How to Make a Poly/Mono Relationship Work

I’ve been writing these blog posts for almost five years, and in all that time I’ve mentioned very little of poly/mono relationships. I think that’s because it’s not something that many people are brave enough to try. It takes a great deal of emotional maturity and empathy to pull off, not to mention a secure-attachment style.

If you’re on that path, I have nothing but admiration and respect for your journey. Here are a few tips to help you along.

4 Tips to Make a Poly/Mono Relationship Work

1. Establish the Ground Rules Together

In poly/mono relationships, the rules are what you make them. There’s no pre-existing blueprint for how to structure things, or a map of where to place boundaries. These decisions must be made in accordance with your needs as a couple, as well as your respective comfort levels.

Talk it out before opening things up to other partners. Discuss things like: expectations, levels of transparency, overnights and how much involvement new loves will have in decision making. Talk for as long as you need to. Get a poly-friendly therapist involved if you want extra guidance.

2. Acknowledge Feelings as They Arise

Unlike full-on poly relationships where both partners have more than one source of romantic/sexual energy to draw from, the monogamous person in your poly/mono arrangement might at times feel neglected or left out. If this happens, talk about it. Don’t shut down, then conclude that your relationship is fundamentally flawed.

Make space in your heart and mind for difficult conversations, and work on finding solutions together. Poly/mono life is a bit of a tricky balance, and is not for everyone. Focus on making things work, but not at the expense of your mental health.

3. Keep an Open Mind

Be willing to revise your definitions of love and commitment over time. Many of us grew up conditioned to uphold monogamous values. You might find that the unique mix of poly/mono energy that you and your partner create, brings new insights.

Don’t be afraid to dive deep into your personal beliefs. Question everything and keep only what serves you and your current relationship. There are so many ways to express love and to be happy. Open your heart to it all, and never stop learning from one another.

4. Respect Each Other

Don’t be surprised if at times you resent your partner for having a different approach to love than you do—it’s only natural to feel that way. Argue and debate as you will, but be sure to respect one another in the end.

Think of what brought you together. You’ve chosen to engage in a very complex relationship dynamic. There must be a reason you thought the two of you could handle it. Take a deep breath, keep the lines of communication open, and focus on the love.

Are you in a poly/mono relationship? Share your story in the comments!

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