If you are in polyamory long enough, you will sooner or later run into the MonoPoly. You will most likely be both a SoloPoly and a MonoPoly at various times as well!
These statuses are a special situation that comes with unique issues. It’s helpful knowing these before becoming frustrated.
Let’s define what a MonoPoly person is in contrast with a Polyamorous person.
A Polyamorous person is, at its most basic, someone who is open to or involved with multiple romantic relationships.
A MonoPoly person is, at its most basic, someone who isn’t open or not involved with multiple romantic relationships.
A SoloPoly person is, at its most basic, someone who isn’t with any partner, but open to a polyamorous relationship.
Generally, when a person is accepting of a partner who is polyamorous, we consider this person polyamorous, too, even if they choose to be with just that one partner.
But SoloPoly and MonoPoly are both special areas.
When you have more than one partner, it’s easy to understand that you are polyamorous. But when you have no partner or just one partner, you might find yourself questioning. Many times, we battle feelings of loneliness and codependence. This is “any port in a storm” thinking.
This is why we hear of so many codependent relationships in monogamy, the fear of being alone overwhelms the individual so much so that they will even put up with an abusive relationship rather than face that fear.
Let’s explore some situations, and how to deal with them.
I’m SoloPoly and Depressed!
So, you’re single. You have no partner, and the prospects aren’t looking good. Shit. Life sucks. We look at people we know. We look online. There are all these wonderful people, but they’re all monogamous. “I just want someone to love…”
This can be a dangerous situation for someone in polyamory. It’s similar to what some bisexual men face. Men tend to be more open to having a bisexual girlfriend, but both men and women seem less open to having a bisexual boyfriend.
This often leads bisexual men to feel that they have to choose between a boyfriend or a girlfriend, supressing their bisexuality just to be with anyone.
The same happens with a SoloPoly who talks to someone great, but monogamous. The monogamous person, usually completely ill informed, sees the SoloPoly as a player looking to settle down, or having finished going through a “phase”. The monogamous person is like an evangelical Christian who just found a sinner ripe for “saving”.
High on NRE, the SoloPoly will settle into monogamy without thinking they’re missing anything.
Unfortunately, once the feelings of complete loneliness are gone, the SoloPoly will feel the missing component in their love life. They almost always try to reverse the conversion process, bringing the monogamous person over to polyamory. This doesn’t work well most of the time, and has a very predictable result.
And in the end, the SoloPoly finds herself right back in the same situation, single and looking.
What To Do
Date your own species! If you are bisexual, date people who want you for you. If you are polyamorous, date people who want you for you.
But what if I can’t find anyone? It’s time to look for local support. There is almost always a local polyamory support group within an hour’s drive of everyone.
Know that it’s ok to be single. We’re all single at some point in our lives and have to deal with it. Surround yourself with understanding friends, and stay positive. Being single can evaporate overnight, but a bad situation can damage our self image.
We’re Both MonoPoly!
I’m MonoPoly and My Partner Isn’t!
You’re both poly and excited about finding new partners, often spending time looking together. But things aren’t going so well in the new partner department.
You start feeling that you are missing out, and crave some variety. This can even cause tension and irritation with your other partner. You might even make the mistake of taking out your frustration on them through small or large actions, such as passive aggression or blaming them for your situation.
Without a change, you both feel trapped in an apparently monogamous relationship, and the bitterness just eats at you.
This same situation can also occur when you are a MonoPoly who wants more, but haven’t found anyone. Your partner on the other hand seems to find partners falling out of trees. They can’t even find time for all of them.
And there you sit, seething, on the couch, while they’re out having the time of their life with their other partners.
What To Do
The key is the same as that of a SoloPoly, but involving you both. You need a local support group of people for you and your partner to regularly attend. You need to see happy polyamorous people and listen to their stories of the times when they felt stuck in a rut.
