Poly/ Mono Relationship- Advice Thread

I just started an intense relationship with an older monogamous man. He knew on meeting me that I was married and has met my husband and GF.

However, he had a couple days this past week where hes really struggled against the monogamy in his brain. He had a bit of a breakdown on me that revealed alot of his baggage that I hadn't really seen until then. But it resulted in good talks and he seems to be grasping the concept and working through his hangups.

I know, however, that this will not be an overnight thing and he will likely struggle more, but in the mean time, I feel fairly confident that he can manage himself while still getting my support in whatever lifestyle he wishes to maintain for himself.

All that being said, What would you say to a monogamous person walking into this life with a polyamorous partner?
 

lunabunny

New member
First, can you clarify something:

However, he had a couple days this past week where hes really struggled against the monogamy in his brain.

I feel fairly confident that he can manage himself while still getting my support in whatever lifestyle he wishes to maintain for himself.

When you say your new love interest is struggling "against the monogamy in his brain" - do you mean he's struggling with the fact that he has been raised in a mono-normative culture and is therefore bringing a lot of those values into his relationship with you, a poly person, and fears he won't be able to handle you seeing other people... OR...

Due to his new relationship with you, he is suddenly aware that he MAY be open to idea of polyamory FOR HIMSELF, as well, but is struggling with his preconceptions of what a relationship "should look like", so isn't sure he can go down that path himself... OR...

A bit of both?

All that being said, What would you say to a monogamous person walking into this life with a polyamorous partner?

It can be done. Albeit, it is generally more difficult for a mono person (who wishes to remain mono) to enter into a relationship with a person who has established polyamorous relationships - plural, in your case, as you're not only married, but you have a girlfriend and other love interests/fwbs as well.

As your time with/for this new man will be limited by the fact that you have several other relationships, I would firstly try to figure out what kind of expectations HE has for the relationship, and see if that meshes with what YOU can reasonably offer him at this juncture of your life.

IF he intends to remain monogamous (with you), he will presumably be left with a lot of free time on his hands, during which you will not be "available" to him. How does he feel about that? It may not be such a problem if you're long distance or he has a job or other interests that take up a good deal of his time and energy.

If he is contemplating polyamory as a lifestyle for himself (and even - or especially - if he isn't) he will need to delve deeper into the principles behind the practice. Have him read books and blogs on the subject, such as The Ethical Slut and More Than Two, and watch podcasts, read articles etc. Discuss what he has read or viewed, and his feelings about various issues.

Only after he has educated himself regarding poly, and had some time to process the idea... you can discuss the specific details of HOW you two intend to operate as a dyad... and negotiate agreements.

For the past two years, I've been the hinge in a poly "V" where both partners are monogamous. It didn't just happen, nor did it all fall into place without a massive amount of discussion, communication, negotiation (and a fair number of heated exchanges, to be honest). It's been one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, even though I am the one with two partners. But it CAN be done.
 

KC43

New member
My husband is monogamous; I'm poly, currently with only one other partner but I'm sort of starting to date again. (I just broke up with a partner, so I'm not looking too hard yet for another.)

Hubby hasn't really had any issues with me being poly, but then again, he is an extremely self-contained person. Even when we're both home and awake, he doesn't interact much with me beyond giving me a hug on his way from his computer to the kitchen. He's content knowing that he has a wife; it doesn't matter much to him one way or another if I'm at home or out with another partner. He also works 2-3 jobs depending on the time of year, so isn't home much anyway.

I think in general, how well a poly/mono relationship works depends on how much else the mono partner has in their life that they can occupy themself with when the poly partner isn't available.
 

OpenUncertain

New member
I'm coming from his side in this scenario. I was recently "surprised" by someone after learning she had a LDR with a FWB which totally caught me off-guard. She didn't clue me in early enough for my comfort level, and I've been working through a bit of a "breakdown" myself.

Lunabunny's question about his struggle (mono-culture battle v. Wanting it for himself) is worth considering. I've been battling both, which may take more patience and understanding on your part of he's doing the same.

