else takes that pressure off your shoulders to fulfill that felt-need, or you're someone with a bit of a kinky side who gets off from their partner being with another person, I fail to perceive how it does much positive for the mono partner or their relationship together.

An argument could be made, I suppose, that poly partners being allowed to be their true selves makes them happier and more fulfilled. This then enables that energy to positively flow back into the marital relationship. However, the question for me then becomes whether that positive energy offsets the new stresses, felt losses (e.g. privacy), and all that. To my mind, it doesn't. Maybe others feel differently.

Also, obviously I'm speaking from the perspective of my own marital relationship. Your circumstances may differ. I don't know how long-term and/or committed your dating relationship is. Maybe it's still early enough in the relationship, and the relational dynamics remain flexible enough, that these things are easier to renegotiate and build into the relationship? So, that could be different. I'm open to that possibility.

Best of luck.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
Myself being a mono husband and my wife desiring to be poly, the question I keep asking myself is this:

'How would her being polyamorous deepen... strengthen... empower... or otherwise just generally improve our marital relationship?'

So far as I can tell, it doesn't. Yes, it might help her but it doesn't seem to help us. Unless you're aromantic and/or asexual so someone else takes that pressure off your shoulders to fulfill that felt-need, or you're someone with a bit of a kinky side who gets off from their partner being with another person, I fail to perceive how it does much positive for the mono partner or their relationship together.

An argument could be made, I suppose, that poly partners being allowed to be their true selves makes them happier and more fulfilled. This then enables that energy to positively flow back into the marital relationship. However, the question for me then becomes whether that positive energy offsets the new stresses, felt losses (e.g. privacy), and all that. To my mind, it doesn't. Maybe others feel differently.

I think that for a mono/poly relationship to be successful, the mono person can't equate himself/herself with "the marital relationship." They would have to recognize that their poly partner truly can't be their best, truest, happiest self in a normal marital relationship and they'd have to be willing to create a new marital relationship with a new dynamic. They would have to say, Yes this would help us because it WOULD help my spouse be happier.

BUT it is also okay for the mono partner to say, "No, this will not help ME and this is not what I want. This is not the kind of relationship I want."

A better question to ask might be, "Can a mono/poly relationship work if the poly person gives up being poly for the mono person?"

Because many poly people DO give up being poly for a monogamous relationship. Sometimes it's because they can be happy either way, mono or poly. Other times, the poly person may feel that they are very deeply, inherently poly, but they may still be willing to give up that part of their nature for someone they love; in my opinion, this scenario only works when the mono partner understands that the poly partner is choosing to give up something significant (and if the poly person doesn't grow to resent the mono partner for asking for that sacrifice).

For the OP here, because you are just starting a relationship with a poly person, I would approach this with the understanding that your partner is inherently poly and would not thrive in a monogamous relationship. He would have to give up relationships with people who are meaningful to him. He would not be able to be himself.

You would have to ask yourself if you truly love him for himself--meaning, you understand and even love his poly nature. You don't have to be poly yourself, but you would have to learn to understand how poly benefits him and his other partners. You would also have to find some benefit for yourself--which could be anything from appreciating having more time to yourself, more time to spend with platonic friends or family, more time to pursue some very time-consuming passion of yours, or appreciating that you don't have to meet all of your partner's sexual and emotional needs on your own.

If none of that appeals to you, I'd suggest ending the relationship before both of you end up hurting each other. There are plenty of mono people in the world for you to date instead.
 
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