I think I need my faith in polyamory restored. I broke up with my first boyfriend about a week ago, and we were in a poly relationship (him with his fiance who has other partners, me with just him while looking for more). I realized towards the end that he was using poly mostly as an excuse to get girls, and friends have pointed out that he was starting to mentally abuse me. He lied to me and everyone else about how his relationships work. I’m scared to date again…

Shitty people can be polyamorous.

Polyamorous people can be shitty.

Polyamorous people can lie, cheat, steal, neglect to use their turn signal, and do all manner of shitty things.

So can monogamous people!

Lots and lots of monogamous relationships end in tears, anger, drama, betrayal, and lies. Plenty of polyamorous relationships do as well.

Lots and lots of people use monogamy as an excuse to be possessive, controlling, abusive, manipulative, or just generally annoying.

I am really sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with someone using pseudo-polyamory as an excuse to hurt you. But that doesn’t mean polyamory is bad; just like a monogamous person hurting their partner doesn’t make monogamy inherently bad.

It is okay to take a break from dating. It is okay to find some time to nurse your wounds, heal, maybe see a therapist, think through your needs and expectations for your next relationship, identify red flags you’ll be once-bitten-twice-shy about in the future.

It is even okay to decide that dating polyamorously isn’t for you; or that dating men isn’t for you; or that dating right now isn’t for you; or whatever you need to decide for your own health and safety.

But don’t let one shitty person ruin future positive opportunities for you! No one has the power to take away your ability to be happy in other relationships. No one individual’s terrible choices get to set the tone and expectations for you in the future. One person did a bunch of shitty things. Be angry at them individually - don’t let them rob you of the ability to step into new things that have the potential to be healthy, joyful, and fulfilling.