Hey, I’m in need of some help. Me and my girlfriend of almost two years are great, to my knowledge she’s strictly mono and lately I’ve been feeling some things for another girl while not losing any feelings for my partner, I’ve been very curious about polyamory and don’t know how to bring it up to my girlfriend or if I should at all. She’s more on the jealous side and I’m afraid telling her would make her feel insecure about own own relationship and thus hurt her. Simply put, what do I do?

I get variations on this question a lot - and it’s a tough situation. It can be difficult to bring up the concept of polyamory with a monogamous partner without triggering a lot of fear, anger, jealousy, and other difficult feelings that can derail the conversation.

My advice would be to leave this other girl out of the conversation, at least for now. Bring up polyamory as an idea, as a way of thinking about relationships. Because that’s what it is. It’s not “permission to cheat,” it’s not “I’m getting bored of you,” it’s not “something is missing from our relationship” - it’s “hey, there’s another model of relationships out there, and I’ve been thinking more about it. What are your thoughts?”

And then it’s important to really hear your partner out and try to understand their perspective. (This will be good practice for if you do end up trying polyamory - communication skills are a must.) It can be tempting just to listen for weak arguments that you can poke holes in, or try to challenge everything they say with something well-reasoned or defensive. Don’t do this. Listen, openly and with a mind to understand, not to convince. 

Most people aren’t stupid, and they’ll realize that you’re bringing this up for serious discussion because it’s something you’ve been thinking about. Be prepared with what you’ll say, but again, don’t come at it like a defense attorney. Respond to what your partner said and answer their questions, after you’ve listened enough to fully understand where they’re coming from, and leave the conversational gates open for more discussion. 

Good luck!