FAQ: How to bring up polyamory within a monogamous relationship

18262195_mHelp! I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for (1-25) years, and I’ve just discovered polyamory/think I’ve always been poly. How do I get my monogamous partner to agree to this?

Short answer

You can’t make anyone do anything. You can only control your own words and actions.

Medium answer

Ask for what you want, and be willing to accept “no” as an answer.

“Relationships exist to make the people in them happier and healthier versions of themselves,” LustyGuy is fond of saying. In any relationship, it’s your responsibility to know what will help you to become a happier and healthier version of yourself. And it’s wise to ask your partner on a regular basis what he/she needs as well, regardless of the relationship structure. If being a practicing polyamorist is essential to your health and happiness, it’s your responsibility to ask for it.

However, if you are in a long-term monogamous relationship and have recently either come to the realization that you are poly or feel you have always been poly but either unable or unwilling to express that need until now, I probably don’t need to tell you you’re in a difficult and risky situation. It’s entirely possible that you can come out to your partner as polyamorous and ask for the relationship to be opened up only to cause drawn out arguments, disastrous dates and potentially even the end of the existing relationship.

Likewise, it would be dishonest of me not to acknowledge that successful relationships in which one member is monogamous and another member is polyamorous are few and far between. (I’ve personally never heard of any in which the original participants remained happily together for more than year, but there is always the hope.)

That being said, if you don’t ask for what you want, it’s guaranteed you won’t get it. If you do ask for what you want, there is a chance you might get it. And as Franklin Veaux says, “Life rewards those who move in the direction of greatest courage.” Or we can go with Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.”

Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that ultimately, the answer may be “no.” Your partner may either shut that door permanently or be open to further discussions but ultimately determine that he/she can’t be happy and healthy in that arrangement. And as we say here, never ask a question you’re not willing to accept a “no” to.

In the end, having the courage to ask for what you want will in the long run make you a better partner and a better human.

Long answer (if your partner is willing to talk)

Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

A new self-identification of polyamory can be frightening and threatening to an existing partner. Remember that while you may have spent months or years wrestling and coming to terms with the idea of polyamory, your partner hasn’t had that luxury. While you may see love as limitless and joyful, your partner may be inclined to distrust, especially if there have been issues of infidelity in the past (or present). Keep in mind that your partner will need time and a safe space to identify his/her own fears, insecurities, emotional triggers and boundaries with respect to polyamory.

And it’s helpful not to have a deadline looming or a potential partner waiting in the wings. These only add pressure to a topic that is already socially quite disruptive on many levels for most people.

It’s worth mentioning that if you have already engaged in any type of infidelity with someone else, it’s unlikely that a discussion about polyamory will be received enthusiastically. These things take time and trust. In cases of infidelity, trust must be rebuilt before poly can even be considered.

Keep in mind that if you expect a partner to respect and nurture your self-identity as poly, you should likewise be prepared to accept and nurture his/her identity as well. Set up a safe space to listen to your partner’s reactions to the idea of polyamory. Just as you eventually want to be understood, take the time to listen to what your partner values in your existing relationship—without defending your own choices or making it about you and your new poly needs.

Over time, these listening sessions may eventually become “what if” conversations or even fantasies musing about what poly might look like. They can end up taking place over months or in some cases over years, and they can be tremendously helpful in gaining a full understanding of everyone’s needs, regardless of the outcome.

Also, these months/years should be taken for introspection by both parties. Both people need to determine what they need to be happy and healthy in the relationship. Are the drawbacks of the non-preferred relationship structure truly intolerable? Are the benefits of the preferred relationship structure truly irreplaceable? Which is a want versus a need? It’s not unusual for the topic of polyamory to be brought up, discussed over time and ultimately rejected, leaving the relationship all the more solid for having considered an alternative. Likewise, it also happens (less frequently, to be sure) that polyamory is brought up, discussed theoretically over several years, and ultimately leads to the successful opening of the relationship with little to no drama.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, the important aspect, as always, is healthy communication between loving adults. If everyone involved has asked for what they want, listened to the other party, owned their own shit and determined their baseline for happy and healthy, the ultimate decision about relationship structure is undoubtedly the right one for everyone involved.

