June 17, 2009

Introducing Monos to Poly

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 7:27 am by Kathleen

If no poly person dated people with no poly experience, we would be a very inbred group pretty fast. Every group needs fresh blood, which means that some of us will eventually have to date the inexperienced poly virgins. While this can be an exciting prospect, it is also a really risky one.

In addition to the risks that are inherent with any relationship, people who are “trying poly out” have not field tested their own feelings, their jealousy response, or their ability to share. We were all new to poly once, but that doesn’t make it any easier when your new love decides that she can’t see you anymore because you are married, or worse yet, starts pulling you away from your established relationships.

Monogamous people who try to “turn poly people monogamous” are known in poly circles as cowboys or cowgirls because they come riding into your life trying to “rope” you and “seperate you from the herd”. So a woman who started dating Michael and then started trying to get him to break up with me would be known as a cowgirl.

But when poly people talk about all of the risks of dating newly poly people, or people who are open to poly, they rarely also talk about the rewards. Imagine being the first person to lift a blindfold off of a person who wants to see. Imagine offering someone an option in their life that will free them, and that they never saw missing. It can be wonderful and beautiful.

I’m not talking about trying to convert the unwilling, either. Poly is not for everyone, and I know that. If you are interested in me, then you have to be cool with poly, and if you’re not, then you stay mono and we will just be friends. But I’m not such an old hat at this yet that I would turn someone away JUST because of their lack of experience. After all, Becky was “highly experienced” in poly, and she was the one who bungled things up with these two newbies.





  1. Katie said,

    This is a great point of view to hear. I have never been in a poly relationship, but have always believed that it was something that made a lot of sense to me. I posed these question in another poly group, but I’d l’d definitely like your opinion (and any others).
    1. What is the best way to explain to a potential partner that I *might* be poly?
    2. If becoming involved with someone who has experience with poly, what is the best way to work through issues of jealousy which are fairly likely considering I’ve never had to share before?

    Any advice is VERY welcome.


    • 1. I’d probably explain in more detail what you’re thinking. Maybe: “I believe that people can love more than one person at a time, and I think I may be one of those people. I haven’t tested this out yet, but I’d like to.”

      2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Some poly people feel less jealousy than other people, but my experience is that most people, including poly people, feel jealousy. Just acknowledging what your feeling can go a long way. Once you know what feelings are on the table, then you can make conscious choices about how to act, or not act, accordingly.

  2. Nzlg said,

    This blog here struck a chord with me. I have recently begun dating a mono guy (im not that new to poly, my husband and i are poly. Have been for a couple of years now) and I was having some slight adjustment issues.

    I asked a poly forum for ideas on how to help him and was instantly told that I should just end it now as there were alot of red flags.etc etc

    I said that I was not willing to just give up on what we had as I know I have fallen in love with him and that to me was special.

    As it is he has made some vast changes that I am proud to say I helped with 🙂 He may never be poly himself, but he no longer feels jealous of my husband and feels rather neutral towards him. Hey, its only early days, right?

  3. karenmaston@yahoo.com said,

    The entire blog is about bringing mono people into the poly world, but you then say: “…they come riding into your life trying to “rope” you and “seperate you from the herd”.

    If you (general) are bringing mono people into the poly world, they did NOT ‘come riding into your life.’

    There needs to be an equally critical term for poly people who play games with the emotions of others, inviting them in, dangling romance, love, all kinds of wonderful things, KNOWING that most mono people are going to eventually want more…and then criticizing them for wanting more.

    • Kathleen said,

      Here’s the thing: People who seek out relationships with poly people with the intention of “fixing” them (and this does happen!) do so in secrecy. They don’t confess outright that their goal is to get you to see the monogamous light or no poly person would date them. I’m not saying these are crazy people hunting poly people. Mostly I’d guess that they’re opportunists who see a person they like and say whatever it takes to get into a relationship, even knowing that “yeah, I’m cool that you’re poly” is a flat out lie.

      In contrast, people who practice respectful, consensual non-monogamy are not out to toy with anybody. Who WANTS a relationship to blow up in your face, and probably in the faces of your other partners, too? Poly people are up front about their multiple relationships and what that means for someone who wants to become involved with them. I’ve never heard of a poly person who goes and develops relationships with people, makes them fall in love, and only then discloses. Well, maybe I have, and I suppose there is a term for them: Cheater.

      As far as “dangling romance, love, all kinds of wonderful things, KNOWING that most mono people are going to eventually want more”, if you can tell in advance what your partner is thinking or what they will want in the future, then you have stronger psychic skills than I do. All I can do is go into relationships honestly and compassionately, be upfront about my needs and requirements (including the fact that my marriage is part of the package), and trust the other person when they say, “Okay, I can handle that.” Because I don’t know. And neither do you.

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