Anita Wagner and a group of couples in the round, speaking on poly-mono folks getting together:

What led you to be poly?

  • It’s a commitment to growth and opportunities for intimacy
  • What makes you poly? To Anita Wagner, if you feel you have the desire and ability to love more than one person at a time, whether you actually are at the time or not. It’s less about behavior than about identity and beliefs.
  • If I haven’t practiced but am curious by poly and fascinated by hearing about how others practice it, am I poly?
  • I am my own primary partner first. Wanting to explore intimacy to the depth of my being, not just physical but emotional intimacy as well (or instead).

What are the challenges you face in poly-mono relationships?

  • Reframing what commitment means
  • Resisting the urge to blame each other
  • Reestablishing trust
  • Figuring what to tell friends, family and children
  • Dealing with guilt from societal expectations
  • Dealing with “you deserve better than that” from others
  • For the mono partner, dealing with loneliness, shame, inferiority, confusion, feeling that the metamour is an intrusion to the relationship


  • Don’t pigeonhole monos or polys–we all do this for different reasons
  • Be aware that the metamour can get even more quality time than the existing partner because it’s set aside specifically–make sure the existing couple gets special, carved-out time, too
  • Don’t have an affair instead of talking to your partner about poly–your partner WILL find out, and trust will be destroyed
  • Don’t bring it up early and then drop the idea of poly for an extended period of time (say, 10 years) and expect your partner to be up to speed
  • Bring the subject up at least once a month for general discussion, even if you’re not actively pursuing another relationship at the time. Remember that people, their needs and their relationship dynamic changes subtly (or dramatically) over time. “I told you five years ago what I wanted” doesn’t cut it!
  • Be sure to get a good education in poly itself and in good communication skills–try Marshall Rosenburg’s Non Violent Communication

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