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“I’m a Polyamorous Person Who Keeps Compromising by Having Monogamous Relationships & Feeling Bad. Why?”

“I’m a Polyamorous Person Who Keeps Compromising by Having Monogamous Relationships & Feeling Bad. Why?”

I’m a polyamorous person that keeps ending up in relationships with monogamous people. Then I compromise and feel wrong, unseen, miserable, and wish to stay polyamorous solo. Then it happens again. Why?


This is an interesting question, letter writer. To be perfectly honest, you didn’t give me a lot to work with here. There could be countless reasons for this.

And I could generate a list of reasons why you could be doing this — a long, extensive list that probably still wouldn’t even be exhaustive since I know very little about you — but if I gave you this list, then you might simply shop down the list and pick the explanation that you like best. For whatever reason.

This letter is an excellent example of a question that only you can answer. And only if you’re willing to accept the answer, no matter how personally insulting or difficult that truth is to bear. I know, it’s a bummer. I’d like to just pick a snap Captain Obvious style answer like, “Well, clearly you’re afraid to be alone, so you’re saying yes to relationships that won’t make you happy.” Or, “Surely, you keep either underestimating what a big compromise monogamy will be for you or overestimating your ability to compromise.” Or I could make wild guesses about your childhood.

But I don’t know, do I?

What I do know is that once upon a time, I knew someone else who was in your same predicament, whose experience was close to what you’re describing here. He had a period where he could easily have written me that question. Things were not going well. It was a vicious cycle. And then eventually he did find someone he actually liked and could be open with.

For him, it was a period of trial and error. He got progressively better at choosing partners as he went along. And also a bit of luck came his way (frankly, whenever you’re looking for anything specific/special, dating will become harder, it’s frustrating but true). He was not only in a polyamorous thing — but they were also very compatible. And they both let the other person really be themselves. Each was willing to make small to moderate sacrifices for the other’s happiness even when doing so didn’t selfishly benefit them.

For him, the answer was that he never knew why he did it. But it ultimately ended up not mattering why in the end. What mattered is that he didn’t give up, and eventually he did find his way out of this pattern.

(They’re still together, happier than ever, and have lots of other cool people in their lives.)


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Your letter and my answer might be featured in Advice Friend. I regularly change identifying details and/or completely rewrite letters to preserve anonymity.


Featured Image: CC 0 – Pixabay