My scenario only had the one other person involved, and I'd been asking tons of questions to learn about that relationship to even start feeling comfortable about it. Your man may be different, but he does have more to contemplate in regards to what he's getting involved with with you specifically (with regards to number of partners compared to my situation).

It sounds like you've laid the reality out to him, and are letting him decide what he wants. That's crucial. There may not really be much more you have to say. Be there to answer his questions, and anticipate misunderstanding on his part. If you're coming from a place where you're being true to yourself, are comfortable/confident in that, and are able to articulate it, he should be able to pick that up and decide for himself.

For me, hearing some of these things from her helped me understand...
- love for one does not diminish love for another
- what compersion meant to her, personally
- what she wanted and was getting out of the other relationships
- what she wanted and was getting from me, specifically
- she would be sad to see me leave, but would understand if I did

Some of that was hard for me to hear, and may have been hearing it sooner than I was prepared. That doesn't mean I didn't need to hear them, but I don't recommend throwing all that at him to digest at once Maybe let him come to you with some of his struggles.
 
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vinsanity0

Active member
Having had a couple mono partners, I would tell them they have to start by letting go of all their preconceived notions of what relationships are. Then I would encourage them to ask me questions and believe my answers.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Indigo,

I don't know if this will help, but here are some mono/poly resources:

Al99 and YouAreHere were mono, but are now poly. So they kind of have a perspective from both sides. Anyway, I hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
What would you say to a monogamous person walking into this life with a polyamorous partner?

I'd want to know why they want to do this.

I feel fairly confident that he can manage himself while still getting my support in whatever lifestyle he wishes to maintain for himself.

I would focus on that. I guess stuff like...



"I expect you to manage yourself. I'm willing to offer my support in whatever lifestyle you wish to maintain for yourself in reasonable and rational ways. So... what lifestyle ARE you going for?

Why are you doing this? What do you hope to gain from this relationship? I hope you aren't doing it just to date me. I don't want you bending yourself into pretzels.

Are you monogamous in that you want to relate only in 1:1 relationship shapes? Why choose to participate in a shape like this then, if this is not your fav shape? I don't think I can support that. I would prefer to part ways romantically and focus on being friends instead.

Are you monoamorous -- like you want to love 1 sweetie, but are flexible about the relationship shape? You are ok as an endpoint in a V or network or want to become ok with it? If so, what do you plan to do to become ok with that? How can I help support you in that work?

Are you thinking you might be polyamorous yourself? If so, what do you plan to do to become ok with that? How can I help support you in that work?

Because you cannot do things FOR people. They have to be willing to do it for themselves. You can help with their reasonable and rational requests, but it cannot be like the hinge has to do everyone's work for them just cuz they are the hinge.

I don't really like it when I observe people go at it like "Oh, I'm doing this for YOU! Look at how I pretzel bend myself and sacrifice myself for you!" Who's asking them to hurt themselves like that? :confused:

I think love is shared. Love doesn't have to be "proven."

Galagirl
 
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YouAreHere

Well-known member
Hi Indigo,

I don't know if this will help, but here are some mono/poly resources:

Al99 and YouAreHere were mono, but are now poly. So they kind of have a perspective from both sides. Anyway, I hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.

I haven't updated in QUITE a while, but here's as good a time/place as any. :)

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm poly. I went out on a handful of dates with someone who didn't really like the relationship structure, so we're back to being friends. As for me, I have (again) no interest in finding another relationship. If someone I'm friends with starts making moves toward taking that further, I may choose to reevaluate, but right now I'm just being me. Not "mono" me. Not "poly" me. Just "eeeeeh, I dunno, do I really need a label?" me. :)

That said, though, I'll try to catch up and see if there is any perspective I can offer. It may not be worth much, but hey... ;)
 
First, can you clarify something:



When you say your new love interest is struggling "against the monogamy in his brain" - do you mean he's struggling with the fact that he has been raised in a mono-normative culture and is therefore bringing a lot of those values into his relationship with you, a poly person, and fears he won't be able to handle you seeing other people... OR...

