polyamorous couples

I am asked this question more than almost any other question about polyamory.   My short answer – yes, it is possible.  However, to make a polyamorous /monogamous relationship work takes partners who are secure in themselves and their choices, secure in the relationship, good communicators and willing to work.

Often people who are monogamous don’t understand why a person would want to be polyamorous and this can lead to feeling that a polyamorous partner is looking to replace them or that if they just work hard enough, the person will become monogamous.   If the relationship started as a monogamous one and one partner has changed, it is often very hard for the one who has remained monogamous to manage that shift.

Curious if polyamory is right for you? Be sure to read this piece.

It is the polyamorous person who will find themselves with the responsibility to help the monogamous person feel as safe and secure in the relationship as possible.   Good communication, the ability to set boundaries and stellar negotiation skills are essential.

Both parties will need to understand the other person’s worldview.  If they are truly committed to each other, they must spend time and work at understanding as fully as possible.  Relationships where each person’s goals and expectations are different are difficult relationships.  In order to make them work, both people will have to put in lots of effort.

Essentials for a Polyamorous /Monogamous Relationships to Work:

  • The poly partner is clear about what their version of poly entails. 

    Not all polyamory is the same.  Some relationships are hierarchical – there is a central relationship that takes precedence and other relationships come in after the main list of priorities.  Other polyamorous relationships are egalitarian so priorities are juggled regularly.   Some polyamorous relationships involve only casual relationships outside of the original relationship.  If you want the type of polyamory where all of your partners and their other partners are friends, you need to be clear with your monogamous partner that this is your expectation.  To be friends with other partners requires a very high level of security as a person and also security in the relationship.  It is often easier to feel less threatened if you don’t see and talk to another person who is sexually involved with your partner if you are by nature monogamous.

  • The monogamous partner understands that his partner is not seeking other relationships because something is missing in their relationship.  

    Often the monogamous person feels that his partner would not be looking elsewhere if he was better at x, y or z or if he changed his body shape, hair or something else.  This has nothing to do with why the partner is polyamorous.   Understanding this leads to feeling personally more secure.  If you believe that your partner finds you lacking and that is why she is looking for another partner, your self-esteem will dip and you will find it hard to feel secure in the relationship.

  • The couple creates rules and boundaries for their relationship and for the other relationships that the polyamorous person enters into.  

    Lots of monogamous heterosexual couples do not create rules and boundaries for their relationships.  They leave most things completely unspoken and have lots of expectations based on their upbringings, previous relationships, and societal influences.  This often leads to problems in relationships and difficulty working through issues that arise.   Relationships can work for many years before expectations and a lack of clear boundaries become a problem.

    In polyamorous /monogamous relationships issues arise quickly if these areas are not clearly discussed, negotiated and spelled out.  I see this as the blueprint for the relationship because blueprints are detailed plans with lots of boundaries, measurements, and rules. Plans can be changed as a building is being constructed.  Modifications are agreed upon because something won’t work in practice or because someone changes his mind.  The changes are discussed and agreed and added to the blueprint.

Areas that form part of a good blueprint:

  • Time management 

    Will the relationship be prioritized?  Are there special days or events that need to be spent together?  Will you spend the night with other partners?

  • Living arrangements 

    Are you living together or are you planning on living together? Can you bring other partners to spend the night in the home you share together if you share a home together?  If you don’t live together, will the poly partner possibly live with one of her other partners?   Is the plan to get married or form a civil partnership?

  • Children 

    If you already have children together, how will you manage other partners?  Will the children meet them or spend time with them?  If you don’t have children, do either of you want them?  If one of you does and the other doesn’t how will that be managed in the relationship?  If the poly person is the one who wants children will they have them with another partner?

  • Sexual limits and boundaries  

    Are there activities you reserve only for the two of you?  What will you do in relation to safe sex?  Will there be fluid bonding between the two of you and with no one else?  How often will you get tested for STD’s?

  • Information Sharing  

    Will you talk to each other about the other partners in detail?  Does the mono person want to hear details?  Does the poly person feel comfortable sharing details?  How much information will be shared with other partners?

  • Public acknowledgment of the relationship

    Will other partners be public?  What about social media?  What explanation will you give people like family and friends?

  • Partner choosing

    Will the mono partner have the right to say no to a potential partner who feels threatening to him?  Are there limits on who can be chosen based on marital status, age or perceived complications?