Ready to bring up the idea of polyamory with your partner? We’ve made the process easy (well, easier!) with a free checklist for you. Click below to download your free checklist:

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PW 469: Non-sexual relationships

11870375_sHere’s a thing we don’t talk about enough: non-sexual relationships

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit

1:00 Host Chat & Announcements

  • For the latest news, discounts, book and class announcements and poly in the news, join our email list 
  • Why become a Poly Weekly Playmate? Apart from being my best friend forever, you get weekly Positively Poly Pointer emails, like the one Minx shared today: Still think the three magic words for relationships are “I love you”? Try “you were right”! 

5:40 Poly in the News

7:50 Topic: Non-sexual relationships

Your sex positive educator for the 21st century, Koe Creation, shares her thoughts on non-sexual relationships in polyamory and in life.

29:00 Thanks!

Thanks to Craig and Steve and welcome Marcus to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

30:00 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 468: Talking to one partner about another

Is it OK to vent to one partner about another partner? angry woman vintage on phone

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1:00 Poly in the News

8:00 Topic: Talking about one partner to another partner

Babbling B writes in to ask if it’s OK to vent to one partner about another, as long as it’s not gossiping. LustyGuy, L and Minx all sound in.

24:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 467: Metamour awesomeness with L

LustyGuy’s wife L joins us for a repeat performance sharing her advice on being a great metamourcomic hands heart

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1:00 Host chat

  • We had a great time at InfinityCon!
  • If you want to book us to speak at your event, contact lustyguy@polyweekly.com

5:30 Poly in the News

7:00 Topic: How to be an awesome metamour with L

LustyGuy’s wife L joins us behind the microphone again to share her tips to being an awesome metamour.

Why bother getting to know your metmamour?

  • You get a happier partner
  • New friends
  • Keep your partner busy/happy doing things you don’t like
  • You have a co-conspirator
  • It’s the right thing to do


  • Don’t get in the middle
  • Feel free to support your partner but say “not my problem; not my girlfriend”
  • Your partner is not someone to make rules for. Trust and communicate instead. The closest they get is “don’t be a dick.”
  • Take care of yourself
  • Recognize envy and ask for what you want
  • Assume good intent

38:20 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Join us for a live Periscope Q&A: #AskPWLive

PWlive Periscope

We’re trying something new: a live video recording of Poly Weekly with Koe Creation, LustyGuy and me via Twitter’s Periscope! Here’s how to join the live event:

  • Mark your calendars for Sunday, Feb 21 at 5:00 PM Pacific
  • Follow @polyweekly on Twitter
  • Download Periscope for iPhone or Android
  • Follow @polyweekly on Periscope
  • Follow the #AskPWLive hashtag on Twitter
  • Log in to Periscope at 5:00 Pacific on Sunday and watch!
  • Leave comments/questions on Periscope
  • Ask questions for us to answer using #AskPWLive on Twitter
  • Tell your friends!

Periscope delivers a live video stream through Twitter via Apple and Android devices. If you miss it, don’t worry; we’ll capture the audio and deliver it to you after the fact as well!

Minx’s guide to surviving Valentine’s Day

35380558_sIf you’re like me, Valentine’s Day can fill you with insecurity and dread. It can turn the most confident, competent, self-assured person into a blithering ball of sopping insecurities.

Having spent many, many years either solo or far away from partners for Valentine’s Day, I developed several techniques to help me cope with what some of us affectionately call “Single’s Awareness Day.” The kicker is, of course, that many coupled folks don’t even bother to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so in essence, its primarily function seems to be to make everyone NOT in a “primary” couple feel bad about their love lives.

But we are sex-positive, so we don’t need no crappy holiday to tell us when and how to love, right? Right. So here are my tips:

For solos

For those who are either without partners, solo, or in partnered relationships but unable to spend time with their partners for whatever reason, here are my tried-and-true tips:

  • Self care Above all, do something that makes YOU feel special, sexy and loved. This may be a bubble bath, a pedicure with friends or a Netflix marathon. But go through your list of your favorite self-care techniques, and take some time to indulge in those for yourself on this day. I love how I feel when I go dancing, so I make sure to find a swing or a salsa dance event to attend that day.
  • Socialize If you’re extroverted or simply feel the need for company, organize an outing. Go to the closest steam bath with a group of girlfriends; organize a mani-pedi party at the spa; go do one of those touristy things that you usually only do when family is in town: a wine tour, boat tour or go to the top of a local landmark. You could even just organize dinner and a movie with a group of friends, either out or at your own place. Instead of pouting, bring your support network to you! I’m fond of throwing a Valentine’s Day brunch and sharing stories over mimosas.
  • Give Whenever I’m bummed about my life (usually around the holidays), my foolproof trick has been to reach out and give to those less fortunate. I make a donation on Kiva, put together a goodie bag for the homeless or volunteer at a local charity. Helping others is a sure-fire way to stop obsessing about how much love you are or aren’t getting.

