I want to ask you about transitioning from a poly partner to marriage. We’ve only been dating for 6 months and we’re nowhere near the state of marriage. Especially since she’s moving away soon. But I really want to marry her. I’ve come to terms with our polyamory. I’m very new to it and this is my first healthy polyamorous relationship. My partner’s partner is awesome and respectful and great! And of course deserves love! My partner is fucking amazing and I want to marry her! I guess we need to talk about things. I don’t want to be like, “if we get married then we have to be monogamous.” Cause that’s just toxic! But I just don’t know what a polyamorous marriage would look like. 

It all comes down to what marriage means to you. If you see it as a “next step” of commitment - you go from dating to living together to engaged to married - that’s very different than seeing it as a legal/economic shift. 

It is illegal in all states to marry more than one person; it is illegal in many states to be legally married to someone but “live as if married” with someone else. So if you what you want is a legal document giving you certain rights when it comes to taxes, healthcare, etc. then you’ll need to “choose” someone to marry - but that doesn’t mean the people who are married can’t make it to the emotional commitment level of “married” with anyone else; it just means they can’t legally marry.

So if you’re concerned about the emotional trappings of marriage - new titles, a new level of commitment, vows spoken, a wedding ceremony - talk about that. Do you believe doing that with one person precludes either of you from getting there with someone else? Why or why not? Talk about what marriage means to you, and how you see that in your future. Talk about how you expect that to impact other relationships. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and definitions of marriage.

If you’re concerned about the legal aspect, talk about that. Do you, your partner, or your partner’s partner own property, hold a job, have healthcare needs, or have any other extenuating circumstance that would make a legal marriage an especially good or bad idea? Do you have concerns about child custody, estate planning, taxes, or similar issues? Do you feel that a non-legally-sanctioned “commitment ceremony” is different than an official wedding? Why or why not? 

Figure out what a polyamorous marriage would look like to you, and talk about it with your partner. Carve your own road. Know what you need and advocate for yourself, but be open to hearing other perspectives. Identify what it is that you’re really concerned about - whether it’s what marriage represents to you; or the legal hassle of it all; whether you’re especially concerned about what it will look like to live together or raise children - and focus on that. “Marriage” is too nebulous and vague a concept here, so pin down a definition and figure out what to focus on, then talk it out with yourself and your partners!