  • Desires, wishes, dreams

    Draw a picture of how you wish the relationships will look in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 5 years.  Look at this plan for non-workable parts, issues that might arise, areas of potential problems and try to find solutions or alter the plans.

There is a lot to consider when creating this blueprint.  If you aren’t great at communicating about difficult complex issues, I suggest having a number of sessions with a sex and intimacy coach.  A coach can help you both find the language and build the negotiating and communication skills and this will give you a better chance of creating a relationship that works for both of you and any partners who come along in the future.

Coaching can also help you gain strategies to manage any intense emotions that arise.  Many people have only a small set of emotional management strategies and this can be limiting.  You can expand your repertoire and with practice become an expert at managing emotions and stress.

Polyamory /monogamous relationships can be rich and fulfilling as long as you are able to put in the work and you treat each other and the relationship with the respect and care it deserves.

If I can help you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Polyamory is often complex and something couples are interested in but need a little help to negotiate the terms so that everyone feels safe. I’m happy to offer you a free 30 minute consultation to see what kind of support would be the most helpful for you.  Schedule by going to https://drloribethbisbey.com/ and heading to the contact page.  You can click on the schedule button thee.  I have had such a large response from this article that I can no longer respond to individual emails.  You can purchase an email package here (US).Or here (UK). and use the package to gain some individual advice via email from me.


  • […] these relationships are poly monogamous relationships.  For more on poly monogamy see my article here.  These relationships can work well however couples need to communicate well and negotiate […]

    • Kate says:

      I am in a real with a partner who is non-monogamous with sexual partners. I want to be Strickland monogamous but it is clear this will not work for my partner. I don’t know how to come to a middle ground when we are so different. I’m trying to change how I see sex and what I want but I’m failing miserably. Do you have suggestions?

      • Dr Lori Beth says:

        If you want to come to a middle ground, you will likely need some help getting there. I’m afraid I don’t have any DIY suggestions. If you would like to explore how I can help, schedule a 30 minute free discovery session with me by heading to the contact page and clicking where it says click here.

      • Dr Lori Beth says:

        I am afraid I have no DIY suggestions. You will need help to approach the middle with each other. Book a free 30 minute discovery session with me to see how I can help by going to the contact page and clicking on ‘click here’.

  • Mike says:

    Why is ‘she’ poly and ‘he’ mono in this article?

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Because the example I was using she was poly and he was mono

      • Yazan says:

        Yeah well next time keep it neutral because there’s no different if you would’ve said him/her or simply “them”

        • Dr Lori Beth says:

          I do this in most of my writing but not when talking about actual cases. Then I use the gender of the actual person.

        • Laurie says:

          ‘Them’ would have been confusing. Geezus no need to be so harsh about it. The example makes sense the way it is

        • Kat says:

          It does not matter how Dr Lori Beth places the partners or spouse in her story. They are only examples. Its up to the reader to place he, she or they as they see fit. Maybe your Feeling guilty? Maybe you are not secure in yourself …huh?lmao

  • John says:

    My short answer – no, it is not possible.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      I am sorry to hear that this has been your experience. I have worked with couples to help them make it work – but as I said in the article, it is very difficult and takes people who are really good at owning their own feelings and managing them.

      • Veronica says:

        I am a very monogamous woman in a long distance relationship with a polyamorous man. We’ve been together nearly 3 years. I can tell you it’s all about effort and intent! Yes it most certainly can work. No it’s not easy, but like any good relationship it takes work and lots of love! Great article!

        • Dr Lori Beth says:

          Thanks for the feedback and your input.

        • Travis says:

          Long distance relationships are always difficult and challenging. But in your case, is there sufficient communication that you know what is happening? I am with a poly girl and while we try to communicate, i find she does not tell me everything although I encourage her to. I say “Tell me if you want time with the other guy so I know to back off and give you space…” But she doesn’t and when I find out she has been with him for the night it hurts even more. How do you deal with the feelings of hurt and anger in a way that is still encouraging to the poly?

