January 12, 2011

When Monogomy and Poly Intersect

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:14 am by Kathleen

One of my commenters runs a blog that deals a lot with being monogamous in a polyamorous relationship. So how does that work? Sometimes, all you want is one person – your partner – which is fine. Assuming that both partners feel that way, you have a monogamous relationship. Sometimes one or both partners feel differently, and you get either cheating or poly. But what happens when one partner is honest about wanting or needing other relationships (basically requesting poly) and the other is very adamant that they don’t want or need any outside relationships?

A few things can happen, actually. The couple can become poly, perhaps unhappily in the part of one partner, who may feel coerced. They may stay mono and have bad feelings on the other partner’s part, they may break up over the strain… or they may come up with an interesting compromise. You be poly. I’m not.

So does that work? For some people, it can and does. After all, being monogamous isn’t necessarily about needing your partner all to yourself (we share with family, friends, and co-workers every day!) but about wanting to give your undivided love and attention to your partner. As long as you are getting enough love and attention back, do you have the be the only person getting those things? For some people, the answer is ‘no’. And those are the monos who love a poly person.

The problem with this arrangement is mostly with other people. Monogamous people pity the mono person dating a poly. After all, they’re being cheated on and they don’t care! Even many poly people don’t “get it”, which can leave that monogamous person feeling pretty alone. I’m glad Sage at Polyamorous People is writing for them. Check her out in my blogroll.



  1. Hi kathleen and thanks for the plug.

    I’ve been following you for sometime actually and I don’t just follow bloggers in the hope they’ll return the favour. Unfortunately most writers in this niche are very long-winded and some are very dry. I like your writing style; concise and to the point but personal and warm.

    Everything you say above is true except we never consider Z is cheating on me just because he’s poly and even the people who feel sorry for me don’t think that (or if they do they’ve never said it). The most common response is “poor you,lucky guy, getting to have his cake and eat it too. I wouldn’t put up with that, blah, blah blah”.

    This is the most honest and most wonderful relationship I’ve ever had and poly/mono relationships aren’t that uncommon. There’s a whole forum just for us at yahoo groups. Sorry I haven’t got the exact link – something like http://www.polymono@yahoogroup.com.

    Anyway keep writing and I’m very pleased to have made it to your blogroll.



    • Kathleen said,

      I like to include good poly blogs, but I have an unfortunate dearth of free time and don’t get out and find many, so I love it when other poly bloggers comment and I get to link back and spread the network. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I wouldn’t consider it cheating, and I’m sure plenty of people don’t, but I have had some people in my poly relationship tell me that my husband must have talked me into it to excuse cheating, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the same was said about poly/mono joinings, that’s all. It’s certainly not what “everyone” or even necessarily most people think, but I’m sure they’re out there. I like to set people straight by telling them, strictly for the record, that poly was my idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Suzanne said,

    I also happen to be in the type of relationship you describe. As the head of a Wife Led Marriage, my submissive husband and I decided jointly, that such a lifestyle could possibly work for us. Today, I find myself to be an incredibly fortunate woman, in love with two beautiful people. In turn, I know that I have made each of them happy as well.

  3. Inferno said,

    I was in a situation years ago that involved having two women and myself in a primary relationship.
    I also had a long term (over 10 years) friend with benefits that was around a lot. She was friends with both girls, but nothing sexual.
    Her family and other friends all knew about it and constantly harassed her, and told her she was being “used.”
    Our other more open friends (who could I guess be classified as poly) always questioned her as to if she was o.k. with the situation too.
    Nobody except me I guess could understand that I was what she wanted and she couldn’t care less about the other relationships.
    We rarely see eachother now days, but are still friends. Our situation only stopped because I had to move out of state.

  4. john kelly said,

    My wife and I, are a poly-mono couple. We did the whole open marriage poly thing with both of us when we first got married. It just never appealed to me. So for the last 16 years she has been free to date and have boyfriends, and has had 7 or 8 in that time, all long term. I haven’t and don’t care too. The only ruffles come when she starts in on me with the “I wish you could find someone” thing, or worse yet “I hope your not mad that I have someone else and you don’t”. I have no desire, she is the only one I need. I have never been one to have a lot of friends or even want a lot. I have small group of people I like and thats it. She has always since high school, had more friends than she could keep track off.

