Like many, Angel stumbled into polyamory quite by accident. She and her husband have been happily married for four years, and recently opened their marriage and their hearts to the possibility of poly relationships. She shares the ups and downs of being new to the lifestyle and navigating the emotional and practical issues that come along with it.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Monogamous thinkers

Author's note: I think I may have started, deleted, and re-started this column over a hundred times. It seems that taking a lot of painkillers for my recently abscessed molar hinders my usually overflowing cup of ideas. I hope that you will bear with me through this edition of my writings.

When you talk to poly people about the beginnings of their relationships, you commonly find that a good portion of them ended up investigating poly because they were mono and then fell in love with someone outside of their couple. I can relate to this because that is exactly what happened to us.

The pool of people who realize that they are poly before getting into a poly relationship seems to be relatively small, and often those people end up dating individuals who are mono but willing to make the transition to poly. Not an easy road that is for sure. You have to exercise an awful lot of patience and understanding when you try to lead by example and essentially teach a mono person to be poly.

Not too long ago I decided that I did not want to pursue a polyfidelitious relationship with Jack and The Boyfriend. I felt that by trying to remain in a relationship with just the two of them, without being open to other possibilities, that I was compromising myself to the point that it made me unsettled. Jack was not really the least bit surprised at my announcement. The Boyfriend on the other hand was initially very upset by this news. For him, sharing me with Jack was acceptable because that was just the way it was. I am married to Jack, period, and if The Boyfriend wants to be in a relationship with me it's a package deal. He is really beyond fine with that, and has never shown any jealousy towards my relationship with Jack.

Me being open to relationships with other men, on the other hand, is something of an issue. He went through all of the normal reactions you expect from someone who thinks monogamously: "Why am I not enough?" "Don't I make you happy?" "Are you looking for someone better than I am?" The Boyfriend, even though he has a serious relationship with a married woman, was (and in some ways still is) a very monogamous thinker.

Fortunately, he is willing to try and become comfortable with my seeing other men. In this situation it becomes my responsibility to be patient with him, love and reassure him, give him a lot of support an encouragement. It becomes his responsibility to work through his fear and jealousy, and to be open and honest about his thoughts and feelings. We work together so that everyone involved can be happy and not feel that they are compromising themselves.

Transitioning from monogamous relating to polyamorous relating is more difficult for some than others. Some of us take to it like fish to water, and for others it's a real struggle. Are there people who are so inherently mono that they can never become poly, no matter how they try? That is a question for another column I think.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a person who is transitioning from mono to poly, be patient with them, and gentle with their feelings. At the same time, be sure to make it clear that your poly nature will not just 'go away with time' that this is not just a 'phase' that you are going through and that changes made in their way of thinking should be real and not just an effort to make you happy.

Remember to be a good example for them in dealing with your own feelings of fear and jealousy, as well as with communication and honesty.

Nobody's Angel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Nobody's Angel; August 01, 2006


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