          • M says:

            Travis, as a fellow human being ( and also a poly girl in a 3 year relationship with a mono guy), I can say without a doubt that what you’re describing is not ‘your’ problem to fix. If your partner isn’t being upfront and honest with you, after you’ve requested that numerous times, then that is HER issue. I would recommend asking her non-judgmentally what inhibits her from being upfront and honest with you about her feelings/meetings with other people. Growing up in a mono-centric society can leave even the most authentic of people feeling as though they have something to hide. Best case scenario, she simply has some baggage to work out regarding the anticipated consequences of being honest with you all the time about her lifestyle. Worst case scenario, she doesn’t trust/respect you fully and has decided that it’s easier to leave you in the dark, than to risk the perceived confrontation of notifying you every time she wants to be with someone else. Either way, you can learn more by asking questions, being open-minded, and setting strict limits for your OWN well-being in terms of what you’re willing to put up with. You certainly deserve at least the same amount of openness that you bestow upon your partner.

  • Chris Barron says:

    Currently trying this out. I am open poly. My girlfriend is strictly monogamous. It’s…difficult at times. She knows I am but has made it clear If I were to ever stray…(Can’t think of a better word rn) then she is done and tokens the relationship. She knows I’m flirty. Is ok with that. But me possibly wanting to add someone else she isn’t ok with. I communicate as much I can but sometimes it feels like I’m stuck. Like I can’t be who I am.

    • Chris Barron says:

      *to end, not tokens lol

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      It sounds like there is a lot to negotiate if you are both to be happy with your relationship style. In most of the poly mono relationships that I have seen work, the monogamous person has accepted that the polyamorous partner will have other partners and they work on exact rules and how to deal with the emotions that arise.

  • JC Cincinati says:

    I’m a very monogamous person who has very recently fallen deeply in love (and them recipricolly) with someone who identifies as Poly. The twist is that she identifies as bi-primarily-lesbian. She is willing to forgo male poly encounters, consider me her “primary” and would even consider monogamy if I was female, but can’t give up women. She has even suggested a tri-nogamous (right word?) with another woman, but that doesn’t interest me. However, we both burst into tears when we think of forgoing the other. Additionally, this is an LDR. Have I made it all complicated enough yet?

    I’ve been in enough relationships that I can spot real love, and we have it. I just don’t know how to make it salable for both of us.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Hi Jeff yes it sounds complicated. There is no cookie cutter solution I can recommend. If you would like to explore how I can help you, head over to my contact page and book a free 30 minute discovery session with me.

  • Leslie says:

    The only way it works is if the mono person is willing to completely change and give up everything that was important to them. I tried to change, I didn’t want to lose my husband of 25 years, but it got to the point that I didn’t recognize the man I married and I wasn’t comfortable being someone else. He chose his girlfriend over his family, and the girls and I are forging a new life without him. Can it work? Maybe. But only at the expense of the mono partner.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      I am afraid I don’t agree. It doesn’t have to be at the expense of anyone. But both partners need to be willing to work together to create a relationship that works. And that takes compromise on both sides. I am sorry that your husband felt he needed to choose one and that you have been left having to start again.

      • CJ says:

        This is simply an argument aimed at minimizing the sacrifice made for such relationships to work. The simple reality is that someone (almost always the mono) is giving up something that the other simply cannot possibly match in compromise. There’s a reason polys shift the conversation from “asymmetry is the cost of mono/poly relationships” to “is symmetry a necessary thing?” One person is giving up more than the other. One person carries a greater expense than the other. You can argue that there are ways to make this work. But to say that expense is not incurred is a straight lie.

        • Dr Lori Beth says:

          I am unsure why you would think I was saying that there is no expense or that I am minimising any expense. I am not. There is expense to everyone and the expense varies depending upon the relationship and the agreements made. The fact that there is a cost – an in many cases a large one – does not negate the fact that these relationships can work. When I work with people, my goal is to help them decide what is best for them. Sometimes that is to pursue a mono/poly relationships and other times it is not. There is no judgement attached to either choice.

  • Allison Grace says:

    My boyfriend of 2 years just told me a few days ago that he isn’t monogamous. I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this. I love him with all my heart, but it’s very confusing. I want marriage, and kids, and all that other stuff. But how can I have that when I now know he’s no monogamous. I’m strictly monogamous and he’s know it. I want to make this work but I’m just not entirely sure anymore. I have a lot of questions that I want to ask him, but I’m scared of the answers …

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Now is the time to get some help to increase your courage and prepare you for any answers. The two of you should work together to see how you can create a strong relationship.

  • Jay says:

    my girlfriend has just told me that she thinks she is Poly, I am having a really hard time with it at the moment but the thought of leaving her hurts so much… I thought we had future plans, to be a family.. this isn’t really what I had in mind. but I want to be accepting and I think I want to try and make it work, but I know my feelings are valid too.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Now is the time to get some help to work through your feelings so that the two of you can do some work together and see if there is a way to make your relationship a strong one.