For partnered people

Even if you have a partner or partners, there can be pressure to create some perfect romantic evening and/or gift that is worthy of a Hollywood movie, complete with swelling music and tearful gasps as the gift is opened. But many of us are not gifted with a flair for the dramatic, or we simply don’t have time to spend weeks prepping a perfect evening, especially with multiple partners. So my advice:

  • Breathe Your partner(s) will love any thoughtful gesture you make. It really is the thought that counts. Worry less about perfection and more on what you and your partner(s) actually care about: being together. Sometimes, a lovely card and a phone call is enough. And here’s a tip: if your partner(s) have an Amazon Wish List and you can afford it, for goodness’ sake, take advantage of that and purchase them something you know they’ll like off the list!
  • Focus on who you are Most people I know aren’t romantic like in the movies. We aren’t perfectly dressed; we don’t say those pithy romantic lines that melt the heart; we are generally pretty dorky. So, if you’re planning a romantic evening, plan something that is reflective of you as a couple/triad/group. A group cuddle party watching your favorite movie? A whisky tasting at your local distillery? Indoor sky diving? Whatever is reflective of and special for YOU is best. I actually do enjoy an opportunity to dress up, so my partner(s) know that whatever we plan needs to have a dressy or costumy element to it for me to be happy.
  • Share If you are in a couple and don’t generally celebrate Valentine’s Day, consider loaning your partner out to a friend or other partner who does want to celebrate it. I’ll never forget the one year during my dating-but-solo-poly phase when one of my on-again, off-again’s partners’ wife said, “Take Minx out for Valentine’s Day; we don’t celebrate it, and she does.” What a wonderful gift!
  • Determine privacy If you have several partners and date separately, a group date might not be the thing. Talk with each partner about what he/she wants for Valentine’s Day, and do your best to accommodate them. Again, many people have very different ideas of what makes for a great romantic holiday, so don’t assume; ask! You may be assuming you need to make four separate dates for four separate partners, but that may not be the case at all. Ask everyone how much private time they need in order to feel special. And, of course, don’t forget to add what YOU want into the mix.

I hope this is helpful for you–let me know your ideas in the comments!

PW 466: A Life Less Monogamous, a new fiction novel

Finally, a novel about non-monogamy!life less monogamous cover

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1:00 Host chat

  • Join our email list by going to polyweekly.com
  • We’re working on a dating profile ebook
  • Also a how-to ebook on writing your own user manual for the fall
  • Kitty Chambliss has a podcast: Loving Without Boundaries

3:30 Poly in the News

More poly news coverage based on the recent OKCupid change allowing couples to link their profiles whilst searching to date others

7:15 Interview: Cooper Beckett about his new fiction novel, A Life Less Monogamous

Cooper Beckett joins us to discuss his new fiction novel about new non-monogamists, A Life Less Monogamous. Use code MINX for a 10% discount! Our text interview with Cooper is here.

30:00 Happy Poly Moment

An asexual lesbian writes in to share her happy poly moment.

32:45 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 465: Rules about beds

What are the sticking points of sex in your bed24446326_s? And why?

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit

1:00 Host chat

  • We’ll be at InfinityCon! Use code POLYWEEKLY at registration for a 10% discount!

Poly in the News

More poly stories out of Brazil

Topic: Rules about beds

A listener writes in to ask what kind of rules people make about beds. Is your bed just for sleeping? Is sex with your partners OK? What about with their partners? What if you’re not there? Who cleans the sheets and when? The results of our poly bed poll are here.

And if you’re not protective of your bed, is there some other area you are protective of—like your car or your kitchen? It’s always good to be aware of where your boundaries are.

Today, LustyGuy and Minx talk through what you need to consider about bed etiquette and, if you are going to make any rules, to prepare for them to be broken at some point.