  5. Carlos said,

    Dear Kathleen, sorry if my post is a long one.
    I will introduce me on what is relevant here: I am a 61 years aged man, monogamuos by own nature and choice. I also trully respect, from the scarce knowledge I have, polyamorous feelings and experiences. Keeping my views, I perceive polyamory as also capable to express the dignitty of love. I have no prejudices nor rule based objections about. Reading about on many places, from a more general perspective and honestly, I feel a little uncomfortable with some of the aguments stated about the realtionships between polyamporous and monogamous. I don’t argue with facts and, if they work for happiness on other people, they do. Even so, I found that some of the onceptual foundations exposed in defence are as much only rethorical as the ones that reject it. Expanations don’t always fit reality and I will not discuss them here, at least not now. Things validate themselves or not.
    Now, my own personal reasons to post. For reasons unknowon to me, it seems I somehow attract women with polyamory feelings. First major case was my ex (13 years ago) and that was hidden, mainly to her. Our long time couple never worked for more than one reason. May be only one of them was the difficulty making choices on what is not clear.
    After long years of being single, I am dating again. She agree, on words and pehaps on begining feelings, on a monogamous relationship. But it is evident for me that she haves some behaviours and conceptions on friend labeled relationships that are not clear.
    And is not easy for her to talk about.
    I am now on a hard dilemma. I ultimate know that a polyamorous relationship will not work for me. Is not really about traditional jealousy, not lack of self confidence nor a conservative worldview. Is about my emotional needs and on how I see love to be.
    I neither want to anchor her to what may be a sacrifice of her deep needs. No one of those alternatives, beyond communication, haves future. And I take this seriously, as much love is a core of my life.
    Thanks on advence for your attention

    • Kathleen said,


      I think you already know what you have to do. Talk to her. Ask her. Talk to her about your wants, needs, and expectations. Talk to her about how she sees friends and what that means and what she wants. Ask her questions, don’t be judgmental, and don’t pick a fight. Keep in mind that some people are just touchy/cuddly with friends and that has absolutely no relationship implications at all. Good luck.

      • Carlos said,

        Kathleen, thnks for your answer. You are right, to ask and talk deeper is what I know we must do- And also on that same is always the wise way whatever is the topic. Even so and perhaps, I was not able to expose to you what is more specific in my concern. She is a warm person with her own personal friends and I like her to be that way. Even I am not unaware of that friendship might involve some grade of sexual tension nor I am judgmental about it. The case is that is she who seems to have some confusions on on the kind and nature of her own desires and feelings within relationships. To say it avoding examples, her communications frecuently contain ambiguous or contradictory signals to others, beyond social flirting. What use to lead to clashes between what she say she wants things to be and the responses she gets on it. Some of the cases of this ended with people on whom she cares being disappointed, angry or hurt. And all of that seems to relate to unclear assumptions on what each kind of affection means for her.
        As only one example, she was openly in love with me and another man for some time, which ended by that other one initiative,
        Why to post this here ? Because I want to help her and myself in a loving perspective, if that may fit bothneeds (only if possible). And I want to know if this may have origin on her having a polyamorous nature, not completely known by her and makng hard for her to take healthy choices on that conditions.
        So I ask to whom surely knows about.
        I love her and can’t honesty help myself on doing it in my own way.
        But for the same reasons and because also because my own needs, I would choose to think better this starting relationship s a source of happiness and not of later self deceiving.
        Thanks again.

  6. Michael said,


    I am currently in a polyamorous relationship with my wife and a poly woman. It is a long story about how we found ourselves in this relationship. Suffice to say that my wife and I have been married for 25 years and until the last 2 months have been exlusive to each other. We are both deeply in love with “our gal” (E) and wish to see this relationship continue for a long time. The problem is this, While we are in a poly triangle, we don’t consider ourselves to be poly. E is Poly. We would prefer that E be monogamous (or only) with us. We have already made this commitment to her. She says that she is not looking for anybody else. But then again, she wasn’t looking for us and wants to hold onto her poly interests.

    This feels to us like she is reluctant to make a commitment to our relationship. We may be interpreting this wrong but this is how it feels. It is hard to be totally invested in this when we feel she may leave when a better prospect comes along. She said that she is in love with us but she doesn’t know what will happen in the future.

    At this time, my wife and I are unsure if we can ever accept this. We are deeply in love with E but are starting to wonder if it is worth it?

  7. Rae said,

    This is the 3rd post of yours I’ve read and I want to say thank you again. My husband is monogamous and I am poly. Some people just don’t get it….and then again they don’t have to because the real understanding has to be between my husband and I.

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