  • Mechaela says:

    I found out a day ago that the person I’ve been with for a while now is poly and that he’s also in other current relationships. This came at a big shock for me because I never expected this.
    I’m still trying to process everything and I’m keeping an open mind about all this
    How do I move forward with all of this

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Go to my home page and get my free eBook to help you begin to look at the process. If you would like more one to one help, please book a discovery session with me so we can see how I can help.

  • A says:

    I just recently found out my husband is poly. He has known this whole time and now 6 years into our marriage “bomb” dropped on me. It came as a shock to me, one that why he wouldnt have told me this from the beginning, two im terrified, confused and feel so lost. 6 months go by and we experimented with friends in the bedroom. It was a good time supposed to just be fun, they were close friends we trusted them. Now 3 months later our friend confessed her love for the both of us, said she was poly and didnt know my husband was poly. My husband told her he was poly and then things just started happening from there. We went into a triad relationship in which only lasted a week due to my jealousy and pain i felt seeing them physically together being intimate. Him and i agreed to back out if i couldnt do it, i told him after i saw him kiss her goodbye the last time i couldnt do it. He ended it with her and then went to go see her one last time to get closure…..then he crossed all boundaries and agreements we’ve ever made going into the triad in the first place, they had sex, unprotected. My heart shattered, they have broken my trust. I almost left my husband when he came home and told me, but i cant lose him. He is my life, we havea beautiful family and have been through some rough shit. Im now seeking counseling specifically from a counselor that is experienced with polyamory. Im just having trouble coping and trying to figure out where to go from here, i never signed up for this, he should have told me, he shouldn’t have slept with her behind my back. The closure he went to get i tried going as well because i needed some closure too as i had developed feelings for her as well and i wanted to ensure our friendship. But i let him go alone and now i lost my trust. I just dont know what to do or where to go from here.

  • Brittany says:

    i have always been interested in polygamy. My husband is strictly monogamous. How would i go about trying to get him to allow be to have other partners. I love my husband with all my heart and couldn’t see a world without him. But i have always had multiple partners until i got in a relationship with him and then married. Can you please help me

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Hi Brittany This is something that will take deeper exploration than can be done here. If you would like a 30 minute discovery session, head to my contact page to book.

  • Eli says:

    The monogamous partner understands that his partner is not seeking other relationships because something is missing in their relationship.

    Often the monogamous person feels that his partner would not be looking elsewhere if he was better at x, y or z or if he changed his body shape, hair or something else. This has nothing to do with why the partner is polyamorous. Understanding this leads to feeling personally more secure. If you believe that your partner finds you lacking and that is why she is looking for another partner, your self-esteem will dip and you will find it hard to feel secure in the relationship.

    ===> This is so true, but also so hard to understand and register when past experiences shaped you into an insecure person. I know it’s just a matter of time and efforts on my end. It’s just a long process I guess.

  • Lisa says:

    I think going into a relationship with a monogamous person when you’re not is incredibly selfish. You have no right to all them to go against their personal beliefs so you can have your cake and eat it too. If you entered a relationship knowing the other person would never be ok with an open relationship you’re breaking every rule involved with love. There’s an intimacy that’s shared between people who have sex. To give that freely around when you know you have someone on the line devoted to you and only you is devastating. That devastation will ruin the self esteem and trust if the monogamous partner. No one has the right to do that you another

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      You make an assumption that people always do this knowingly and with negative intentions. This is not true. Many people (including monogamous ones) start casual relationships that then develop into something more. Both parties may feel that monogamy versus polyamory is not an issue when entering a casual relationship and it only becomes one if the relationship moves to a serious relationship.

  • Lisse says:

    I am poly, and my husband and boyfriend are both mono. I’ve been with my husband for over 15 years and married to him for over 8; I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year and a half now, platonic friends for almost 10. It works for all three of us, and everyone is happy. However, it involves consistent and in-depth communications, as well as sensitivity, security, and emotional awareness. So, short answer is “Yes, it’s possible.”

    • TL says:

      I find myself in somewhat of a similar situation, though admittedly I am new to the poly thing… I would love to pick your brain on your situation if you would be open to talking about it?