Due to his new relationship with you, he is suddenly aware that he MAY be open to idea of polyamory FOR HIMSELF, as well, but is struggling with his preconceptions of what a relationship "should look like", so isn't sure he can go down that path himself... OR...

A bit of both?

It definitely seems to be a bit of both. In our conversations since his "freak out", he has intentionally changed his language from "I am a true monogamous" to "I HAVE been a true monogamous". He pointed out last night that he feels his thinking slowly shifting.

It can be done. Albeit, it is generally more difficult for a mono person (who wishes to remain mono) to enter into a relationship with a person who has established polyamorous relationships - plural, in your case, as you're not only married, but you have a girlfriend and other love interests/fwbs as well.

As your time with/for this new man will be limited by the fact that you have several other relationships, I would firstly try to figure out what kind of expectations HE has for the relationship, and see if that meshes with what YOU can reasonably offer him at this juncture of your life.

IF he intends to remain monogamous (with you), he will presumably be left with a lot of free time on his hands, during which you will not be "available" to him. How does he feel about that? It may not be such a problem if you're long distance or he has a job or other interests that take up a good deal of his time and energy.

If he is contemplating polyamory as a lifestyle for himself (and even - or especially - if he isn't) he will need to delve deeper into the principles behind the practice. Have him read books and blogs on the subject, such as The Ethical Slut and More Than Two, and watch podcasts, read articles etc. Discuss what he has read or viewed, and his feelings about various issues.
I definitely do believe that this is something which he has interest in for himself, at some point down the line at least. He's taken it upon himself all along this process to research and inform himself on polyamory and sent me articles fairly regularly explaining how he felt about them, his downfalls, etc.

I have made it very clear that his decision either way will be supported and accommodated. a number of times, I've used real life and hypothetical examples of mono/poly relationships and their hangups and I'm finding that he's beginning to argue against monogamy on his own and becoming a natural advocate of polyamory. He obviously still has a few hangups, but he has been able to rationalize them as personal fears that are telling him something.

Only after he has educated himself regarding poly, and had some time to process the idea... you can discuss the specific details of HOW you two intend to operate as a dyad... and negotiate agreements.

For the past two years, I've been the hinge in a poly "V" where both partners are monogamous. It didn't just happen, nor did it all fall into place without a massive amount of discussion, communication, negotiation (and a fair number of heated exchanges, to be honest). It's been one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, even though I am the one with two partners. But it CAN be done.

Your strength to pull through that is admirable. I can't imagine what mess there would be if that were the case in my situation. It makes me sweat thinking about it.

I know he has a ways to go before I will feel totally confident, but last night when he came over and saw Kenny in passing, made it a point to apologize to him for the mess he made while freaking out last week. Their exchanged made me smile as I really wasn't expecting it in that moment, but with Kai's enthusiasm to build my and my families' trust back has been a relief.
 
Because you cannot do things FOR people. They have to be willing to do it for themselves. You can help with their reasonable and rational requests, but it cannot be like the hinge has to do everyone's work for them just cuz they are the hinge.

I don't really like it when I observe people go at it like "Oh, I'm doing this for YOU! Look at how I pretzel bend myself and sacrifice myself for you!" Who's asking them to hurt themselves like that? :confused:

I think love is shared. Love doesn't have to be "proven."

Galagirl

This. Yes. This was probably one of the first issues that I brought up. I'm not asking him to change for me. Nor am I going to ask him to compromise his desires for me. If he wants a monogamous partner, it's not me. I can't give him that. And I don't need him resenting me down the line because he compromised all ~these things~ he wanted so that he can be with me. I need to know that his happiness he finds doing this journey is worth what he's giving up in whatever ideas he had for himself with a monogamous partner. He knew the day we met what he was walking into, so if he can't handle it, he needs to walk away.
 
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