In this case, happy company becomes your form of polyamory. In doing so, you are forming a polyamory of friends, letting you both have independent caring relationships. By doing so, you have an emotional outlet that isn’t based on isolation and bitterness.
I’m With a Resentful MonoPoly!
You’re a polyamorous person with multiple partners. Life is good, but something feels different with one of your partners. This partner says that they are happy for you, but it doesn’t feel true.
They may or may not be open to having other partners of their own. Whenever you ask, they tell you, “I’m satisfied with just you.”
You notice that they start asking you very uncomfortable recurring questions.
Whenever you mention someone new, they ask if you are dating them and your sexual status.
Whenever you are with another partner, they post depressing social media messages or those that seem very monogamous, like “A real man let’s his woman know she’s everything to him.”
Whenever you try to talk to them about your other partners, they get upset or agitated and tell you that they really don’t want to talk about that person or hear any details. This happens even when you are having innocent conversations.
When you see them after spending time with another partner, they seem distant, and you feel like you have to work very hard to get them to smile.
These and other signs seem to point to one conclusion. They are simply tolerating your polyamory.
What To Do
Sadly, the fact is that you are most likely right. They are either naturally monogamous in nature and have no desire to change or they were open to polyamory until they met you.
Polyamory may have seemed like a way for them to be happier with partners they didn’t feel so many emotions with. But with you, you have exceeded their previous emotions, and they feel less desire to seek emotional bonds with others.
It’s also possible that you were a monogamous couple that opened up their relationship to keep you happy. They paid lip service to the benefits, but all they wanted to do was not lose you, and they followed you into polyamory through codependence.
There is another possibility. They may simply be a MonoPoly who is having a hard time finding someone, and can’t admit that this makes them feel terrible. They envy that you are not having their problems, and this makes them bitter.
It is very important that you find out which of these situations is true, for both of you.
If you are the MonoPoly, let me speak honestly to you.
If you want to convert your partner to monogamy, let me state two things.
First, what is the reason you don’t want to be polyamorous? Now, realize they have reasons they don’t want to be monogamous. You are as justified in converting them as they are in converting you. And in both cases, trying to force someone to convert is unethical.
“But I just have no desire to…” Yeah, well, neither do they! Whether you chose them knowing they were polyamorous or they later changed, you have a choice. You either accept the person and work with them, or you move on. There’s no third option.
Now, if you want to work on things.
If you are not going to be polyamorous, and you truly are happy with just your one partner but tell them that you have no issue with them being polyamorous… In other words, you are truly monogamous, and can be happy. You don’t want to change them, but don’t want to feel negative emotions.
In that case, you need to talk to your poly partner about a few things.
You are in a very dangerous relationship dynamic that most polyamory blogs, books, and articles explicitly warn to avoid for good reason.
Discuss what your relationship needs are to your partner, not rules. Discover your needs, not how you want to control them in ways you think will satisfy you. If you want quality one on one time, say so, and discuss solutions. But do not try things such as “I don’t want you spending more than one night per week with Cindy!”
They will pull away from you if you try that. You are now the barrier between your poly partner and what makes them happy, and that doesn’t end well.
If you are the polyamorous person in this situation, be constructive and supporting. Realize that your partner can feel neglected because they have an impression that they have less than monogamy. This isn’t true, of course. Few monogamous couples want to be around each other 24/7.
If the situation starts becoming less and less tolerable, you may need to seek more drastic measures.
I suggest you read a few books geared towards couples in Polyamory. One of my favorites is More Than Two, which helps couples enter into discussions rather than rules and fights.
I also suggest that you BOTH seek polyamory support groups. Your monogamous partner can gain a lot from associating with more polyamorous friends and feel less threatened. Of course, if one of your other partners goes to this group as well, this could make things even better, or a whole lot worse.
If things do not improve, seek a professional counselor that’s alternative relationship friendly.
If things still do not improve, separation is the only alternative to misery for both of you.