  • Donovan says:

    I’ve been married to my wife for a little over 2 years and we’ve loved each other for a little over 9 years. She had a sexual experience with one of her female friends a few months ago, and told me about it afterwards. I got mad but she then explained to me that she considered herself poly. Eventually my anger subsided and I forgave her for effectively cheating on me, since I had no idea about the experience or her polyamory until after the fact, and I didn’t give it a second thought. That is until I noticed she was spending a lot of time with a male coworker of hers. I asked her if she wanted to pursue a relationship with him, and she said yes… I did not take it well. We fought and are currently on a break, and since then I have done research on the matter. Everyday I am becoming more aware of what to expect if we decide to continue our relationship, and I certainly want to continue our relationship, but there is one thing that worries me. The male coworker that she is currently dating is monogamous just like myself. I was wondering if a relationship where one person is poly and their two partners are monogamous is possible, and if so, what sort of challenges I can expect to deal with.

  • jeff says:

    I found this article helpful , especially the advice around finding the skills and language to communicate without putting others on the defensive.

    I feel that labels can be limiting . My new love has been upfront about her relationship style as “more open”and she is aware that my style differs from that. What i value most in relationship is connection and i have been fortunate in having experienced a deep and intimate connection prior to us meeting. Now, anything less feels… less ? I want to feel more . Like meditating , deep connections require commitment and a real desire to move deeper. It has taken a while, but i see that my struggle has more to do with the how much time we are able to commit to this deepening and less to do with feelings of jealousy.
    Is it reasonable to ask her from more… time and devotion to us? Will she feel her freedom is being threatened ?

    • Chelsea says:

      Re: asking for more personal time to get to know her so that you can see if the relationship can deepen:
      It is reasonable to ask for more time. She shouldn’t feel threatened unless there are other people or hobbies/job work that she’d have to put off or reschedule in order to see you.
      If you’re both very interested in each other but you or both of you want that proper deep connection, time and effort is what gets it.
      Good luck 🙂

  • Stacey says:

    Hey there just curious. Ive meet this man who is poly (im mono) he is married to his current partner and lives with her. I guess im just curious as to how this whole thing works.

  • J.L. says:

    Dr. Lori I too am in this dilemma.

    I have been with my wife for 20 years and we have 3 children. Up until 2 years ago we were monogamous and our only partners. We then decided to try an open relationship out because we were interested in the experiences. I enjoyed the experience and she enjoyed her experiences, but hated that I enjoyed mine. She started to get very jealous of my relationships that were friends with benefits. She got very emotional many times and finally wanted to stop being open. This went on for 6 months and I never wanted to stop but did. I was wracked with stress about it because I found that this is my happy place. Finally last night I told her that I want to be open again. I enjoy socializing with other women and the intimacy that goes with that if we click, but I don’t cross any lines of “loving” them or anything of that nature, just good friends and I care about people. Being open makes me feel alive. She has bad self esteem and now thinks it’s because she isn’t enough when that isn’t the case. She says “you’re enough for me, why am I not enough for you.” I’ve never thought of it as her not being enough, just that I want something extra. It’s easy in my mind to understand that concept but not her. I don’t want our relationship to end, she is my life, but I am in the catch 22 of not being open and feeling the constant longing for being open and cultivating the relationships that are involved, or doing it and making her sad. I don’t know where to go.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      You need some help to work through this. If you were able to sort it out without professional help – you would have done it by now. The best advice I can give is to seek out some help from a therapist or coach who is polyamory friendly and talk through the issues together.

  • Solon says:

    I am in a great relationship with a mono girl, however I recently discovered I am poly, and although I have had mono relationships, this girl is asexual and that has made monogamy impossible. So we started as an open relationship but it was meant to be casual sex only. I have since realized I have a need for more, and I communicate everything to my girlfriend. She allows me to be free but I know it hurts her. I tried taking a break from poly but I just started flirting with an old friend and it is all coming back to me. I love loving multiple people, I struggle to tame it. But my girlfriend will always be number one and I want to avoid hurting her.

  • violetaurelia says:

    My husband of 6.5 years recently came out as poly. I have known him for 35+ years…this was a shock to me. Even though I’ve been trying to deal with the feelings, i can’t help but feel that I’m inadequate in some way. That if I were (as you say) “better at X, Y, Z…” I woke up this morning really feeling it! We’re very active in our BDsM community and alot are poly there…but I just cant process these feelings. UGH! Thanks for your article.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Thanks for writing. It sounds like some coaching focused on dealing with the new information and your feelings around it would be really helpful. Sign up for a free 30 minute discovery session with me to find out how I can help. book here

  • Polyintrouble says:

    I started seeing someone who claims to be a poly. He met someone else who is a serial monogamist. I have asked several time to meet his other partner because we are dating each other. Yet I am refused this request. I am now being told that he is catching feeling for her and is not sure he is a poly anymore. Help please.