Happy Poly Moments

  • M wrote in to share a wonderful mono-poly happy moment. As the monogamous partner who got pregnant, she was bowled over by her metamour’s consistent support of her throughout the pregnancy and after the birth!
  • Speaking of beds, A wrote in to say that once they got a king bed, everything was a million times better!

Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 464: Building your poly community

Neil Wehneman and Karen Hill of Poly Columbus share their tips for building your communityKarenHill

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.comNeilWehneman

1:00 Host chat

3:15 Poly in the News

8:30 Interview: Neil Wehneman and Karen Hill of Poly Columbus on how to build your poly community

PolyColumbus started with under a dozen people and have built a community of nearly 80 participants. Organizers Neil Weheneman and Karen Hill share their tips on how to build and grow your poly community. Their tips:

  • Use Meetup rather than Yahoo groups for better discoverability
  • Partner with the kink community to leverage crossover
  • How and why to create a board of directors
  • How to deal with feedback as your community grows
  • They post all their policies on their website under Creative Commons Attribution Only license, so please feel free to use them with attribution.
  • Ask for help!
  • Avoid burnout by saying “no” and remembering that you still need time to actually BE poly!

38:00 Thank you!

Thomas both donated this month. Thank you!

39:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Q & A with A Life Less Monogamous author Cooper Beckett

life less monogamous coverCooper S. Beckett is the founder of Life on the Swingset &  host of its swinging & polyamory podcast. He speaks and teaches classes on pegging, swinging, polyamory, play parties, and non-monogamy. He is a graphic and web designer, photographer and voice over artist; has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast and is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He has written two books, My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory and A Life Less Monogamous and is working on two more, The Big Book of Swinging, and Approaching The Swingularity.

Why did you decide to write A Life Less Monogamous

Procrastination. I was supposed to be writing The Big Book of Swinging, a how-to manual, and I came across the opening chapter of an unfinished novel about swinging, based on a screenplay I’d written before I started Life on the Swingset. I decided to give the NaNoWriMo method a try and see what came of it. A month later I had a pretty solid draft, containing what I think is some of my best writing on the subject of non-monogamy.

Whom do you want to read this book?

I think I have the makings of a book with enormous crossover appeal, outside our non-monogamy communities, into the world at large. Like 50 Shades, but well written and understanding the community it’s about.

Why would the Poly Weekly audience want to read your book?

I believe it contains many universal truths about relationships, jealousy, desire, and exploration, and doesn’t just go the sex route with swinging, instead it recognizes the very real bonds we create with our partners and playmates in this style.

What did you learn from writing this book?

Some mistakes are made by our newbie couple over the course of their journey, and in the original screenplay, I went hard in one direction as to “fault” but as I wrote this, I realized that the opposite was actually true, and I came to a much deeper understanding of culpability and the gray area that surrounds almost all conflict. Seems deep, I know, but it was a pretty wonderful bit of catharsis.

What’s next?

I’m prepping production on an audiobook version, though the My Life on the Swingset audiobook nearly killed me. As for next projects, though, I’m going to try and knock out a quick and short non-fiction book about sexy vacations, before returning to this novel’s characters for a semi sequel that takes place on a sexy vacation in Mexico.

About A Life Less Monogamous

We all come to a point in our lives where we finally ask the ever-looming question, “Is this all there is?” And most of us coast along afterwards, just accepting that the answer to that question is probably, “Yes, this is it.” Sometimes, though, we’re lucky. Sometimes we run into the right people at the right time.

Ryan and Jennifer are at that point in their marriage, asking that question. Luckily, tonight at a friend’s holiday party, they’re about to run into those very right people at exactly the right time. Bruce and Paige have successfully crossed the Rubicon into the realm of “what else there is.” They’ve discovered delights and a way of living that Ryan and Jennifer have only ever dreamed about.

Their secret? Bruce and Paige are swingers. And very soon now, thanks to a chance meeting and a new friendship, Ryan and Jennifer will close their eyes, clasp hands, and jump into the deep end of life, exploring the untold wonders of sexuality. Hedonistic pleasures that they can’t even fathom yet, threesomes and sex parties and a deep connection with friends and with each other. The swinging lifestyle.

Today is the day they proclaim: “There is more.” Today is the day they change their lives. 

To find out more and pre-order the book, visit http://alifelessmonogamous.com

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