Marriage When Your Partner Wants Non-Monogamy and You Don’t

Coming to grips through the mono/poly quandary.

Posted January 14, 2016 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

In my exercise as a relationship consultant and also skilled in polyamory, I routinely encounter civilization who love each other dbeforehand and also have actually significantly different relationship demands. Many regularly it is a man that wants to have actually a polyamorous partnership and a woman that wishes to reprimary monogamous, however periodically it is the woguy who desires to be poly and also the man that is devoutly monogamous. In either case it deserve to be very painful for both civilization. Tright here are a couple of things to take into consideration if you discover yourself in this place.

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Excusage to Leave?

For some people, trying to open a connection is the last gasp attempt to save it from breaking up. A few people in my 15-year study of polyamorous households explained exactly how coming to be polyamorous conserved their marriage from divorce, though they are in the minority. Unfortunately, ending up being poly to protect against divorce functions only incredibly hardly ever, and much more frequently the relationship self-destructs even more spectacularly than it might otherwise. Since polyamory is so intense emotionally and calls for such focused, compassionate interaction, it deserve to be difficult also for human being in steady relationships that are not suffering significant dispute. For those in high-problem relationships, ending up being polyamorous to save a relationship works around as well as having a baby to save a marriage—abysmally.

If you are unhappy in your relationship and also considering polyamory as a “one-foot-out-the-door” strategy, please retake into consideration. Not only is your original connection unmost likely to make it through the rigors of honest communication and also facility feelings, however you will many likely hurt the other human being you day in your polyamorous trial and error. If you know things are really over, then break up through your previous partnership completely and also take a moment to capture your breath before plunging in to a poly connection. It will conserve everyone associated excruciating pain.

Communicate First, No Cheating

Since polyamory is constructed on a structure of shared trust, respect, honesty, and interaction, it is crucial to implement those relationship methods ideal ameans. Hearing “Honey, I started seeing someone else and want to open up our relationship” deserve to throw even the most self-assured perchild for a loop. Transitioning to an open connection from a monogamous one is tricky at finest, and attempting to begin out via cheating makes it even even more challenging. Communication initially, sex later.

Meeting Needs of Existing Partner

If someone is feeling like they are currently not gaining enough attention, sex, love, or treatment from their companion, the idea of sharing that currently poor supply will certainly not sit well. In order to make polyamory even more palatable to your reluctant partner, make certain to not only satisfy their requirements currently, however likewise reassure them that their demands will proceed to be met later.

Part of meeting your partner’s needs is refraining from shaming, bullying, or badgering. The monogamous-leaning person should avoid shaming the poly-leaning perkid for being unhappy through monogamy—it can not also be an option for them. If the poly perkid is poly by sexual orientation, it is no even more realistic to intend them to be thrilled with monogamy than it is to suppose a lesbian to be excited around being married to a guy. Conversely, monogamy have the right to also be a sexual orientation, and also mono-leaning folks need to not be shamed or badgered into polyamory against their wishes. Badgering leads to false consent and also, incredibly soon after, partnership meltdown.

Start Small

If one companion just wants some open-ness and could be satisfied with something less threatening than falling in love via someone else, think about beginning little. Swinging can administer the perchild who desires consensual non-monogamy through access to sexual range while keeping the couple as the primary focus in order to help the mono-leaning person feel safe via baby actions. Attfinishing a swing club for one evening deserve to assist couples interact about their feelings and also desires without leading anyone else on to think that this will be an recurring partnership. People deserve to make their very own boundaries at swing clubs: It is OK to go and also just watch, or flirt via others and not have actually sex with them.

Alternately, if even considering sex with strangers is too much, attempt a clothed social occasion like a munch or chat with folks at a polyamorous Meetup group. People mingle totally clothed at poly Meetups which are often held in restaurants or various other public areas. Sometimes the people are tright here to satisfy potential dates, occasionally simply to chat and also share advice or experiences. Again, it is OK to make your own borders, so simply going to a Meetup does not expect you have signed as much as be polyamorous.

Dealing via Emotional Pain

While periodically it is no problem for people at all, at other times the desire to create an open relationship or change from monogamy to polyamory deserve to come via pain and also discomfort for everyone concerned. Those seeking consensual non-monogamy have the right to feel shame, guilt, and self-doubt as soon as faced via a loved one who is experiencing as an outcome of their desire for romantic or sex-related open-ness. The monogamous companion can feel poor, unloved, or angry that their beloved desires to readjust the rules of the partnership mid-stream. Regardless of which position human being occupy, tright here is ample chance to experience emotional pain. Crafting techniques to confront and deal with pain, and also look for emotional support and control tension, are life abilities from which everyone deserve to benefit.

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Invest in Yourself

If you are the partner that wants to be monogamous and also feel upset by your partner’s desire to investigate various other relationships, it have the right to be very tough to relax and let go emotionally. If that partner is your single emotional assistance, strongly consider branching out to expand your social circle. This does not need to expect creating added romantic relationships. In fact, friendship might be simply what you need. Feeling favor your people revolves roughly someone who wants to spend time via other partners is regularly terrifying and have the right to leave you bereft of relations. In order to ground yourself more firmly in your very own experience, remember what feels good to you: engage in hobbies, learn somepoint new, reinvigorate old friendships, and also make new relations.


Be Willing to Try Hard

Polyamory can be complicated even when everyone involved is enthusiastic around being in a consensually non-monogamous relationship. For those who are not so sure it is for them, it can be also even more difficult. However before, it deserve to be worth it to attempt extremely hard to conserve a loving connection. If you really love each other and trust that you each have the others’ ideal interest at heart, then offer it all you’ve acquired to try make the partnership job-related. Be functional, try new things, and also tolerate discomfort to obtain over the hump into a new and also even more fulfilling relationship configuration. Don’t wimp out!

Be Willing to Admit When It"s Not Working

If you really offered it your finest try and it becomes clear that the relationship is not going to work-related, then admit it to yourselves sooner than later. Dragging it out will certainly just make points a lot worse, creating a setting rife with potential to reason tremendous pain and emotional damages. Rather than stringing an old companion alengthy until you have uncovered a brand-new companion, break up first so you don’t create more wreckage than important. It is far much better to confront the potential are afraid of being alone than to inflict misery on existing and also new partners.

Sometimes a monogamist and also a polyamorist simply cannot find a romantic or sexual relational style that fits them both comfortably, and in those cases it is far better to communicate honestly and compassionately as they reconnumber to some other—the majority of most likely platonic—develop of relationship. When these folks continue to love each various other and also continue to be together socially but not romantically, they have developed what I call a polyaffective partnership. in that method, they deserve to sustain household relationships also while pursuing various romantic courses. The necessary thing for a congenial polyaffective relationship is to treat each other well throughout and after the romantic split—no lying, cheating, or screwing over.


Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D.

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, is an expert on polyamory and also sexual-minority family members through youngsters. She is the writer of Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families.