  • bea says:

    im polyam but ive been in a monogamous relationship with a guy for 3 years now. I fell in love with someone else this summer and put polyam back on the table. my boyfriend, who is depressed and has very little self esteem obviously didnt like that. I absolutly want to stay with him, but it breaks my heart to repress my feelings for the other person… I really dont know what to do and I dont know if it wouldnt just cause me more pain on the longterm… help? How can I convince him to try? How can I do it without hurting him?

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      I am afraid that there is no simple answer. Speaking honestly to him is important. It may be that this hurts him, but being dishonest will hurt him more. If you were not honest in the first place, he is likely to find any transition to an open relationship difficult but this is still not impossible. Re-assure him that this is not because he is missing something or there is something ‘wrong’ with him. He needs to know that these are your desires and that they are important to who you are. Take the conversation slowly. Make sure to listen and acknowledge his feelings.

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information!! My husband and I celebrate our 25th anniversary this year and my boyfriend, whom I live with, celebrate six years. When I was young my husband, who has a masters in psychology, used to tell me he loved my unique way of being able to love more than one person at a time and still make each person feel totally cared for. As a young married couple all our attention was focused on our three sons, business, and providing a loving home to our family. As we got older, and traveled for work several months out of the year in separate locations, our sexual needs were an issue. We both always believed monogamy to be a myth so agreeing to an open marriage seemed totally natural. I’m sure looking back we could examine closely to find mistakes, but we are fortunate that we always had a deep respect and love for one another no matter what. Our common goals of life and raising the three best Sons possible, always keeps us close. And, my wonderful boyfriend and I have something that we have never had with anyone else. Because love is a matter of the soul, it is hard to describe such intangible things of the heart. I was not looking for anything missing in my marriage when I found my boyfriend, but I did find what God graciously gave. My husband has always been such a kind, loving, and highly intelligent man whom I respect with all my soul. I enjoy seeing him happy and he says the same for me. Of course, I have my shortcomings, but I honestly believe that a true polyamourous person is also an empath that always strives to show love, care, and concern to all the people in their circle and beyond. We must always take our loved ones feelings and views into consideration all while living up to our full potential. Relationships of all kinds require respect, understanding, communication, honesty, and above all love. A guru once taught a valuable lesson and words I live by, “Everyone is doing the best they can, with the cervimstances that they have lived through, if they could do better they would.” That advice includes us all. May your hearts soar high and love deeply.

  • Amalie says:

    I recently opened up to my boyfriend about me being polyamorous and it didn’t go as I hoped. We’ve known each other for a long time and was in a relationship a few years ago where we both cheated on each other. We broke up, but not because of the cheating, and then last year we got together again. We are very loving, we are best friends and we care a lot about each other. But I am polyamorous. I just am. I think I have always known but it wasn’t until recently I acknowledged or understood what it was and what I was feeling. I knew I had to tell him and I did, but he got very upset. I had hoped, given that fact he did sleep with another woman previously, and just his general open-mindedness, that it would be something we could talk about and make it a reality together. But he was very determined and said he would never be in an “open relationship”. I felt horrible for making him sad and I said “let’s just forget about it”. But I just can’t forget about it. And now I don’t know what to do. I can’t not be who I am but also I don’t want to loose my best friend and partner.

  • Mickey says:

    I entered into a relationship knowing my partner was poly. At the time she was trying to be mono with another woman and I was quite happy to be the ‘other woman’.

    Now the shoe is on the other foot and I am struggling with her being poly. We are open and honest, but sometimes I feel like I need to pry the info out of her.
    She has had ‘relations’with one female since being together.

    Recently she has admitted she likes another woman who is interstate who visited the other week.

    I am just struging with my thoughts. I love her so much and want to make this work.

    She is so patient with me and all that, but I feel I’m being a burden because I ‘just dont get it’

  • Rebecca says:

    My wife of 4 years identifies as poly. She has since I have known her. We have managed to make is so far, but she wants me to start meeting the people that she chooses to be with. I have always told her that I don’t want to anyone who will be seeing her unclothed. To me it is not an unreasonable request. To her, I am asking her to move a mountain. Is my request too demanding? We are currently separated and trying to work this out. I’m just hoping for a perspective.

