I’m in a male in a monogamous hetero relationship. I think I’m poly[am] by predisposition, not by choice, and I explained that her before entering into the mono relationship. I went into the relationship anyways b/c I don’t have much relationship experience, I really love her, and our goals of indefinite world travel line up perfectly. She says that poly[am] is not possible for her, and the fact that me loving & having sex with someone else is reason enough for her to never talk to me again, means that our relationship is not very strong anyways. But, at the same time, she is begging me not to leave, despite our inherent beliefs and pre-dispositions. I’m overwhelmed. Maybe you can help me find some clarity?
I’m slightly confused by what’s happening here. She knows very clearly that you are interested in polyamory and you wanting to love and have sex with other people is ‘reason enough for her to never talk to [you] again’, but yet she’s still talking to you and begging you not to leave.
Honestly, I would say that this sounds like a relationship that was doomed to failure from the start. I totally understand why you would get swept up in feelings and how fun it can be to be in a relationship, but very clearly, as well as your travel plans may outline, your romantic and ultimate life plans do not align.
Consider what you might be feeling if you had chosen not to enter into this relationship. You would likely be less overwhelmed, less in pain and it would not be that difficult. Now, I want you to try to imagine how confused and overwhelmed you’re going to feel in the future if you continue to allow this relationship to develop knowing it is doomed to failure.
I do not believe that all relationships need to last until someone within them dies in order to be successful. Short term relationships can offer people some really fantastic benefits. Nor do I think that experiencing pain when someone leaves your life is a reason to give up a relationship or never let it happen. But I do think in this situation, both people have to be really level headed and willing to understand accept that a relationship can have an expiry date and be realistic about their expectations regarding that.
You could very well date for a period of time while you travel and understand that the relationship you have will likely end when you decide to ‘settle down’ for lack of a better word. But I think to avoid some serious heartache and anger, you have to be very honest with each other and yourself. I am doubting, if she says she should stop talking to you and is still talking to you, that she or yourselves are going to be capable of knowing when is when.
What will usually happen in this situation is that your feelings for each other sour. Your completely different wants out of life will eventually clash. And if you’re not capable of looking at the situation and realising you are not compatible and ending it there, it will have to end either from you deciding to pursue a relationship that you want to anyway, thus cheating, or you fighting and making it impossible to continue your relationship as it stands.
The question you all want to ask yourselves is whether having this slight bit of happiness now is worth the misery you will have later if you’re not capable of knowing yourselves enough to know when is when. I’m not sure how young or old you both are, but there are always opportunities to find things in the future.
So I would say that the best thing to probably do is do what you maybe should have done from the start and do not continue to feed this relationship. Go your separate ways and find someone who is definitely polyamorous.
I hope this helps and good luck!
Note: I wrote this column in 2018, so it’s possible my perspective on this may have shifted or expanded. Please feel free to resubmit a similar question.
Do you have a question?
If you have a non-monogamous relationships question to ask, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question will be posted anonymously.