Mono poly relationship explained part 1


This is going to be an article about relationships between people who are monogamous and people who are polyamorous which is a big topic. So let’s go. Here’s the million-dollar question will you be happy with what each of you has to offer? The answer isn’t always yes and that’s what makes these kinds of dynamics potentially very painful. Definitely not discouraging them. But I want to be real with you about what kinds of struggles that I see people have. When you’re deciding whether to be with someone who’s polyamorous when you’re monogamous or vice versa, it’s important to ask yourself whether you’re going to have to give up something that is fundamental to your happiness and fulfillment, which, personally, I feel like no one should have to do. I want people to feel empowered to have the kind of relationships that they want and know that if you do want to attempt this monogamous polyamorous combination that there are likely going to be a lot of things to navigate. And even if at first it goes actually really well, know that things could come up.
There’s plenty to learn from each other. It’s just a question of can this work? And are we willing to go through the potential heartache of discovering it can’t work in order to take the chance on the possibility that it will? A relationship between a monogamous person and a polyamorous person almost always involves some kind of sacrifice or compromise. It’s just a question of what and how much and from whom. Of course, there are different kinds of compromises. The monogamous person might simply be required to endure the other person’s polyamory with no real compromise from the polyamorous person. Or the polyamorous person might need to make a monogamous exclusive commitment to the monogamous person in order to be with them and have no real compromise from the monogamous person. In terms of the relationship structure. I’ve seen both of these approaches applied, and I’ve seen both approaches work well and not work so well. It really, again, depends on why are you each monogamous or polyamorous and what about these arrangements fulfills you or doesn’t.
Maybe you’re polyamorous, but you don’t really feel like you have to be polyamorous to be happy. Maybe this monogamous person is someone you could see yourself making that exclusive commitment to. In an ideal world, maybe you wouldn’t make an exclusive commitment not because there’s anything lacking about this person but because it’s just sort of in your nature to want to be with more than one person. But for them, you’re happy to be monogamous and happy to just do all the compromising because you’re really going to be happy that way, and you feel confident about that. Maybe the monogamous person is monogamous because they themselves don’t want to have more than one partner. But it’s really neither here nor there to them whether their partner has more than one partner themselves.
Maybe they’re content like that that can work very well. Also. However, it’s often not that simple. Many polyamorous people feel they need to be polyamorous or need to practice polyamory in order to have a fully fulfilling life. Maybe they feel like monogamy can never work for them. Maybe they’ve tried over and over again, and it simply does not mesh with their personality. Maybe they feel their orientation is polyamorous. There are a lot of reasons why a person might feel that polyamory really is the only fulfilling option for them. Maybe a monogamous person is fundamentally monogamous, both in what they want. They only want one partner, but they also want an exclusive commitment. That’s a difficult match with someone who feels they are maybe innately polyamorous or in some other way requires the practice of polyamory to be fulfilled.

There are ways to navigate it, but there are no guarantees that it will work out. Let’s take the perspective of the monogamous person for a moment. Imagine that for you a fulfilling relationship involves living together, being married, coming home every day, more or less every day to the same person and spending the evenings and weekends together. And yes, of course you spend days with just your friends or alone on occasion. But usually you spend a lot of your free time with your partner. So if you feel that this kind of arrangement is fundamental to your happiness, having a partner who is not just polyamorous by nature or by what they want, but is practicing polyamory while you’re with them may leave you feeling neglected, unloved, unprioritized, whether you actually are or not.
They may love you very much, and they may be prioritizing you a great deal in their eyes, but it may not be fulfilling for you because it’s fundamentally just not what you want. Polyamorous people will often try to kind of comfort monogamous people who are with polyamorous people by saying things like oh yeah, sure, maybe their time and their energy is limited, but their love for you is infinite and loving someone else doesn’t diminish their love for you. And that may be entirely true. But for a monogamous person it could be true that for them the expression of love, the action of love, necessarily involves a monogamous commitment. On the other hand, maybe you have a monogamous person who doesn’t really need a lot of time or attention from their romantic partner. Maybe they don’t want to entangle their lives with another person. Maybe they really like to spend a lot of time working or raising their kid or playing with their pets or engaging in their hobbies, hanging out with their friends.
There are a lot of things that a person can do in their life and a lot of ways to spend time and energy that don’t involve a romantic partner. Someone like this might be happy with a polyamorous partner because it doesn’t really matter to them that they’re not spending a lot of time with this person, it doesn’t work. If the reason that they are monogamous is that they need an exclusive commitment regardless of how much time or energy someone’s putting into a relationship. Some people are just never going to be happy without an exclusive commitment in a romantic relationship and that’s okay on the polyamorous person’s end. Maybe they’re okay with not being polyamorous in this relationship because they’ve decided that being with this person is more important to them than practicing polyamory.
Or maybe they will continue practicing polyamory but they and their monogamous partner have come to the compromise that they will practice. A kind of hierarchical polyamory where the relationship with the monogamous person comes first, is centered, is the main relationship and maybe the polyamorous person keeps the rest of their relationships quiet socially, doesn’t talk about them at work or on the internet. If you are wanting to pursue an egalitarian or non-hierarchical style of polyamory where no one partner is centered for you, and you don’t have a main relationship, if you make a commitment to a monogamous person to maybe be hierarchical and make them your primary, or you even try to be monogamous for them, that can be just as painful for people who feel that they really need polyamory to be happy.
Maybe they have to cut out a relationship from their life that they had in order to be with this monogamous person, and they have to grieve for that relationship. If that’s what you want to do, and you really are making that choice with your eyes wide open and the grieving process just needs to happen, well, okay, it just needs to happen. But if you’re forcing yourself into a kind of grief and misery that isn’t really necessary and isn’t really what you want, it’s okay to move on and find only polyamorous partners in order to avoid that kind of extremely painful sacrifice. One of the hardest things about polyamory, even for polyamorous people a lot of the time is how limited time and energy really are.
And if you’re working all day and especially if you also have children or other family members that you need to be spending time with or otherwise responsible for, that leaves very little time for romantic relationships. And if you are dividing up this limited time between more than one person romantically then yes, of course each individual romantic partner receives less time and attention. That’s the nature of finite resources. If you want a lot of time from someone, and they don’t have that time to give to you or, or if you want to have multiple relationships but one of those people that you want to be with isn’t interested in a relationship with someone who can’t give them very much time or attention. There’s really nothing wrong with either of those sets of desires. It’s just that they’re not well aligned.

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