  • Alisha Ross says:

    Polyamorous relationships are open where everyone is aware of everyone!!!
    Any thing else with multiple partners and one not knowing is CHEATING.
    Also, polyamory isn’t only about sex, fellow commenter, it is also about having a loving relationship with other people!
    As an asexual polyamorous person, I can say that it’s damn true

  • Leon Ballew says:

    Thank you for your support Dr. Lori.

  • Anon says:

    I’ve been involved in a fully monogamous relationship with a girl for about a year and a half, and more recently, she has realized that she has at least inclination towards Polyamory. Me, as a monogamous person, am fairly deeply uncomfortable with any part of any of it, and she has claimed that she’s more than okay with being mono with me, and that the Poly part is only a small piece of her, and she values the relationship we have too much for any of that to get in the way. I can’t help but feeling like I’m letting her down, though, or not allowing her to be totally fulfilled, and although she says it’s more than okay, I have fear and nightmares that it’ll all mess up in the end because of our difference in wiring. Should I be so concerned? I very much value and don’t want to lose this relationship, but I’m very afraid the difference between us will cause things to not work out.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      It is impossible to know if this will get in the way in the end. The more the two of you communicate openly, the less likely that this will derail the relationship.

  • em says:

    Ive been in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend for a year and a half and i love him to death but i realized that im poly and i have feelings for my best friend. i talked to her before and tried to pursued a relationship but it didn’t work out cause of her mothers recent death and she had to handle that to so we ended it. then i started dating my now boyfriend. we love one another to death but me and that girl were still friends and my feelings grew and grew. i finally told my boyfriend that i was polyamorous and that i had feelings for the girl. he allowed me to try it and me and the girl hung out. i had so many butterflies and i really was falling in love but my boyfriend changed his mind and wanted me to stop. i felt so stuck because i love them both so much but didnt want to hurt my boyfriend so i ended it with my best friend. but i hurt her bad in the process too and now im forced to hide myself. im trying to figure out myself so im taking a break from my boyfriend and he’s heartbroken. i wish i coulf just be with both if them but its even less possible than before. the girl i love makes me so happy and i dont know if i could live without her by my side she makes me so happy and we have so many things in common. she treats me like a princess. i often get annoyed by my boyfriend and wonder what its like to be without him but i love him so much still. i feel stuck and i dont know what to do.

  • Darryl says:

    Great article. One of the reasons I got divorced was that my ex would not tolerate me having female friends. I thought this was an indication that I was poly bur=t see now it was because I just didn’t love her and wanted to find that. So I have and married the woman. I am devoted to her but she is decidedly poly and I am not sexually. I see no issue with having deep relationships with others but want to draw the line at sex. She seems to want to have other sexual partners. We are both massage therapists and she continually wants to have 4 handed massage (where I and another massage her simultaneously) because it turns her on. Then she wants me to be the one to sex her up or for it to end in a threesome. I have done it twice but it is just a gut wrenching thing for me. I just don’t like it. I really believe sex should be a private intimate thing between two people. Despite the explanations I have read, it still makes me feel like I must be inadequate in some way or she wouldn’t need this. My greatest insecurity/fear is that I will be marginalized or become some doormat, expected to just sit back and be here as a backup while she runs around has fun. She tells me if she wants to take a trip with another guy I should be happy for her and just be OK and wait till she gets back, that it will have no effect on our relationship or how she feels about me. I find that insane. I’m just not sure how to proceed. At least from the article I see that she is not an aberration, that poly people feel the way she does. I love her so very much and we have a great life together but this difference is a constant source of angst for me. Any suggestions? At what point do I decide the pain isn’t worth it any more?

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Feeling forced to agree to a partner’s non-monogamy doesn’t work in the long term. The best outcomes happen when couples get some help to work through these issues so that both people honour their own needs. When possible, the relationship continues and both are happy. If this is not possible, the relationship ends in a civil manner with as little strife as possible.

