Polyfidelity by choice

Reading Time: 2 minutes
This content is 3 years old which means my opinions or advice on this issue may have changed. Please, read this page keeping its age in your mind and feel free to re-ask a similar question.

Almost everything I read is about a couple opening up their primary relationship. There is nothing written about why a third party would enter a relationship.

I have fallen heavily for a man who is married and non monogamous. He has fallen heavily for me too. It’s the most uncomfortable love, disturbing my soul.

He lives and runs a business with his wife and is happy with her.

I feel this steps all over my personal integrity. I can’t quite get over the feeling that I will be like a mistress and always come second. Holidays on my own, Christmas etc

And I have grief. By being with him I’ll not have a primary partner and all that goes with it.

He doesn’t want me to have any other partners and he lives in another town.

When I started reading your letter, I began to think of different things to talk to you about. I was going to talk about how you should think about what you want from non-monogamy, about how you can negotiate boundaries when it comes to holidays, about how you’d have to accept that, if you date someone who already has partners, they’re always going to have more history with those partners than you inevitably, etc. but then I got to this line: “He doesn’t want me to have any other partners”.

Holy red flags, Batman!

I find it extremely odd that someone who is supposedly non-monogamous is making this demand of you. You don’t really explain why, but this is ultimately not up to him. Some people do practice what’s called “polyfidelity” where they are technically “non-monogamous” because they have multiple partners, but they only sleep with or have romantic relationships with those partners and no one else. That’s a perfectly valid choice — but the emphasis is on the word “choice”.

If he wants a polyfidelitous relationship, that’s fine, but he absolutely cannot force this. And it doesn’t really seem like he’s presenting you with that option. Not to mention, a polyfidelitous relationship in this context for you is pretty much not compatible with the life that you want.

Whether non-monogamy is really something you see for yourself in the future or not, it’s very clear that you desire a “anchor” or “primary” style relationship or, at the very least, want the ability to have a partner who lives in your town for whom you can rely on for regular support or spend important holidays with — he, presumably, cannot provide that for you on a regular basis.

And not only is he not able to provide this, he wants to restrict you from being able to find this with other people? Absolutely not. That’s really unacceptable. He should not, and no one you date for that matter, dictate how many relationships you can or can’t have.

I would do yourself a favour and fall out of love with this person. Unfortunately, his actions at present do not bode well. At the very best, you’re not compatible because he cannot provide you with what you actually need and at the very worst, you’re going to end up in a controlling, unhappy relationship.

You should cut your losses and find someone who actually does fit you better.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Do you have a question?

If you have a non-monogamous relationships question to ask, please email it to nonmonogamyhelp@gmail.com or leave a voice message. Your question will be posted anonymously.

To read new columns, subscribe to the newsletter, follow us on Instagram or follow us on Twitter. You can now also order The Anxious Person’s Guide to Non-Monogamy in North America and the UK/Europe.

If you would like to support me and get these columns early, please become a Patron or make a PayPal donation. Patrons get access to podcasts and columns 5 days before they are posted.

Get the columns and podcasts in your inbox every Wednesday!

Skip to content