PQ 18.5 — Am I prepared to make concessions in my relationship to help the monogamous person work through his feelings?
Chapter 18 of More Than Two focuses on mono/poly relationship, ones that are between a monogamous person and a polyamorous one. As I mentioned in an earlier essay in this series, although I have dated monogamously minded people while polyamorous, it’s been an awfully long time since I have. I basically only did it when I only knew monogamous people.
Once I started to meet poly people, I found it so much easier that I never looked back. Because once I stopped trying to date monogamous people, dating became a whole different activity altogether. I stopped having to explain why and was finally allowed to focus on the person in front of me and they on me, without incessantly discussing relationship philosophy. I no longer had to be a spokesperson for polyamory to any person I was dating (a huge relief).
However, occasionally one of my friends (and occasionally one of my partners) will date someone monogamous, reminding me of the challenges.
And you know… this question? It’s a tricky one. Because on one hand, it does seem quite reasonable to make concessions in order to help a monogamous partner adjust. Merciful. Kind. We often make compromises for the ones we love.
But I think this issue becomes particularly sticky when those concessions affect other people, other relationships.
Making concessions with no other partners in the picture is one matter. But making concessions when you have multiple partners? Well, when that’s the case, I think it’s a different kind of ask.
For example, the request “I would like 6 months when it’s just us dating” is one reality when they’re currently your only partner. However, it’s something altogether if you have at least one other partner who you’re being asked to break up with (even if it’s ostensibly only a temporary hiatus).
So while I don’t have any plans to date someone monogamously minded in the near future (although stranger things have happened), I believe I would only be prepared to make certain kinds of concessions, ones that didn’t infringe on my preexisting relationships. At least not without my other partners’ consent. Because I can’t really make concessions on another person’s behalf without their consent. At least not fairly.
This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.