My partner previously said he would never want to try polyamory - then he got drunk and said something different

Need some advice. My partner recently told me that he was open to polyamory after a long time of telling me that he's strictly monogamous and extremely jealous. It's a complete one-eighty from everything he has told me in the past. He told me this while we were out drinking as well. We talked about it the morning after and agreed that we should wait a few years to solidify our relationship first and then revisit the topic. Him saying this out of the blue is weird. Do you have any advice to give?

Is your partner in the habit of saying “out of the blue” things when he is drinking? If this is part of a pattern that feels confusing or manipulative, you need to take a huge step back and let him know that you’re not okay addressing big new topics while you’re both drunk, and perhaps consider the role that alcohol plays in your relationship and in his ability to be emotionally vulnerable and present.

Do these conversations with him feel emotionally safe, both when he is drunk and when sober? Is it more of an exercise in imagination and curiosity, or is there an edge to these conversations? What is at risk, from your perspective? How have his “extreme jealousy” and “strict monogamy” been visible to you? Is there anything you’re worried about? Do you trust him to own his emotions and behaviors in this space? If he’s not willing to talk about this with such specifics; or if he sends up red flags during these conversations or elsewhere in your relationship; or if you have serious concerns about his alcohol use, his communication skills, or his jealousy - think hard about whether this is a healthy relationship to stay in.

But if this is just a one-time thing, it’s possible that he’s wanted to bring it up, and needed the “liquid courage” to be able to say something. It’s promising that you two were able to talk it out after sobering up the next morning. Sometimes, we use externalized ‘excuses’ to make it easier to broach difficult topics, and that’s not inherently bad. This does, however, call for a lot more discussion, primarily without alcohol involved.

You can ask him why he’s bringing this up now. Has he been thinking on it, doing self-work, and had a change of heart? Or has he slowly been realizing that he’s capable of having feelings for another person without that threatening his commitment to you? If there’s something specific that has changed for him - something he read, or saw, or felt, or experienced - it’s worth talking about!

What does he mean by “solidifying” the relationship? Don’t just assume that being together for a few more years will make you both more secure in the relationship. Make sure you’re very clear about what a “solid” relationship looks and feels like, to both of you. Is he expecting you to do something to “prove” your loyalty? Are you expecting that his jealousy naturally dissipates over time? Don’t leave things unsaid - words like “solidify” are actually really vague, and need definition.

And where are you on the polyamory question? Is this something you’d be just as happy letting lie, or were you hoping he might come around to considering polyamory? How did it come up originally? I’d suggest that you two consume some media about polyamory and about healthy relationship communication in general, not with a goal in mind or a problem to solve, just as two interested people having something to discuss and share their feelings about. No one has anything to prove or argue; just read something together and talk about what surprised you, what you agreed or disagreed with, and what was interesting. If you two do this over a glass or two of wine, there’s nothing wrong with that! Just be aware and intentional about using alcohol as a tool to loosen up and connect, not a crutch or a numbing agent.