Mono in a Poly World: What to Do When Your Partner Is Polyamorous and You Aren’t is available as an ebook on Amazon– paperback version is coming soon!
Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the book.
In 2014, after 25 years of marriage, my husband told me he was polyamorous and needed to be able to explore and live this part of himself, as a man free to have multiple intimate relationships. It was a shock to me, though looking back, I can see little hints along the way that he was interested in other women. This new chapter in our relationship was a sometimes traumatic, sometimes exciting time for us. I didn’t know much about polyamory, and it sounded strange and unsettling.
We had a whole life together— our three young-adult kids, our home, our long history. While we’d had our share of struggles and rough spots, for the most part we were friends and lovers who got along well. Could we stay together and make this work?
The last five-plus years have been our grand experiment in seeing if we could make our mono-poly (that’s short for monogamous and polyamorous) relationship work for both of us. Our path has been a winding one, with lots of talking, therapy, trying different things, wrong turns, feelings, learning and discerning. It hasn’t been easy.
I feel like I’ve taken a PhD course in a topic that not many people know about, and not much has been written about. There are plenty of books, articles, websites and podcasts out there on polyamory, but not for those of us who are monogamous with a polyamorous partner. That distinction makes a huge difference. We monogamous folks with poly partners have our own unique perspectives, challenges and issues to deal with. This book is for us.
So you, Dear Reader, maybe you’ve picked up this book because you find yourself in a very similar situation, as a mono with a poly partner. Perhaps you’re the polyamorous person with a monogamous partner and you want to make some sense of it all. Or maybe you’re just curious. In any event, I’m here to help you understand to the best of my ability the ins and outs of this particularly challenging relationship dynamic. You are not alone. May this book provide the information you are seeking.
Chapter 1: A Whole New World
Perhaps when you first heard the word “polyamory” you furrowed your brows and thought “isn’t that when a guy has two wives? Isn’t that illegal?” The term for marrying multiple people is “polygamy,” and yes, it is illegal in the United States.
The word “polyamory” means “many loves.” Folks who are polyamorous desire to, or have, multiple ongoing intimate relationships, whether sexual or romantic. It falls under the umbrella term ethical non-monogamy (or consensual non-monogamy) which includes open relationships, swinging and more sex-focused relationships. Polyamorists say that love or affection is an important part of the relationship dynamic for them. They want to have deeper relationships with multiple partners.
The ethical part of ethical non-monogamy is an important distinction in this kind of relationship. The ethical side of poly means that all parties know about and consent to the relationship dynamic. Communication and transparency are very important. All partners should understand the dynamic and come to agreements about the scope and details of the relationships. There can be many variations and factors.
It’s not ethical for a person in a monogamous relationship to come to their partner and say “hey, I discovered I’m polyamorous and I became attracted to someone and we’ve already had some dates/sex.” Starting a relationship without communication and consent with your existing partner is just plain ol’ cheating (unless you already have agreements allowing for that). Without ethical and consensual behavior, a poly relationship quickly becomes a painful mess that erodes trust and emotional safety.
Let’s explore some of the vocabulary that is unique to polyamory.
End of excerpt. Thanks for reading!