If your monogamous partner won’t read books, go to groups, or counselling, or does so only after you both have a fight… you need to break up. This is a lose-lose situation. Both of you need to get out, because what you really have is a codependent relationship that will only hurt you both emotionally.
Draw the line, progress needs to be made or things need to be ended. I say this not just for the two of you, but the other partners of the polyamorous partner will suffer as well.
I have received reader comments on this site from those who are in this situation and want to know how to best cope with being the monogamous partner of a polyamorous relationship.
I won’t dare give more than basic advice here in a short blog. This is a serious situation and deserves serious time on the part of both partners if they truly want things to work. If that time cannot be spent on serious reading, talking to others, or seeking counselling, then obviously one or both partners are not willing to put in the work to make the relationship work.
And if the plan is to just “not bring it up” and bury it, that doesn’t work. Nobody hides their emotions that well. It affects every interaction, and is like a leech, sucking love and enthusiasm out of a relationship. The relationship itself becomes paralyzed, and the partners will drift apart.
I’ve had two MonoPoly partners, though I generally avoid them if I can. The first partner had nonmonogamy experience, but hadn’t tried polyamory. When they first met me, they were very comfortable with my polyamory, but I was just dating them.
We even had a few group sex situations and things were comfortable.
However, once I started dating another partner, things became very confrontational. My MonoPoly partner started posting things on social media about marriage, about children, about a guy devoted to her.
We tried all three of us socializing online. We tried group chats. Soon, my new partner was becoming antagonistic as well, seeing these posts on social media and asking me very direct questions like, “What the fuck is all this about babies? I thought you didn’t want anymore kids?”
I had several talks. The MonoPoly partner did not want to meet my other partner. They did not want to hear any details. They did not want to read a book. They did not want to discuss their feelings, telling me that they were dealing with it on their own.
I asked both of my partners to give me a break. I wanted some alone time to destress and for everyone to just back off a little because things were getting heated. I needed a couple weeks to get out of the drama.
My MonoPoly partner told me very matter of factly that I wasn’t allowed to take a break. Either I continued my relationship with her as-is, or I leave. I immediately, without second thought, broke it off.
Everything immediately got better. Sometimes, the problem is the problem. She was emotionally codependent, and that is the worst poison in polyamory.
The other MonoPoly that I’ve dated is currently a partner who is simply a few issues with polyamory for herself.
First, she’s used to traditional ranks. She wants to be thought of as a Primary.
Second, she’s in a very high emotional relationship with me. She says she feels more love than any previous relationship. I was her “game changer”. Read More Than Two for what a “game changer” is.
Third, she hasn’t been having much luck finding other partners to date. This is due to things mostly out of her control.
So, she is a MonoPoly who is dealing with the frustration of me having other partners, even though she happily listens and counsels me when I have issues with them.
Those of you who read my last blog post know that I just met someone incredible, Tank. My MonoPoly partner doesn’t feel threatened, but I think it makes her envious and I sympathize with that.
I also have friends in other cities that I see casually for sex. And I have another partner with whom I have no sexual relationship with, but deeply love, which I will write about in an upcoming blog post.
My MonoPoly partner is seeing that my polyamorous life is very busy. That can be overwhelming and frustrating for a partner who can’t seem to find another, and doesn’t believe they will get the same emotions as they have with me, or that I have with another partner.
For me, this does add stress. I’m her only sexual and emotional outlet. When I’m not there, and especially when I’m out with someone else, it makes her feel like she’s missing out. None of us liked being the kid not picked for the kickball team.
And at times, it feels like she’s pulling for me to be in a monogamous relationship just by the dynamics. She denies this vehemently, of course, and I know she doesn’t. But when one person only has you as their only outlet, it can feel a bit suffocating to the other polyamorous person.
I love her, and am trying to support her through this period. She’s wonderful and sexy, and I really hope she can find someone besides me for the emotional stability of us both.