Relationship Advice and Columns

From Monogamous to Polyamorous

Q: I recently received an email from a reader. Rather than put the entirety of its contents on here, I’m going to summarize what they said. This person, L, is poly and has recently met someone (S); they have a lot in common. However, S hasn’t had any experience with non-monogamy. L is into BDSM and has a few play partners, including a more serious one, A. L and A have talked about the situation with S and A very much trusts L’s judgment. S wants to start very slowly with an open relationship and see how things go and L is open to this.  

A: This can be a very tough spot for a poly person to be in for many reasons. First of all, you basically have to teach the new person how to be poly. For me, this is both a turn off and a turn on. I like sharing my knowledge, but it can also get very tiring. I have had varying degrees of success of introducing poly to non-poly people. In the summer of 2013, I met someone online who had never been poly before. Like L and S, we had a lot in common and had a lot of fun together. I was dating someone at the time and they got along very well. I had to end the relationship, but not for reasons related to poly. There were also 2 other people I met who had never been non-monogamous either. I really liked one of them, but he didn’t think he could be poly, and the other one was very attractive, but lacked social skills, so I didn’t pursue it. 

The other snag with introducing someone to poly is you are still seeing others. The new person, in this case S, has to accept the fact that you will be seeing other people and that can be scary. S is surely going through a lot of emotions like jealousy and has to have the communication skills to work through them. L, I would advise you to proceed with caution. Your relationship with A, I think, is significant and I don’t think you want to give up seeing them. One thing I would bring up with S is the fact that you DO live in different places and it may be beneficial for both of you to see people in your own city. Being in a long distance relationship myself, I know that being able to see people in my own city is very nice. It can be a double edged sword though; I find it makes me miss Ben more because it really shows me how much we click.

I have realized that there are lots of cool poly people out there who I have things in common with. You may meet one or more of them here and realize you don’t want to continue seeing S. I would bring this up with S and see what they say. At the begining of a relationship, I like to lay all my cards out on the table. I actually did that last night when I had a second date with B, who I met at Oasis when Patrick was in town. B told me that if he met someone he really clicked with, he would be monogamous with them. I don’t like the specter of this hanging over my head so we decided we wouldn’t see each other anymore. B is a very cool person and I’m sure he’ll meet someone he really clicks with. For myself, I get emotionally involved fairly quickly and easily and I want to have relationships that can go the distance…

Thanks L for writing in! If you have any questions, email me at  All questions are posted anonymously.

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