  • veryconfused says:

    Hi, my partner is polyamorous. We’re were friends with benefits for a while and then got somewhat serious. Right now we’re long distance and he’s only just accepted how he is. We did talk about boundaries and i said how emotionally i can’t handle an emotional side of his relationships (only realising after how that came across) And he’s made the arguments you have. I just had a question, i want to be with him, but i constantly fear that one day he’ll want kids with someone else or be with someone else. I know I have to deal with it if it comes to that point, but do you have any ideas on how i can (for the sake of my relationship and my own mental sanity) deal with it or put it to bed properly since we’ve talked about it but right now really isn’t the right time since we’ve both got careers to focus on. (i know live in the moment, but keep feeling that if he did leave, it would hurt knowing i put the effort in for that , i’d really like to be able to deal with this as healthily as possible)

  • Chris says:

    I have recently became envolved in a poly/ mono relationship as her primary partner. We have st our boundaries and discussed potential problems and one that keeps arising is when the subject of her partners coming into our home into our space. To me that is a no go but she says she feels attacked when i express my opinion on it. Am i wrong for not wanting to be friends with or spend my personal time with them? Am i wrong for wanting our home to be ours alone?

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      People choose different rules in different situations. It isn’t wrong to not wish to be friends with your partner’s other partners and it isn’t wrong to wish to keep your home just for the two of you. Whatever you negotiate between you for rules is fine. Many people choose to have a rule that says other partners cannot be in the primary family home.

  • Maddie says:

    My husband and I have been ethically non-monogamous for years. Both of us have had serious, loving relationships in the past but with limits and boundaries. He is now engaged in a much more serious poly relationship which involves multiple night visits each week, they are talking about renting an apartment together, and he wants to come out to our teenager. As much as I want to support him in this, I feel as if I have hit the limit of what will work for me. How can I advocate for what I need years in my 24 year marriage and also be respectful of where he is? I am not opposed to ENM. It is not this woman specifically that is the problem. It is the extent that he wants to take this relationship. This is farther than I want and now am not sure how to handle it.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Speak your mind. You have been doing this successfully for years. This suggests you are able to communicate well. If you cannot find a way to have this conversation, consider a mediated conversation with a coach like me who understands polyamory.

  • Andrea says:

    I have a long time partner who is calm, very stable emotionaly and caring. I am also romanticaly involved with an older man, we both feel emotions and intensity in a very similar way. Our love story developed very fast, it was an unsual encounter. He is very intense emotionaly, passionate, very sexual, energetic, but also very unstable due to his past and present circunstances in his life…the opposite of my parter! I feel more fullfiled in different ways with both of them, but my parter is having a very difficult time accepting this other strong connection. I can’t make a choice, I feel very anxious and unstable. I am not sure I am polyamorous because this is very hard for me to manage emotionally, sometimes I can’t eat, sleep, like I am stuck in an endless duality between two worlds. I was always honest and transparent, never cheated, I feel like I don’t wan’t to lose myself, like if I don’t follow my heart, something is going to die inside me and consume me and regret it forever. I am also scared to lose my partner and our story. This is very hard for me and it complicates even more if I imagine this man finding somebody else who “completes” the missing time I don’t have for him and it hurts. Or when I think if I want or not to have a family…how?! I feel like I am more monogamous but this is my reality now… I am a mess, please help! Thank you!

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      This is something you will need to explore in coaching. You may get some more detailed information by reading some books on polyamory but ultimately working with someone will help you to work through your feelings and make a decision that works best for you.

  • Aeslyne says:

    This is something that I m currently working on with my boyfriend of a year. I knew from the beginning that he was poly, and I am open minded. He just told me that he has found someone that he wants to be close to (with no intimacy), and I, being monogamous, am having some mental issues coming to terms with.

    It’s not going to be a sexual relationship, thankfully, but he will be going on dates with her. I have only found out about this recently, and would like to meet her, because if I’m sharing a man with someone, I want to know her.
    Right now, I’m having a hard time with jealousy, as hes spending quality time with someone else, but I’m still processing all of the information. My boyfriend and I have been very good with our communication, which is helping.
    How long does the jealousy keep coming up with the monogamous partner? I really am not at a place in my life where I need/want to find another partner. I’m perfectly happy with my boyfriend.

    • Dr Lori Beth says:

      Jealousy can be dealt with. In order to get rid of it for good, you have to deal with the underlying causes of the jealousy. For example, jealousy can be about not having enough fun with your partner because they are spending time with someone else. It can be as a result of feeling insecure about yourself or your relationship. If you are having trouble working through this on your own, come do a breakthrough session with me and I can point your towards resources to help further. https://bit.ly/30minutesDrLoriBeth

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